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Action plan needed following Anglesey children’s services inspection

We inspected Anglesey’s children’s services in November 2016.

What we looked at

The inspection looked at the quality of outcomes achieved for children in need of help, care and support, or protection. 

Inspectors looked at what the local authority knew about its own performance and the difference it was making for the people it was seeking to help, care and support or protect.

What we found

The local authority was experiencing a significant period of change at the time of this inspection, including implementing the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014.

Senior leaders in the council want to improve safeguarding and promote services that support children and families to live more independently.   

However, despite some focused initiatives, the local authority acknowledged that there had been insufficient attention given to improving practice in children’s services in recent years.

Whilst there has recently been greater attention to improving practice, the pace of change in improving help, care and support and/or protection available for children and families in Anglesey must be accelerated.

Although, information, advice and assistance services and prevention arrangements were insufficiently developed, the local authority was responsive where there was an immediate indication that a child was at risk. Referral information received from partners was poor.

Children’s services were diligent in collecting missing information but analysis of (re)referrals was variable and too often cases that should have progressed to an assessment did not do so. The understanding of thresholds between partners and children’s services was inconsistent. Multi-agency work to address this was urgently needed.

All staff were clearly committed to improving the lives of the children and families they worked with but teams did not have sufficient capacity, experience or senior management support to effectively deliver good quality outcomes for children and families. Management oversight of decision-making was insufficient.

The workforce was committed to achieving good outcomes for children and families, and although fragile, staff morale was apparently improving.

However, services were not always delivered by a skilled, competent, suitably qualified and experienced workforce that had the capacity to consistently and effectively help, care and support and/or protect children and families.

Next steps

We expect Isle of Anglesey County Council to produce an improvement plan in response to this report within 20 days of publication. 

The improvement plan will be monitored throughout 2017/18.

Due to the significant concerns identified in this inspection, we will consider undertaking a re-inspection within 12 to 18 months from the publication of this report.

Inspectors noted that senior managers accept our findings and were committed to achieving the necessary improvements.

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