• 30 August 2018
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Merthyr children’s services motivated to further develop services for care leavers - report

We inspected services for children at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council during April and 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

  • The children’s service has a dedicated workforce who are professionally committed to promoting best outcomes for children and families.
  • Safeguarding procedures and processes were understood and followed by staff.
  • The local authority recognises there is a need to further develop its services for young people who are leaving care and is motivated to do so.
  • We saw examples of good practice but this was not consistent. Immediately prior to inspection, children’s services had experienced a period of challenge having identified areas of poor practice exacerbated by recruitment issues. 
  • Despite the commitment and professionalism of staff, the inability to transfer cases between some teams due to staff vacancies has impacted on staff morale.
  • The challenges for front line staff were being addressed through the recruitment of key staff and agency cover.

Areas for development

  • Greater consistency in the quality of assessments including detailed analysis of strengths and risks.
  • Further work is required to ensure partner agencies have a clear and shared understanding of significant harm when making referrals to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub.
  • Develop a more comprehensive quality assurance system, including improved focus on the frequency, consistency and quality of front line supervision.

Next steps

We expect the local authority to consider the areas identified for development and take appropriate action. We will monitor progress through our on-going engagement activity with the local authority.