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Bridgend South Wales

‘Serious concerns’ over Bridgend children’s services

INSPECTORS expressed “serious concerns” about children’s services in Bridgend where five-year-old Logan Mwangi was murdered by his family.

Care Inspectorate Wales have stated that “urgent action” is required, citing improvements since its inspection in April 2021.

Bridgend Council said they have an ongoing action plan for improvements, but the Welsh government expressed disappointment that such improvements were required.

The routine inspection was carried out between May 23-27 2022, just over a year after Logan was murdered and his body was dumped in the River Ogmore near his home in Sarn.

Logan’s mother, Angharad Williamson, step-father John Cole, and teenager Craig Mulligan were all sentenced to life in prison for his murder.

Mulligan was not biologically related to any of them, but had been raised by Cole since he was nine months old so saw him as a father figure.

On August 16 2020, Logan was taken to hospital by Williamson who claimed he had dislocated his shoulder when he fell down the stairs the day before.

The hospital made a referral to social services after doctors discovered Logan had a broken arm.

The following June, social workers removed Logan and his younger sibling from the child protection register, indicating that they were no longer considered to be at significant risk of harm.

A month later, Logan was murdered by his family.

A child practice review investigating the circumstances surrounding Logan’s death and the involvement of professionals in his life is scheduled to be released later this year.

A month after Logan’s death, two-year-old Reid Steele was drowned in the bath by his “devoted” mother, just over three miles away from where Logan was murdered.

Natalie Steele, 32, admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility after killing her son while suffering paranoid delusions.

Concerns were raised in the inspection report about Bridgend’s Information Advice and Assistance (IAA) service and its ability to protect and promote the well-being of vulnerable children and families.

Inspectors allege there are issues with employee recruitment and retention, as well as staff absence, which has resulted in the loss of experienced staff and an “over reliance” on newly qualified and agency social workers.

The chief inspector of Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), Gillian Baranski, said she was pleased to see that some improvements had been made.

She added: “However, further urgent action must be taken to secure and sustain improvement in the care and support for children and families in Bridgend.

“This work must be prioritised to ensure the best possible outcomes for children. We will continue to liaise with the local authority’s senior leaders and are closely monitoring the local authority’s performance.”

The inspection also found that the records of missing children and children who were at risk of exploitation were not “sufficiently detailed” which resulted in a lack of necessary action.

Inspectors stated that risk analyses, such as a history of domestic violence and exploitation, needed to be strengthened, and that a decrease in the number of council foster carers and foster placements caused delays in giving essential information to foster carers.

According to the report: “The workforce is striving relentlessly to support children and families, however, it is clear demand is outstripping available resource.”

CIW said they expect the council to address the concerns as soon as practicable and they would be closely monitoring its progress.