A JOINT report has been published by Care Inspectorate Wales this week, reviewing the performance of child protection arrangements in Bridgend County Borough.
The joint inspection which also included bodies such as Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, Estyn, and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, was held between June 12 and June 16, 2023.
Its findings showed that while there are a number of issues, in particular with the recruitment and retention of staff which was said to be “fragile,” there had also been improvements made by the local authority and its partners at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, and South Wales Police when it came to to tackling the abuse and neglect of children.
The report read: “Between 12 and 16 June 2023, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW), Estyn and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) carried out a joint inspection of the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements for children aged 11 and under who are at risk of abuse and neglect in Bridgend county.
“In common with many areas across Wales, recruitment and retention of key staff is impacting on children’s safeguarding arrangements.
This is exacerbated by high levels of demand and increasing complexity of children’s and families’ needs.”
The latest multi-agency inspection showed that a number of improvements had been made to services, such as identifying children in need of help, and early decision-making.
The report said there had also been examples of the local authority and partners responding promptly and effectively to meet the needs of children, especially where acute need and risk is identified, adding that they showed good attendance and participation in child protection meetings.
There were however areas that still needed work, with some being described as “inconsistent” with further action required. These included sharing information between agencies in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, gaps in recording and supervision, and issues with the quality of care and support protection plans, which were “too variable.”
A spokesperson for Care Inspectorate Wales said: “This joint inspectorate review of child protection arrangements in Bridgend county is one of a series of similar inspections across Wales that focus specifically on child protection procedures and processes.
“We are pleased to see a number of improvements in some areas of practice, and will be working closely with all partner agencies with a responsibility for child protection in Bridgend county to address gaps and monitor progress.
“Children’s safety is everyone’s responsibility. Collectively, we are committed to raising standards and delivering positive outcomes for the children and young people most at risk across Wales.”
Lisa Curtis Jones, is chair of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board, and said that partners in Bridgend had welcomed the results of the report.
She said: “We welcome the findings of this report as it offers an independent insight into the work of each organisation as well as the effectiveness of our efforts as a multi-agency partnership.
“While it is particularly pleasing to note the high level of positive comments within the report, we have also paid close attention to those areas which must be strengthened or where improvements can be made.
“Bridgend County Borough Council, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, South Wales Police and Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board remain united in our efforts and desire to deliver continual improvements, and each partner organisation remains fully committed towards providing the best safeguarding services possible.”