Annual Report of the Statutory Director of Social Services 2021
Annual Report of the Statutory Director of Social Services 2021/22
As the Director of Social Services for Pembrokeshire County Council I am delighted to be able to report how we have delivered improvements to the well-being of people who have accessed our services during 2021/22
As part of my job role I am required to report on how well our Social Services department is performing. In this report I demonstrate the improvements and the significant challenges we faced during 2021/22. I also set out our priorities for the current year, 2022/23.
We have continued to face significant financial pressures. In 2021/22 we needed to deliver against a cost reduction programme of £1.088m in Adult Services and £0.37m in Children’s Services. Our preventions and demand management work along with many other initiatives continue in supporting us to work as efficiently as possible whilst we continue to strive to improve service user outcomes.
We continued to face workforce challenges with regard to the recruitment of frontline care and support staff and experienced social workers.
By the end of the year we had unfortunately had a number of social work vacancies and people waiting for a domiciliary care service. We continue to focus on workforce issues through the implementation of our Workforce Development Plan. The aim of the plan is to ensure that we have an effective, appropriately skilled and resilient workforce able to meet the significant challenges ahead. We also maintain a continued focus on ‘growing our own’ Social Workers by sponsoring their route to qualification.
We have identified that demand for services is growing and becoming more complex. The number of contacts we have received and recorded with regard to new service users for Adult Care has increased significantly with 3,325 in 2020/21 to 5,216 in 2021/22. A significant increase has come from the Police who sent in 1,010 contacts in 2021/22 and 115 in 2020/21. There has also been a significant increase in contacts from Health via our intermediate care team. Health contacts have increased from 530 to 1,145. With regards to Children’s Services we received 4,690 contacts which is significantly higher than the previous year at 3,012. As with adult services there has been a significant impact in the number of contacts being received from the Police as they share more information and intelligence with us.
Our Ways of Working
Along with the rest of the Council we work to the principles set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. These are referred to as the five ways of working which enable us to ensure that we are in a position to provide sustainable services and to support people to help themselves. Using the principles ensure that we take a ‘Long Term’ view when planning for the future, we focus on ‘Prevention’ and ensure that our services are fully ‘Integrated’ with communities and other agencies. We ‘Collaborate’ with and ‘Involve’ our service users and partners in service developments. I discuss throughout this report how we have been implementing prevention activities by continuing to develop resourceful and resilient communities and empowering people to maintain their independence.
We work in close partnership with the other parts of the Council and other agencies to provide a range of services to people who need our help and support. We also work closely with neighbouring authorities in the West Wales region, the Health Board and Third Sector partners. With our partners we have developed a regional area plan which sets out the strategic intentions of the West Wales Regional Partnership (RPB).
Our model of service delivery is about building on the strengths of our people and is referred to as the Signs of Safety approach. Traditionally developed within Children’s Services we have been implementing the Signs of Safety approach across the Directorate. We have undertaken a comprehensive review of the approach in Children’s Services and will continue to implement in adults to ensure that it continues to improve practice and outcomes for our service users.
We work in partnership with our teams, other agencies and other council services such as Health, Police, Leisure, Housing and Education to ensure the successful implementation of the Council’s well-being objectives. For 2020/21 these are:
- Education: Pembrokeshire a great place to learn, live and grow.
- Social Care: We will do whatever we can to support people in leading the best life they can whilst focusing on prevention and ensuring vulnerable people are safe.
- Economic: We will work with partners to promote Pembrokeshire as a great place to visit, live and work.
- Housing: Enable affordable, decent and adaptable homes for all in sustainable locations.
- We will promote pride in Pembrokeshire seeking to enhance its reputation as a place for exceptional environmental quality
- Transformation: Technology; Culture and Relationship.
During 2018/19 our Council Members published their Programme for Administration, which is a political statement by the Council’s Cabinet on its priorities up until 2022. We are pleased to say that during the 5 year administration we had been successful in delivering against a number of the objectives including developing a preventions approach and bringing more services under the direct control of the local authority. A new administration is due in May 2022 and a new programme will be developed. The programme for Administration will be reviewed and updated during 2022/23. The well-being objectives will remain unchanged until the Programme for Administration has been developed.
Social Care is underpinned by the Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (the Act). The Act provides us with six Quality Standards.
The Quality Standards are:
- Working with people to define and co-produce personal well-being outcomes that people wish to achieve.
- Working with people and partners to protect and promote people’s physical and mental health and emotional well-being.
- Protecting and safeguarding people from abuse, neglect or harm.
- Encouraging and supporting people to learn, develop and participate in society.
- Supporting people to develop safely and to maintain healthy domestic, family and personal relationships.
- Working with and supporting people to achieve greater economic well-being, have a social life and live in suitable accommodation that meets their needs.
We have implemented a range of projects to support the delivery of these standards, I have highlighted some of these areas of work below:
- We have continued to develop and grow the in-house domiciliary care team. As a result we are now providing in the region of 20% of directly delivered domiciliary care. We have run recruitment campaigns and designed television adverts to attract people to the care sector.
- We have implemented a competency framework to support and reward progression amongst social workers and senior social workers. It is anticipated that this will enhance our cohort of experienced social workers.
- We have maintained a focus on recruiting and retaining more foster carers and being strong corporate parents. We have been further developing a 3 year approach to reducing the number of children looked after.
- We provide excellent access to advocacy for young people as part of a West Wales regional contract with Tros Gynnal Plant Cymru, which has seen the numbers of children accessing this service in Pembrokeshire increase each quarter. We have also provided funding to Tros Gynnal Plant to run a pilot for a parental advocacy scheme, utilising Covid recovery grant monies from Welsh government.
- We are in the advanced stages of development of a ‘Charter for Children and Young People’, which has been put together with the help of several distinct groups of young people. It will set out the department’s values and how we will demonstrate these through the way that we work with, and communicate with young people. We aim to develop a similar one for families.
- We have established an approved Mental Health Practitioner hub to consolidate this small expert resource and ensure resilience.
- We have recruited a Manager to develop and implement a day opportunity service which will provide greater choice for people
- We have further developed and strengthened our preventative framework & priority focus on community recovery. The ‘community hub’ was set up in response to the covid outbreak in partnership with PAVS, health and the Local Authority which supported over 100 community groups. The Pembrokeshire Community Support Network is supported by PAVS. The Community Hub, is providing a single point of access responding to wellbeing queries and needs in the community. During 2021/22 significant work has was undertaken to consider the future model and sustainability of the hub. The formal launch will be in June 2022
Our Service Users and Partners
We have consulted with a range of service users and their families. What people have told us will be used to inform future service delivery. Section 3 describes some of the engagement and consultation we have completed during the year.
Our regulatory Inspectors, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) completed a Performance Evaluation Inspection during March 2022. The purpose of the inspection was to provide assurance about how people were being safeguarded and their well-being promoted. They reviewed both Adults and Children’s Services. A comprehensive summary of our Inspectors findings is available in Section 2.
Audit Wales completed a study of Direct Payments in Wales in April 2022. The study contains 10 recommendations and we have addressed our performance against these recommendations in Section 2.
During 2021/22 our social work commissioning team were finalists in the MJ Achievement Awards for their Digital Transformation work.
We also saw our Supported Employment and Intermediate Care Teams being shortlisted in the LGC Awards. An LGC said that, “entrants demonstrated outstanding practice as well as cutting edge innovations and the judges were impressed with the high standard.
I would like to thank everyone working within the social services departments and the partners that support us for the massive commitment they have shown to our service users.
I would welcome any comments or observations people may have about this report so that we can improve the way we describe what we are doing to support people with what matters to them.
Statutory Director for Social Services