Council undergoes 'dress rehearsal' inspection

View of Cumbria House in Carlisle, home to Cumberland Council
Image caption,

Based at Cumbria House in Carlisle, the authority became fully operational last year

  • Published

Cumberland Council has taken part in a "dress rehearsal" inspection by a government watchdog.

The unitary authority was visited by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors after agreeing to take part in the Local Government Peer Challenge.

This was to test its readiness for an actual inspection due to take place before the end of 2025.

Councillors were told the exercise had enabled it to prepare an improvement plan in advance.

Paul Latimer, assistant director for adult social care and housing, told members of the overview and scrutiny committee that while it was a rehearsal, they had treated it as if it were the real thing.

Lesley Sanczuk, the council’s senior manager for adult social care and housing, described the peer review as "a lot of work and very intense", the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Reduce safeguarding risks

During the test, the principal social worker selected six case files from a total of 24 and, over the three-day period, there were 100 meetings with members of staff.

The 12 people with lived experience who were spoken to were randomly selected, rather than being the "best" cases put forward for selection.

One early piece of feedback was that the immediate focus needed to be on addressing and reducing the risks around safeguarding, along with oversight and management of waiting lists.

It was also noted that "much work has been done, and remains ongoing, to adjust to the structural and staffing changes resulting from local government reorganisation".

Cumberland Council was formed last year through the merger of the Copeland, Allerdale, Cumbria County and Carlisle City authorities.

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