MORAY COUNCIL CONVENOR Allan Wright was last night moved to defend a damning Care Inspectorate report that said children in the region were being put at risk.
Mr Wright was speaking in his role as chairman of the Community Planning Partnership, insisting that many of the issues raised in the report published yesterday were already being dealt with.
He insisted that the Community Planning Partnership – which consists of Moray Council, NHS Grampian, Police Scotland, tsiMoray and the Moray Integrated Joint Board – have already begun addressing issues – with a number of them already resolved while a “robust action plan” is in place to address others.
The report criticises officials for not having a backup plan in place to address issues, calling on them to take urgent action and ensure that vulnerable young people were helped in a manner that would bring some positive impact into their lives.
The report said: “Some children and young people experiencing emotional harm or neglectful parenting had waited too long before decisive action to reduce risk to them was taken by staff.
“Those experiencing neglectful parenting and cumulative harm are exposed to risk for too long before decisive action is taken. The circumstances of some children only improved when their situation reached crisis and more decisive action was [then] taken.”
The chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, Karen Reid, said that they now expected immediate action in Moray, adding: “Leaders were not directing change effectively or sufficiently holding themselves or others to account where progress was slow.”
In a response published by Moray Council yesterday, Allan Wright insisted that action since the Inspectorate raised the issues in October last year was already under way.
He said: “We accept the findings in this report and have been hard at work since the inspection addressing the issues and challenges that have been raised.
“I am confident the partnership is on the right track. The single most important fact is that the inspection found that no children were at risk.
“Whilst we are not complacent about the shortcomings identified, the fact that our children and young people are safe provides me with some assurance and confidence in our care provision.”
While making recommendations on areas that are in need of improvement, the Council were at pains to point out that it also identified several areas of strength – in particular in nurturing support to parents and very young children.
The Chair of the recently-formed Moray Chief Officers Group and Director of Public Health for NHS Grampian, Susan Webb, said: “Whilst inspectors highlighted important areas for improvement, we are pleased they have recognised the good work of CPP staff who continue to create a safe and nurturing environment for our children.”
Chief executive of Moray Council, Roddy Burns, added that much had been done at strategic level since the inspection, saying: “Leadership issues highlighted by inspectors are acknowledged and we have sought to address these as a matter of urgency.
“Senior officers from Moray Council, NHS Grampian, Police Scotland the Moray Integrated Joint Board have joined forces to provide strategic and cohesive direction, we’ve commissioned a needs assessment for children’s services across the partnership, and developed a children’s services plan for the coming 12 months.
“This will inform our longer-term plans for the service.”