Focus on children needed
IN their response to my concerns about the £374,730 that they wasted on a now-abandoned management system for children's services, Neath Port Talbot Council accuse me of scare-mongering and getting my facts wrong.
They say their children's services are not in special measures and that my claim that they invest to save project left the service in chaos is wrong.
And yet the Social Services Inspectorate report supports my assertion.
That report says the adoption of the new Lean systems approach to managing children on the risk register, led to 'inconsistent and in some cases unsafe practice.'
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It goes on to assert that the model did not work for a number of reasons including the high volume of referrals coming into each team requiring a timely response, the high numbers of child protection cases requiring legal action, a lack of capacity and inexperienced social workers not getting the management support that they needed.
Despite this, the council say that the Lean system had generally positive results. In that case why did they abandon it?
As for children's services not being in special measures, at the Assembly Plenary meeting of 20 November 2012, the Deputy Minister for Social Services made it clear that she was invoking the serious concern protocol with regards to Children's Services. That is one step away from a full intervention board.
Perhaps Neath Port Talbot Council should stop denying they have a problem and start explaining why they are where they are and how they are going to make things better for the many children who have been put at risk by their failures.
Peter Black AM
Welsh Liberal Democrats
South Wales West