Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS has responded to Care Inspectorate Wales’s Performance Evaluation Inspection of Children’s Services in Bridgend County Borough Council.
Jane Dodds, who worked for over 25 years as a child protection social worker before entering the Senedd has been critical of the Welsh Labour Government, accusing them of ducking from scrutiny for not backing an independent inquiry into children’s services across all of Wales, as is taking place in England and Scotland.
According to Jane Dodds the report from Bridgend has significant gaps and the need for a Wales-wide inquiry is made abundantly clear and has called for an overhaul of the inspection regime in Wales.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have also stated that the Welsh Government needs to outline how it plans to deal with the severe staffing crisis in children’s services, which is highlighted repeatedly as a major problem in the report.
Commenting Jane Dodds MS said:
“Missing from this report is the use of comparisons, there is no metric to identify how Bridgend is measuring up to other local authorities in Wales or even to previous inspections.
“The report also contains no reference to the tragic death of Logan Mwangi or what impact this has since had on workers in Bridgend children’s services. This is something that would have had a huge emotional impact on people and the services they deliver.
“There is also no specific focus on child protection work and how children are protected including no assessment about whether this service performs well or not. This is something we would want to see in a Wales-wide review.
“The report lacks context and does not tell me as a Senedd Member, how Bridgend are doing in comparison to Wales as a whole and how they could be supported with good practice from other local authorities
“It is my opinion that the inspection regime in Wales needs overhauling to focus on a pan Wales performance picture, assessing how local authorities measure up to this and then how they can be helped to improve.
“Finally, the Welsh Government must outline what it is doing to address the staffing crisis in children’s services, which is mentioned consistently throughout this report. Local authorities clearly need assistance in finding ways to recruit new staff and retain existing staff.”