A LOCAL homelessness service has been praised for its work during its most recent inspection.   

West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) Supported Housing Service was subject to an unannounced visit from the Care Inspectorate in August.  

The Dumbarton-based team, who provide support to people over the age of 16 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness within the region, were graded ‘good’ for how well they support people’s wellbeing and ‘adequate’ for their leadership.   

In a recent report, published on October 20, the care watchdog highlights that people using the service felt they were well supported and treated with dignity and respect.   

It states: “People felt that the service provided them with good support and had positive relationships with their workers.  

“They said they had support from regular staff who kept in touch with them and updated them of any changes in plans.   

“People receiving support told us; ‘very respectful’, ‘keep me in the loop’, and ‘nice to feel you’ve got people looking out for you’.  

“This meant we could see that people experienced compassion, dignity, and respect.”   

However, inspectors went on to note that some staff told them they felt “unsupported and forgotten about”. 

The report added: “Morale in the team was low and had been impacted by a gap in the registered manager's role.  

“There was some interim management support and this had been effective in some areas. The management gap had not yet appeared to have negatively impacted the quality of support received by people using the service. 

“We found that the service was not effectively capturing records of training that staff had completed.  

“Staff held their own records of completion, but the service did not have an effective oversight of this.  

“Staff supervision had not been taking place as often as it should due to the gap in the management structure.” 

The care watchdog also highlighted that there was a “high proportion of eligible people” who chose not to engage with the service.   

The report said: “Although the service had acted upon a previous recommendation from us about recording any incidents and accidents, they have not been making the required notifications to us about these.  

“The service was taking action on adult support and protection cases but had also not been notifying us of these concerns.  

“This meant our scrutiny monitoring was not always well-informed in terms of the risk rating of the service.  

“During the course of the inspection, we met with management and staff as well as speaking with people who used the service.  

“We did hear that there was a high proportion of eligible people who chose not to engage with the service.  

“We suggested that the service be clearer about their role within the wider homelessness provision in the local authority and consider some promotional material or handbook highlighting what their remit is.  

“The service did work well with those who accepted support, but should investigate why others chose not to engage.”   

The report concluded that although inspectors felt the service works well they had made a number of recommendations for improvement which must be completed by February 26, 2024.  

These included; the service must introduce more robust quality assurance systems such as meaningful audits and formal feedback from those accessing the service, the service must maintain clearer records of staff learning and development, and the service should investigate why eligible people choose not to engage with their support/how they could increase the amount of eligible people who accept their support.