Agenda item

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Inspection Report and Action Plan

Minutes:

Councillor Alun Williams (Cabinet Member for Through Age and Wellbeing) presented the CIW Inspection Report and Action Plan.  CIW undertook an intense evaluation of performance across Adult and Children’s Service from 27 February 2023 to 10 March 2023. The report was published on 18 May 2023. Under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, the domains of the inspection evaluated were People - Voice and Control, Prevention, Well-being and Partnership.

 

Five Inspectors participated in the inspection, which was facilitated virtually and in person. During the evidence gathering, 14 individuals engaged in the process including officers, Elected Members, service users, carers, and statutory and third-sector partner organisations.

 

In addition to case file audits, key policies and developments were scrutinised. This included supervision files and the revised policy, compliments and complaints, the draft Quality Assurance Framework, the Occupational Therapy consultation and the revised Safeguarding and Mental Wellbeing and Porth Cymorth Cynnar structures. Observations of strategic and operational meetings took place online and face-to-face. There was an emphasis on the experience of children, carers and their families and how the service listens to their views and the Inspectors were actively seeking to identify the participation of service users in assessments and plans by articulating their own care requirements. The Inspectors were very keen to understand and appreciate the benefits of the Through Age Wellbeing model.

 

The initial feedback provided on 16 March 2023 was very pleasing, and the report was complimentary to the Services provided to the citizens of Ceredigion. There were no areas of none compliance identified during the Inspection.  An overview of the key findings and evidence was provided. An Action Plan has now been formulated to respond to the recommended improvements outlined by CIW in the report. The overwhelming majority of the actions were already in play as the matters identified by CIW were being addressed before the inspection.

 

All staff involved with the service were congratulated on their performance as highlighted in the report.

 

Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Officers present and Councillor Alun Williams. The main points raised were as follows:

·       It was difficult to compare with other local authorities due to several factors such as population, staffing levels, number of cases and rurality. The Corporate Lead Officer for Porth Cynnal believed the service was in the upper quarter of Wales.

·       Given the challenges with recruitment, every provision possible was being explored to retain and recruit staff. Employing overseas workers was an option used elsewhere to support the Social Care sector and had not been utilised in Ceredigion. The difference in cultures and languages were highlighted; therefore, caution was needed if there was an intention to explore this option further.

·       As other local authorities increased the salary for Social Care staff, there was more competition, and so a pay review would need to be undertaken soon which would lead to implications for the Council’s budget. Welsh Government have recognised the importance of equal pay across Wales, but this would prove challenging financially too.

·       It was acknowledged that there was a mixed approach in Ceredigion at present, with a combination of Council and third-sector agency workers. To reduce the number of agency workers, not only did pay and conditions need to be considered but a successful CIW report could be used as a recruitment tool.

·       It was recognised that staff learnt from one another, but officers felt that enforcing staff to attend offices would not necessarily be helpful. During the past few months, staff had learnt to strike a balance between working from home and in the office, teams were encouraged to hold meetings face to face and staff were able to book desks together. The hybrid working model would be reviewed in July 2023.

·       Prompt feedback was vital for partner agencies and would be addressed along with supporting partner agencies with understanding the Through Age and Wellbeing Model.

·       Research has shown that people reverted to their first language in times of crisis. Due to this, providing training locally was key to encouraging more local people to work in the sector and remain locally. At present, the local authority worked with The Open University to train Social Workers and work was being undertaken with Aberystwyth University.

·       The Service was constantly being monitored and they worked in a climate where continuous improvement was required. Being transparent with CIW around the areas of improvement was important, and if not addressed, the areas would become an enforcement issue.

 

Following questions by the Committee Members, it was agreed that:

·       The draft Action Plan to address the issues identified in the CIW report is accepted as a proportionate response to recommendations contained in the report.

·       The Action Plan to be monitored after six months through the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee and after one year to maintain progress and momentum through to completion.

Supporting documents: