Annual Report of the Statutory Director of Social Services 2023

Annual Report of the Statutory Director of Social Services 2022-23


As the relatively new Director of Social Services for Pembrokeshire County Council I am delighted to present my first report as Director demonstrating how we have delivered improvements to enhance the well-being of people who have accessed our services during 2022/23.

As part of my job role I am required to report on how well our Social Services department is performing.  In this report I demonstrate the improvements and the significant challenges we faced during 2022/23.  I also set out our priorities for the current year, 2023/24.

Our Challenges

We have continued to face significant financial pressures and we are identifying efficiency projects which will enable us to deliver budget reductions in 2023/24. In 2022/23 the target for budget reductions was £2.827m in Adult Services and £1.088m in Children’s Services.   

Our preventions and demand management work along with many other initiatives continue in supporting us implement more effective and efficient ways of working whilst striving to improve outcomes for people who require care and support to help them live the lives they want. We have recently completed a population needs assessment and this will be used to inform future service planning.                                                                                                                                                    

We continued to face workforce challenges with regard to the recruitment of care and support staff and experienced social workers. This has resulted in people having to wait longer for care and support. We continue to address workforce issues like these through our Workforce Development Plan.  The aim of the plan is to ensure that we have an effective, appropriately skilled and resilient workforce able to meet the significant challenges ahead.  We also maintain a continued focus on ‘growing our own’ Social Workers by sponsoring their route to qualification.  We also worked with experts in Marketing to design and run a recruitment campaign to attract people to a wide range of social care employment opportunities.  This campaign won the Marketing Campaign of the year at the West Wales Health and Care Awards.  ‘In Pembrokeshire We Care’ is an awareness campaign of social care in Pembrokeshire which effectively put this key area of work on the map.  

Once again it has been a challenging year and we have experienced a significant amount of market volatility in the 2022/23 financial year. The fragility of the market continues to be a key issue, primarily linked to workforce pressures. We have experienced one nursing care home closure and three domiciliary care providers exit the market during 2022-23.

Sustainability of the market-We have developed & published the West Wales Regional Market Stability Report Documents – West Wales Care Partnership ( The report captures a number of risks and make a number of recommendations to ensure develop a vibrant market which is able to meet the demands of the Population Needs Assessment. The MSR highlighted the fragility of the market and it will be important to mitigate these risks and progress the recommendations across all Regulated activity areas.

We have identified that demand for services is generally growing and people approaching us for care and support increasingly have a range of needs that require a response from both ourselves and our colleagues in the NHS. The total number of contacts we have received and recorded with regard to people contacting adult care was 6,821 and of those 4,382 were new individuals requesting service.  This is significantly higher than last year when we received a total of 5,216 contacts and 2020/21 at 3,325.

With regards to Children’s Services we received 4,512 referrals which is very similar to the previous year (4,690). This level remains higher than the 3012 referrals received in 2020/21.

Across Social Services, there has been a significant impact in the number of contacts being received from the Police as they share more information and intelligence with us.

Our Ways of Working

Along with the rest of the Council we work to the principles set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  These are referred to as the five ways of working which enable us to ensure that we are in a position to provide sustainable services and to support people to help themselves.  By adopting the principles of the Act, we ensure that we take a ‘Long Term’ view when planning for the future, we focus on ‘Prevention’ and ensure that our services are fully ‘Integrated’ with communities and other agencies.  We ‘Collaborate’ with and ‘Involve’ our service users and partners in service developments.  I discuss throughout this report how we have been implementing prevention activities by continuing to develop active, connected, resourceful and sustainable communities.  

We work in close partnership with the other parts of the Council and other agencies to provide a range of services to people who require help and support to do what matters to them.  We also work closely with neighbouring authorities in the West Wales region, the Health Board and Third Sector partners.  With our partners we have developed a regional area plan which sets out the strategic intentions of the West Wales Regional Partnership (RPB). 

Our model of service delivery is about building on the strengths of our people and is referred to as the Signs of Safety approach.   Traditionally developed within Children’s Services we have been implementing the Signs of Safety approach across the Directorate.  Employees attend specific training on the Signs of Safety approach and how it is used across the service.  We have undertaken a comprehensive review of the approach in Children’s Services and will continue to implement in adults to ensure that it continues to improve practice and outcomes for our service users.

Our Objectives

We work in partnership with our teams, other agencies and other council services such as Health, Police, Leisure, Housing and Education to ensure the successful implementation of the Council’s well-being objectives. The 2022/23 objectives are:

  • Education: Pembrokeshire a great place to learn, live and grow.
  • Social Care: We will do whatever we can to support people in leading the best life they can whilst focusing on prevention and ensuring vulnerable people are safe.
  • Housing: Enable affordable, decent and adaptable homes for all in sustainable locations.
  • Economic: We will work with partners to promote Pembrokeshire as a great place to visit, live and work.
  • Clean Environment / Climate Change: We will promote pride in Pembrokeshire seeking to enhance its reputation as a place for exceptional environmental quality
  • Improvement and Transformation: Transformation: Technology, Culture, Relationships.

The second Programme for Administration for 2022-2027 was approved at Full Council on 2nd March 2023 and has now been published.  The collective vision set for the next 5 years in the Programme is centred on the following:

  • Pembrokeshire is a great place to live, work and visit
  • Our young people and learners receive high quality education
  • Vulnerable people receive care and support through their life cycle
  • Appropriate housing is available, accessible and affordable
  • Pembrokeshire is a net zero carbon County, leading the way in green and blue energy renewables
  • Fewer families and households experience poverty and inequality
  • Our communities are active and thriving
  • We make a positive difference for future generations through the things we do today

Social Care is underpinned by the Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (the Act).  The Act provides us with six Quality Standards. 

The Quality Standards are:

  • Working with people to define and co-produce personal well-being outcomes that people wish to achieve.
  • Working with people and partners to protect and promote people’s physical and mental health and emotional well-being.
  • Protecting and safeguarding people from abuse, neglect or harm.
  • Encouraging and supporting people to learn, develop and participate in society.
  • Supporting people to develop safely and to maintain healthy domestic, family and personal relationships.
  • Working with and supporting people to achieve greater economic well-being, have a social life and live in suitable accommodation that meets their needs.

We have implemented a range of projects to support the delivery of these standards and I have highlighted some of these in section 4.

Our Service Users and Partners

We have consulted with a range of people who draw on care and support, and their families. What people have told us will be used to inform future service delivery.  Section 3 describes some of the engagement and consultation we have completed during the year.

Our Inspectors

Our regulatory Inspectors, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) carried out an inspection at Holly House our respite facility for children in January 2023.  Unfortunately the service was found to be falling significantly short on a number of key regulatory requirements.  I discuss how we have addressed this in section 2.

Our Achievements

During 2022/23 the excellent work being delivered by staff was recognised at a number of Award Ceremonies as outlined below.

April 2022 - Social Care Wales, The Accolades.

Our Supported Employment Team was the winner of the “Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion” category.  The Supported Employed Programme in Pembrokeshire encourages people with a disability to aspire to work and supports them to move into sustainable employment.

May 2022 - MAWWSB Safeguarding Practice Awards.

Ian Randell was one of the winners for the “Exceptional Commitment Demonstrated to the Safeguarding of Adults at Risk During COVID Restrictions” category whilst Shevaughn Williams was the winner of the “Outstanding Practice Demonstrated in the Safeguarding of Children” category with Michael McAteer, Gillian Richards, Fiona John and Alexis Cook (Pembrokeshire County Council and West Wales Domestic Abuse Service) being Highly Commended.

June 2022 - Employers for Carers Awards held by Carers Wales.

Rhian Bennett, Commissioning Manager was awarded at the prestigious Employers for Carers Awards held by Carers Wales, which recognise and celebrate those who have supported unpaid working carers in Wales during the last year.  She scooped the Line Manager award at the event which was part of Carers Week 2022.

November 2022 - West Wales Health & Care Awards. 

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Social Care recruitment campaign won the Marketing Campaign of the year at the West Wales Health and Care Awards.  ‘In Pembrokeshire We Care’ is an awareness campaign of social care in Pembrokeshire which effectively put this key area of work on the map.  

December 2022 - The West Wales Regional Partnership Board Awards.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Learning Disability Champions were winners in the “User Involvement” category and the Regional Improving Lives Group ‘Dream Team’ were Highly Commended.  Our Supported Employment Team also received Highly Commended for the “Team Award” category.

I would like to thank everyone working within the social services departments and the partners that support us for the massive commitment they have shown to our service users.

I would welcome any comments or observations people may have about this report so that we can improve the way we describe what we are doing to support people with what matters to them.

Michael Gray

Statutory Director for Social Services

ID: 9541, revised 19/10/2023