Inspection of Children’s Services: Powys County Council

Our findings and recommendations for children’s services in Powys County Council.

We inspected services for children in Powys in July 2017 which identified serious concerns, and followed up with a further inspection in October 2018.

You can read the 2017 report here.  This report from the October 2018 inspection outlines the developments and improvements we found, and areas where improvement is still required.

Findings

Powys County Council’s children’s services has achieved significant improvements in certain areas, and some improvement in others.  There continue to be areas of practice where we have serious concerns.

The continued turnover in the workforce and temporary middle management arrangements have been significant factors impeding the pace of change. 

All those involved with Powys County Council children’s services have worked hard to improve the service.  Improvements since the last inspection include greater corporate oversight of children’s services, development of quality assurance,  greater ease of access to the ‘front door’ of children’s services, improved applications for court orders and greater frequency of visits to children looked after and those subject to child protection registration.

Priority areas for development

  • Ensure there is a clear strategic vision to deliver a seamless service and further develop collaborative working with health, education and the third sector to benefit children and families
  • Develop better commissioning arrangements to ensure appropriate placements for children who are looked after. This includes improving choice of placements, reducing the numbers of children placed in an emergency and placed without agreed educational provision. 
  • Ensure early multi agency involvement in safeguarding and ensure an immediate response to children at risk of sexual exploitation.
  • Ensure investigation of complaints are thorough and in accordance with Welsh Government guidelines.

The local authority plans to restructure children’s services, introduce a recognised model of social work and establish a cohesive strategy around early help and family support.  These developments should result in further improvements. 

Next steps

We expect the local authority to review its existing improvement plan within 20 working days of the publication of this report. Due to the areas of serious concern identified in this inspection, we will continue to actively monitor the quality of services on a quarterly basis. We will consider a further inspection of children’s services 12-18 months from the publication of this report.
 

 
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