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DIRECTORS WELCOME CHIEF SOCIAL SERVICES INSPECTOR'S ANNUAL REPORT

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Social services chiefs have reacted positively to the chief social ...
Social services chiefs have reacted positively to the chief social

services inspector's eleventh annual report, drawing particular

attention she has paid to the difficulties departments are facing

recruiting social care staff, and to the importance she has attached to

improvements being made to the fabric of social services.

The chief inspector noted that nearly 70 per cent of all social services

authorities have good prospects for the future, and that well over half

of the `one star' councils - based on last month's performance

assessment figures - are considered to be in the same category.

ADSS members went on to welcome the improvements the inspectorate's

inspection teams had discovered in services for children in care, and

the positive attitudes of people who rely on social services to the

quality of support they receive.

According to ADSS president Michael Leadbetter, it would be foolhardy to

believe that such diverse and widespread services such as social

services could run smoothly and without fault throughout the country.

'But,' he said, 'The chief inspector's report has shown how hard social

care staff are working at improving their services to vulnerable people.

And she shows that, where excellence is achieved, the benefits to

individuals, families and their communities are powerful, and

immediate.'

He lost no time, either, in praising staff at Cambridgeshire social

services for the skilled and sensitive work they are continuing to carry

out in Soham following the abduction and deaths of Holly James and

Jessica Chapman.

Elsewhere, he noted that the chief inspector herself had drawn attention

to the adverse impact on social care of the turbulence caused by

restructuring within the NHS. While, in respect of the delayed discharge

of elderly people from hospital, he welcomed her acknowledgement that

the targeted reduction by 1,000 in England by March this year, using

money allocated from Building Capacity grants, had been 'comfortably

met'.

'Social care, at its best, is at the heart of our communities, being

with users and protecting the most vulnerable. All of our colleagues can

learn much from this report about our collective successes and the areas

in which there is room for improvement,' he said.

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