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Inspection of Childrens Services in Flintshire

Published: 09/10/2015

Childrens Services in Flintshire are delivered by a suitably qualified, experienced and competent workforce which is able to meet the needs of local children, young people and their families, according to an inspection report to be considered by Flintshire County Councils Cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday, 13 October. Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) undertook an inspection earlier this year when they looked closely at the experiences of children and young people who had needed or still needed help and/or protection. The inspection also considered the quality of outcomes achieved for children and families including a small sample of children and young people who were, or had been, looked after. Inspectors read case files and interviewed staff, managers and professionals from partner agencies. They also talked to children, young people and their families. The report praised the Councils clear decision making during child protection investigations and its proportionate urgent action taken to protect children and young people at risk of immediate significant harm. The reports 12 recommendations are recognised as areas the Council itself had already identified for further improvement. This includes the need to further strengthen arrangements when people first contact the service and ensure that all internal systems support social workers in delivering excellent services. The report endorses the strong leadership and governance provided by senior politicians and officers and welcomes the Councils commitment to developing and seeing further improvement in childrens services. It also highlighted that feedback from staff generally was that Flintshire had a good reputation and was a positive place to work. Inspectors found that when contacts were received where there was an obvious indication that a child or children were at risk or had suffered significant harm, prompt decisions were made and initial action was taken to protect the child. The report notes that child protection case conferences observed by inspectors were well chaired and child focused. The council also worked hard to try to ensure that, where possible, children were looked after within their extended family or supported to maintain more meaningful relationships. To support this a positive family group conferencing service was in place. Councillor Christine Jones, Cabinet member for Social Services said: There are good things to learn from this report and we are committed to delivering the inspectors recommendations. We are pleased that the report recognises and endorses our effective approach to managing the safeguarding of children. Despite the enormous financial pressures faced by the Council we are working hard to ensure that we continue to deliver good services even in areas of rising demand. We accept there are areas which need continued improvement and will be addressing these in our action plan The Councils Statutory Director of Social Services Neil Ayling added: The report endorses our commitment to continued improvement to childrens services in Flintshire. We are heartened that the report recognises many strengths in Childrens Services, particularly the commitment and dedication of our social workers. We are already responding to the reports recommendations for further change.