Despite a recent high profile Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) report highlighting serious failures at the heart of Powys County Council’s Children’s Social Services, it has been left to the Powys Liberal Democrats to ensure the Council considers this in a key performance document.
A draft performance plan by Powys’ Public Services Board, delivered annually in partnership with the public sector across Powys, was presented to the Council to approve. However, the plan made no reference to the damning CSSIW report into Children’s Social Services which highlighted a clear breakdown in partnership working for vulnerable families and children in Powys.
Cllr Jackie Charlton, Welsh Liberal Democrat representative for Llangattock, exposed this issue at a County Council meeting. Since then Cllr Rosemarie Harris, Leader of the Council, agreed it should be looked at again and that all Councillors should be able to contribute to the changes on the report.
Powys’ Public Services Board exists to strengthen joint working in public services. It operates behind closed doors, with agendas and minutes not being open for the public or for Councillors. Cllr Charlton raised this issue and once again the Leader agreed that this practice should not continue.
Cllr Jackie Charlton said:
“Approving a performance plan without any mention to the state of the Council’s Children’s Social Services would fly in the face of the damning CSSIW report. Councillors being able to contribute to changes will allow it to reflect the lack of leadership and failed governance of the previous administration.”
“This also exposed a disappointing lack of transparency with the Public Services Board. When I found that this important public body did not publish agendas and minutes it raised alarm bells that any level of responsibility becomes impossible to deliver – including on the important issue of safeguarding our children and vulnerable adults.”
Cllr James Gibson-Watt, Leader of the Powys Liberal Democrats, said:
“The omission of the state of Children’s Social Services was glaring, and highlighted the lack of transparency in the Public Services Board.”
“I am pleased that we have been able to secure positive change on both of these issues. As opposition Councillors it is our role to hold this Independent/Conservative administration to account and propose positive solutions to bring much needed improvement to the Council.”