In an exchange on the Lib Dem website Freedom Central, the Assembly member and Swansea councillor dismissed allegations that low council tax rates in recent years had resulted in a decline in services in his own local authority.
In 2009, Welsh government sent in a team to tackle failing childrens’ services at Swansea. This followed an assessment by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) that the council had made little progress in addressing serious performance shortcomings identified earlier critical report.
A comment on the Lib Dem spin-site suggested that low staffing investment was behind the significant decline in services that had happened on Lib Dem watch. Millions had needed to be pumped in to provide a basic standard.
Black disagreed, stating:
“The intervention came about because of management and process failures. Exactly the same at Neath Port Talbot in fact but there will not be an intervention there, even though their service is worse than Swansea’s ever was, because they are run by Labour.”
In January this year, Black issued a press statement in which he called for assurances that children in Neath Port Talbot are being properly protected. He stated that his concerns were prompted by criticisms made by the Social Services Inspectorate.
In a further (but unpublished) comment to the website, Black has been asked to back up his allegation of party political bias by the Welsh government and its officials.
He has not responded.
Update: Black has now amended his comment to read: " ... there will not be an intervention there though their service is worse than Swansea’s ever was, because the Minister is reluctant to intervene with Councils that are run by Labour."
It remains to be seen if this late qualification will appease care agency officials who are said to have contacted their trade union legal section over his earlier comments.