Inspectors reveal improvements in dealing with social care fears

THERE has been an improvement in the way Carmarthenshire Council deals with the resolution of social care complaints, according to inspectors.

In its latest annual performance review, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) also said the council performed well in using advocates — someone who can speak on behalf of those with a learning disability.

But it was also concerned about some aspects of investigation planning.

The CSSIW said it inspected learning disability services in October 2010 and found progress had been made in areas that needed improving, but structural changes and staff appointments were not complete at that time.

The report said these had subsequently been completed.

Extra co-ordinators had been appointed to ensure people in the council’s care were safe and new procedures had been put in place, it added.

This safeguarding process was more focused and preparatory work was helping achieve clearer results, but there remained concerns that roles and responsibilities in relation to the planning of an investigation were unclear, it said.

Integrating commissioning, contracting, safeguarding and complaints under a single manager had reportedly improved the links between these services and produced better outcomes for service users, the CSSIW’s 2010-11 report added.

It stated: “Overall the work which has been completed and the future planned actions are seen as good performance.”

Sarah Phillips, manager of Carmarthenshire People First, an advocacy group for adults with learning disability, said they now check council centres across the county and interview users of the facilities.

She said she was not in her post when the incidents highlighted by Delyth Jenkins took place, but added: “Since then I know the local authority has been working to make things as open and transparent as they can within their services.”

Ms Phillips said her group offered training sessions to staff and explained different types of abuse to the service users and what they should do if they experience it.

“We feel out of something very negative has come something very positive and that there is more advocacy provision within the service,” she said.

Asked what those in the council’s care thought of the service, she said: “They’re happy with their service.

“People like what is happening and they’re involved and there are service user communities within the different centres.”