Headlines: July 12th, 2004

Social Services departments in Wales have been told there is room for improvement in the services they provide for disabled people. A report from the Social Services Inspectorate for Wales says most people with disabilities say their experience of social services has been positive but it sets out a checklist for social services and service users to help evaluate progress in future.The report is an overview of six inspections carried out during 2001 and early 2002, of social services for adults with physical or sensory disabilities. The inspections looked at how well local authorities were fulfilling their responsibilities for providing services, directly and through partnerships with others, and how well placed they were to sustain and improve services. All the authorities have already produced individual action plans in response to the inspectors’ findings.

The overview report says the needs of younger disabled people could be more effectively addressed if services were developed with a clear vision. It suggests the vision should be based on the idea of independent living, empowering disabled people to control their own lives as far as possible and enabling them to have the freedom to participate fully in the community.

The Chief Social Services Inspector, Graham Williams, said social services departments were helping people with disabilities to lead more independent lives but it was important that they used the report to help them evaluate their services.