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How we inspect local authority social services

Information and guidance about how we inspect children’s and adult social services.

Following the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (External link) we have developed a new framework which will ensure that authorities are inspected using the well-being outcomes of the Act. This will place an emphasis on hearing the views and voices of people and their carers who need care and support. 

Reference to ‘Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales’ (CSSIW) in the documents on this page should be read as ‘Care Inspectorate Wales'.

What is different?

Local authorities will be responsible for:

  • Producing an annual report of social services performance using a specific template to increase the consistency of report content across Wales; and
  • Producing market stability reports, to ensure local authorities are aware of the safety and sustainability of services.

What we check and report

The Code of Practice for Review of Local Authority Social Services sets out our approach to reviewing local authority social services functions in Wales through our performance evaluation and inspection activity.

When our inspectors visit, they will consider one or more themes:

  • Access – Information, advice and assistance, early intervention and prevention
  • Assessment
  • Care and support
  • Safeguarding and protection
  • Leadership, management and governance

How often we meet and inspect local authorities

In addition to our inspections we meet with social services leaders and their staff to discuss and review how well they have performed during the year.

Before an inspection

Local authorities have to complete a Self Assessment and provide us with information such as their organisational structure charts and strategies for developing services for supporting people in their area.

During an inspection

Our inspectors will:

  • Review individual cases
  • Speak to people using care and support services, including where appropriate their carers
  • Speak to staff at the local authority
  • Speak to other people who work with the local authority such as, health, police and other organisations

Focused inspections

We may carry out a focused inspection, where we consider it necessary to look in more detail at an issue of concern which is not part of the inspection.

Working with other inspectorates

We work with other inspectorates as part of our inspection. This includes Inspection Wales, a programme of joint working between us, Auditor General and Wales Audit OfficeEstyn and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales. (External links) We also work closely with UK inspectorates, including inspectorates of Constabulary, Prisons and Probation.

Our feedback and recommendations

Each year during April/May we write to director’s and provide feedback and our recommendations based on the meetings we have had with social services leaders, their staff and feedback from people who use their services and carers. We publish this on our website.


We have produced guidance about our framework for inspecting local authority social services.

Download documents

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