Earlier this year, in January, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) raised concerns about Wrexham’s children’s services. CIW said our services needed to be more consistent in responding to children’s needs.
This is reflected in CIW’s Annual Review letter about our performance for 2019/20 (April-April), which shows that they have raised their level of concern regarding children’s services from serious to significant.
Alwyn Jones, Chief Officer Social Care, said: “From January, we immediately began taking important steps to address the concerns of CIW and over the past months we’ve made improvements across all our children’s services.
The three immediate steps we took were to:
• Allocate an extra £1million to help drive forward improvements in social services, and ensure the department had all the resources it needed
• Set up The Accelerated Improvement Board; a senior group that includes our Chief Executive, senior Councillors and senior managers, to monitor the progress and drive us forward
• Set up a Specialist Support Team, which has brought about rapid improvements in key areas of social work for children
This work has been recognised by CIW in two formal meetings we’ve had with them (one in late-April, one in July). In particular CIW commented that:
• Progress has been made with a much improved, permanent and able management and staff team
• Our social services are doing a good job dealing with difficult and complex situations
• Wrexham is on the right path to further improvement
“We’re putting our children first”
“Care Inspectorate Wales raised these concerns with us in January and we took some immediate steps to improve children’s services in Wrexham. The £1million extra resource, The Accelerated Improvement Board, and our Specialist Support Team have all played a part to ensure that we’re putting our children first.
“Our workforce, which includes social workers and different support workers are trained to support families that need assistance, and they get fully supported by highly skilled managers who do an important job leading their teams.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position to fully meet the needs of children and their families, and we can now work with other partners such as the police and the health service more effectively. We have the right number of permanent, trained mangers and staff who have everything they need to make a difference, and this has shown in their work over the past months.”
“Keep moving forward”
Cllr Andrew Atkinson, Lead Member for Children’s Services, said:
“Although I’m still relatively new to the role myself, I’d like to stress that we have a great new team of officers and we’re all making changes, and there’s been some very good progress made in Wrexham.”
“In the two meetings with CIW they told us that they’ve noticed a difference and how we’ve managed to make some big changes in Wrexham already, but the aim is to keep moving forward give even more to support to children in Wrexham.”
“We know that we have the foundations in place that will help children and families receive early support, and we are going to do all that we can to make we support families through difficult times.”