Calls for Government inquiry over adult social care failure

THE whistleblower whose concerns lifted the lid on some poor practices in adult social services is worried not enough has been done to correct the problems.

Delyth Jenkins, 50, reported incidents of abuse at Johnstown Day Centre which prompted an investigation by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

Mrs Jenkins, who resigned from her post with Carmarthenshire Council in October 2010 after a year of stress-related illness, said changes had been made, but was worried they had not gone far enough. The ombudsman’s report identified “maladministration” in parts of the internal investigation into the concerns raised by Mrs Jenkins.

“I believe the problem stems from the management culture,” Mrs Jenkins said. “The management structure which failed these people so miserably is still there.”

After resigning, Mrs Jenkins prepared a case for constructive dismissal against the council but settled with her former employer in July last year. Mrs Jenkins, whose case was thrown back into the public spotlight by S4C programme Taro Naw, felt she was treated unfairly by the council, claiming she was isolated by some within the authority after making her complaints.

“I’m worried that things won’t really change at the council while the people who failed to deal with my complaints are still in their posts,” she told the programme. “I feel people should lose their jobs over this, from the top down.”

Carmarthenshire Council declined to comment on Mrs Jenkins’s concerns.

In a statement, it said: “We are not prepared to enter into any discussion regarding the employment status of any of the officers involved in this case.”

Mrs Jenkins, who lives in Llangain, told the Journal she was also speaking out because she feared an ombudsman’s recommendation directed at the Welsh Government was not being addressed. She believes there is a loophole in the registration of social service workers that leaves day services unregulated.

In his report, the Ombudsman had stated: “I draw to the attention of the Welsh Assembly Government the vulnerability of individuals who use day services and I call on them to extend the registration of social care workers to encompass day services as a matter of course.”

Eileen Chubb, who founded care charity Compassion In Care, also wants the Welsh Government to look at the case.

Ms Chubb told Taro Naw: “Everyone should learn lessons from this, because it could apply to any council. I think nationally, and locally, it needs to be looked at in detail. There needs to be an official government inquiry into this case.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Sustainable Social Services — the Government’s White Paper setting out the future for social services in Wales — emphasises the responsibility of organisations for the staff that they employ and we are reinforcing this requirement. We are therefore focusing registration on social workers and social care managers.

“We are currently preparing for the next stage in the registration of social care managers, which will be for domiciliary care managers and will commence in the autumn.

“We will continue to develop registration for further groups of social care managers as is needed.

“This will include consideration of new groups of managers and services. Employers have responsibility for the conduct of the social care workers they employ. National arrangements are already in place to address safeguarding issues that arise in relation to individual social care workers.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said it understood the local authority was taking action in response to the ombudsman’s report.