Chief Social Work Officer’s Annual Report highlights positive progress despite COVID challenges

The Chief Social Work Officer’s (CSWO) Annual Report was published today, providing an overview of the operational delivery of services across Children’s services, Social Work Justice services, Adult and Community Care services, and Ayrshire Urgent Care services within East Ayrshire. 

The role of CSWO in East Ayrshire is fulfilled by Marion MacAulay, the Head of Children’s Health, Care and Justice for East Ayrshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership.

The restrictions to freedoms, travel and social interactions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the direct effects of the disease itself, have had a major impact on the lives of communities and the ways in which services, support and help can be offered and delivered.

But despite all the difficulties faced this year, there have been triumphs too. Highlights mentioned in the Chief Social Work Officer’s Annual Report include the implementation of a new Social Work Management Information System called LiquidLogic. This system allows the real-time updating of records and the transfer of information to approved people which leads to better care and allows care responses to be based on immediate information.

A new Protection and Learning Team was established following a review of public protection in 2019 which is providing the additional support needed during this pandemic when vulnerable people may be less visible. Further reviews are under way so that services can be improved to better meet the needs of those using them.

More people are also being supported to remain independent and safe at home for longer thanks to the successful redesign of Overnight Care Services and the use of technology supports such as Mind of My Own and the East Ayrshire Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Pathfinder Programme.

With the pandemic causing increased hardship for many, the hard work of the Financial Inclusion Team and partners have helped those struggling with financial issues to pay for gas, electricity and food, to a value of £4.6 million throughout 2019/20. This Whole Systems approach, which aims to join up services, has delivered faster and better outcomes for service users and staff alike.

The report also highlights the continued need for foster carers and the success in recruiting four new sets of foster carers ready to provide loving homes to children along with a number of existing carers returning for approval to receive additional children in 2019/20.

The full report was warmly welcomed and approved at the Council meeting today. Councillor Iain Linton, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “Despite this being a difficult year for everyone, this report has reaffirmed our commitment to our residents to provide the best services we can. Our challenge is to keep finding ways to do things better and to adapt as the needs of our communities change. This report shows that not only have we delivered real benefits to our communities and our young people, but that they, in turn, have come together to look after each other.”

The challenges are expected to remain throughout 2021 but the Partnership continues to learn, develop and look for better and more supportive ways of working together for the benefit of the people who use its services in order to deliver the best health and social care outcomes for East Ayrshire.