Vow to monitor bosses tackling children’s service failings

SCRUTINY committee members have pledged to keep a close eye on council bosses who are tackling failings in children’s social services.

Inspectors are taking formal action against Neath Port Talbot Council in the light of serious concerns relating to children’s social services.

They are invoking Welsh Government protocols after ruling there had been a lack of progress in addressing problems identified in previous inspections — including the failure to protect vulnerable people from potential harm.

The action stops short of direct intervention. Instead the authority and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales have agreed a series of key improvements the council must address over the next year.

Speaking at a Children, Young People and Education Scrutiny Committee, social services director Tony Clements said lessons had been learnt but there was a long way to go.

“It will take time, but I think lessons have been learnt,” he said. He added the CSSIW report in front of councillors was “challenging” and that the scrutiny committee had an important part to play.

“Your role is going to be key,” he said.


Chairman Glyn Rawlings said he and his vice-chairman were committed to helping the council improve the service.

“We have got a responsibility to find out what the authority is doing and where it is going,” he said. “I guarantee as chair any information you need, we as a committee will get that information.”

Lower Brynamman councillor Arwyn Woolcock said: “I know we are facing challenges but I am sure that with this kind of attention we will get there.”

Briton Ferry West councillor Hugh James said: “There has never been a more important time for scrutiny. I think it is vitally important to go forward.”

Cimla councillor Alan Carter said he was “disappointed” with the report from CCSIW but said he was pleased that the hard work of the staff had been highlighted.

“The staff and the workforce have come out as committed,” he said. “The problem is the culture. They feel undervalued.

“We will get there but it is a long job.”

Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen councillor Lynda Williams added: “We are an excellent authority and it is because of the people working for us.

“Yes, we have fallen down. My emotion is relief because at last now we are doing something about it.”