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HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 13th February, 2017.

 

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

 

Also present:  Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks.

 

 

773            APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE –

 

This was received from Councillor R.J. Bertin.

 

 

774            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

775            MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16th January, 2017 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

776            UPDATE FROM THE CHAIR OF THE CARDIFF AND VALE UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD –

 

The Committee welcomed Maria Battle, the Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, who had been invited in order to provide an overview of the key priority areas jointly affecting the Health Board and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

 

In beginning her update, Maria Battle stated that it was important to outline some contextual information about the Cardiff and Vale Health Board.  She advised that the Health Board was the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom, with the third highest rate of referrals to accident and emergency, a total budget of £1.1 billion and over 14,000 employees.  The Cardiff and Vale Health Board was split into eight clinical boards, each of which was the size of a NHS Trust in England.  She added that the Cardiff and Vale Health Board was a massive organisation that included nine hospitals and the provision of many other services.

 

In outlining some of the key improvement objectives, Maria Battle advised that there many challenges.  The first related to cancer survival rates, the performance of which had improved from 61% to 85% and was expected to hit 90% during the next year.  With regard to strokes, two years ago the Cardiff and Vale Health Board had been rated E but at present the service provided was rated A.  For cardiac services, the Cardiff and Vale Health Board was ranked third in the United Kingdom and for accident and emergencies, the Health Board had one of the lowest 12 hour waiting rates in the United Kingdom.  Maria Battle also added that waiting times had hit target each quarter for the last two years.

 

Maria Battle advised that one of the greatest challenges for the Health Board was its finances.  She stated that the total budget allocated was £1.1 billion, with the Health Board required to make savings of £134m with a projected deficit this year of £30m.  Maria Battle also advised that people from all parts of Wales received specialist services, as the Health Board was a leading tertiary body.  Therefore, the specialist care that was provided presented additional challenges when compared to other Health Boards.

 

Maria Battle also referred to the need to invest in Health Board buildings and estates and she referred to Llandough Hospital where orthopaedic operations had been cancelled because of problems with the building’s roof. 

 

The Committee was also advised that the Health Board was keen to work with the public and its fellow partnership organisations in order to achieve its ten year strategy.  Maria Battle referred to the disparity regarding healthy lifestyle chances which had highlighted a 20 year difference between the most deprived and affluent areas of the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

Maria Battle stated that there were three key goals, which were referred to as the ‘Big Three’.  The first related to the creation of integrated services.  A duty of care audit showed that 43% of patients on a day did not meet the criteria for secondary care.  The Health Board was looking at how support was provided to ensure that the systems worked correctly and that patients were admitted and referred to the most appropriate areas of care. 

 

The second key goal related to the creation of “perfect localities”.  The key objective for this goal was to move care closer to people’s homes and to provide a one stop shop to make it easier for people to access services.  A business plan had been devised which was looking at the use of hospitals at Barry, Whitchurch and Cardiff Royal Infirmary.  With regard to Barry Hospital, Maria Battle stated that it was planned that many services would remain located there with a number of additional add-on services.  There was a need to look at the medical structure at Barry Hospital with the possibility of creating a training element alongside a resource base to ensure that newer and more varied services were easily accessible. 

 

The third key goal was the need to eliminate ‘variations’.  Maria Battle advised that there were too many different pathways that were not cost effective and so there was a requirement for the Health Board to utilise its range of skills more appropriately.  The idea was to do things differently to eliminate waste which would then release capacity and resources. 

 

In referring to the programme around the integration of health and social care services, Maria Battle stated that the current progress was encouraging and that there was a good story to tell.   Councils and the Health Board had been willing partners and there was a hope to go further and to create fully integrated community services.  The key measure around this was the number of patients who had had a good experience, with the main aspect being how easy it was to access services.  She cited the example of the Vale’s call centre as a positive development, which had improved services.  She also referred to the role of the Regional Partnership Board which had representation from a wide range of organisations and stakeholders.  She added that, following the Population Needs Assessment, a number of key messages had been highlighted, such as the need to tackle social isolation and the ability for people to access information with greater ease.  She also alluded to the need for pooled budgets for residential care that would come into effect from April next year and she stated that this did not need to stop there.  She advised that there was a need to design services based on what patients wanted to ensure that their needs were fully met.  She added that the Health Board had previously somewhat overlooked emotional health and wellbeing and it was important to ensure that the Health Board and the Local Authorities worked together in order to create a consistent approach.

 

The Chairman stated that the Scrutiny Committee had been advised that the Wales Audit Office review into Delayed Transfers of Care had highlighted a lack of capacity in the residential and domiciliary care sectors.  He asked whether this was affected by the fact that there were not any community hospitals in the Health Board’s area.  He queried the Health Board’s plans in relation to Barry Hospital.  In reply Maria Battle stated that the Health Board was looking at a model which was bigger and wider than a community hospital.    An example of the new type of care was being piloted in the C7 Ward at the University Hospital Wales, which, it was hoped, would assist with capacity issues. 

 

A Committee Member queried the sort of strategy that would be developed following the Population Needs Assessment.  Maria Battle stated that a team of professionals was collating and looking at the outcomes of the Population Needs Assessment, which would be reported to the Regional Partnership Board in March and would provide an opportunity to scrutinise the ideas that might emerge.  She added that there was a need to digest and to properly assess the key themes to emerge from the Population Needs Assessment, which would be a challenge.  She stated that if organisations followed an approach which they believed to be right, then most people would be willing to follow.  She advised that more detail would be provided to the Scrutiny Committee at a future date.

 

A Committee Member, in referring to the need to improve the quality of buildings within the Health Board, referred to the state of the Amy Evans Mental Health Unit and whether this was a fair representation of other buildings across the Health Board.  In reply, Maria Battle advised that there were a number of buildings in a similar state as the Amy Evans facility. The Health Board had a programme of capital investment but its budget for these necessary improvements to the ‘Estate’ was relatively small and so further investment required a detailed business case to be made.  With regard to the Amy Evans building, she stated that a lot of discussion was ongoing with one consideration being to move the service to Barry Hospital.  She added that improvements were happening and grant money was being made available to improve the fabric of the building. 

 

The Chairman queried whether there was sufficient funding to meet public health objectives.  In reply, Maria Battle stated that Public Health Wales did not come under the remit of the Cardiff and Vale Health Board, although there was some work by the Heath Board around public health.  She commented that it was important for all public sector organisations, including education and also the Third Sector, to be involved.  The key challenge was in changing people’s behaviour in order that they properly looked after themselves.  She stated that the Health Board had some good public health programmes and she highlighted the Healthy Schools initiative that was conducted during 2015, which was around ensuring children ate properly and were not going hungry.  This was run in partnership with schools and the Local Authority and had now been rolled out across the whole of Wales.  She further advised that the Health Board would not operate on smokers if they did not complete a smoking cessation course, which it was hoped would help change a person’s behaviour as well as improving their chances for recovery.  In summary, she stated that she was a great advocate for public health, but it was important for all public sector agencies to work together to promote healthy lifestyles. 

 

At this point, the Director of Social Services was asked to provide some of his thoughts.  He stated that integration as a whole was moving in the right direction and that, because there was a shared agenda, it was important for solutions to have input from all stakeholders.  He stated that he had concerns with the scale of the challenge; particularly in relation to demand for older people services where there was extreme pressure and so it was important to find a shared solution.  He added that there would be risk for the Council if integration was not carried out on a partnership basis.  He also added that one impact of integration was an increase in demand for domiciliary care and this had put great pressure on Council resources.  It would therefore be right for pooled budgets to be extended and for the need for a clear transformation plan as a result of the outcomes of the Population Needs Assessment.  For him, this would come down to more pooled budgets and shared risks. 

 

In referring to the projected £30m deficit, a Member queried the possible effect this would have on the programme to improve the buildings and facilities of the Health Board.  In reply, Maria Battle stated that it would be short sighted if this was allowed to happen, but the key aspect was the transformation of services as a result of the Variations Programme, which it was hoped would release capacity.  She added that the Health Board’s performance had improved year on year despite facing significant challenges such as an aging population and a rise in complex cases. 

 

Having thanked the Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the key priorities and objectives raised by the Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the comments and advice provided by the Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

 

 

777            REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF MATTER – BARRY HOSPITAL CAR PARK FINES (COUNCILLOR DR. I.J. JOHNSON) –

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson presented his Request for Consideration and advised that recently the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board had introduced car parking fines at Barry Hospital for inappropriate use of parking facilities or being parked in incorrect bays.  The reason given by the Local Health Board for this was that it would manage the car parking availability more effectively and discourage individuals using hospital car parks for non-hospital business. 

 

He added that a number of concerned local residents in the Barry area had contacted him following receipt of fines for what they considered to be routine visits to the hospital, and they were worried by the implications of the charging policy.  He stated that he was concerned by their treatment and that others may not attend hospital appointments as a result of this policy. 

 

He also stated that it would have been helpful to have a representative of the local Health Board at the Scrutiny Committee to explain the evidence base for this proposal and to answer two key questions.  Firstly, in 2008, hospital car parking charges were ended and he wondered whether this was a way of reintroducing them.  Secondly, Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson stated that he wanted to hear the evidence base and for the Committee to have the opportunity to consider the parking policy.  He added that he had been provided with an opportunity to meet with the Health Board officers but felt that, for the purpose of transparency, it was better for his concerns to be discussed in public. 

 

Following this, the Chairman read out a statement provided by Councillor R.J. Bertin.  In his representations, Councillor Bertin stated that he did not believe the motive for the changes was to stop parking by non-users; it was another way of generating income.  Several residents had been in touch with him to express concerns over this NHS policy and he had to agree that the idea was morally wrong.  Be it a parking fee or a fine, he felt that this was just a tax on sick people and that the practice must stop.  The NHS was clearly underfunded, but the onus on meeting funding shortfalls should most certainly not be shouldered by the sick, the injured and the vulnerable as it was plainly wrong.  He therefore fully supported any review that would take place to look at the finer issues and the wider implications. 

 

In response to the Request for Consideration, the Director of Social Services stated that it was not for officers from the Council to justify policy adopted by the Health Board.  He stated that the policy was adopted across the whole of the Health Board area.  Further to these comments, the Head of Adult Services stated that, as Locality Manager, he had been consulted on these proposals beforehand and he had noticed that, since Parking Eye had been put into place, ample parking spaces were now available.  He stated that signs were in place at the hospital to inform service users and that it may be possible for a Health Board report on this to be shared with Members. 

 

A Committee Member, as representative of a local ward, stated that he could not understand the need for the change of the car parking policy at Barry Hospital as the only people using the car park would be hospital patients / visitors.  He added that he felt that there were always spaces available and that we were on the edge of a ‘slippery slope’ if this was adopted as a blanket policy for no reason.

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson stated that a key aspect for him related to the principle and the evidence base for the new parking policy.  He added that he would be happy to see sight of the Health Board’s report if this evidenced the justification for the policy.

 

The Committee agreed that it was unsatisfactory for the Health Board not to have sent an officer to discuss this item and Members agreed for this to be referred to Cabinet in order to request that the Cabinet Member or Leader write to the Health Board.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson’s Request for Consideration in respect of parking fines at Barry Hospital be noted.

 

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

 

(3)       THAT Cabinet notes the grave concerns of the Committee regarding the failure of the Cardiff and University Health Board to provide a representative to explain the rationale and evidence base behind the new parking policy to Members of the Committee.

 

(4)        THAT the Leader or the Cabinet Member for Housing and Social Care and Health be requested to write to the Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board expressing the Council’s grave concerns  regarding the lack of engagement and the unwillingness to provide a representative to set out the Health Board’s case in respect of this item.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To note the concerns of Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson.

 

(2,3 and 4)     In order to raise the Committee’s concerns with the Cabinet and the Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

 

 

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

 

The Operational Manager for Accountancy presented the report, the purpose of which was to advise the Scrutiny Committee of the position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st December, 2016. 

 

In setting the Social Services budget for 2016/17, the use of £970,000 from the Social Services Fund had been approved.

 

The projected outturn for the Social Services Directorate was an adverse variance of £600,000 when compared to the amended budget.

 

A table and graph setting out the variance between profiled budget and actual expenditure to date and the projected position at year end were attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Children and Young People's 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 the Council’s success in significantly reducing the number of children placed in residential care, from an average of 23 in 2014/15 to a current average of 10.  It should however be noted that the number of Looked After Children had increased during the course of the year, placing considerable pressure on the Council’s in-house fostering resources and increasing the Council’s reliance on independent fostering placements.  Given this pressure and the complexity of some of these children, the outturn position could fluctuate with a change in the number of Looked After Children and / or their need for independent fostering or residential placements.

 

Adult Services – It was projected that the Community Care Package budget could outturn with a variance of up to £1 million by year end.  This budget was extremely volatile and had been adversely affected this year 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, however, difficult to predict.  The increase in fee levels was above the level of inflation provided for within the budget.

 

The annual deferred income budget for 2016/17 had been set at £747,000 and as detailed in the report, income received up to the 31st December 2016, was £58,000 above the annual budget.   The Operational Manager for Accountancy was able to advise the Committee that the latest position in relation to deferred income was £191,000 over the annual budget for the year.

 

The projected overspend for care packages currently included a favourable variance of £100,000 relating to deferred income.  It was likely that this income would increase in the last three months of the year and therefore would improve the overall position of the care packages budget.

 

Leisure Services – There was currently an adverse variance of £2,000 to the profiled budgets. The main reason was high repair costs for vehicles during the start of the Grounds Maintenance season.  It was anticipated that this would reduce over the winter months and therefore it was currently projected that the overall budget would outturn on target.

 

 

In relation to the Social Services Programme, the 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

2019/20

330

330

0

186

TOTAL

2,257

2,443

 

 

 

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

 

Within Adult Services, £100,000 of the full year saving generated from the Hafod Homes transfer had been offset against the £300,000 saving for Residential Services.  Currently, there were no other approved plans in place to find the remaining £200,000 of this saving.  Further consideration would have to be given to the way in which the saving could be fully achieved during the year.  With regard to the Care Package Budget Reduction, 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 showed the projected outturn this year for the savings targets for this Committee as a whole.  Leisure Services were reviewing their vehicle requirements and were not anticipating the achievement of the full saving this year.  Also, the saving to be achieved via Bowling Greens would not be achieved this year however discussions were ongoing with various sports clubs.

 

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

 

Southway Electrical Upgrade – This scheme was now complete and it had been requested to carry forward £5,000 to 2017/18 for retention.

 

St. Paul’s Church – At present, the way forward for the property was being determined and a report updating Members would be brought to Cabinet in the near future.  It had therefore been requested that the budget of £233,000 be carried forward into the 2017/18 Capital Programme.

 

Appendix 5 provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes.  From this Appendix, it could be seen that most of the previous year's scheme had now commenced and some were complete.  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 reply to a question regarding the relative numbers of direct payments, the Head of Adult Services stated that information on this would be sent to Members via e-mail.  He advised that approximately £100,000 had been saved this year and somewhere in the region of 10% of social care users would be in receipt of a direct payment.  In detailing how direct payments differed from council commissioned care, he added that this was complex, but in essence was about individuals deciding how best to manage their care budget.  It provided greater choice.   He also added that the Dewis Centre for Independent Living currently provided support to individuals who had chosen the direct payment route. As a general guide, direct payments would be less likely for people with dementia and reduced mental capacity and more likely for those with longer term care needs and the ability to oversee their care needs.  Going forward, it was planned that the use of direct payments would increase, but there would always be individuals whose care needs would be managed by the Local Authority.

 

The Chairman queried progress in relation to the commissioning of outcome based domiciliary care.  In reply, the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that it was still at an early stage but that positive feedback had been provided by service users.  She added that the intent of the new approach would be to achieve savings and it would also allow greater flexibility around how domiciliary care was provided to individuals.

 

A Committee Member queried progress regarding savings around Council Bowling Greens.  In reply, the Operational Manager – Leisure stated that one Community Asset Transfer had progressed to Stage 2 and it was hoped that further proposals would come forward during the summer.

 

In referring to saving project C11 around foster carers, the Chairman noted that four foster carers had been recruited which would be short of the year’s target of eight.  In reply, the Head of Children and Young People Services confirmed this was the case and confirmed that a number of assessments that has started had not concluded due to prospective carers withdrawing from the process.  It also follows a reduction in the number of carers being recruited last year; six against a target of eight, which reflects national challenges in recruitment.  In relation to this the Director of Social Services added that, looking at the evidence, there has been a reduction in the number of placements across Wales, which was why the National Fostering Framework was being developed.

 

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 noted and referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2016/17 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to the Committee.

 

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

 

 

779            YOUNG CARERS: ANNUAL UPDATE REPORT (DSS) –

 

The Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation presented the report, the purpose of which was to update the Scrutiny Committee on support services for young carers.  For this item, the Committee also welcomed the Team Manager – Innovation and Information. 

 

Young Carers are defined as children and young people under the age of 18 who have caring responsibilities for someone who has a physical or mental illness, a physical or learning disability, or a drug or alcohol problem.  Carers aged 18 to 25 are often referred to as young adult carers.

 

During 2015/16 reports showed that 50 young carers accessed the Project (although numbers fluctuated), 15 of these received one to one support in the home.  22 young carers gained skills and a certificate by attending a sailing residential course.  Evaluations show that 87% of recipients gave positive feedback in relation to the informal respite.

 

In the quarter ending 31st December, 2016, 49 young carers attended the Project and 31 respite opportunities were accessed.  1 to 1 support was provided to two young carers, which in the main related to emotional wellbeing.  The RBA report for the month end showed 36 individuals accessed at least one activity per month and the activities offered rated as 95% positively received.

 

Under the auspices of the former Carers (Wales) Strategy Measure, staff from Social Services and the Health Board had started work with youth engagement workers from both the Vale and Cardiff, along with Cardiff YMCA, to consult with young carers.  The purpose was to identify the information and support needs of young carers.

 

Twelve young people volunteered to be involved in the planning of a wider consultation, to include preparing and delivering a questionnaire, followed by an information event and workshop to identify outcomes for statutory services to consider.  The survey of young carers known to the YMCA and Action for Children achieved 102 responses from a potential 210 respondents and 45 young carers attended the “Speak Out” event.

 

The “Speak Out” event consisted of a series of creative data-generation workshops that provided the opportunity for the young carers to give their opinions and relate their personal experiences.  This was combined with an information market place where the young people found out about support available and sample activities such as healthy cooking and first aid.  Entertainment was provided in the form of live music and a play area (for younger children) and a photobooth.

 

Analysis of the survey and workshops was undertaken by Cascade, the Children's social care research and development centre at Cardiff University.  The report was made available at the end of April 2016 for consideration by the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Councils and University Health Board (Appendix 1).

 

Subsequently, meetings had been held to bring together interested parties for the purpose of considering what the Council could do to meet the recommendations arising from the report.

 

A working group was convened including representatives from social services, health, safeguarding, youth work and Third Sector organisations working with young carers.  This working group was currently finalising a work plan outlining how the recommendations would be achieved.  These 16 proposals would be discussed with young carers, seeking their views as to whether the proposed actions would meet the outcomes they had identified through this work.

 

Possible actions included the development of a young carer’s card and the development of age appropriate information.  A second meeting of the reconfigured Young Carers group had been held on 12th January, 2017, looking at the outcomes from the Carers Consultation.  An action plan was being drafted and would be presented to the group for sign off by the end of January.

 

In regard to the young carers card specifically, it was agreed that a Task and Finish Group would meet before the end of February to put together a more detailed plan for implementation.  This would oversee a phased introduction of a (voluntary) ID card.  The working group would consist of safeguarding leads from Cardiff and the Vale, the Vale Youth Participation Officer, a member of the Patient Experience Team (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board) and a Cardiff YMCA representative.  Some initial considerations of the Task and Finish Group would include agreed criteria, design and production and whether there needed to be different cards for different age groups – this would be a short term piece of work. 

 

Longer term goals for this initiative included identifying and negotiating “benefits” to link to the card, incentives for young carers to sign up to having such a card, awareness / recognition of card (who and why), ongoing maintenance of the systems and administration, renewal process (annually etc.).

 

A young carer had been invited to speak at the Vale Youth Forum AGM to talk about their own situation and the impact of caring.  The presentation raised awareness amongst the young people attending and had informed the Youth Forum Action Plan for 2017/18.

 

The suggestion to introduce a card, to identify a young carer to staff and officers they come into contact with, initiated from the Youth Forum presentation and was included in the draft work plan of the Young Carers Working Group.  The original idea from the Youth Forum was to use the card to identify a young carer in a school setting if, for example, a carer was late due to their caring role or was unable to meet other deadlines such as for homework.  A need for emergency travel in circumstances where the cared for was hospitalised was also highlighted as a potential use.

 

Discussion at the Working Group identified other situations where a Young Carer identification card could be used, for example when prescriptions were collected from the Pharmacy and to assist in the sharing of information during the transition between Primary and Secondary School.  The Working Group would look into the feasibility of all these suggestions, and continue working closely with the Youth Forum.

 

The Welsh Government had made available Transitional Funding of £10,776 for young carers in 2016/17, with an equal amount in 2017/18, which was enabling the Council to deliver some of the actions in the final work plan.

 

This funding had been provided to support:

 

  • Strengthening of the partnership approach at a local level;
  • Creating opportunities to enable the Third Sector to fully participate in the delivery;
  • Setting out how the Council intended to plan and deliver the increased responsibilities for health and the new responsibilities for Local Authorities;
  • Ensuring transitional funding was used as the means to embed the practice of mainstreaming carers’ needs, so it was common practice.

 

The Transitional Funding had been used to finance Carers Trust South East Wales to introduce a Young Carers Accreditation Scheme to secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The scheme aimed to raise awareness of young carers within education settings and provide additional information and support.  It was encouraging to note that there had been an excellent response to approaches from Carers Trust, with nearly all Vale of Glamorgan Secondary schools replying to a survey on existing support and five indicating their interest in participation in the Accreditation.

 

Transitional Funding for the next financial year would be used to support Vale of Glamorgan Secondary schools to achieve the award and look to extend the scheme to primary schools.

 

One of the stated purposes of the Transitional Funding is that it was used as a means to embed the practice of mainstreaming carers’ needs, so it was common practice.  Sustainability had therefore been an integral consideration in all young carers’ initiatives utilising this funding.

 

Young Carers were also benefitting from the new Carers Support Officer (CSO) role in Children and Young People Services.  A part-time CSO had commenced work to provide support to both Parent Carers and Young Carers in respect of their information and assessment needs.  To date 11 young carers had been assessed, which was a significant improvement from previous years.  Work was ongoing to ensure young carers were identified, referred and assessed appropriately for the targeted information and support the Council had in place and signposted to community information, services and support.

 

The Chairman queried whether the service had been able to reach the majority of young carers in the Vale of Glamorgan.  In reply, the Team Manager (Innovation and Information) stated that this was difficult to tell but figures from the latest census showed that, on a national basis, one in twelve of the school population was a young carer.  A school survey conducted showed that the number of young carers was being under-reported but it was important to recognise that some children would not choose to be known as a young carer.  The current approach was to raise awareness, particularly within schools and among teachers and adults, about the impact of the caring role on young children and the need for proper support to be made available.  This was being progressed in a number of ways which included the Carers Trust -South East Wales scheme rolling out an accreditation system which was being targeted within schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.  Another area of work was related to the level of information available to young carers and the means by which they would be signposted to support services.  For this, the key aspect was partnership working and creating a joint and consistent approach, as well as identifying individual approaches that could help.

 

In referring to the recommendations within the Cascade Report on page 36 of the Appendix, the Chairman queried whether it was the intent for these recommendations to be implemented.  In reply, the Team Manager (Innovation and Information) stated that no judgement on this had yet been made but the report by Cascade would be shared widely across the Vale of Glamorgan and so various networks would be aware of the recommendations. 

 

A Committee Member, referring to the one in twelve of the school population who could be regarded as a young carer, stated that on average this would be between 75 to 100 children at a secondary school.  He queried whether the £11,000 provided by Welsh Government was sufficient to meet the demands of the service.  In reply, the Team Manager stated that the service hoped to build on what it currently had in place and had been quite successful in doing so.  The key aim was to make staff aware of the issues and she referred to the role of welfare officers in schools who would be able to identify specific trigger points.  She added that some young carers would openly divulge their carer’s role while some were more reluctant to seek help and support.  She also stated that some children would declare their role as a carer when in primary school; whilst it had also been identified that many older children in secondary school would be more reluctant to come forward.  The Committee also noted that the school information management system had been updated in order to better capture information on young carers. 

 

The Committee asked for an update in relation to the consultation that was being undertaken with the Cardiff and Vale Youth Forum.  In reply, Members were advised that the Cascade Report had been translated to make it young person friendly and had been shared at the Young Carers Awareness Day.  From this, an action plan which included 20 recommendations had been devised, although this had yet to be finalised. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the work undertaken to support young carers in the Vale of

Glamorgan be noted.

 

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

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that Members continued to exercise effective oversight of an important function undertaken by the Social Services Directorate.

 

(2)       At the request of the former Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) to receive the report on an annual basis.

 

 

780            CORPORATE SAFEGUARDING UPDATE (REF) –

 

On 23rd January, 2017, Cabinet had received a report on the work being carried out to ensure the Council had effective corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults who required specific Council services. 

 

The Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation presented the Cabinet report which advised that the Corporate Safeguarding Working Group was established in the Vale of Glamorgan to act on the recommendations from a joint Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and Estyn report in 2011, which followed an investigation into the way Pembrokeshire County Council was managing allegations of professional abuse and its arrangements for safeguarding and protection children in education.  The Group’s work focused on ensuring effective corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults across the Vale.

 

In addition, the Council’s Safer Recruitment Policy had been in place since April 2013.  It had been adopted across all Directorates and schools.  As a consequence, there had been sustained and ongoing improvements across the Council.

 

Appendix 1 to the attached report provided an update on safeguarding within the Vale of Glamorgan that outlined the wide range of work undertaken collectively by the Council and within each Directorate.  It was designed to help ensure greater transparency and accountability as well as a more holistic picture.

 

The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 came into effect in April 2016 and had brought about significant changes.  For example, there was a new duty on relevant partners to report to a Local Authority if it was suspected that an adult was an adult at risk.  The Act also imposed a duty on a Local Authority to report to another Local Authority if an adult suspected of being an adult at risk was living in or moving to another area.  Revisions to the corporate Safeguarding Policy were being made to ensure that staff were informed about requirements set out in the new statutory framework.

 

Welsh Government was issuing a compendium of the statutory guidance under the common heading “Working Together to Safeguard People”.  The report advised that some volumes of guidance had been published: Volume 1 (Introduction and Overview), Volume 2 (Child Practice Reviews), Volume 3 (Adult Practice reviews) and Volume 4 (Adult Protection and Support Orders).  Volumes 5 and 6 (Handling Individual Cases) would replace guidance which was outdated.  These volumes would be subject to a formal consultation in January and February.

 

The Chairman, in referring to page 5 of Appendix 1 and information related to protection of vulnerable adults (POVA), felt that it would be more useful if more information was presented regarding outcomes around the vulnerable adults and the alleged perpetrators.  In reply, the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that the number of referrals received was always higher than the number of cases eligible under the POVA guidelines.  It was important to recognise that all referrals would have a case management plan in place which would detail how the risks for each individual would be managed.  The Committee was also advised that information regarding outcomes could be provided in the next update report.  Furthermore, the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that the definition of “vulnerable adult” was changing to “an adult at risk” so it was likely that the performance measures would be different to those currently collected.  In relation to this point, the Director of Social Services added that there was currently a transition between two systems, with the POVA definition now amended by the Social Services and Well-being Act.  In the past, the Council was able to show that the risk was managed in 100% of cases, although it was fair to say that the Council was not able to indicate if previous risks re-emerged.  He also added that, as a consequence of the new system, the reporting of referrals would be on a similar basis to child safeguarding which had taken many years to develop.  This area of work continues to evolve.

 

A Committee Member queried whether, for vulnerable adults, there was any correlation between the gender distribution and the age of alleged victims.  In reply, the Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that the information provided came directly from referrals and was open to interpretation.  She added that more females who lived alone and of an older age would be referred and that many environmental and individual factors interact.  She also advised that the ways that agencies shared information was still in its infancy, but the aim was to create a similar approach to that which existed around child safeguarding.  In addition, the Director of Social Services stated that this was a similar dilemma to other parts of Wales and this could be something for the Adult Safeguarding Board to consider. 

 

In referring to child sexual exploitation, detailed on page 4 of the Appendix, a Committee Member sought reassurance that concerns raised by local Councillors were being dealt with in the correct manner.  In reply, the Director of Social Services stated that reassurance would come from the appropriate tracking of children and the disruption of suspected perpetrators.  This was an area where South Wales Police was developing a good track record.  He commented that dialogue with South Wales Police had indicated that, in the Vale, there were no known high areas of risk as seen within other parts of Wales.  South Wales Police would closely monitor areas where vulnerable young people or perpetrators might congregate.  He also added that other safeguarding systems were in place, such as cases of missing children who would be interviewed by Barnardo’s.  In summary, the Director stated that despite reassurances from South Wales Police that systems were operating to good effect, it was important for the Council not to be complacent.

 

In conclusion, the Chairman stated that this was a very useful report which brought together all the important areas of the Council’s work on safeguarding into one document.

 

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

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure that the Committee is aware of recent developments in corporate arrangements for safeguarding.