Care Inspectorate Wales announces performance evaluation inspection of children’s services in Monmouthshire

Care Inspectorate Wales announces performance evaluation inspection of children’s services in Monmouthshire

The inspection was carried out by Care Inspectorate Wales in February 2024 and its aim was to review the performance of Monmouthshire County Council’s children’s services.

The report identifies the strengths of the service and the areas for improvement, giving valuable insight to the Council and its staff.

According to the inspection, the leaders and staff at Monmouthshire Council take great pride in the service they provide to children and families. They have a good understanding of the strengths of the service and the areas that need improvement. The inspection report also refers to the ‘co-ordinated’ approach in place in relation to early support and prevention to support children and families.

However, like many other local authorities across Wales, the local authority is facing unprecedented challenges in terms of providing social care. The national recovery after the pandemic has led to an increased demand for services and people have increasingly complex needs. Combined with significant budgetary pressures, these challenges have put a strain on social care provision.

Recruitment and retention of staff are continuing priorities for the local authority. The competitive market nationally and regionally for quality social care staff poses ongoing challenges. Nevertheless, the Council has implemented a plan to reduce the use of agency staff and the stability of the workforce has improved in 2024.

The inspection identified some concerns regarding the local authority’s compliance with statutory requirements in the field of child protection, particularly with regard to the timeliness of child protection visits and case conferences. Monmouthshire County Council recognizes the importance of addressing these concerns and is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in its care.

The local authority has finished restructuring services for children and families who need support and protection, and is developing a new practice model, practice standards and quality assurance framework. Sustainable progress is needed to improve compliance with statutory requirements and create consistency in strengths-based approaches.

A spokesperson for Care Inspectorate Wales told us:

“The inspectorate’s performance evaluation inspection is a valuable resource that highlights achievements and areas for development. You can see that Monmouthshire County Council is still committed to providing high quality children’s services and will continue to work to improve the well-being and safety of children in Monmouthshire. We will continue to work with the team to monitor progress through our ongoing performance review activity.”

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