MARK Drakeford has rejected calls for an independent review into children's social services despite an claims the system had “profound problems” and is in crisis.

However Welsh Liberal Democrat MS Jane Dodds, who worked for 27 years as a child protection social worker, said his dismissing the call from a university professor was "not acceptable".

The first minister's comments follows calls made after the death of five-year-old Logan Mwangi, who was murdered by his mother, stepfather, and a teen in July last year.

The family was known to social services, but Logan was removed from the Child Protection Register a month before his death.

Cardiff University’s Prof Donald Forrester said there has been “quite a number” of child deaths with the involvement of social services across the country, calling for an independent review of all children's social work was needed – similar to those being undertaken in the rest of the UK.

READ MORE: Logan Mwangi's father pays tribute to 'sweetest and most beautiful boy'

Mr Drakeford told LBC radio today: “Partly because during the pandemic, social workers were not able to visit and meet children in the way that they normally would have.

"Now they are having to make up for a backlog of work that they weren't able to discharge in the normal way. I don't think we need an inquiry to tell us that”. 

Dodds, who is the Welsh Lib Dem leader, said: "It is not acceptable the first minister has rejected calls for an independent review."

She also acknowledged pressures on services but insisted a review could be helpful: "Children’s social work in Wales has been under pressure for many years now and whilst the first minister may state that ‘we shouldn't move to a general response on the back of a single incident’ a review should be an opportunity to learn and support social workers and children and families.

“Reviews are already taking place in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Welsh Government must ensure services in Wales are also kept under review so that Wales can be at the forefront of best practice.” 

Commenting, Welsh Conservative shadow social services minister Gareth Davies said: “I do not know why the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay do not think there is a need for an independent review of children’s services in Wales.

"The other three UK nations are conducting one right now and Wales has the worst rate for looked-after children.

“This vulnerable group and those who look after them have been forgotten about for too long, and left more isolated than ever because of the pandemic.”

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.