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HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 18th July, 2016.

 

Present:  Councillor R.L. Traherne (Chairman); Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. R.F. Birch, E. Hacker, H.C. Hamilton, J.W. Thomas, S.T. Wiliam and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.

 

 

176       APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE – 

 

This was received from Councillor S.C. Egan.

 

 

177       MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 13th June, 2016 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

178       DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

179       CORPORATE SAFEGUARDING UPDATE (REF) –

 

On 20th June, 2016, Cabinet received a report which provided an update of the work that had been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults who required specific Council services to ensure that the arrangements were effective.

 

The report advised that in 2011, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) and Estyn published a joint report following their investigation into the way that Pembrokeshire County Council was managing allegations of professional abuse and its arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children in education services.  Following that report, a Corporate Safeguarding Group chaired by the Director of Social Services was established in the Vale of Glamorgan to ensure that robust arrangements for protecting children, young people and adults were in place.

 

The Group worked to an action plan that addressed findings from experience, inspection and audit.  As part of this action plan, the Safeguarding Group had implemented a Safer Recruitment Policy for the Council and Schools.  The Policy had now been adopted and robustly applied by all Vale schools and throughout all Council departments. 

 

Appendix 1 to the report was a Corporate Safeguarding Update for June 2016 that brought together safeguarding activity undertaken by the resources, Learning and Skills, and Social Services Directorates.  This provided a comprehensive account of safeguarding activity across the Council.

 

With regard to information relating to Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA), the Committee requested that future reports should include more detail around outcomes. In reply the Interim Head of Business Management stated that additional work had been completed and could be circulated to Members.

 

A Committee Member queried the rate of the number of POVA referrals and how the continuity of information would be maintained following changes from the Social Services and Well-being Act.   In reply the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation advised that it was likely that the rise in the referral rate was down to a mixture of increased awareness of corporate safeguarding and improved reporting arrangements.  She further advised that for 2015/16, 351 referrals had been received, of which, 186 were appropriate and this had remained static for the last few years.  In terms of the new Social Services and Well-being Act, the Interim Head of Business Management explained that the definitions for adult protection had changed to adults at risk and therefore there may be issues with providing comparative information in the future.  The Service would do its best to provide this information for the next report in six months’ time.

 

The Interim Head of Business advised the Committee that further analysis would be needed on whether there was anything behind the difference in the referral rates for men and women and whether there was any correlation between a drop in the number of cases for emotional / psychological abuse and neglect.

 

The Committee also queried whether all Schools had a Governor with responsibility for Safeguarding and the Committee requested that the Safeguarding Policy should be re-issued to all schools to ensure compliance.

 

Having considered the report, the Scrutiny Committee

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the work that had been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To note the recent developments in corporate arrangements for safeguarding.

 

 

180       CLOSURE OF ACCOUNTS 2015/16 (DSS) –

 

The Operational Manager (Accountancy) presented the report, the purpose of which was to update the Committee of the provisional financial position for the 2015/16 financial year. 

 

With regard to Revenue, the report advised that on 4th March, 2015 Council had agreed the Authority’s Revenue Budget for 2015/16.  Appendix 1 to the report detailed amendments to the revised budgets that took into account the following adjustments: 

  • IAS 19 Retirement Benefits – The purpose of this Standard was to ensure that the operating costs of providing retirement benefits to employees were recognised in the accounting period in which they were earned by employees. Figures provided by the actuary differed from that estimated and the movements needed to be incorporated into the accounts.
  • Asset Rents – This charge could vary each year due to an increase / decrease in the valuation of assets.  
  • Recharges – These related to movements in charges between internal Council services.
  • Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme – The scheme required the Authority to report on carbon dioxide emissions associated with the use of electricity and gas within its buildings.  Payments were then made to the Environment Agency to cover the charge in respect of those emissions.

The table below provided a comparison between the amended budget and the actual expenditure for the Authority:

 

Service

 

Year – 2015/16

Amended

Revenue

Budget

£’000

Total

Provisional

Actual

£’000

Variance

+ Favourable

() Adverse

£’000

Children and Young People

14,631

14,626

+5

Adult Services

37,874

37,875

(1)

Business Management and   Innovation

361

364

(3)

Leisure Services

4,475

4,475

0

TOTAL

57,341

57,340

+1

 

Children and Young People Services – Favourable Variance of £5,000.

 

There was a favourable variance relating to the Joint Budget for Residential Placements for Looked After Children of £307,000, after a transfer of 10% of the underspend to Education.   

 

There were favourable variances of £56,000 on staffing due to vacancies, £29,000 relating to transport and £6,000 for alternative means of provision and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children. 

 

This had allowed a transfer of £393,000 into the Social Service Legislative Changes reserve.  £65,000 had been allocated to allow for the completion of the Direct Family Services pilot and £50,000 to complete the Therapeutic Fostering pilot.  Both pilots commenced but were not completed in 2015/16 and were assessing the impact of investment in family support and placement stability.  The balance of £278,000 would be used to support future additional funding requirements that occur as a result of legislative changes such as the Social Care and Wellbeing Act.

 

Adult Services – Adverse Variance of £1,000

 

There was an adverse variance of £412,000 on community care packages, which included £91,000 for the under recovery of income received under the Deferred Payment Scheme.  The previously reported position had improved by the receipt of additional year end funding from the Intermediate Care Fund, which is held by Health, of £183,000.  It should be noted that this additional funding was received on a one off basis and had not been approved for 2016/17.

 

There were favourable variances of £219,000 on staffing, £31,000 on Premises, £66,000 on Transport and £64,000 on supplies and services.  There was an over-recovery of income from customers’ receipts resulting in a favourable variance of £49,000 and additional grant income was received of £97,000.    

 

There was a transfer to reserves of £115,000 to contribute towards the cost implications of legislative changes. 

 

Business Management and Innovation – Adverse Variance of £3,000

 

There was a favourable variance of £72,000.  This was made up of £41,000 relating to staffing, £20,000 relating to transport and £11,000 on other small variances.  £75,000 was transferred to reserves to contribute towards the cost implications of legislative changes.  

 

As part of the Social Services Budget Programme, £2.075m was utilised in year from the Social Services Plan reserve.  In recognition of the ongoing pressures on the service from legislative changes, £341,000 had been transferred into the Social Service Legislative Changes Fund.  In addition, £200,000 had also been set aside to provide funding to aid the implementation of new developments within the Service and as a contingency for emergency works in Social Services properties.  The Telecare reserve was funding that was being set aside over a number of years to allow for the eventual replacement of equipment in sheltered accommodation.

 

Leisure – Breakeven

 

Grounds Maintenance had a favourable variance overall of £109,000. There was an adverse variance of £19,000 due to a slight overspend on employee costs and other small adverse variances totalled £10,000.  Premises costs had a favourable variance of £37,000 due to a reduction in spend on repair costs and reduced waste disposal costs. Transport had a favourable variance of £63,000 due to the continued drive to reduce vehicle costs.  There was however a further saving required in 2016/17.  Income budgets had a favourable variance of £174,000.  This was due to higher than budgeted income from Jenner Park, an increase in income from other departments within the Council.   There was also an increase in expenditure as a consequence of this increased income and the budget had an adverse variance of £136,000.

 

Leisure Services had a favourable variance of £47,000.  With regard to Leisure Centres, there were favourable variances of £5,000 in respect of customer receipts and £11,000 for supplies and services.  Within the rest of the Leisure Division there was an adverse variance due to the need to make a contribution to capital of £9,000 relating to an overspend on the Community Centres asset renewal budget.  This was offset by favourable variances of £23,000 on supplies and services and £7,000 on transport.  Premises costs showed a favourable variance of £10,000 due to savings on venue hire.

 

The favourable variances above had allowed the transfer of £156,000 to the Visible Services reserve.

 

In terms of Capital expenditure, attached at Appendix 2 to the report was a breakdown of the 2015/16 Capital Programme by scheme.  The outturn for Social Services was a variance of £104,000 and the outturn for Leisure Services was a variance of £480,000. 

 

Members noted that £374,000 had been slipped in relation to the Leisure Centre Refurbishment project and that whilst work had been completed, there were outstanding invoices to be paid pending the submission of the required documentation from the Leisure Centre operators.  It had therefore been requested that £384,000 be carried forward into 2016/17. 

 

The Chairman asked for clarification in relation to the £65,000 allocated for the completion of the Direct Family Support Plus pilot.  In reply, the Head of Children and Young People Services stated that it had been recognised that the Council had been successful in reducing the number of out of area residential placements.  In order to sustain this change there was a need to look at more early stage support services that would work with children on the ‘edge of care’.

 

In reply to a query regarding the Therapeutic Fostering pilot, the Head of Children and Young People Services explained that the aim of this was to work with foster carers and children in placement in order to support the emotional wellbeing of Looked After Children and promote placement stability. It was also expected to reduce the use of more expensive placements.  The Committee was informed that the pilot went live in April 2016 and so was still at an early stage.  In addition, the Committee noted that the funding for this pilot was as a result of savings achieved through a reduction in residential placements.

 

A Committee Member asked for clarification for the £307,000 underspend for the joint budget for Looked After Children.  The Committee was advised that this was due to a fall in the number of residential placements, which had been reduced by half over the past 12 months.

 

In reply to a question regarding the need to make savings and the level of staffing, the Head of Adult Services stated that there was a need to ensure that there was a safe level of staff and that support was provided to service areas where there were difficulties.  He also mentioned that the Council was effective with how it used its grant funding but that the situation would have to be monitored very carefully.

 

In seeking clarification around the Social Services Budget Plan, the Operational Manager (Accountancy) advised that in total £1.950m was left, of which, it was planned that £970,000 be used for 2016/17, £650,000 be used for 2017/18 and the remaining £330,000 set aside for 2018/19.

 

With regard to the level of reserves set aside for Leisure Services, the Operational Manager (Leisure) explained that all work had been carried out at Jenner Park, but money had been reserved to pay for completed works that had yet to be certified or agreed to have been carried out to the acceptable standard.

 

A Committee Member queried the savings associated with the overnight locking of parks and playing fields.  In reply, the Operational Manager (Leisure) stated that this was still being evaluated and was being progressed as part of the Reshaping Services strategy.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the provisional financial position for the 2015/16 financial year and the financial measures taken and proposed be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To note the report and the financial measures taken and proposed.

 

 

181       REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST MAY 2016 (DSS) –

 

The purpose of the report was to bring to the attention of the Scrutiny Committee the position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st May, 2016. 

 

Council, on 2nd March, 2016 (Minute Nos. 885 and 884 respectively) approved the Revenue and Capital Budgets for 2016/17.  In setting the Social Services Budget for 2016/17, the use of £970,000 from the Social Services Fund had been approved.

 

Following changes to the remit of the Scrutiny Committees, Leisure, Parks, Sport and Play budgets were now included in the regular monitoring framework.

 

With regard to the Social Services Revenue Budget, as it was still early in the financial year, the forecast for Social Services was shown as a balanced budget.  A table and graph setting out the variance between profiled budget and actual expenditure to date and the projected position at year end was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Children and Young People Services – The major issue concerning this service for the coming year would be the continued pressure on the children’s placements budget.  Work continued to ensure that children were placed in the most appropriate and cost effective placements.  However, it should be noted that due to the potential high cost of each placement, the outturn position could fluctuate with a change in the number of Looked After Children.  This budget would be closely monitored during the year.

 

Adult Services – The major issue concerning this service for the coming year would continue to be the pressure on the Community Care Packages budget.  This budget was extremely volatile and was influenced by legislative changes such as the National Living Wage and the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014, which both came into force in April 2016.  It was considered that this budget would overspend by year end but, at this early stage of the year, the level was difficult to predict.  Final negotiations regarding fee levels had yet to be concluded with some service providers but proposed increases were already above the level of inflation provided for within the budget.  The service also continued to be affected by the pressures of continued demographic growth and the Community Care Packages budget would have to achieve further savings this year of £300,000.  Further details regarding the potential overspend would be assessed and provided to Committee in the next monitoring report.  The service would strive to manage growing demand and some of these initiatives may be funded via regional grants in the current financial year.  However, the level of grant funding for the year had yet to be fully determined and it was not necessarily guaranteed on an ongoing basis.  Committee would be provided with further details as they become clearer through the year.

 

Leisure Services – It was early in the financial year and it was projected that this service would outturn within budget at year end.

 

The Social Services Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £2.257m by the end of 2019/20 and this target was analysed by year in the following table.  The surplus shown and the savings brought forward figures were as a result of the foster carer recruitment project, which was being developed in addition to the required savings targets.  This surplus could be used to mitigate any increase in savings to be found in future years.

 

Year

Savings

Required

£’000

Savings

Identified

£’000

In Year Surplus/

(Shortfall)

£’000

Cumulative

Surplus/

(Shortfall)

£’000

Savings Brought Forward

 

110

110

110

2016/17

1,002

1,078

76

186

2017/18

605

605

0

186

2018/19

320

320

0

186

20/19/20

330

330

0

186

TOTAL

2,257

2,443

 

 

 

Appendix 2 provided an update on the individual areas of saving within the Social Services Budget Programme.

 

Within Adult Services, there was £100,000 of the full year saving generated from the Hafod Homes transfer to offset against the £300,000 saving for Residential Services shown at A6.  Currently, there were no other formalised plans in place to find the remaining £200,000 of this saving.  Further consideration would have to be given to the way in which this saving could be fully achieved during the year.  With regard to the Care Package Budget Reduction at A3, while there was significant pressure on this budget, schemes had been put in place to deliver savings in this area by transferring domiciliary care clients to direct payments, by putting in place additional reablement capacity and by establishing a review team.

 

Appendix 3 to the report detailed the savings required to be achieved this year in Leisure Services.

 

Appendix 4 detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st May, 2016.

 

Cemetery Approach – Cabinet, on 15th June, 2015, approved this £500,000 scheme, funded by £250,000 from the Council and the other £250,000 from a contribution to be made by Barry Town Council.  The Additional Highways / Environmental Improvement scheme was not fully committed and it had been requested that £100,000 be vired to this scheme to allow for new road resurfacing to be undertaken as part of the works.  During 2015/16, expenditure of £45,000 was incurred on this scheme therefore the 2016/17 budget would be £555,000 following the virement.

 

Appendix 5 provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes.  From this Appendix it could be seen that most of the previous year's schemes had now commenced.  Start dates had also been provided for new schemes for this financial year and these would be monitoring closely to identify if capital schemes started to slip and to identify if further action needed to be taken.

 

In clarifying the future layout of the reports, the Committee agreed that information regarding Leisure Services savings would be provided on a quarterly basis and that it should be split up between leisure and grounds maintenance.

 

The Chairman raised concern in relation to the £270,000 savings for the domiciliary care budget.  In reply, the Operational Manager (Accountancy) explained that the savings had been agreed by Cabinet and that these would be reviewed as part of the budget settlement process for next year.  There would be opportunity to discuss the savings target later on in the year.

 

In reply to a query regarding the number of saving projects that had a red flag status, the Head of Adult Services advised that saving targets for this year included some severe challenges, such as the National Minimum Wage.  He added that for savings target A3 (Care Packages Budget reduction), it was planned that savings could be achieved by increased use of direct payments and also through reablement services. He also advised that he was confident that savings could be achieved in this area, but he was concerned about the ability to meet increased demand.   He also said that savings for residential services (saving target A6) were challenging.  The current position was that only £100k of the £300k saving on this line would be achieved. However a review of provision was underway which, if considered viable, would require extensive consultation with staff and trade unions.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the position with regard to the 2016/17 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be referred to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be informed of the Scrutiny Committee’s concerns that the budget, as presently constituted, is not sufficient to meet service demand and costs.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order that Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2016/17 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to this Scrutiny Committee.

 

(2)       That Members are aware of the progress made to date on the Social Services Budget Programme.

 

(3)       In order to inform Cabinet of the Committee’s concerns in relation to the Social Services budget.

 

 

182       UPDATE REPORT ON DOMICILIARY CARE WITHIN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN (DSS) –

 

The Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation presented the report, the purpose of which was to update Members on issues faced by Domiciliary Care providers within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The report advised that there were 39 domiciliary care providers registered with the Council’s approved provider list, 36 of these currently supported citizens on a regular basis. 

 

The Independent Sector provided 97% of the care hours commissioned to support the assessed care and support needs of citizens in the Vale.  The Vale spent £11,376,567 on domiciliary care in the last financial year, with an anticipated further £2m increase in spending on domiciliary care in this current financial year as demographic factors were causing rising levels of need and demand. 

 

Previously, the Scrutiny Committee received a report regarding the Council’s position in respect of 1st Grade Care at its meeting held on 4th January, 2016.  Following that meeting, Members requested a six monthly update on domiciliary providers.  Members noted that there had not been any further incidents in relation to 1st Grade Care.  As planned, 1st  Grade Care completed all the steps outlined within their Action Plan to the satisfaction of the Council’s Contract Monitoring Officers.  There had been no further actions taken in regard to this agency. 

 

Members would also be aware that the Vale of Glamorgan Council had recently terminated its contract with Gabriel’s Care Limited.  This followed a period when the agency was under embargo and an Action Plan had been developed to support the agency to meet required standards.  However, although some improvements were noted, these were modest and unsustainable, leading to the Authority’s decision to terminate their contract. 

 

Local Authorities in England and Wales were obliged to undertaken an annual review of fees paid to providers of care and support services.  There was no statutory duty to offer an increase in fees following a review or at any specific time during the financial year or to follow any particular process in calculating appropriate fees.  There were however some additional factors that needed to be considered for the 2016/17 financial year, such as changes to legislation and case law that had generated financial pressures for providers of services, including domiciliary care. 

 

The key issues that had caused anxiety for providers in domiciliary care on a national and local basis were as follows:

 

  • Introduction of the National Living Wage for over 25s
  • Minimum wage for under 25s
  • Payment for all work related time, including the requirement to pay staff for travelling time and
  • Auto-enrolment in pension schemes.

 

The Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation advised Members that in recognition of financial pressure experienced by agencies providing domiciliary care, the Council had awarded a 3.5% increase on hourly rates from 6th April, 2016.  In the allocated budget for Social Services provision had been made for a 1% increase in the rates paid to domiciliary care agencies.  All providers within the Vale of Glamorgan were informed of this decision and were also given the option of meeting with the Authority’s officers if they felt that the increased fees would have an adverse and unsustainable impact upon the financial viability of their business. 

 

Nine providers of domiciliary care had met with officers of the Council to discuss the implications of the 3.5% fee increase.  The majority of agencies proposed that, if they were to meet the contractual arrangements of the Council and remain financially viable, any increase in fees this year would need to be in the region of 7-8%. 

 

The Chairman, in querying whether the providers were content with the 3.5% increase, was advised that there was a variety of differences with each individual provider.  A Committee Member stated that a concerning scenario was the additional £2m that had been identified in relation to cost pressures and that this represented a 16% increase for agencies which was at odds with the 3.5% that had been offered.  The Committee Member also queried previous proposals around a monthly / year agreement and he questioned the timescales in relation to the implementation of this.  In reply, the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that it was important to clarify for Members the process involved with care agencies.  She summarised that overall, a 3.5% increase had been offered and implemented and that of the 39 agencies in the Vale, only nine had come back to seek an opportunity to discuss this with Officers.  At present, the Council was working with these providers and was undertaking an evaluation of their business situations in order to ensure service continuity.  With regard to the £2m increase, the Committee noted that this was based on demand for services and growth and was not related to the change in fees.   A big part of the increase costs for providers related to the National Living Wage, around which, the South East Wales Improvement Collaborative was undertaking work to evaluate the impact.  In addition, a review was being undertaken by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) around the domiciliary care market in Wales, which would be reported on in September 2016. 

 

With regard to the monthly / year agreement with fees, the Committee was reminded that this related to the residential care sector, which was a three year arrangement. It was recognised that discussions for next financial year would need to commence, but the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation indicated that this would be following conclusion of discussions regarding this year’s rates for individual care homes. She further advised that under the Social Services and Wellbeing Act, there was the requirement to jointly commission care home placements and that this work would also be commencing in the Autumn, but that preliminary discussions had already taken place.

 

As a follow up to the comments relating to domiciliary care, a Committee Member stated that it was important to ensure that there was not a ‘race to the bottom’, in which, the Council provided barely acceptable levels of care.  He expressed concern around the need to provide appropriate training and that commissioning of services might be based solely upon costs.  In reply, the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that quality of care was a critical factor and this was why the Council requested to evaluate the business models of care agencies and was why the Service required agencies to be compliant with regulations.  She also indicated that a lot of discussion was planned on outcome based commissioning for the domiciliary care provision. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan’s response to provider performance concerns, including actions being taken to improve the monitoring of providers’ performance and the support offered to provider organisations be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

(4)       T H A T the Action Plan related to Operation Jasmine and the proposed joint work with Cardiff Council be noted.

 

(5)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee receives an update report in six months’ time.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-5)    To ensure that Members continue to exercise effective oversight of the important functions undertaken by the Social Services Directorate.

 

 

183       REGIONAL COLLABORATION FUND END OF PROGRAMME REPORT – REMODELLING SOCIAL CARE AND INTEGRATION WITH HEALTH (DSS) –

 

The Head of Adult Services presented the report, the purpose of which was to update on the work that had been carried out over the past three years to remodel social care and integrate services with health using the Regional Collaboration Fund (RCF). 

 

The report advised that in 2013/14, through the RCF, Welsh Government had approved funding to the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Councils to establish collaborative and innovative projects which would assist with the development of remodelled adult community health and social care services.  The programme was established on a three year basis with indicative funding for Years 2 and 3 subject to the budget being available.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council managed the overall administrative arrangements for the RCF grant for the three years of the programme.  It had worked successfully with the City of Cardiff Council, the University Health Board (UHB) and third sector organisations on a number of projects that had delivered the required outcomes for the RCF. 

 

A Programme Manager was appointed at the end of May 2014 to establish programme / project management arrangements to oversee and monitor progress.  Appendix 1 detailed the Programme Governance structure. 

 

The programme focused initially on six projects: 

  • Effective Community Resource Teams
  • Enhanced services for people with learning disabilities
  • Enhanced Occupational Therapy services
  • Assistive technologies
  • Streamlined integrated assessment
  • Improved commissioning.

Further details on the evaluation of projects delivered in Year 1 of the programme were contained in Appendix 2.  Appendix 3 contained the 2014/15 end of year summary report setting out progress made for each of the projects and highlighting the benefits realised.  Case studies were included to provide evidence of the difference these projects were making to the lives of people who used the services.

 

In 2015/16 the RCF funding was reduced and so the projects were realigned, building on the lessons learned from Years 1 and 2.  The programme focused on two projects, Enhanced Reablement Services and Enhanced Services for People with Learning Disabilities.  The RCF grant proved invaluable in enabling the region to pilot delivery models of working that brought together health, social care and housing resources. 

 

The final progress report that was set out in Appendix 4 was produced in May 2016.  The last two projects had now become business as usual, with additional support provided through the Intermediate Care Fund.  The services would continue to be monitored through the new Regional Partnership Board and Appendix 5 detailed the new governance arrangements which would oversee continued integration of health and social care services.

 

The Chairman, in querying the regional approach, was advised that the City of Cardiff Council and the Vale would still be working together in some project areas, but on the whole, it was a mixed picture.  The Committee noted that because the Health Board was now in control of the finances, it would be likely that a new integrated approach would be required. 

 

In addition, the Head of Adult Services advised Members that the Intermediate Care Fund was now being used to progress the projects that had begun under the RCF grant.  This was a fairly complicated picture, but this did include a lot of housing related projects.  In terms of working with Cardiff Council, he advised that there would not be much point in working together if there were different service models in operation, but he did allude to the similarities between the day service strategies for both Councils. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To provide Members with an update on how the Regional Collaborative Fund had been used to contribute to remodelling Social Care and integrating services with health across the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan regions.

 

 

184       DRAFT CORPORATE STRATEGY FOR CHILDREN WHO NEED CARE AND SUPPORT AND ACTION PLAN 2016-2019 (DSS) –

 

The Head of Children and Young People Services presented the report, the purpose of which was to advised the Scrutiny Committee of progress in developing a draft Corporate Strategy for Children Who Need Care and Support and also provided a summary of the associated Action Plan for 2016-19. 

 

The report advised that the decision to develop a Corporate Strategy was a direct consequence of the workshop hosted by the Corporate Parenting Panel in 2015 that included Elected Members and officers from across the Council.  The draft Corporate Strategy and Action Plan was attached at Appendix 1. 

 

The draft Strategy set out how the Council was going to work collaboratively so that the Council could improve the general wellbeing of children and young people who needed care and support, for whatever reason.

 

The draft Strategy identified how the needs of children, young people and their families would be met within the resources available to the Council during the period 2016-19.  The document described the level of care and placements that the Council wanted to provide and commission for Looked After Children.  It also focused on all stages of the care journey, detailing how the Council would support children in need of care and support and their families to stay together whenever it was safe to do so in order to minimise the risk of children becoming looked after.

 

In order to deliver the objectives set within the draft Strategy, relevant strategic plans in all Directorates would need to reference this document, and funding decisions taken in one area should not materially disadvantage the most vulnerable group of children and young people.

 

The report advised that the Corporate Parenting Panel and the Cross Directorate Corporate Strategy Management Team would be asked to oversee delivery of the Strategy, monitoring the impact.

 

The draft Strategy included an Action Plan which demonstrated the commitment of the Directorates in working towards the shared goals.  As a result, the draft Strategy and the associated Action Plan would continue to be live documents, requiring regular reviews as progress was made.

 

The draft Corporate Strategy would focus on the following areas: 

  • Preventing the need for statutory interventions and provision of care and accommodation
  • Managing the increasing expectations and demand for help and support
  • Managing the ongoing reductions in budgets and the need to prioritise service delivery to those most in need.

The Chairman commented that the Strategy represented an excellent piece of work and that the Action Plan clearly set out how the Council should take a strategic and corporate approach to children and young people who need care and support.

 

A Committee Member then raised two points for clarification.  The first was whether enough resources had been allocated to Tier 2 of the Model of Integrated Children and Young People Services.  In reply, the Head of Children and Young People Services stated that there had been a 12% reduction in the funding allocated to Families First and this had meant some difficult decisions for the Council.  Members noted that a further more detailed report on the Families First Programme was scheduled for the September meeting and so more information could be provided then.

 

The second point of clarification was in relation to the overlapping of geographical boundaries that existed between Families First and Communities First.  The Head of Children and Young People Services advised that within the Vale there were four strands of work aligned to tackling poverty, each of which had its own management board.  Therefore, discussion was required on the areas that these boards covered and how their work could be better aligned in order to complement one another.  This work was ongoing.

 

The Committee was pleased to see a number of innovative actions included within the Strategy’s Action Plan, such as the possible exemption or reduction in the amount of Council Tax paid by foster carers. 

 

With regard to support provided to young people not in education, employment or training, a Committee Member queried whether the use of Section 106 monies had been considered as a way of providing training opportunities.  In response, the Head of Children and Young People Services advised that this would be noted as a suggestion, but would require discussion across Council Directorates and service areas. 

 

A Committee Member also suggested whether a Mission Statement could be included that would outline what the Council wanted to achieve.  This would be something that would also be considered.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the progress made in developing a new Corporate Strategy and Action Plan for Children Who Need Care and Support to replace the current single Directorate Children and Young People Services Commissioning Strategy be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the draft Strategy and the associated Action Plan be referred to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To provide Members with the opportunity to exercise oversight of a key strategic development for the Council.

 

(2)       In order for Cabinet to consider a Council wide strategy for children who need care and support.

 

           

185       CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE SERVICES – ANNUAL PLACEMENT REVIEW (DSS) –

 

The Operational Manager for Children and Young People Services presented the report, the purpose of which was to outline the actions taken by the Children and Young People Services during 2015/16 with regard to placement provision for Looked After Children (LAC) and the priority actions for 2016/17.

 

The report stated that Local Authorities across Wales faced considerable challenges in managing their overall Looked After populations, finding appropriate placements, meeting children’s support needs and ensuring the most effective use of placement resources.  In addition, the report advised that the number of children with complex needs was increasing and meeting those needs within appropriate placements was placing significant pressures on Council budgets.  This cohort of children related both to those with challenging and complex behaviour and to those with disabilities. 

 

In Children and Young People Services, the major issue was the continuing pressure on placements for LAC.  This was the Division’s most volatile budget and the one most dependent upon levels of service demand which were not within the Council’s direct control.  Each year, Cabinet endorsed the Social Services Budget Programme as the means whereby the Directorate would deliver services within the resources available and to meet savings targets.  One of the key savings projects being managed was part of the current Budget Programme relating to residential placements for LAC.  There was a target of £150,000 in cashable savings each year between 2014/15 and 2016/17. 

 

Officers had analysed the financial position, the demand for placements and spending patterns.  Their report was attached Appendix 1.  It demonstrated the volatility of the placement budget and the significant impact individual cases could have on overall expenditure.  Key influences included: 

  • The increasing complexity of children’s needs
  • The Welsh Government “When I Am Ready” policy which extended the time children could remain in foster placements beyond the age of 18 and
  • The use of remand placements where Local Authorities had become responsible for the costs of LAC who were not allowed to live at home while they were the subject of criminal proceedings.

The Chairman, in querying the time taken around the revocation of Care Orders was advised that this would depend upon the individual circumstances surrounding a case.  It was the Court that decided whether or not to revoke a Care Order, based on application from the Local Authority and submissions from relevant parties.

 

A Committee Member queried the involvement of LAC within the decision-making process.  In reply, the Operational Manager for Children and Young People Services stated that all children and young people were at the heart of the decision making process for their placements and all LAC had statutory reviews to which they were able to contribute.

 

The Committee raised a query regarding the rate of LAC within the Vale of Glamorgan.  In reply, the Head of Children and Young People Services commented that the rate of LAC was just as important as the number, and that the Service was satisfied with both.  She advised that over the last few years the Service had not seen a reduction in the numbers of LAC, but there had been a change in the type of placements provided.  These changes, such as the reduction in the number of residential placements and an increase in placement with parent and kinship placements, were an intentional strategy by the Council.  It was important to view these changes over the longer term and that it was recognised that it was wrong to make decisions based on purely financial considerations.  Overall, the Service was content with where it was, but there was a need to promote the Council’s Corporate Strategy once endorsed by Cabinet.

 

Further to these comments, the Operational Manager for Children and Young People Services added that the work around the Foster Care Recruitment Strategy would impact on the number of placements available.  It had been recognised that the Vale had an ageing population of Foster Carers and so it was important to maintain the focus on recruitment. 

 

The Committee, having considered the report,

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T a further Annual Placement Review report be presented in July 2017.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-3)    To provide Members with an opportunity to exercise effective oversight of this key statutory function.

 

 

186       1ST QUARTER SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND WORK PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 2016-17 (MD) –

 

The Committee was advised of progress in relation to the Scrutiny Committee recommendations and was asked to confirm the work programme schedule for the Scrutiny Committee for 2016/17: 

  • From previous Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) Municipal Year 2014-15 (Appendix A)
  • From previous Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) Municipal Year 2014-15 (Appendix B
  • From previous Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) Municipal Year 2015-16 (Appendix C)
  • 1st Quarter April – June 2016 [April from previous Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health)] (Appendix D)
  • Work Programme Schedule for 2016/17 (Appendix E).

With regard to decision tracking for 14th July 2014, Minute No. 208 (previous Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health)), the Committee agreed that a further report will be presented outlining the Council’s plans in relation to Young Carer Cards.

 

The Committee also agreed that the status of the recommendation from Minute No. 573 dated 4th November, 2014 from the previous Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) could be changed to Completed because the Council had agreed that a Toolkit for Members would be developed and that training for all Members of the Council would be considered later on in the year. 

 

With regard to decision tracking for 13th June 2016 and in relation to Minute Nos. 82 and 83, the Committee was updated with comments made by the Cabinet at its meeting on 4th July, 2016.  Members were informed that Cabinet had noted the Committee’s recommendations in relation to Revenue and Capital Monitoring and also in relation to the Vale of Glamorgan Council Fostering Service.  It was therefore agreed that the status of these three actions could be changed to Completed.

 

In terms of the work programme, Members noted, that contained within the bullet points was a report in relation to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service which had been scheduled for October meeting, and so, this could be removed from this list. 

 

Having considered the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following recommendations be deemed as completed:

 

04 November 2014   (previous Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment)

Min. No. 573 – Leisure   Contract Monitoring (DDS) – Recommended

(3)   That a training session be arranged for   all Members of the Council as recommended in the monitoring plan at Appendix   A to the report.

 

 

The   Council had agreed that a Toolkit for Members would be developed and that   training for all Members of the Council would be considered later on in the   year.

Completed

04 January 2016 (previous Scrutiny Committee (Social   Care and Health))

Min. No. 716 – Commissioning Domiciliary Care   Services from the Independent Sector: Follow Up Report (DSS) – Recommended

(4)   That a reporting framework be established   to advise Members of the Committee of those providers where there are ongoing   and significant concerns regarding service delivery.

 

  

 

The Committee to be advised   of issues under Part II procedural arrangements.

Completed

07 March 2016 (previous Scrutiny Committee (Social   Care and Health))

Min. No. 907 – Revenue   and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2015 to 31st   January 2016 (DSS) – Recommended

(3)   That the report be referred to Cabinet for   its consideration and to highlight the progress in delivering the Social   Services Budget Programme.

 

  

 

Cabinet, on 11th   April, 2016, resolved

[1]   That the contents of the report be noted.

[2]   That the excellent work of Flying Start be   recognised in providing support to families in the community.

[3]   That a report on Domiciliary Care Packages   be brought to a future Cabinet meeting.

(Min. No. C3128 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 908 – Assistive   Technology and Dementia Care Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committee   (Social Care and Health) Update Report (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the report be referred to Cabinet to   highlight the progress being made in delivering the action plan developed   through the Assistive Technology Task and Finish Group.

 

 

  

 

Cabinet, on 11th   April, 2016, noted the report and resolved

[2]   That Cabinet receive a further update   report on the action plan from the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and   Health) in six months’ time.

(Min. No. C3130 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 909 – Update on   the Implementation of the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014   (DSS) –   Recommended

(3)   That the report be referred to Cabinet in   order to provide an update around the approach being taken to implement the   Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

 

 

 

 Cabinet, on 11th   April, 2016, resolved that the contents of the report be noted and thanks be   given to the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) for their continued   work in scrutinising the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

(Min. No. C3129 refers)

Completed

11 April 2016 [previous   Scrutiny Committee Social Care and Health)]

Min. No. 966 – National   Collaborative Commissioning of Placements: Integrated Health and Social Care   Programme (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That an update report be presented in 12   months’ time.

 

 

 

 

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 967 –   Improvement Plan Part 1 (Improvement Objectives 2016/17) (DSS) – Recommended that Cabinet   be informed that the Scrutiny Committee, at this stage, does not endorse the   proposed Improvement Objective 4 for 2016/17.

 

 

 

Cabinet,   on 25th April, 2016, noted the contents of the report and resolved   that the comments from the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) be   considered alongside the report to be discussed later on the agenda.

(Min.   No. C3147 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 968 – 4th Quarter   Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Work Programme Schedule   2015/16 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That the work programme schedule attached   at Appendix D to the report be amended as detailed above and uploaded onto   the Council’s website.

 

 

 

  

Work   programme schedule updated and uploaded to the Council’s website.

Completed

16 May 2016

Min. No. 30 –   Presentation by Dr. Suzanne Wood (Public Health Wales) on Child Obesity   –   Recommended

(1)   That the Committee receives an update in a   year’s time.

 

(2)   That the presentation be referred to   Cabinet for its consideration and action as necessary.

 

 

  

(1)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(2)   Cabinet, on 20th June, 2016   noted the contents of the report and resolved

[2]   That thanks be given to all Officers who   contributed to tackling the issue of Child Obesity.

[3]   That Cabinet look forward to receiving a   future update report on this matter in a year’s time, if not sooner.

(Min.   No. C3215 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 31 – The Vale of   Glamorgan Family Information Service (DSS) – Recommended

(3)     That Members of the Scrutiny   Committee request a further update on an annual basis.

 

  

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 32 –   Accommodation With Care for Older People - Update Report (DSS) – Recommended 

(2)   That a further update report be presented   in six months’ time.

 

 

 

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 35 – Disclosure   of Concerns in Relation to a Domiciliary Care Provider (Exempt Information   Paragraphs) – Recommended that an update report be provided at the earliest   opportunity.

 

 

 

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

13 June 2016

Min. No. 82 – Revenue and   Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April to 30th April 2016 (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the progress made in delivering the   Social Services Budget Programme be noted and be referred to Cabinet for   consideration.

(3)   That the proposed changes to the 2016/17   programme be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for approval.

 

 

(2&3)   Cabinet, on 4th July, noted the   contents of the report and resolved that the proposed changes to the 2016/17   programme as indicated in the report be approved.

(Min.   No. C3225 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 83 – The Vale of   Glamorgan Council Fostering Service (DSS) – Recommended

(4)   That the report be referred to Cabinet to   highlight the positive work being undertaken.

 

 

 

Cabinet,   on 4th July, noted the contents of the report and resolved that   staff be thanked and congratulated for all their positive work that had been   undertaken on this matter.

(Min.   No. C3226 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 86 – End of Year   Performance Report 2015-16 and Target Setting for 2016-17 (DSS) – Recommended 

(4)   That the Committee was of the view it   would still want to receive management information that was being collected   as part of the new data set collection.

 

 

 

Incorporated   in new data set collection and presented to Committee within reports.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the Forward Work Programme be approved and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In view of the Committee’s role in effective monitoring and tracking of its recommendations.

 

(2)       For information.