Inspection of Children’s Services: City and County of Swansea Council

Our findings and recommendations for children’s services in City and County of Swansea Council.

We inspected services for children living in Swansea during July 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

We found good quality practice in Swansea children’s services, with positive outcomes being achieved for many children and young people.

Staff were dedicated, resilient, and valued the support and accessibility of their managers. 

Although the local authority had begun to re-shape its services in line with the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014, significant areas of practice need further development, particularly around the ‘what matters conversation’ and ensuring the voice of the child or young person is clearly recorded.

Children’s services are effectively led with confidence by an experienced Head of Service and management team who managed change well.

Partnership working was generally effective, particularly with regard to safeguarding.  However, we heard from staff that working relationships between children services and education could be strengthened, and we saw evidence of some young people who were receiving inadequate education and experiencing poor outcomes.

Placement choice continued to present on-going challenges, particularly for children or young people with more complex needs.

Children and young people we heard from were generally positive about the support they received, and were appreciative of relationships with individual social workers.

Areas for development

  • The quality of assessments requires improvement to ensure less duplication, and an increased focus on the child’s voice, strengths and outcomes.
  • All children identified in need of care and support and who are receiving education other than at school should receive the educational input and support to which they are entitled.
  • Arrangements for children and young people to access their own care plan, reviews and other documentation were unclear; these should be reviewed, and the systems in place for recording this enhanced.

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 performance evaluation of the local authority.

 
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