Justice social work services in West Dunbartonshire council

A report has identified some important weaknesses in how well community payback orders are implemented and managed in the West Dunbartonshire Council area.

Inspectors looked at how justice social work services in the area were delivering services for individuals who are, or have been, subject to community payback orders. The inspection took place between February and March 2019. 

They found that individuals subject to community payback orders are treated with respect and value the support they receive from staff, but the they also reported that a culture has developed in justice social work services whereby National Outcomes and Standards are “not routinely adhered to.”   

They noted: “Practice is not consistent with the national framework for the assessment and management of risk. In a high proportion of instances, case management plans are not completed, which impacts on the quality of targeted intervention individuals receive. Plans are not reviewed in accordance with national guidance.” 

Inspectors also said: “There has been poor performance in the delivery of unpaid work over a sustained period. However, recent improvement actions are encouraging and delivering success in a few important aspects. 

“A new management team is in place and recognises the need for urgent improvements and modernisation of practice. Leaders need better systems to support them in gaining oversight of performance.” 

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “During the inspection we heard candid acknowledgements of the challenges within the service.  

“While leaders had a grasp of what was required in order to build capacity for improvement and change, they were also realistic that transformative and cultural change was likely to take time.   

“As a result of our discussions during the inspection, leaders were now better sighted on potential risks and priorities for improvement.   

“The breadth and depth of the areas of improvement we have identified are likely to prove challenging, particularly for a new leadership team.  

“Significant and meaningful engagement with, and commitment from, all staff groups  and managers will therefore be crucial if leaders are to achieve positive organisational change.  

“It is also instrumental to identifying and achieving intended outcomes for individuals, their families and communities.” 

The inspection report is available here: http://bit.ly/JusticeSocialWorkServices-WestDun