Friday, 19 June 2009

The Future of Social Services in Wales

Extracts from Rhodri Morgan's keynote speech at yesterday's Social Services Conference in Cardiff:

“Social services will need to consider more cross border working across boundaries, both within local authorities and between local councils and the National Health Service and other bodies.”

"The key question is just because we have 22 separate local authorities, do we necessarily have to have 22 separate Social Services departments? Collaborative working is proceeding and progressing but is it moving ahead fast enough to cope with improving front line delivery during the austerity era.

“Ever since we launched Making the Connections in 2004, we have emphasised that the citizen needs to be at the centre of service delivery – and the importance of feedback from the front-line in improving service to the clients and their carers and their families as it would be seen from their perspective.

“How do we recruit sufficient high calibre social work students to our university social work courses? How do we keep them motivated and enthusiastic in thirty or more years in the job on the front line? How do we provide the right environment to encourage child care services to stay on the front line and carry out their child protection duties and do so in an atmosphere of high morale, good job satisfaction, plentiful back up and top notch professional leadership and councillor support in setting the strategy.

“There is an important part which the Assembly Government can play in this. I’ve put on record, recently, our recognition that, in a period of constraint, we have to ensure that the demands we place on services, in terms of regulation and inspection, for example, have to be proportionate and designed, as much as possible, to help you with the jobs you do, rather than to get in the way of them."

Is he talking collaboration here or AMALGAMATIONS? Anyway I welcome his announcement that inspections are going to be more proportionate as social workers at present spend far too much time preparing for inspections rather than doing front line work.


Anonymous said...

Economies of scale and reductions in duplication should be welcomed (e.g. with the new North Wales NHS Trust). It's almost inevitable that councils across Wales will be merging or increasingly cooperating in specific fields such as social services, transport etc in the coming decade. Done properly and we'll all be winners.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

I will reserve judgement on how succesful one Trust will be working in partnership with 6 local authorities. The continuing care agenda for children and adults is not exactly a priority with the existing LHB's do you really think it will get better with one Trust?

Lehendakari said...

Here we go let's reinvent the wheel and amalgamate,we could even call them Gwynedd and Clwyd; now wouldn't that be novel, except that Conwy and Denbighshire are already working in close collaboration on a whole host of things. But we could have Clwyd being Flintshire and Wrexham working together! But why should Wrexham aspire to mediocrity or worse by amalgamating with Flintshire who are not exactly shining lights amongst the 22 Local Authorities; a backward step indeed.