THE WELSH  Government is a step closer to taking over Children’s Services at Powys County Council (PCC) after giving the authority a “follow up” warning notice.

Senior Staff and councillors met government ministers in Cardiff  this week where they were be told the contents of the follow up warning and what they will now need to do to rectify the situation.

This follows a damning report published in October by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW)  now called the Care Inspectorate Wales, which said that children had been put “at risk” by failings in the department.

The county council say they fully accepted the findings of the original report  in October and a subsequent warning notice from the Welsh Government.

Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children and Social Care judged that further work is required to clearly articulate the plan’s medium to long term approach towards continuous improvement.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “If Powys County Council does not carry out the actions set out within the specified period satisfactorily, Welsh Ministers are minded to more directly intervene in one or more of the methods of intervention provided for under sections 152-161 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.”

The follow up warning comes after Care Inspectorate Wales returned to the department for a monitoring visit in December 2017.

According to the Welsh Government, the authority is failing to provide adequate care in a number of areas includng: assessing the needs of individuals, the general duty of care to secure sufficient accommodation for looked after children and dealing with complaints.

PCC Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris said that the improvement plan forms the basis of a three-year programme of change.

In October she vowed to turn the service around, putting her politcal head on the block.

Cllr Harris, said: “Our goal is to move Powys from its current position to one of real strength and exemplary performance.

“We realise this will require considerable effort and we are realistic about the challenge ahead. 

“It will take time and resources to reshape Children’s Services and this programme will be reflected in our second improvement plan, which will be submitted to inspectors on February 7.

“We accept the Minister for Children and Social Care’s written statement and are grateful to him and his officials for the support shown to the county council during its improvement journey.”

Following the second warning, PCC will be required to  submit a revised Improvement Plan to Care Inspectorate Wales and a copy to the Welsh Government’s Director of Social Services and Integration no later than February 7 .

The revised plan is to include actions for improvement which the authority will achieve – within six months of the date of this notice, a year later and up to January 2020.

They will also be expected to introduce a quality assurance framework to improve consistency and standards of frontline practice across the county.

The framework must be drafted by March 31 and the authority must be able to provide substantial evidence of implementation of the framework by June 30.

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Lib Dem AM for Brecon and Radnorshire, said: “It is right that the Minister has issued another notice in the absence of complete confidence that the improvement plans can be successfully implemented.

“Clearly there is still a long way to go and the Independent/Conservative Powys Cabinet need to work quickly to ensure that some of the most vulnerable people in the county are better protected.”