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Powys Council making ‘good’ progress on historic corporate safeguarding issues

POWYS County Council is making “good” progress in addressing historic corporate safeguarding issues a social services chief has said.

At a meeting of the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, May 23, councillors were given an update on the work of the Corporate Safeguarding Board who last met on March 16.

The board was created to address historic corporate safeguarding issues following a critical report by Audit Wales.

Corporate safeguarding means not allowing bad treatment and abuse of employees and others that the council would be responsible for.

Interim director of social services and housing, Nina Davies took the councillors through all the details on the board meeting.

Mrs Davies said: “I think it’s key to say we’re making good progress against the action plan.”

Cllr Nina Davies

One of the 11 recommendations given by Audit Wales for the council to address, is that staff and councillors complete mandatory safeguarding training.

Mrs Davies reported that the number of staff that had completed mandatory safeguarding training by March was 81.1 per cent.

This compares with 44.3 per cent in July 2022.

Another of the Audit Wales recommendation is that the council needs to “assure itself” that all directorates are “fully considering” the safeguarding risks.

Mrs Davies explained that around the time the board met in March, council departments were in the process of completing a safeguarding audit as part of their own annual self-assessment work.

This looks at how robust the policies and practices are across the council and how safe the working environment is.

Mrs Davies said: “These were considered at the self-assessment panels that were held in April and May and the information will be integrated into the authority’s overall self-assessment report pending review by the Governance and Audit committee.”

Following this review by the Governance and Audit committee the report will be sent to the Welsh Government.

Mrs Davies said: “The board were informed that demand at the Children’s Social Services front door continues to increase, but child protection numbers have decreased due to intervention and support services.

“Other business included an update from housing who have a new leaflet about how to report damp and mould in county council housing stock.

“Housing officers have worked with the Tenant scrutiny panel to collate this information.”

Councillors noted the report which will go on to be discussed at meetings of both the Health and Care scrutiny and Governance and Audit committees in June.

In December 2022, Audit Wales, the body that examines how public bodies manage and spend public money, published a follow up review of arrangements of corporate safeguarding at Powys.

Between June and September last year Audit Wales assessed how the council had addressed the findings and proposals for improvement from a report back in 2014 as well recommendations also given in a nationwide report on corporate safeguarding from 2015.