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HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 8th December, 2016.

                                       

Present:  Councillor R.L. Traherne (Chairman); Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. J. Aviet, R.J. Bertin, S.C. Egan, E. Hacker, J.W. Thomas and S.T. Wiliam.

 

Also present:  Councillors B. Brooks, G. John and N. Moore.

 

 

590     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Ms. R. Birch and H.C. Hamilton.

 

 

591     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Declarations of interest were received from Councillors R.J. Bertin, S.C. Egan and Dr. I.J. Johnson in relation to Agenda Item No. 3 – Leisure Management Contract – Year 4 Report.  The nature of their interests was that these Councillors were members of Barry Leisure Centre.

 

 

592     LEISURE MANAGEMENT CONTRACT – YEAR 4 REPORT (DEH) –

 

The Operational Manager for Leisure presented the report, the purpose of which was to provide an update on the performance of the Leisure Management Contract.  For this item the Committee welcomed, Colleen Tumelty, the Regional Director for Parkwood Community Leisure and also Rob Oaten, the Contract Manager for Legacy Leisure.

 

The report advised that the Council’s Leisure Management Contract was awarded to Parkwood Community Leisure and commenced on 1st August, 2012 for a period of ten years with the possibility of a further five year extension.  The contract was subsequently sub-contracted to Legacy Leisure, a not for profit charitable organisation, in October 2014 that provided the opportunity for further savings to be made.

 

In referring to the Executive Summary attached at Appendix A, Committee was advised that this was the Year 4 Annual Report from Legacy Leisure.  The Annual Report followed the format of the monitoring checklist which highlighted parts of the contract and specifications that legacy Leisure were required to report on.  The information provided concentrated on the key requirements of the contract documentation and had been broken down into four areas, Financial (protecting the investment), Property (protecting the asset), Leisure Service (protecting the customer) and Employment (protecting the workforce). 

 

The Annual Report from Legacy Leisure highlighted a number of successes achieved during the year, including improvements to environmental impacts, a comprehensive staff training programme, redecoration of several key areas, creation of a dojo facility in Barry Leisure Centre, several major marketing initiatives to attract new customers, a detailed breakdown of Health and Safety audits completed, and completion of customer surveys.

 

Significant developments were also planned for Year 5 of the contract.  These included the upgrade of key changing facilities, utilisation of current unused space in Penarth Leisure Centre and the development of a 5-a-side facility at Barry Sports Centre.  In addition, negotiations were also progressing on the possibility of activating the extension clause within the contract for a further five years beyond the initial ten year contract to provide greater security and certainty to both the Council and Legacy Leisure in developing the service.

 

The report advised that previously the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) had established a small Member Working Group that would periodically visit a Legacy Leisure site within the Vale of Glamorgan to see the quality of the service.  This had normally been carried out without advance notice to Legacy Leisure but a member of Legacy’s staff would be given the opportunity to walk around the site with the Working Group and an officer from the Council.  The formation of a Working Group within this Committee was something that could be considered.

 

Following presentation of the report, a discussion took place during which the following matters were raised:

 

Matters Raised by Members

Responses

The   Chairman, referring to a reduction in the membership of Barry Leisure Centre,   queried whether the opening of a new gym facility at Barry’s Pumphouse had   been a factor. 

In   reply, Mr. Oaten advised that there had been a decrease in the footfall to   Barry’s Leisure Centre following the opening of the gym at the Pumphouse but   another contributing factor was a change in the way that figures were   reported, which were now more accurate.   

 

Mr.   Oaten also added that Barry Leisure Centre was able to offer more options such   as a swimming pool and so there was a need to better promote the facilities provided   there.

A   Committee Member queried whether the ability for the Vale of Glamorgan   residents to use the International Pool in Cardiff would still continue.

In   reply, the Committee was advised that this arrangement would remain until   January 2017 when the current contract for Leisure Services with Cardiff   Council would run up to.

What   was the level of engagement around physical activity with schools in the Vale   of Glamorgan?

Legacy   Leisure worked with all schools in the Vale and the example of Barry Leisure   Centre was cited, in which close co-ordination would be undertaken in respect   of the most appropriate times for pupils to visit.

How   were price increases determined?

The   Operational Manager for Leisure advised that the core prices were determined   by the contract arrangements, which would be set by the Vale of Glamorgan   Council.  He also advised that some   prices were set internally by Legacy Leisure and would be market led as these   needed to be flexible and respond to market changes.

Barry   Leisure Centre used to have a sauna, were there any plans for this to return   to Barry?

There   was not a capital bid in place to develop a sauna within Barry Leisure Centre   as this facility was unsuitable.

What   was the provision of Welsh language within Leisure Centres in the Vale?

In   reply Mr. Oaten advised that the focus for Legacy Leisure was in making the   leisure facilities bilingual, which would include signs in both Welsh and   English.  In addition, some activities   such as swimming lessons were being undertaken bilingually with key phrases   spoken in both English and Welsh.  Furthermore,   there was a drive by Legacy Leisure to up-skill staff in order to improve   their ability to speak Welsh.

What   was the current turnover rate of staff within Legacy Leisure?

Mr.   Oaten advised that the turnover of staff was lower now than when the Vale of   Glamorgan operated the leisure facilities.    It had been recognised the Legacy Leisure had developed more detailed   succession planning and so staff were more inclined to stay with the   organisation for longer periods.

In   terms of the Disclosure and Barring Service, who would pay for this to be   undertaken?

This   would be the responsibility of individual employees.

It   was noted that sickness levels within Legacy Leisure were relatively low and   Members queried how this level was maintained.

In   reply the Committee was advised that at present there were no staff members   on long term sickness, with the current rate of short term sickness being   2-3%.  This was maintained through   pro-active management and through engagement and support being available to   all staff members.  In addition,   regular reports on patterns were reported to management to ensure that the   system was not being abused. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services, with permission to speak, stated that from his view point, last year had been very successful despite the slight decrease in membership which over a longer period had actually increased.  He stated that it was important to ensure that the Leisure Centres were working efficiently and it was important to recognise that the Vale of Glamorgan was not facing the challenges being experienced by many other Local Authorities.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the performance of Legacy Leisure be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Year 5 Annual Report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in 2017.

 

(3)       T H A T a working group be formed in order to visit each of the Leisure Centres.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To note the performance of the contractor in year 4 of the contract.

 

(2)       To enable the Committee to be regularly updated on the performance of the Leisure Management Contract.

 

(3)       To give greater involvement to Members of the Committee in appraising the performance of the contractor.

 

 

593     REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF MATTER (COUNCILLOR R.J. BERTIN) FOOD SAFETY INTERVENTIONS –

 

Councillor R.J. Bertin had submitted a Request for Consideration in order for the Committee to receive information in respect of performance of the Shared Regulatory Service and in respect of food safety interventions.

 

To commence this item, the Operational Manager – Commercial Services and Shared Regulatory Services, was invited to provide an overview of this service area.  The Operational Manager began by outlining the Food and Feed Law Service Plan which was attached as an Appendix to the covering report.  She advised that this Service Plan was reported to the Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee each year and the purpose of the Plan was to outline how the Service would meet its statutory obligations, these being: the need to identify links with service objectives, a review of performance for 2015/16, to set targets for service delivery for 2016/17 and to identify available resources. 

 

In terms of key achievements from last year, the Operational Manager advised that for the region in total 2,445 warning letters had been sent out.  In addition, the Service issued 93 Hygiene Improvement Notices and undertook 5 prosecutions for breach of food hygiene standards.  In addition, the Service would be responsible for ensuring that foodstuff that had been transported through Barry Docks was compliant with legislation. 

 

With regard to service delivery for 2016/17, the Operational Manager outlined that there was a rating based system in use which prioritised the inspections of food retailers and restaurants.   A rating premises would be inspected every six months, B rated premises would be inspected annually, C rated premises would be inspected every 18 months year, D rated premises would be inspected every two years and E rated premises would be inspected every five years.  The Operational Manager outlined that A-C rated premises were the Service’s priorities, with C rated inspections being lower risk.  The Operational Manager advised that this related to the use of the Food Hygiene Rating system which must be displayed by all premises.  She advised that 5 being the better score with a score of 0 requiring the premises to make significant improvements.

 

The Operational Manager then highlighted a case involving the death of five year old Mason Jones in South Wales back in 2005.  This related to an outbreak of e. Coli with a meat supplier from Bridgend.  This was the second largest outbreak in the UK and highlighted the significant risks that could develop when food safety and hygiene procedures were not properly followed.  The Operational Manager outlined that procedures were now much better. 

 

The Operational Manager referred to progress in relation to the inspection of premises in the Vale of Glamorgan.  She advised that for A and B rated premises, the Service was currently on track to carry out all inspections.  With C rated premises, the Service was 80% on track and so it was determined that this was the Service’s priority.  For D and E rated premises, the Service was on track to achieve 100% inspections.

 

The Committee turned its attention to the Request for Consideration submitted by Councillor R. Bertin, and was advised that this had been submitted in order for the Committee to consider how the Service was meeting its obligations. 

 

In response to Councillor Bertin’s Request, the Operational Manager advised that

as far as C rated premises were concerned, it had been a very busy year for the Service with a large number of cases of non-compliance.

 

The Chairman queried the increase in the cases of non-compliance.  In reply, the Operational Manager explained that as part of the Shared Regulatory Service, there was a wish to harmonise practices and so ratings were now being carried to a more stringent standard.  She stated that she was confident that this was raising standards that would have benefits in the longer term.

 

In terms of the staff resilience, the decrease in inspections for C rated premises was due to the appointment of newly qualified technical officers who currently did not satisfy the current framework of Food Law Code of Practice which enabled them to inspect food businesses.  In order to meet this performance target in 2016/17, contractors had been employed to assist with C rated premises.  Upon qualification, the technical officers would assume these inspection duties.

 

With regard to Councillor Bertin’s second query regarding the cost of contractors, the Committee noted that the Service paid £47.95 for each full inspection carried out by a contractor.  A programme of work had been issued to the contractors to the end of this financial year.  The Operational Manager further advised that the Service was not paying by the hour and that some inspections could take 7-8 hours so it was regarded that use of these sub-contractors was very cost effective.  The Committee was advised that there had been an increase in C rated inspections and the Operational Manager stated that the Service was confident that the target of 86% would be met.

 

Referring to potential risks to the public, the Operational Manager advised that most individuals would have experienced the accidental consumption of contaminated food at one time or another.  The results of this could be very mild nausea, diarrhoea or other unpleasant gastro intestinal symptoms, however, sometimes the consequences were often much more serious.  Food associated outbreaks were unpredictable due to the complexity of the food supply chain and interventions were often required even at premises with high hygiene standards.

 

In terms of how the Service would improve performance, the Operational Manager’s report outlined that with the appointment of the technical officers and upon successful completion of the required training, these officers would be able to carry out the functions required by the Food and Port Health Team.  This would therefore increase the capacity of the team to ensure effective and timely inspections for the next financial year. 

 

A Committee Member, referring to the food hygiene ratings that were displayed by food businesses, queried how those rated as unsatisfactory could be allowed to continue trading.  In reply, the Operational Manager stated it was not illegal for these businesses to continue operating and it was up to these businesses to ensure that their food hygiene practices met the statutory requirements. 

 

In reply to a Member’s query regarding the number of reported 0 rated premises in Barry, the Operational Manager advised that a survey of all 0 rated premises was being undertaken.  This had highlighted that there was an issue of some premises failing to display their food hygiene rating score.  The Operational Manager agreed that the findings of the survey would be reported back to the Committee in due course.

 

With reference to the five businesses that had been prosecuted for poor food hygiene practices during 2015/16, a Committee Member queried whether any of these were located in the Vale of Glamorgan.  In reply, the Operational Manager confirmed that none of those prosecuted for 2015/16 were from the Vale, although there were some prosecutions ongoing for this current financial year.

 

A Committee Member referred to local Fish and Chips shops and he queried whether these establishments following the correct procedures around leaving food on display.  In reply, the Operational Manager advised that this issue would be picked up during inspections, when there would be a check on whether staff had been monitoring food and whether it was being stored correctly.  She also added that what was found would depend on when a business was inspected and she explained that all businesses must have a better food plan in place and staff should be aware of how long food could be displayed for.

 

At this point, the Cabinet Member requested if he could make some comments.  He stated that as Chairman of the Shared Regulatory Service’s Joint Committee, he had noticed that they had stepped up their commitment.  With regards to the training of Technical Officers, he explained that this would take time and that training was not a simple undertaking.  He also added that he wanted all premises with a low rating to be visited very quickly and that some high ranking names have been” taken to task”.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the work being undertaken to deliver food safety interventions in accordance with the Food Law Code of Practice be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee continues to receive regular updates in relation to the performance of the Food Service.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the Committee is aware of the current service delivery mechanisms for the Food Law Enforcement Service in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(2)       To allow the Scrutiny Committee to exercise effective oversight of this key area of working.

 

 

594     INITIAL REVENUE BUDGET PROPOSALS 2017/18 (DSS) –

 

The initial revenue budget proposals for 2017/18 were submitted to the Committee for consideration together with the amended original budget for 2016/17 for services that formed part of the Committee’s remit. 

 

The report outlined that the Council’s budget was determined largely by the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) settlement set by the Welsh Government.  The provisional RSG settlement had been received from Welsh Government on 19th October, 2016.  The final settlement was likely to be received during December 2016.

 

The Director of Social Services was asked to provide some context behind the current budget proposals.  The Director outlined a report from the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru that advised that Local Authorities in Wales were facing similar challenges, these being the level of resources, increase in complex cases, demand for services and challenges as a result of a change in demographics.  Despite these challenges, the majority of Local Authorities were confident of meeting their targets this year but most were expressing real anxieties about service sustainability and meeting increased statutory responsibilities in the years ahead, without considerable new investment. 

 

He also outlined that a lot of additional work was being undertaken in implementing the Social Services and Well-being Act and there had also been a number of cost challenges such as the introduction of the National Living Wage.  He added that Social Services’ budgets were no longer protected and, because of the need to make significant savings, it was right to say that invidious choices would now need to be made.  He also advised that the main savings recently had tended to focus on Adult Services; scope for which was now coming to an end.  This meant that the only significant area left for savings was Well-being Services.  This would be a difficult challenge due to the Social Services and Well-being Act, which made it a requirement for Local Authorities to provide greater early intervention and preventative services. The Council would be left with difficult choices. 

 

Revised Budget 2016/17

 

Appendix 1 to the report set out the Amended Budget for 2016/17, together with the necessary adjustments to be made to the original budget.

 

The Social Services Directorate was anticipated to outturn with an adverse variance of around £600,000.  The table below compared the amended budget with the projected outturn for 2016/17.

 

 

2016/17

Amended

2016/17

Projected

Variance

(+)Favourable

Directorate/Service

Budget

Outturn

 (-)   Adverse

 

            £’000

£’000

       £’000

Social Services

 

 

 

Children   and Young People

14,913

14,513

                    +400

Adult   Services

40,096

41,096

                  -1,000

Business   Management and Innovation

276

276

                           0

Transfer   from Reserves

0

          -600

                    +600

Visible   Services                   

4,470

4,470

                           0

Grand Total

59,755

59,755

0

 

In terms of Children and Young People Services, it was projected that this service would outturn with an underspend of £400,000.  Work had been ongoing to ensure that children were placed in the most appropriate and cost effective placements.  This had included a significant reduction in the number of children placed in residential care, from an average of 23 in 2014/15 to a current average of 10.  The Committee was advised that the number of Looked After Children had increased during the course of the year, and this placed considerable pressure on the Council’s in-house fostering resources and also increased the Council’s reliance on independent fostering placements.

 

With regard to Adult Services, it was projected that the Community Care Package budget could outturn with a variance of up to £1m by the year end.  This budget had been adversely affected by the increase in the cost of packages commissioned as a result of the introduction of the National Living Wage, the continued pressure on the budget from demographic growth and clients having increasingly complex needs.  The final outturn was difficult to predict.  In addition, final negotiations regarding fee levels were being concluded with service providers with proposed increases already above the level of inflation provided for within the budget.

 

For Leisure Services, it was anticipated that this service would achieve a breakeven position at year end.  Employee costs within Grounds Maintenance was projected to be £114,000 under budget due to vacant posts, however, this had been offset by increased supplies and services costs which were £34,000 over budget.  Transport costs were projected to be £80,000 over budget due to high repair costs at the beginning of the financial year.  However, Grounds Maintenance was currently reviewing the level of vehicles that they required and had identified those that were surplus to requirements.  Within the Leisure and Play Team, employee costs were projected to be £74,000 higher than the set budget.  £30,000 of this was for additional summer play schemes which would be funded from reserves.  There was also a further £30,000 additional estimated income into the section for the Teen scheme project.  Other grant income had also increased by approximately £32,000.  Finally, there had also been an increase in supplies and services costs of £18,000 mainly due to an increase in insurance costs.

 

Savings 2016/17

 

Attached at Appendix 2 was a statement detailing the savings targets relating to this Committee for 2016/17 and the projected outturn. 

 

For Social Services and within Adult Services, £100,000 of the full year savings generated from the Hafod Homes transfer had been offset against the £300,000 savings for Residential Services.  At present, there were no other formalised plans in place to find the remaining £200,000 of this saving.  With regard to the Care Package Budget Reduction, it was anticipated that this budget would be overspent.  However, 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. 

 

For Leisure, the Committee was advised that a review of vehicle requirements was underway for which it was anticipated that the full year’s savings would not be achieved.

 

Medium Term Financial Plan

 

The Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2016/17 to 2019/20 had been presented to Cabinet on 26th September, 2016 (Minute No. C3330).

 

For the years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 it had been assumed that there would be a 3% reduction in Welsh Government funding.  This resulted in the requirement to find savings of £24.146m over the three year period, with £7.783m currently being identified.  There were therefore further savings to be identified of £16.363m over the three year period. 

 

The latest MTFP had factored in a managed level of cost pressures, a notional increase in Council Tax of 2% each year, price inflation of 1% and annual pay awards of 1% each year from 2017/18.

 

Provisional Settlement 2017/18

 

The Council’s provisional settlement had been announced by Welsh Government on 19th October, 2016.  Welsh Government had advised that its provisional Standard Spending Assessment for 2017/18 was £215.917m. 

 

Additional funding was provided through the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) for new responsibilities as follows:

 

  • Increasing Capital Limits for Residential Care (from £24,000 to £30,000) - £167,000
  • War Disablement Pension Disregard in financial assessments for social care charging - £11,000.

 

There were transfers into the RSG settlement for 2017/18 as follows:

 

  • Delivering Transformation Grant - £106,000
  • Deprivation of Liberty Standards - £8,000.

 

2017/18 Initial Budget Proposals

 

The report stated that, as part of the initial proposals, it had been necessary to revisit the cost pressures facing services in order to build up a complete and up to date picture of the financial position of the Council.  This was shown in Appendix 3.

 

The report advised that the final proposal for the increase in the National Living Wage from 1st April, 2017 had yet to be announced.  However, it was considered that the 2017/18 pay rates used in these budget proposals for Vale of Glamorgan staff should cover the potential increase.

 

Details of the proposed areas for savings for 2017/18 to 2018/19 were attached at Appendix 4.  The savings did not include the costs of any potential redundancies.  In addition, a summary of the overall base budget for 2017/18 was attached at Appendix 5.  This had been arrived at by adjusting the 2016/17 budget for items such as inflation and unavoidable growth, but it did not include identified cost pressures or savings. 

 

In terms of establishing the 2017/18 base budget, the report advised that in total £213.009m funding would be available.  This compared to a base budget of £216.996m which would result in a funding deficit for 2017/18 of £3.987m. 

 

The Committee was advised that, if all identified cost pressures were funded, this would increase the shortfall to £11.447m.  If all proposed savings were achieved, the shortfall would be reduced to £4.426m. 

 

Therefore, further work would be undertaken by the Budget Working Group in order to achieve a balanced budget for the final budget proposals for 2017/18.  This would include a review of the use of reserves, a possible increase in Council Tax, a review of all cost pressures, possible changes to the approved savings targets, a review of the inflation assumptions and the current financial strategies.  The Budget Working Group would also consider the results of the budget engagement process in determining priorities for future savings and service delivery.

 

The Chairman asked if officers could provide explanations as to how each of the cost pressures, shown in Appendix 3, had been determined.

 

The Head of Children and Young People Services began and outlined the following:

 

S1 – National Minimum Allowance (NMA) for Kinship Foster Carers - £116,000

 

The Head of Children and Young People Services outlined that the main rationale behind this cost pressure was due to an increase in the number of Looked After Children placed with kinship carers.  For 2015/16, the rate of kinship placements was 25% and this currently stood at 36%.  She added that placements with family members usually represented a good outcome for Looked After Children. 

 

S2 – Adoption Allowances - £51,000

 

The Committee was advised that this cost pressure had been based on an increase in adoption support packages due to the complexity of need. 

 

S3 – National Approach to Advocacy - £21,000

 

The Committee was advised that this cost pressure related to every Looked After Child, those subject to a child protection plan and some categories of children in need becoming entitled to having an active offer for advocacy.  This cost pressure had been based on 2014/15 data and so the Service was trying to gain a better understanding of the likely cost consequences.  It had been indicated that this would cost the Council an extra £21,000, although there was also the potential extra cost of £7,000 if Welsh Government decided not to fund the active offer.

 

S4 – Regional Adoption Collaborative - £33,000

 

The main basis for this cost pressure related to the demands for increased capacity across each of the functions and service areas provided by the Collaborative, which was based on a more accurate understanding of need post regionalisation.

 

 

S5 – Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers

 

The Committee was advised that the impact of this cost pressure had been difficult to project and still remained unquantifiable.  The main element behind this was the National Transfer Scheme for Asylum Seekers.

 

Following this, the Head of Adult Services advised that the scale of cost pressures for Adult Services was substantial, which in total had been calculated at £3.180m.  He briefly alluded to the increase in provider costs due to the impact of the National Living Wage, Sleep-Ins, HMRC regulations re travel time and auto-enrolement of pensions.  He also touched upon pressure with the Support Living Contract and increased demand for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard assessments.  He also referred to managing increased demand as a result of implementation of the Social Services and Well-being Act which had an adverse impact on the Services’ response times.

 

With regard to cost pressure S7 and an increase in provider costs, a Member queried how the 6% rise had been calculated.  The Director stated that regular meetings had been held with providers, and the 6% increase was a figure that the providers had identified in order to meet their existing costs.  The Service had looked at the figures and there were some legitimate concerns raised by providers, but there was still a need to work with the sector as a whole. He added that that there could not be a relaxation on the standards and quality of care provided and that costs of services could not be passed onto customers due to the cap on the weekly charge for care services.  Furthermore, the Director also referred to the 3 year Block Contract for Domiciliary Care, which was to expire during 2017.  For this a new toolkit would be required, that would be a challenge and would need to take into consideration care provider costs.

 

The Chairman, referring to the proposed £270,000 savings from the Block Contract Arrangements for Domiciliary Care, queried whether this would be achievable given the request by providers for a 6% increase in fees.  In reply, the Director stated that change needed to happen as soon as possible and that work around this savings target had already commenced as the Council was about to start a pilot of commissioning outcome-based services.  He added that there also had to be confidence that schemes and projects from the Intermediate Care Fund would have an impact on the level of demand.

 

In terms of Business Management and Innovation, the Director of Social Services explained that the primary role for Social Services was safeguarding vulnerable people, and so in many ways, this section was essential.  He added that this section faced challenges through an increased expectation of engagement with service users and as a result of its role around quality assurance.  In addition, the section handled a lot of personal information and there was a need to up skill staff because of an expected increase in demand for subject access requests and freedom of information requests.

 

For Leisure Services, the Committee was advised that there was a £20,000.00 cost pressure as result of a reduction on the grant funding received from Sports Wales. 

 

A Committee Member then wanted to make a general point.  He stated that it was known that the cost pressures were real, and that providers were facing changes due to new regulations that had come in.  These therefore would have an impact on the budgets.  The Member also referred to financial challenges affecting Health Boards in Wales and England and he alluded to the budgetary restrictions imposed by the UK Government.  He went on to state that current services may not be available in the future and that there was a need to realistically consider the impact of the cost pressures.

 

In querying possible future saving proposals for Children and Young People Services, the Committee was advised that although there were no specific proposals this did not mean that there would not be an expectation for further savings.  The Director highlighted, however, the level of Looked After Children in Wales which was increasing and the impact of Welsh Government initiatives such as ‘When I’m Ready’ practice guidance.

 

With regard to the Reshaping Services programmes for Adult Services, the Head of Adult Services advised that there were a number of projects that were part of this that included Meals on Wheels and the Respite Service.  He stated that some savings had already been achieved.

 

A Committee Member stated that in recognition of the cost pressures, the Council should continue to have regular dialogue with Welsh Government regarding funding challenges.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the amended revenue budget for 2016/17, as set out in Appendix 1, be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee, be made aware that it is the view of this Committee that all the cost pressures detailed in Appendix 3 should be fully funded.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To advise the Committee of amendments to the 2016/17 budget.

 

(2)       To advise of the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee of the Committee’s views that the cost pressures shown in Appendix 3 should be fully funded.

 

 

595     INITIAL CAPITAL PROGRAMME PROPOSALS 2017/18 (DSS) –

 

The Committee was informed of the current progress on the Capital Programme for 2016/17 and was requested to consider the initial capital proposals for 2017/18. 

 

Appendix 1 to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 30th September, 2016. 

 

At Appendix 2 were the initial proposals for the Capital Programme between 2017/18 and 2021/22 for schemes relating to this Committee. 

 

New capital bids had been invited for return by 30th September, 2016 with two from Learning and Skills, 11 from Environment and Housing and three from Managing Director and Resources.  In addition, a joint bid had been submitted from Housing and Planning.  Departments had been requested to rank their own bids in order of importance before submission and bids from each Department had been forwarded to the Insight Group for evaluation. 

 

It was noted that only those schemes assessed as Corporate Priority 1 or higher and medium risk or higher were included in the proposals.  In addition, the schemes put forward should contribute to at least three Wellbeing and Future Generations outcomes.  Bids that did not meet these criteria were excluded from consideration and were detailed in Appendix 3. 

 

No bids were made by Social Services as a recurring budget of £100,000 per annum had already been included in the Programme for Asset Renewal.  It had been proposed that a budget of £758,000 be included in the Programme for electrical works to various Leisure Centres and for roofing works at Cowbridge Leisure Centre.

 

The Director of Social Services commenting on the fact that there were no capital bids for Social Services, stated that there was a need to look at this more broadly because the Service could access finance via the Intermediate Care Fund which had a capital element.  In addition, some schemes such as accommodation with care for older people were a corporate responsibility and would be considered via alternative arrangements.

 

 A Committee Member queried the amount allocated for the renewal of the I.T. infrastructure within Social Services.  In reply, the Director of Social Services stated that this related to a commitment to the Wales Community Care Information System.  He added that this was a new national case management system, for which negotiations were ongoing concerning the Vale of Glamorgan having a place on the implementation project.  This would begin sometime during the Autumn 2017 and it was envisioned that there would be fairly significant data migration and other costs.  The Council’s current contract expired next year, so it had been decided to take the opportunity of utilising Welsh Government funding for the procurement of an improved data management system. 

 

With regard to the 2015/16 capital projects scheme for Social Services, the Head of Adult Services agreed that progress on these would be sent to Members via e-mail. 

 

Having considered the report, the Scrutiny Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the progress relating to the 2016/17 Capital Programme be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the 2017/18 initial capital budget proposals be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2016/17 Capital Programme, relevant to this Scrutiny Committee.

 

(2)       In order that the Committee be informed of the proposals on the 2017/18 Capital Programme.

 

 

596     RESHAPING SERVICES – REVIEW OF MEALS ON WHEELS SERVICE (REF) –

 

On 28th November, 2016, Cabinet was updated on the Council’s Meals on Wheels service and also a range of options for the future delivery of the service.

 

A report to the former Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) on 1st February, 2016 provided an update on how the Council’s Meals on Wheels service was being delivered.  The report outlined the rationale for considering alternative ways of meeting the nutritional needs of those who were eligible for care and support from the Social Services Directorate.  The report also made a recommendation that a further report be provided regarding potential alternative service models which would be considered by the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet.  It was considered that a more comprehensive review of the service was required in order to consider how the needs of the population could be best met in the future, including the development of preventative services and the merits of alternative models of provision.  The results from the review process were outlined in this latest report.

 

In terms of the current service profile, the report advised that the Council’s Meals on Wheels service was a social care service that delivered a hot meal at home to people who were assessed as being unable to undertake this task for themselves. 

 

Meals were currently purchased form the company “Apetito” in the form of frozen ready meals.  These would then be heated in the kitchen of Rondel House, Barry, by cooks / drivers employed by the service.  Meals were delivered to clients throughout the Vale of Glamorgan by drivers who were employed by the service. 

 

The Committee was advised that the number of people who used the Meals on Wheels service had decreased in recent years.  The service currently delivered approximately 45 meals each weekday.  This was a reduction from the average of 112 meals per day which were provided in 2012.  At weekends, a reduced service operated and approximately 23 meals on each weekend day were delivered to customers in the central and eastern areas of the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Meals on Wheels service in the western area of the Vale of Glamorgan (west of Llantwit Major, i.e. Llantwit Major and surrounding villages) was discontinued several years ago, following equipment failure in the local kitchen.  Existing and new service users were supported to transfer to the range of alternative new services which were available in this area.

 

The review of the service that had been undertaken also included an evaluation of a number of options for the future of the service.  The first of these options was to continue the service as it currently operated.  Option 2 and Option 3 considered ways of making changes to the Council’s existing internal service.  The final option was to consider alternative ways of ensuring needs were met by ceasing to operate the Council’s service and signposting to alternative providers. 

 

The four options had been appraised against a series of criteria which were outlined in paragraph 15 of the Cabinet report. 

 

Applying the criteria against which the options were evaluated, Option 4 (i.e. to cease the internal service and signpost to alternatives) was the preferred option. 

 

This option would ensure that a hot meal could be delivered to those that required it.  It also improved congruence with the Social Services and Well-being Act 2014 as it promoted choice, was supportive of provision in the community and promoted the work of social enterprises.

 

It was therefore proposed that the Council would work with The Food Shed to begin provision of services as soon as possible in the western area of the Vale of Glamorgan.  It was advised that this would result in an additional available service to residents in that area.  The Food Shed would seek to expand (via marketing and logistically) across the Vale in parallel with the changes that the Council would make to the Meals on Wheels service.  Legally, the Council would be under no obligation to enter into a contract with The Food Shed to provide meals to clients.  This replicated that the relationship with other providers, such as Wiltshire Farm Foods. 

 

Ceasing to provide a Council run Meals on Wheels service would have implications for the staff currently employed by the service.  A summary of the timeline of key activities for the project was set out in paragraph 47 of the report.

 

In summarising some of the key benefits, the Head of Adult Services outlined that the Food Shed was a Social Enterprise that would be able to offer a freshly prepared hot meal, unlike the current meals provided by the Council which were frozen and reheated.  In addition, the Food Shed would be looking to provide a service that covered the whole of the Vale.  He also referred to the need to have further discussions with users of the existing service provided by the Council; they had made clear how much they valued it.  He was well aware for the need to work with these individuals during the transition to any new service.

 

The Committee welcomed Mrs. M. Bollingham, who, as a member of the public, had registered to speak on this item.  Mrs. Bollingham began by outlining that she was a retired worker from Social Services and that she had taken part in the review.  She then outlined the following points:

 

•          The decision made by Cardiff Council to continue to provide its own Meals on Wheels Services and whether discussions had been held with the Vale.

•          She had identified that £5,000 had been allocated to The Food Shed by the Vale of Glamorgan and she queried the purpose of this.

•          She had noticed that on The Food Shed’s website, no vegetarian option was available on a Sunday.  She also queried the availability of evening snacks.

•          The Food Shed had only been operating for one year and only had funding for three years - what would happen after this?

•          How would the quality of staff be monitored?

 

The Chairman asked if the Head of Adult Services could respond to these queries. 

 

With regard to the Meals on Wheels service in Cardiff, the Head of Adult Services stated that discussions had been held with officers in Cardiff Council, who then decided to look to expand their own service.  He stated that he was not convinced that this was right option for the Vale and he was aware that Cardiff had also experienced the same challenge of reducing numbers.

 

In terms of the £5,000 allocated to the Food Shed, he indicated that money had been provided via the Intermediate Care Fund, which was to help with developing new community based services in the Vale.   Funding was allocated to a number of projects through the ‘Preventative Services’ work stream, which was designed to support  services that focus on people’s wellbeing not just care and support needs. One of the requirements of the funding was that the projects would have to be financially sustainable.

 

In reply to the query regarding the availability of vegetarian options on a Sunday, the Committee noted that The Food Shed had advised that they would provide a meal that would not include any meat and that The Food Shed would be looking at other options in the New Year.  With regard to snacks, the Head of Adult Services advised that the current Meals on Wheels service did not provide any facility for snacks, so in this case, Option 4 would result in additional services being available to service users.

 

With regard to future funding and sustainability, the Head of Adult Services stated that the provision of food services in the Vale at present was a patchwork, with the Council, Wiltshire Farm Foods and Luncheon Clubs all involved.    He advised that The Food Shed had entered into a Service Level Agreement with Parc Prison in Bridgend for three years, so this would increase resilience.  The Food Shed had also acquired the service of a local pub to provide back-up facilities and he advised that the service model appeared to be ‘financially sound’.  He also indicated that the monitoring of staff was a matter for The Food Shed although there was no expected difference in the standard of delivery.

 

The Chairman asked whether all current uses of the Meals on Wheels service would still receive a service.  In reply, the Head of Adult Services stated that they would have the option but this would be up to the individual.

 

At this point, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Social Care and Health was then invited to provide some of her comments.  The Cabinet Member highlighted the fall in the numbers using the service, which she stated could not be ignored.  She also indicated that she supported Option 4, and the fact that a service would still be provided.  She also highlighted that a service would return to the Western Vale and that it was important for a meals service to be available to people living in this part of the Vale.

 

A Committee Member queried the statement in the report, in paragraph 38 on page 8, that the preferred option was congruent with the Social Services and Wellbeing Act and that Option 4 promoted choice.  The Member stated that choice was already available.  A key question for the Member was whether the Council should be responsible for the service or should it be in the market place and what role would the Council have.  He referred to partnership arrangements with Parkwood Leisure, which appeared to be working well and appeared to be providing a service that people deserved.  He indicated that for him the current service users were the key priority and that he was not convinced that the case for change had been made.  In reply, the Director of Social Services stated that the Social Services and Wellbeing Act, which received cross party support in the Assembly, set out a requirement for Local Authorities to find different ways of providing services through the development of community based services and introducing new service providers from the third sector, co-operatives and social enterprises.  This was a good example.  The Council would cease to provide a service which was not financially viable but would ensure that a better and more soundly based service would be available to replace it.  Meals on Wheels was exactly the sort of service which could benefit from becoming more universal and preventative in nature.  As long as the range of providers included some which reinvested any profits back into service improvement, there was the potential that the more these services were used, the more cost effective they would be for service users. 

 

Having considered the options outlined in the Cabinet report, the Committee agreed that it would support Option 4 (Cease the Internal Service and to signpost to Alternatives, including a new Social Enterprise).

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee supports the implementation Option 4, (Cease the Internal Service and to signpost to Alternatives, including a new Social Enterprise).

 

(3)       T H A T the views of the Committee, as outlined in the minutes, be referred to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee was kept updated with the work undertaken so far to review the Meals on Wheels service.

 

(2)       To outline the Committee’s support for Option 4.

 

(3)       To ensure that the process of taking forward any changes to the service is undertaken effectively in accordance with the Council’s policies and procedures and that the views of the Scrutiny Committee are taken into account when reaching a decision about how to progress.

 

 

597     QUARTER 2 (2016-17) PERFORMANCE REPORT: AN ACTIVE AND HEALTHY VALE (DSS) –

 

The Director of Social Services presented the report, the purpose of which was to present the performance results for Quarter 2, 1st July – 30th September, 2016-17 for the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 4, “An Active and Healthy Vale”.

 

The report indicated that, as part of the review of its Performance Management Framework, the Council had adopted a new Corporate Plan (2016-20) which reflected the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and which identified four well-being Outcomes and eight Objectives for the Council.

 

An overall Green RAG status had been attributed to Well-being Outcome 4, “An Active and Healthy Vale”, reflecting the positive progress made to date in making a difference to the lives of residents and customers within a highly challenging environment. 

 

For Quarter 2, 15 out of 16 Corporate Plan actions under this Well-being Outcome were on track to be delivered, which gave an overall Green performance status for actions.  Limited progress had also been made during the quarter in implementing monitoring arrangements for the Corporate Safeguarding Policy (AH11).  This delay was largely due to the departure of the Operational Manager for Safeguarding who was the lead officer for this work. 

 

An overall Amber performance status had been attributed to the quarterly measures contributing to this Well-being Outcome.  Of the nine quarterly measures reported, performance had met or exceeded target for six indicators with the remaining three missing target by more than 10%.  These three related to the exercise referral scheme (VS/M033), young people looked after whom the Authority was still in contact with who were engaged in education, training or employment (SCC/033f) and adult service users receiving a Direct Payment (AS/M020).

 

A detailed report outlining the progress at Quarter 2 towards achieving Well-being Outcome 4 was provided at Appendix 1.

 

The Chairman queried progress in relation to service plan action BM/AO14, regarding a commissioning strategy for accommodation with care for older people.  The Head of Adult Services commented that this action had a green RAG status because a number of initiatives had been progressed including the Population Needs Assessment and a Market Position Statement.  He also added that the Council already had a commissioning strategy in place that needed to be updated.  This would become a corporate strategy which would involve other Council departments such as Housing.  Further to these comments, the Director advised that the strategy was being developed incrementally and that by the time that the Population Needs Assessment had been completed, the Council would be in a better position to proceed.

 

A Committee Member commented that, from his point of view, he was very clear that more provision of accommodation with care for older people was needed.  However, the Member stated that some things were out of the control of the Council, such as changes to the benefit system.  The Member went on to refer to the number of ‘green statuses’ in the report and asked whether the Chairman could write a letter to all Social Services’ staff thanking them for their efforts. The Members were in agreement for the Chairman to write a letter on behalf of the Committee.

 

In referring to the National Exercise Referral Scheme, a Committee Member asked a number of questions.  His first query related to the number of people that were completing the Scheme.  In reply, the Operational Manager for Leisure stated the completion rate was an on-going challenge.  It was known that many people were being referred to the Scheme who would never actually attend the first session.  The Operational Manager then alluded to the need to breakdown social barriers when it came to attracting people into health and fitness facilities.

 

The Member queried whether Doctors and General Practitioners were enthusiastic towards the Scheme.  The Operational Manager explained that there was a mixed picture, which some good Doctors’ surgeries.  He added that outreach work with the surgeries was taking place and he advised that there were challenges with some N.H.S. departments.  The key therefore was to promote the benefits of the Scheme and the Operational Manager referred to a new development in Penarth, in which a Doctor’s surgery was to be located at the local Leisure Centre.

 

The Member also asked if all users of the Scheme were provided with a feedback questionnaire.  In response, the Operational Manager stated that he would have to check and would report back to Members via email.

 

In querying the appointment of an Operational Manager for Safeguarding, the Committee was advised that an interim appointment had been made and that the Corporate Safeguarding Group continued to operate and was well supported.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T progress made to date in achieving key outcomes in line with the Corporate Well-being Outcome 4 – “Residents of the Vale of Glamorgan lead healthy lives and vulnerable people are protected and supported” be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the performance results and remedial actions taken to address areas of underperformance and to tackle key challenges identified be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the Council clearly demonstrates the progress being made towards achieving its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes aimed at making a positive different to the lives of Vale of Glamorgan citizens.

 

(2)       To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirements to secure continuous improvement as outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009 and reflecting the requirement of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act that it maximises its contribution to achieving the well-being goals for Wales.

 

 

                                       

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