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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Swansea child protection concern
Aaron Gilbert
Lessons from Aaron Gilbert's murder 'will be learned'
Inspectors have raised concerns over the protection of vulnerable children by social services in Swansea.

They say the council is having problems meeting statutory targets and is taking too long to review new cases.

In May the department was criticised for not properly following up child abuse allegations concerning a baby, Aaron Gilbert, who was later murdered.

Deputy Social Services Minister Gwenda Thomas said the council would bring in experts to tackle the issues.

Mrs Thomas said: "The review found there were serious concerns in core service areas.

"I am pleased to see that the authority is responding positively.

Our staff work really hard in one of the most challenging areas of social work
Paul Smith, chief executive, Swansea Council

"In addition to receiving regular reports from the chief inspector I will want to meet senior members from Swansea at the appropriate time to hear of the progress they are making."

It follows a wide-ranging review by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate (CSSIW) of children's services in Swansea.

The council's chief executive Paul Smith said the CSSIW had raised concerns about some areas of the department.

These included its ability to meet some statutory targets aimed at protecting vulnerable children.

'Support and help'

It found a backlog of cases waiting to be allocated to social workers and that there was a lack of support and guidance for inexperienced staff.

The CSSIW also raised concerns over the council's recruitment and retention of social workers.

Mr Smith said the council was already addressing many of the issues raised.

"We have now developed an action plan which will build on our strengths and introduce further improvements," he added.

"Our staff work really hard in one of the most challenging areas of social work - we want to provide them with more support and help."

Regular reports

Although the inspection was not linked to the murder of 13-month-old Aaron Gilbert, Mr Smith said the action plan would also include any lessons that needed to be learned from that case.

Aaron's mother Rebecca Lewis was jailed for six years after being one of the first people in the UK to be convicted of familial homicide for failing to protect her son.

Her boyfriend Andrew Lloyd was jailed for 24 years for murdering the child.




SEE ALSO
Failings found over baby's murder
10 May 07 |  South West Wales

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