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  • 22 August 2018
  • News

Vale of Glamorgan children’s services in strong position to further develop – report

We inspected services for children at Vale of Glamorgan Council during May 2018.

The inspection looked at the experience and progress of children on the edge of care, children looked after and care leavers, and the use of fostering, residential care and out of area placements.

We also looked at child protection enquiries, urgent protective action, and care and support protection plans.

Findings

  • Front-line staff were well motivated with  good management support at all levels.
  • There is support for children’s services from across the local authority including from elected members. The local authority is in a strong position to further develop its service to children and families.
  • Social work staff knew children’s circumstances well and regularly saw them. However, vacancies and complex caseloads have affected the service. Action was already being taken by senior managers to reconfigure teams and reduce competing demands.
  • Children looked after were not routinely engaged in their review meetings.
  • There is limited choice of placements for children who are looked after, with work underway to increase the number of fostering placements, as well as working with a residential care provider to place more children closer to home.
  • Care leavers were very positive about the help they receive from Personal Advisors.
  • In the safeguarding work we reviewed, children were being protected by prompt response and timely assessments.

Areas for development

  • The local authority should continue to fill vacancies and monitor reasons for leaving.
  • Assessments must take into account all available information from previous contacts and incorporate any risks.
  • Practitioners should explicitly seek the views of children seen alone, where appropriate, and fully outline these in assessments.
  • The local authority should ensure relevant children are offered advocates and independent visitors.

Next steps

We expect the local authority to take appropriate action to address and improve these areas. We will monitor progress through our on-going review activity with the local authority.