Children’s welfare bodies are ‘failing in Wales’, health watchdog says

THE bodies charged with ensuring child welfare in Wales are failing, according to a report by the Healthcare Inspectorate for Wales and other watchdogs.

The joint inspection by five regulatory bodies established that local safeguarding children boards in Wales “lack focus on improving outcomes for children and are not fulfilling their statutory responsibilities”.

The boards are comprised of local authority social services, education services, local health boards, NHS trusts, police services, probation services and youth offending teams. They are supposed to coordinate services for vulnerable children.

Despite this, the report found that “there was little evidence of a shared understanding of the strategic direction and related activities by members and other partnerships”.

Very few boards collected adequate performance data and the boards were “not yet able to effectively demonstrate how they are improving outcomes for children and young people in terms of safeguarding and promoting their welfare.”

Imelda Richardson, chief inspector of the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, criticised the leadership of the boards. She said that such bodies “need to develop strategic direction and there is limited evidence as to how they are engaging with children, young people, parents, carers and wider communities”.

Inspectors visited seven of the 19 boards in Wales.