Our findings and recommendations for children’s services in Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.
We undertook our inspection in February and March this year. We looked at the effectiveness of local authority services and arrangements to help and protect children and their families.
We found that the local authority has a committed workforce responding to an increasing workload. The local authority’s own self assessment described the current rate of increase in numbers of looked after children as unsustainable.
We found that the local authority has promoted the stability, safety and wellbeing of looked after children and care leavers. There is a stable management group that staff regarded as approachable and supportive.
However, we found that the link between multi-agency early intervention and preventative services and statutory services to be inconsistent.
Assessments were not always underpinned by a clear and recorded professional analysis of a child’s needs and outcomes. The identification and management of risk of harm was not always informed by historical and current context, likelihood of change within the family or by research and best practice.
Children and young people were protected through effective application of multi-agency safeguarding and child protection thresholds. However, we were concerned about delays in holding a strategy discussion due to the availability of the police.
We expect the local authority to consider areas identified for development and take appropriate actions to address and improve these areas. We will monitor progress through our on-going engagement activity with the local authority.
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