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Action Needed To Hold Onto Staff, Inspector Warns
|The running of social services in the Vale of Glamorgan needs to be tightened up, according to a Goverment inspector.|
An investigation by the Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (SSIW) has revealed inconsistencies in the management of children in care and the provision of services for client groups across the board.
The recruitment and retention of child care staff was also raised as an area that needed to be addressed as a priority.
But in a report, due to be discussed at a scrutiny meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan County Council on Monday, the department was praised for its overall improvement since an SSIW evaluation last year.
In a summary, SSIW deputy chief inspector Richard Tebboth, said ''Over the past few years the authority has implemented major organisational changes and has worked hard to provide leadership and clarity of purpose for teams and individuals.
''The authority is heading in the right direction.
''The evidence suggests that practice is improving but needs to be more consistent.''
One of the key areas for improvement raised in the report was the provision of services for children in the care system.
The report said a review by the Audit Commission in Wales into the authority's ''looked after children'' concluded that ''children are still not consistently being well served by the council and arrangements are reactive rather that being proactive''.
But the final evaluation summary said that although addressing these issues were long term projects, good progress had already been made.
Article by Louise Day ( South Wales Echo 18/03/04) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHILD CARE CASH CRISIS
CHILD CARE CASH CRISIS
Article in South Wales Echo Friday January 30th 2004
By Peter Collins—email@example.com
An action plan to tackle a multi-million-pound crisis in childcare has been put forward in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Councillors have warned that the spiralling costs of placing children in care is not sustainable.
An investigation by a spending watchdog discovered that the cost of protecting vulnerable children in the Vale rose from £1.1m in 1999/2000 to £3.1m in 2002/2003.
The Vale council also set aside a one-off £5m payment for 2003/2004 to the fund aimed at tackling the problem and help bring down the long-term cost of children’s placements. For example, to cover the costs of extra staff to help find carers and others to work with the youngsters.
Part of the problem is a lack of care home facilities in the Vale, meaning they have to be sent out of the area.
The number of looked-after children from the Vale reached a peak of 215 in 2001/02. It currently fluctuates between 190 and 200.
The Vale of Glamorgan councils cabinet has now backed a four-year placement strategy.
In a report, James Cawley, director of community services, said ‘’The overall cost of looking after children appeared to be escalating uncontrollably.
‘’Clearly by late 2001 it was becoming apparent not only had the rising cost of children’s placements become unsustainable, but that they were absorbing any potential for making the investment necessary in children’s services.’’
Tony Young, head of children and family services told the cabinet: ‘’There are tough challenges ahead, but we have made huge strides.’’
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