South West Wales

Intervention lifted at Swansea social services

Swansea County Council
Image caption Inspectors said councillors from all parties had worked together to secure improvements

An intervention board has been withdrawn after inspectors found "real improvements" at Swansea's child and family services.

A panel of experts was brought in 18 months ago to oversee the department after a series of critical inspections.

Gwenda Thomas AM, deputy minister for social services, said the hard work of all involved was paying off.

The council said it was determined to improve further and welcomed the move.

The intervention board was appointed by Ms Thomas in March 2009.

It was the first time such a body was created in Wales and followed concerns that the local authority was failing to protect young people.

But a new report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) that said overall performance had improved in the majority of areas and the council was better placed to continue the progress.

It said there had been improvements in corporate and political leadership, restructuring the service to benefit the most vulnerable young children, achieving a full complement of social workers, staff morale and support from managers.

The time taken to carry out initial and core assessments had reduced, there was a rise in the number of child protection reviews held on time and an increase in the number of looked after children allocated to qualified social workers.

Vulnerable youngsters

The CSSIW report states: "There is evidence of continuing improvement in important areas of work and some encouraging signs that some of the more recent actions that have been taken by the authority are beginning to take effect.

"Overall, the inspectors concluded that the authority is now better placed to continue to deliver further improvements in children's services in the future."

Council cabinet member for social services Nick Tregoning said: "I would like to pay tribute to the tremendous hard work of our staff and managers, councillors and partners whose commitment has been the key to the improvements.

"Our priority has always been to protect the most vulnerable young people in our communities.

"We know there is more to do and our determination to bring further improvements remains as great as ever."

CSSIW chief inspector Imelda Richardson said: "This has been achieved as a result of elected members from all parties putting children first and working collectively to address the serious concerns about their children's services.

"Within the authority there is now clear leadership, direction and support at both corporate and service levels."

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