Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
In November 2012, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) published a report about children’s social services in Neath Port Talbot. This identified significant challenges in the authority and the Chief Inspector identified grounds for serious concern, invoking the use of the serious concern protocol to secure the overall corporate commitment to the improvements needed.
Taking action in a timely way is vital to ensure our children and young people have effective support to enable them to have positive and fulfilling lives. Listening to the voices of children and young people is essential in establishing quality services – and that must be strengthened further. Putting people at the centre is very much what our overall work to transform social services is all about.
Considerable and sustained commitment and energy has gone into tackling the challenges identified in Neath Port Talbot. Elected members and staff have worked to address the recommendations and achieved significant progress. CSSIW has worked with the local authority, closely monitoring progress and performance to ensure the quality and consistency of services for children and young people meets the standards we expect.
CSSIW has conducted a further inspection of the authority’s children’s services. It has produced a report identifying four themes – providing direction; delivering social services; shaping services and assessment care management. Under each theme considerable progress has been made. But there is no room for complacency and recommendations have been identified, which will secure continued improvement.
Based on the findings of the report on work undertaken within the local authority over the past two-and-a-half years, the Chief Inspector is today announcing that the serious concern protocol is lifted. I am pleased by this development and particularly welcome the positive steps taken by members of staff to improve the standard of services. I expect to see continued strong leadership and improvement within Neath Port Talbot to support positive outcomes for children, young people and their families.