End Wales’ position as only UK nation without child services review

The Welsh Conservatives are calling for a nationwide review of children social services as Wales is the only UK nation not undertaking one.

The call comes after months of Mark Drakeford blocking such a review despite this and Wales having the UK’s highest rate of looked-after children.

The Party will make the call in a Senedd debate today and follows an investigation into Bridgend Council’s handling of the murder of Logan Mwangi who is regarded to have been failed by the Council.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Social Services Minister Gareth Davies MS said:

“The horrible murder of Logan has brought to the fore a part of our public services that ministers too often neglect to talk about which is why the Welsh Conservatives have again brought forward our call today for the Wales-wide review of children services the Labour Government still blocks.

“The report into Logan’s death showed we were right to be concerned and highlight the dangers of a growing dependency on agency social workers, a multimillion pound industry that can lead to child safety being put at risk.

“Given what came out in the report on the handling of Logan’s case in Bridgend and the fact that Wales has the highest rate of looked-after children in the UK, we should certainly end Wales’ role as the only part of the UK not undergoing a review of children social services.

“If we do not have this review, people will ask why Labour are blocking it. Or is this just like with the Wales-specific Covid inquiry they’ve killed? They don’t want an investigation because they are worried about what it will find.”

In England, after the deaths of Star Hobson and Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, a review was initiated into system-wide child protection practices. The Northern Irish Executive commissioned an independent review into children’s services in February 2022. The Scottish Government undertakes periodic reviews.

Welsh Conservative research found that Bridgend Council spent £1,147,354 on agency social workers in the year Logan was murdered, a ten-fold increase compared with 2020/21.

Overdependence on agency social care workers was identified as a factor in Star Hobson’s death. According to a Welsh Conservative Freedom of Information requests, 376 agency social workers were employed by Welsh councils last year at a cost of nearly £20.m, up from 365 for £18.5m in 2020/21 and 279 for £16.2m the year before.

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