The committee considered a report by the Director of Social Services on the performance of Social Care Services in the county setting out its challenges of an unprecedented year due to COVID-19 and relates to performance for the year 2020-21. Members were informed that there was a statutory requirement for the Director of Social Services to report annually on delivery and performance, as well as plans for the improvement of the whole range of social services.
The Executive Board Member for Education advised that the department is under a lot of pressure due to increase in demand for help where Children’s Services have proved very effective and have prioritised via the Regional Partnership Board arrangement. The Social Work teams and day services staff have remained in contact with carers and provided support when necessary; many of the staff have either achieved or are undertaking the Investors in Carers Award which is an acknowledge of the support provided to carers and all Social Work teams have been identified Carers Champions.
The Regional Safeguarding Board and associated subgroups have continued to meet virtually; being part of a Regional Multi Agency Covid response group which met weekly having assurance regarding safeguarding responses during the pandemic and have continued to work within the new All Wales Adult Protection Procedures and Carmarthenshire has led on several developments across the region including the development of a Covid Threshold document and training and are well prepared for the implementation of the new Liberty Protection Safeguards in 2022.
Following publication of the report, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) and the Welsh Government will complete their analysis and review of the report. There will be a formal meeting with CIW in October to discuss their analysis and proposed plan. This will be followed by an Annual Letter to Council in late November/early December, confirming their analysis and inspection plan. The process will link in closely with the Wales Programme for Improvement and the Annual Letter from the Wales Audit Office.
Questions and observations raised:-
· Clarity was sought on the provision of joint disability service for children, young people aged 0-25 and their families based on need and not on age where it appears that provision during Summer holidays are predominantly in the Heol Goffa, Llanelli area and not shared across the north and east of the county. Comprehensive clarification has since been provided on this issue which relates to costs as children with complex needs have extra pressure. The Director of Education and Children advised that there are other activities in the pipeline whereby Welsh Government have given additional funding of £270k and are currently working with many partners to provide activities across Carmarthenshire and the programme is currently being finalised.
· Asked who is present at the Pod Meetings? The Director of Community Services advised that it is an important element on how the service operates and the Service Manager advised that each pod is formed by 3 x Social Workers, psychologists and lead by a Team Manager with a Child and Family Practitioner within looking at how to manage behaviours with an Unit Co-ordinator recording minutes with each case discussed every 6 weeks.
· Asked about Home Education and how are the children not educated at home reached in Carmarthenshire. The Director of Education advised that Welsh Government have claimed that they are going to legislate over this and get the children to be registered but there is no statutory obligation to do this.
· The figures on the report were questioned about NEETs and further information was sought. The Director of Community Services advised that there is evidence to support this.