`VULNERABLE' PROMISED A SAFER FUTURE; ALAN Chapman Was Brought in to Revive Cardiff's Social Services Department Following a Highly-Critical Report. He Speaks to Echo Political and Business Editor Phillip Nifield

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), April 10, 2003 | Go to article overview

`VULNERABLE' PROMISED A SAFER FUTURE; ALAN Chapman Was Brought in to Revive Cardiff's Social Services Department Following a Highly-Critical Report. He Speaks to Echo Political and Business Editor Phillip Nifield


Byline: Phillip Nifield

CARDIFF'S most vulnerable residents were today promised a better future by the man brought in to change the fortunes of the much-criticised social services department.

In his first interview since becoming acting director of social services three months ago, Alan Chapman insisted progress was being made, but said change could not happen overnight. Mr Chapman was brought in following a damning report last autumn by the Social Services Inspectorate and the Audit Commission which said children were being exposed to unacceptable risk. The report also contained accusations of bullying and macho management .

Asked about the time scale for improvements, he said: ``Some things will happen in the next few months. Some issues will take two to three years.

``By that time, there will be a range of new services using our own resources but perhaps more private, independent and voluntary sector resources. If we are to get it right it must be done properly.

We can affect change overnight.

``The building blocks are in place and this has been recognised by the assembly and the joint review team. We have now to make it happen.

``What we want to do fairly early on is get a statement out to service users and carers on what they can expect in future through improved access to services and new assessment procedures.''

The joint review team which compiled last year's report have now left County Hall, leaving the monitoring of actions plans to the Social Services Inspectorate and the District Audit service.

The former Bedfordshire director of social services said when he arrived, he found both councillors and staff shocked at the outcome of the joint review. …

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