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Report of Children’s Services Risk Based Inspection and Adults Services Performance Evaluation Inspection: Wrexham County Borough Council

This report summarises the findings of our inspections of children’s social services and adult social services between the 12 and 23 of October 2020.

The purpose of these inspections was to review how well Wrexham County Borough Council social services has progressed on its journey of improvement following a meeting between us and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), senior officers and senior members of Wrexham County Borough Council in February 2020 to discuss significant failings in Wrexham children’s services and seek clarification from the local authority on their immediate improvement plans.

Overview

Children’s social services: risk based inspection

People – voice and control: We identified strong and confident leadership from leaders and senior managers who demonstrate an accurate understanding of their services and areas requiring improvement. Managers and practitioners within the local authority need to ensure the voices and views of children and their families are central to their assessments and inform care and support planning

Prevention: We found early intervention in line with the requirements of the 2014 Act has become an important strategic driver for the local authority. Expanding choice and availability of short breaks for disabled children is an area the local authority is looking to progress. We recommend that practitioners must maintain their focus on outcomes for the child. Assessments and legal planning meetings must become timely and not delay decisions or court action.

Well-being: We found that partners and professionals make timely and appropriate referrals to social services and receive feedback to the concerns they raise. Managers and practitioners must ensure they have sufficient understanding of the children they are working with including their background and current situation to ensure continuity of planning including contingency planning

Partnerships, integration and co-production: We identified that the accelerated improvement board is working effectively to drive improvements across children’s services. Practitioners describe the new approach as a journey of improvement with a senior management team who are more children focused. We recommend that social workers must work in partnership with parents as equals. They must ensure parents are informed of opportunities to have someone of their choice to support them to participate fully in assessment and reviews

Adult Social Services: Performance Evaluation Inspection

People – voice and control: We found in most assessment teams there is good understanding and recording of the outcomes adults want to achieve. Understanding of the importance of beginning engagement with adults by assuming they know what is best for themselves must be embedded across all service areas.

Prevention: We found the importance of timely hospital discharge is understood and remains a priority. Including offering wrap around services to support people to return to their own homes. The local authority must improve the timeliness and consistency of service responses. Senior managers must use their improved line of sight on front line practice to support team managers in understanding and improving workflow.

Well-being: We found there is a clear recognition of the importance of people maintaining control in their own lives. We recommend the service response to identified need must be focused on need, not dictated by age or diagnosis. Application of thresholds to exclude people who do not meet service criteria but who could benefit from support should be challenged by managers.

Partnerships, integration and co-production: We identified that community agents have been extended to benefit the whole local authority. There is further scope to develop this project in line with the 2014 Act.

Next steps

We expect the areas of improvement we have identified to be included in the local authority’s improvement plans. We will monitor progress through our on-going performance evaluation activity with Wrexham County Borough Council.

To view all our findings and recommendations read the full report below.

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