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CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 11th June, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor N. Moore (Chairman); Councillor S.C. Egan (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. B.E. Brooks, L. Burnett, R.F. Curtis, C.P.J. Elmore and G. John.

 

Also present: Councillors C.P. Franks, K. Hatton and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.

 

 

C1734                        MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 30th May, 2012 be approved as a correct record subject to an amendment to Cabinet Minute No. C1729 Appointment to Outside Bodies / Joint Committees with Councillor Mrs. C. Curtis being nominated as the Council’s representative on the Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales: Council and not the Cabinet Member (Environment and Visible Services) as indicated in the minute.

 

 

C1735                        DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

C1736                        CARDIFF BAY ADVISORY COMMITTEE -

 

The following minutes of a meeting held on 15th March, 2012 were submitted:

 

Present:

 

Mrs. C. Dimond (Vice-Chairman)

CardiffFlood Action Committee

Mr. J. Harrison

Environment Agency Wales

Mrs. S. Newbold

British Marine Federation / CBYC / RYA

Mr. S. Jones

Quay Marinas Ltd.

 

Also present:

 

Mr. S. Howell

CardiffHarbourAuthority

Mr. C. Rees

Environment Agency Wales

Mr. C. Hope

Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

 

(a)       Apologies for Absence -

 

These were received from Councillor P. Church (Chairman), Dr. S. Howard (Countryside Council for Wales),  Mr. P. Barry (Cardiff Yacht Club) and Councillor N. Howells (Cardiff City Council).

 

 

(b)       Minutes -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 18th January, 2012 be accepted as a correct record.

 

 

(c)        Progress Update - Cardiff Harbour Authority - Mr. Simon Howell -

 

Mr. Howell, Operational Manager for the Harbour Authority, apprised the Committee on the following matters:

 

There had been no water quality issues since the last meeting, with low rainfall and relatively small accumulations of debris over this period.  The barrage fishpass and lock gates had returned to normal operation after the planned maintenance programmes had been completed.

 

The dredging of the outer harbour would be completed next week which was the final campaign under the current three year contract.  Tenders were currently being sought for the next contract which may extend for up to five years.

 

The water bus landing at the BBC / Dr Who site was currently under construction.  This would be piled next week and the former Cardiff Yacht Club beach area had also been cleaned up as part of the works.

 

The Taff erosion repair contract downstream of Wood Street water bus stop had recently been completed and works on the access steps at Pont y Werin had commenced on site.  This scheme included some landscaping of the embankment and a temporary extension of the footpath through this area that was being funded by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

 

Several enquiries had been received from commercial boat operators to develop new activities in Cardiff Bay over the past few months.  The operator of HMS 69 had acquired a larger replacement vessel, the Dorset Belle, that could take up to around 130 passengers and they intended to operate coastal cruises as well as trips within Cardiff Bay this year.

 

PenarthMarina lock gates were due to be closed for maintenance between 19th and 30th March and a notice had been issued to mariners about this to assist Quay Marinas with the dissemination of this information.

 

 

(d)       Navigational Safety Issues -

 

South WalesFire and Rescue had ordered their vessel and should receive this in the next month.  Following trials this should be operational and berthed within Cardiff Bay from July.  The RNLI were carrying out trials and a decision on whether to site one of their vessels in the Bay should be made shortly.

 

One of Cardiff Sea Safaris’ vessels caught fire and sank in Cardiff Marina recently.  Although this was outside the controlled area it highlighted the type of incident that could occur with vessels in the area and further information on the likely cause was awaited.

 

There was a large abandoned vessel in Cardiff Bay for which efforts were being made to remove as it was in a relatively poor condition and had no confirmed owner.  The appropriate legal notices were being progressed and it was hoped to remove the vessel within the next few weeks.

 

 

(e)       Verbal Update - Environment Agency Wales Fishery Interests -

 

Development of Bay Fish Populations Since Impoundment in 2000

 

The Bay was populated by downstream drifting coarse fish fry in the first Spring after impoundment.  Drift is a natural phenomenon and, interestingly, indicates the natural extent of drift to estuaries and therefore lost coarse fish production that was occurring before impoundment and still occurs in other rivers.  It was a natural phenomenon.

 

Very high populations of chub fry were evident in the first year and since then the balance of species has shifted to roach.

 

The first year’s input of fry in 2000 would have matured in about 2003 and from then the Bay stock would have added to the annual fry production.

 

The development of the Bay fish population had been monitored with annual hydro acoustic surveys. These reveal the distribution of fish in the Bay and their relative abundance with some information on fish sizes.  This had shown a stock of fish developing towards carrying capacity for the Bay - but it was not yet there.

 

Species present include those expected: roach, chub, perch, bream, carp, tench, but also unusual species for a large impoundment including grayling and barbel.  There was also increasing evidence of pike, the size of which indicate possible unauthorised introduction. Also present are migratory fish that have entered the bay from the sea: salmon, sea trout, eel and sea lamprey, all of which migrate through the Bay into the rivers Taff and Ely.  Some estuarine fish also enter the Bay each year: mullet and flounder.

 

Studies into Salmon and Sea Trout Populations

 

Development of the Barrage threatened the recovery of the Taff and Ely salmon and sea trout populations from extinction.

 

This was important as the whole future of the environment of the Taff and Ely was at stake.  Consequently a programme of monitoring of impact and mitigation of damage was agreed between the Development Corporation and the National Rivers Authority (and transferred to their successor bodies, Cardiff Harbour Authority and Environment Agency Wales).  This was implemented in 1990 and continued until 2007 - the timescale being determined by the timescale of construction and early establishment of the freshwater Bay environment.

 

Monitoring consisted of: stocking of tagged salmon smolts and quantification of their rate of return; trapping of adult salmon and sea trout entering the Taff, acoustic (marine environment) and radio (freshwater) tracking of tagged adult salon to investigate the mechanism of impact of the Barrage and Bay on migrations.

 

The conclusion of the study was that the Barrage was reducing the proportion of salmon that were able to enter the Taff. However a previously unknown phenomenon of failed estuary passage, and probably mortality, of salmon was also detected and has since been verified in studies elsewhere.  The conclusion was that although the Barrage was having an effect, this was not at a scale that would prevent the ongoing recovery of the salmon and sea trout populations of the river.

 

During this period , work was undertaken with Cardiff Harbour Authority on a range of matters including optimisation of the Barrage fish pass operations; fish counter development (a specific requirement of the Cardiff Bay Barrage Act 1993); impact assessment of a range of bayside developments; water quality management to manage potential impact on salmonids, etc.

 

The outcome of the study was that a legal mitigation commitment was triggered to correct for the damage to the salmon and sea trout populations.  Working closely with Cardiff Harbour Authority, a cheaper mitigating solution was devised that would deliver environmental improvements for all species of fish in the Taff and Ely catchments.  This included a substantial programme of fish pass construction and river habitat improvements that was currently ongoing, together with continued stock assessment to demonstrate the outcomes of this.

 

The current position was that the run of salmon and sea trout was now in the order of 300 and 300 respectively and the trend was one of increased numbers.  The work in the catchment meant that the fish can now reach their traditional spawning areas, last used in the 19th or 18th centuries, where they were now spawning successfully again.  The recovery of the river and its indigenous fish populations was therefore well underway.

 

New developments included:

 

-                      Countryside Council for Wales were proposing a new hydropower scheme with a much improved collaborately funded new fish pass at Radyr Weir

-                      improvements to fish migration at weirs at Merthyr Vale and Fiddlers Elbow

-                      close working relationship with South East Wales Rivers Trust on river habitat improvement schemes.

 

 

(f)         Progress Update - Environment Agency Wales – Mr. J. Harrison -

 

Mr. Harrison advised of a change to legislation which means the Welsh Government will now consider CHA dredging applications in the harbour entrance in the Estuary. 

 

Drought Orders had been imposed elsewhere in the country, but the reservoirs in Wales were quite full so no Drought Orders were anticipated as yet. 

 

A waste operation business on the Upper Ely River had been served a Notice requiring it to reduce pollution levels by improving its site drainage.  The business was now under new ownership and the owners had given an assurance that they would comply with the Notice. 

 

The Welsh Government’s Green Paper “Sustaining a Living Wales” was currently subject to consultation.  Mr. Harrison offered to provide a presentation to a future meeting of the Advisory Committee.  The Green Paper contained a whole host of new proposals and an emphasis on the use of natural resources for Communities and how the environment could be protected for future generations. 

 

 

(g)               Timetable of Meetings-

 

The report detailed suggested dates for future meetings of the Committee as detailed below:

 

DATE

VENUE

 

Wednesday, 19th September, 2012 at 5.15 p.m.

 

CardiffBay HarbourAuthority Offices

 

Wednesday, 21st November, 2012 at 5.15 p.m.

 

Ditto

 

Wednesday, 16th January, 2013 at 5.15 p.m.

 

Ditto

 

Wednesday, 13th March, 2013 at 5.15 p.m.

 

Ditto

 

Wednesday, 5th June, 2013 at 5.15 p.m. (Annual Meeting)

 

Ditto

 

AGREED – T H A T the Timetable of Meetings as detailed above be approved.

 

 

(h)       Information Report – Cardiff Tourism Strategy Update (Cardiff Destination Action Plan) -

 

The report had been presented to the Executive of Cardiff Council on 8th March 2012 with approval being sought for the Cardiff Destination Action Plan to be an aid to the delivery of Cardiff’s objective of becoming a world class visitor destination.

 

AGREED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

 

(i)         Date of Next Meeting -

 

AGREED – T H A T the next meeting be held on Wednesday, 6th June, 2012 at 5.00 p.m. in the Cardiff Harbour Authority Offices.

 

---------------

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having regard to the views expressed.

 

 

C1737                        MICROSOFT SOFTWARE LICENCING (L) (SCRUTINY – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

The Council had previously bought Microsoft products via a standard select agreement for the past 10 years or so.  The current corporate desktop standard was Windows XP as the operating system and Microsoft Office 2003. 

 

Microsoft had confirmed that both these products would become unsupported within the next 12 months and the various security policies that the Council subscribes to such as the Government Connect Secure Xtranet (GCSx) did not permit the installation of unsupported software as this would lead to a serous breach of security.  It was noted that no further security or other patches or upgrades for this software would be made available once it became unsupported. 

 

The Council’s ICT Strategy promoted the new corporate desktop standard as Windows 7 as the operating system and Office 2010 and as the existing software would become unsupported the Council had no choice but to move to the new standard.  Although the Council’s ICT strategy proposed a move towards Windows 7 and Office 2010 the next versions Windows 8 and Office 2015 were already in testing by Microsoft and scheduled for release next year.  If the Council remained on its current select agreement it would have to upgrade again to the latest version when the current one became unsupported.  It was noted that Microsoft had moved to a policy of supporting only the current version and the previous one.

 

Detailed within the appendix to the report were five main options to procure Microsoft licences all of which attracted different pricing and benefits.  The tender had asked suppliers to provide costs and to clearly outline the pros and cons of each option and the Council had advertised a tender through the Government Procurement Services Framework Agreement which was for a three year period.

 

It was noted that Microsoft had recently announced a price increase in the region of 25% that would come into effect as of 1st July 2012 however this had largely been negated by a re-negotiation of the Public Sector Licencing Agreement, but this would still result in a 1% or 2% rise in licence costs.  As Microsoft’s financial year ended at 30th June it was the most opportune time to purchase from them as they would be keen to win businesses within the current financial year.  Therefore, it was the intention to complete the procurement exercise prior to the end of the June 2012.  The tender included a quality assessment of any value added services that the supplier could provide such as assistance with implementation, training, after sales support, etc.  The cost / quality ratio had been set at 70 / 30. 

 

This matter was for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Finance, ICT and Property in consultation with the Leader to award the tender to the winning supplier for the supply of Microsoft Software.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report be presented to Cabinet on the outcome of the award of the contract.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To allow the award of the contract and to have an appropriate contract in place for cost effective supply of Microsoft Licencing.

 

(2)       To apprise the Cabinet on the details of the award of the related contract.

 

 

C1738                        EVENT DEED OF GRANTS 2012 – 2015 (LPCSD) (SCRUTINY – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought to use the devolved Events Grants budget for the proposed Event Deed of Grants for the above period to support the undermentioned events:

 

 

 

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

Cowbridge Food Festival

£2,500

£2,500

£2,500

Tall Ship Youth Trust

£10,000

£10,000

(TBC)

£10,000

(TBC)

Vale of Glamorgan Show

£2,500

£2,500

£2,500

Rotary Barry Fireworks

£3,000

£3,000

£3,000

Penarth Bonfire Night

£3,000

£3,000

£3,000

Barry Transport Festival

£1,500

£1,500

£1,500

Totals

£22,500

£22,500

£22,500

 

In commenting on the report the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development proposed that the award of grant funding be deferred in respect of all the organisations with the exception of the Vale of Glamorgan Show and the Barry Transport Festival, with the grant being awarded for one year i.e. 2012/13.  He requested that a further report be presented detailing financial information in respect of those organisations referred to in the report, including a review of funding streams that could be accessed by these organisations.

 

It was noted that the budget for devolved Event Grants was only £31,000 per annum and the remainder of £8,500 per annum within the budget would be used to support new events.  No additional funding would be available for this budget and it was anticipated that should new applications be received that were deemed more beneficial than those presently supported, it was possible that some existing events would have their funding reduced.

 

This matter was for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the applications contained within the Event Deed of Grants programme as set out in paragraph 6 of the report for the period 2012 – 2015 be deferred with the exception of the Vale of Glamorgan Show and the Barry Transport Festival with the grant amount of £2,500 and £1,500 respectively awarded for 2012/13 period only.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report detailing all relevant financial information on those organisations detailed in the report, including a review of funding streams available to the same, be presented to Cabinet.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To award the Event Deed of Grants for a further three years 2012 – 2015.

 

(2)       To review grants awarded to organisations and to assess other opportunities available.

 

 

C1739                        DRAFT SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING GUIDANCE (SPG) ON UPPER HOLTON ROAD – RESPONSE TO PUBLIC CONSULTATION (BIREDPT) (SCRUTINY – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

The above draft SPG had been previously approved by the former Cabinet for public consultation at its meeting held on 16th November 2011 (Minute No. C1521 refers).  Following this approval, a 10 week public consultation exercise had been undertaken between 4th January 2012 and 14th March 2012, in accordance with the Council’s protocol for consultation on SPGs.

 

The SPG sought to establish specific design guidelines for the future development of the Upper Holton Road local centre as well as influencing the pattern of land uses within the stated area.  With regard to influencing land issues, the draft SPG also responded to the recommendations of the Vale of Glamorgan Town and District Retail Centre by identifying a core retail area in which it was deemed prudent to consolidate retail activity.  The consultation exercise had resulted in 21 responses which came from a range of consultees including business owners, the Town Council, a housing association and an environmental organisation.  The consultation produced a mainly supportive response with some objections and a summary of all responses was detailed in Appendix A to the report. 

 

In regard to the objections received, these related to issues involving the use of financial assistance to improve the condition of commercial properties at the above location and these had been passed on for consideration of the relevant officer dealing with a separate but related consultation exercise which had been running simultaneously.  It has been acknowledged that this had created some confusion in responding to the appropriate consultation.

 

Having regard to the responses received, it was recommended that the text of the document be changed to include some background context of how the guidance should complement the existing regeneration works already taking place within the Castleland Ward.  Additionally, it was further recommended that the text of the document be changed to more explicitly highlighting that as the area was being promoted for more residential uses, the introduction of further A3 uses were likely to be resisted.  Meanwhile, the section of the SPG which discussed the Local Development Plan should also be updated to reflect the current position of the Local Development Plan process.

 

This matter was for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

T H A T subject to consultation with the Council’s Planning Committee and Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment):

 

(1)       The findings of the public consultation exercise be noted and the consultation responses framed within Appendix A to the report be endorsed.

 

(2)       The Upper Holton Road SPG as set out in Appendix B to the report be amended and approved for development control purposes.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To inform Members about the consultation responses and to ensure respondents were made aware of the Council’s response to their representation.

 

(2)       To allow the SPG to be considered in the determination of any future planning applications.

 

 

C1740                        SOCIAL SERVICES BUDGET PROGRAMME (L AND SCH(A)LLL AND SCH(C)S) (SCRUTINY – SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

The report sought to apprise the Cabinet of related matters which encompassed historical factors which included legislative changes, demand led growth and the Directorate’s efficiency savings targets. 

 

In an effort to balance the above competing priorities, managing service demands, improving service quality, meeting higher expectations and reducing expenditure had been problematic in situations were safeguarding people from harm had to be a key factor in decision making.

 

At the time of the 2012/13 budget being drafted it was estimated that there was an underlying overspend of £3,220,000 to be recovered in future years.  This included an assumption that the Welsh Government would fund all the costs relating to the First Steps Implementation Package currently estimated at £1,776,000 (of which only £373,000 had been funded by Welsh Government to date). 

 

Having regard to the challenges outlined above, it was essential to have in place a coherent strategy for securing financial stability and resources available and consequently on 16th November 2012 the Council’s previous Cabinet had approved a report of the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Social and Care Services outlining the serious overspend and pressures on the Social Services budget.  That report at the time contained details of the urgent actions being taken to tackle the factors which produced the overspend in the form of a Budget Recovery Plan and identified the need for effective project management arrangements to be established.  Proposals from the November 2011 report had been reviewed and where they would realise quantifiable savings they had been included in the Budget Programme Plan as detailed in Appendix A to the report.

 

Since that time, the following actions had been undertaken under the following headings:

 

·                    initiated a programme to manage and monitor the Directorate’s overspend and corporate savings targets

·                    establish the up to date financial position of the Directorate and set clear targets for savings for the four years 2012/13 to 2015/16

·                    review all initial proposals for 2012/13 from the November 2011 Cabinet report to ensure savings were quantifiable, realistic, achievable and time bound

·                    develop and implement key financial and non-financial management information systems

·                    initiate projects to reduce the most significant cost pressures (placements for Looked After Children and Adult Services care packages (notably domiciliary))

·                    communicate the status of the Directorate’s budget with key stakeholders.

 

Taking account of the above matters a shortfall of £4,502,000 remained for the programme overall.  In order to finalise the Plan a review of projects in the November 2011 Cabinet report for 2013/14 to 2015/16 would be undertaken to ensure each was quantifiable, realistic, achievable and time bound.  It was also vital that projects were initiated in time to realise savings when they were due to do so.  The nature of projects to address savings targets in 2013/14 (such as the continuation of the review of residential services and learning disability day and respite services) was more complex and required longer lead in times.  These projects would need cross-council project teams and commitment to deliver.

 

Proposals to meet the savings targets for 2013/14 would need to be reviewed and agreed by the Programme Board by September 2012 with the proposals to meet 2014/15 and 2015/16 targets agreed no later than January 2013.

 

The use of management information being provided to team managers would be a key monitoring tool to ascertain that savings were being achieved and to ensure robust financial management.  Processes for reporting and escalating risks and issues would be further developed as the Programme progressed. 

 

As the Programme continued, the Programme would:

 

·                    continue to identify projects and opportunities for further savings

·                    reset the savings targets, based on future cost pressures and corporate savings targets from the next Medium Term Financial Plan as appropriate

·                    continue to monitor progress against the Programme Plan

·                    in the 2012/13 Audit Plan, allocate in excess of one FTE of audit time to the Directorate, a proportion of which would be used to measure objectively the performance of the Programme.

 

In referring to the matter the Leader and Deputy Leader acknowledged that the actions contained within the body of the report were the legacy of the previous administration and both had lingering concerns regarding the potential impact on service provision.  Accordingly, both proposed that the report be deferred to allow the Cabinet to be apprised of all relevant information before any further consideration on the subject matter could proceed.  The Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health (Children) and Schools echoed their comments.

 

This matter was for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T consideration of the matter be deferred pending the submission of a further detailed report (including financial information) being submitted to Cabinet setting out the rationale supporting the proposals contained within the previous administration’s Social Services Budget Programme.

 

Reason for decision

 

To allow further and appropriate consideration of the details supporting the above Budget Programme.

 

 

C1741                        IMPACT OF THE SOCIAL CARE CHARGES (WALES) MEASURE 2010 AND THE FIRST STEPS TO IMPROVEMENT REQUIREMENTS (L AND SCH(A)LLL) (SCRUTINY - SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

The Cabinet was apprised of the financial impact of implementing the above policy in respect of charging for non-residential social care services in the period 2011/12. 

 

The above Measure gave Local Authorities in Wales a discretionary power to impose a reasonable charge upon adult recipients of non-residential care services.  The WG was provided with authority to determine the maximum charge any service user could be asked to pay and were introduced to address concerns expressed by some stakeholders that, because of significant differences in Local Authority policies, charges for services varied considerably across Wales according to where an individual was living.  There followed a period of dialogue between the WG and Local Authorities to examine the likely consequences of introducing a charging cap, especially regarding reimbursement for lost income.  In January 2011, before implementation of a proposed £50 cap, Local Authorities were asked to provide information regarding the number of people in receipt of non-residential social care for a particular week of their choice.  The Council chose a week in August 2010, where there were 930 service users, 497 were paying charges, of whom 148 were identified as being charged more than £50 per week.  Calculations were made on the basis of 2009 charging policies and it identified that the potential income foregone was £208,000.  The WG was aware that this exercise did not include any provision for the possible impact of any cap upon numbers of services users and their take up of services;  these factors were not built into the model used.  The total for all Local Authorities was £10.1m. and the WG decided to allocate this via the Revenue Support Grant (RSG), with the expectation that the actual impact for each Local Authority would be monitored closely.

 

The First Steps to Improvement requirements imposed the £50 cap in advance of the pending National Assembly elections taking effect on 11th April 2011 and the relevant Regulations were only published after the event.  The allocation of funding was based on the Relative Needs Formula and, to meet the income foregone or additional cost incurred as a result of implementing the new policy, the Vale of Glamorgan received £373,000 in its RSG for the financial year 2011/12. 

 

It was the opinion of officers that using the Relative Needs Formula to distribute the First Steps to Improvement Grant within the RSG was flawed.  It contained indicators of need under three main categories namely: Main Client Group, Population Dispersion and Deprivation.  However, it was unlikely that the Deprivation factor would have  a bearing on the impact of the £50 cap, given that the highest impact on Local Authorities was likely to result from the emergence of more affluent service users who previously would have funded care themselves.  Any decision by the WG to continue using the formula on the existing basis for distributing First Steps to Improvement grants would be to the detriment of some Local Authorities, including the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Since the implementation of the above grant regime the WG had been monitoring the impact of the new legislation and current Regulations.  An initial half year monitoring report, involving a very detailed analysis, was submitted by all Local Authorities in November 2011.  This estimated that the additional annual cost to this Council was £1.396m.  Having regard to this information the WG asked officers of the Council to undertake further work with the assistance of Internal Audit to verify the figures.  This resulted in a small number of alterations to the claim form and a revised figure to meet the cost of implementation that was approximately £650,000 more than the grant received. 

 

Information obtained by Council officers in November 2011 through surveying other Local Authorities identified that:

 

·                    some had experienced a decrease in their original estimate of income foregone

·                    the majority were estimating a slight increase of between £10,000 and £200,000

·                    a small number identified an increase between £300,000 and £400,000 similar to this Council but these Authorities did not have a maximum charge previously.

 

In view of the considerable overspend produced as a consequence of implementing the above changing Regulations and policy, the former Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health raised the matter with the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services on a number of occasions.  In meetings with the Director of Social Services, Welsh Government officials reported that they were unable to act without end year figures for all Local Authorities. 

 

The deadline for submitting final returns for the financial year 2011/12 was 16th May 2012.  The Social Services Directorate had worked closely with officers from the Council’s Finance and Internal Audit Divisions in producing figures for the Council.  The impact in the Vale of Glamorgan had increased still further with a total foregone income now estimated at £1.776m. for a full year, based on actual figures of a week in February 2012.  This meant an additional cost to the Council of £1.4m. once WG funding had been deducted.  As required by WG, Internal Audit had again undertaken a verification exercise to enable the Council’s Section 151 Officer to validate the estimate of income foregone and this report had also been submitted with the return.

 

It now appeared likely that this Council would continue to experience disproportionate losses in income when compared to other Welsh Local Authorities and there were a number of factors that may explain this diversion, namely:

·                    Before April 2011, like a small number of other local authorities, the Vale of Glamorgan did not have a cap on how much an individual could be asked to contribute towards the cost of their care in cases where they either failed to disclose their finances or where a financial assessment revealed their savings/investments exceeded the limit of £22,000.  Consequently, at that time some service users were paying considerably more over the £50 cap now in place.

·                    There were a high number of individuals funding their care, either because they were financially assessed as being able to do so or because they chose not to declare their income to the Council.  As a result, the Vale of Glamorgan had seen a marked increase in the number of people who have requested support from Social Services because their contribution is capped at £50 per week.  Analysis shows that the number of services users has increased from 141 in August 2010 to 335 in February 2012.  Of these 335 individuals, 184 were new clients and it is estimated that 158 (86%) of them would have been self funding or not willing to disclose their income under the previous policy. There was some evidence that independent providers of social care in the Vale of Glamorgan have been especially active in encouraging self-funders to seek services from the Council in the light of a set maximum charge.

·                    The Council had a duty under legislation to notify any person who receives a chargeable service or who may receive a service inviting them to undergo a financial assessment to qualify for the maximum contribution of £50.  The Social Services Directorate had acted very promptly to re-assess existing cases where people were making contributions of over and above £50 towards their care were and, therefore, the difference was also a loss of income to the Council.

·                    Because a high proportion of service users had previously sought social care services privately, the Vale of Glamorgan had relatively low numbers of older people for whom it organised services.  Hence, there was an element of "catch up" now.

To date, the WG had not agreed to address the shortfall in funding.  Officials had said that they would consider the end year monitoring returns from Local Authorities and Ministers could then consider what, if any, changes were required to the arrangements already put in place.  However, it appeared likely that:

 

·                    some Local Authorities may be asked to do some further work (to help WG understand why levels of lost income from service users differ between Local Authorities); and

·                    subject to Ministers’ intentions, they may be consulted about any plans for reform.

 

It was noted that the Director for Social Services had met with the Chief Executive of the WLGA, who had:

 

·                    asked all Welsh Local Authorities to provide details of the end year submissions made to the WG, for comparative purposes;

·                    written to the WG requesting an urgent meeting with the Deputy Minister and officials, to involve the Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, the Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health (Adults) and relevant officers to discuss the serious consequences for the Council.

 

The Deputy Leader expressed concern at the disproportionate impact the above proposals were having on the Council and he indicated his intention to press the WG to ensure that the costs of Council were resolved.  The Director of Social Services confirmed that a response from the Deputy Minister was awaited in relation to the WG National Study results.

 

This matter was for Executive decision.

 

Having regard to the above matters, it was

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the position be noted and that a further report be presented to Cabinet once the outcome of the National Study was known and a meeting with the Deputy Minister on the subject had taken place.

 

Reason for decision

 

To further apprise the Cabinet on progress relating to WG addressing the shortfall in funding.

 

 

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