Historical failings of council’s child services left children “voiceless”, says AM in response to watchdog report

Welsh Conservatives have responded to a social services watchdog report showing that children in Powys are at risk of harm because of historical failures in the county’s social services.

The council has been given 20 days to come up with a plan to turn things around after the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) said it had "serious concerns".

The Welsh Government’s Public Health minister, Rebecca Evans AM, signalled that a failure to comply with the report’s recommendation could lead to the council being taken into special measures.

Responding, Angela Burns AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“With 650 Powys children in need of child services, the seriousness of the historical failings highlighted in this report cannot be underestimated.

“The previous administration’s failure to provide timely and effective services has meant that children have been consistently failed, left voiceless, with their safety and wellbeing jeopardised as a consequence.

“We know that between 2014 and 2016, two child practice reviews were undertaken by the Mid and West Wales regional safeguarding board and we need to understand to what extent – if at all – missed opportunities by the children’s services contributed to these cases.

“The council’s interim leadership team should consider carefully the recommendations of the report, and work closely with Welsh Government to avoid at all costs a situation where they might be brought into direct government intervention.

“We need only look to Betsi Cadwaladr health board to know what such a scenario might look like.”

Darren Millar AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Children, said:

“This report has thrown light on some unforgivable lapses in the care of vulnerable children by the previous council administration.

“Poor staffing, a vacuum of leadership, and a void of robust processes has meant that services have repeatedly failed to safeguard children from harm.

“The Council must follow closely the recommendations of the report, and ensure that corrective steps are swiftly taken so that children and families can receive the level of support they expect and are legally entitled to.”

/Ends

The report can be accessed in full here: http://cssiw.org.uk/docs/cssiw/report/171017powyschilden.pdf