Social workers’ dedication to improving kids’ lives praised

HARD-WORKING and optimistic social workers have been praised by inspectors for their commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable children in Swansea.

Inspectors from the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) said there was a strong commitment to improving outcomes for service users among social workers at Swansea Council who described themselves as resilient and “very child focussed”.

The comments came in an annual inspection by the CSSIW of child and family services’ access arrangements.

Mark Child, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for wellbeing, said: “It is very satisfying to see the CSSIW recognising that all the hard work of staff, senior officers and councillors is delivering benefits for some of the most vulnerable children in our communities.

“Important challenges remain, not least in meeting the continuing high demand for child and family services. The report has identified areas for improvement and work to address these issues has already started.”

The CSSIW report, being seen by the council’s cabinet this week, said progress had been made since serious concerns were raised about services in 2007. Inspectors highlighted a number of aspects which were making a difference, such as improved communication between teams.

It also said: “The overview and scrutiny board are able to evidence constructive challenge to performance and carry out an ambitious programme of enquiry into service provision.”

The CSSIW report said the positive developments in child and family services had had an impact and “led to a big reduction in team caseloads, and more appropriate management of risk. Improvements in relationships with service users, partner agencies and the locality teams were apparent”.

Elsewhere, dozens of staff have been taken on to ease a crisis in children’s services in Neath Port Talbot Council. It’s part of an all-embracing action plan called the Children’s Improvement Programme, which was launched last month.

The plan follows an inspection last year by the CSSIW which identified the development of the social services workforce as key priority to ensure the council could continue delivering a safe service for children and their families.