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There needs to be more empowerment of service users and their carers in shaping services that are better able to re...
There needs to be more empowerment of service users and their carers in shaping services that are better able to respond to their needs. That was the message from Graham Williams, chief inspector for the Social Services Inspectorate for Wales when he published his annual report for 2002-2003 today.

The report includes the results of SSIW's new programme of evaluation. This covers key aspects of the performance of social services authorities across Wales. While the performance measures show a general improvement there is still wide variation in how authorities respond to the needs of vulnerable children and adults.

Launching the report Graham William said: 'The report highlights the need for improvement. He stresses the need for clear leadership for social services at political and professional level in order to bring this about. There is also a need to develop better sharing and learning from each other, within and between authorities in Wales in order that services can become stronger and better able to meet people's needs. There is much work to be done, but there is also much staff commitment and good practice to build upon, both within the authorities themselves and the range of other providers they work with. The people of Wales deserve high quality social services and we must all work hard to make sure that these are there when they are needed.'

'The report sets out what must be done to improve services as follows:

  • There must be more emphasis on the assessment and care management role to make sure that people receive the kind of services they need when they need them.

  • There must be more empowerment of service users.

  • Services must seek to maximise people's independence, not increase their dependency.

  • The workforce must be fully involved in contributing from experience to decisions about the way in which an authority can best fulfil its responsibilities.

  • More attention must be given to the way in which social services authorities comm ission high quality services and ensure that these continue to be provided over time.

  • Authorities must give attention to improving arrangements for working together within the authority, with other statutory partners, and partners in the private and voluntary sectors.
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