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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 12th February, 2014.

 

Present: Councillor J.C. Bird (Chairman); Councillors Mrs. C.L. Curtis, J. Drysdale, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. A.J. Moore and E. Williams.

 

Also present: Messrs G. Amos, B. Fisher and A. Raybould (Tenant Working Group).

 

824     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – 

 

These were received from Councillors R.J. Bertin, Ms. R.F. Probert and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson; Mrs. A. Evans (Tenant Working Group).

 

 

825     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 15th January, 2014 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

826     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

827     YOUTH OFFENDING SERVICE – SIX MONTHLY PERFORMANCE REPORT APRIL 2013 –SEPTEMBER 2013 (DSS) –

 

The report sought to apprise the Committee of the performance of the above service for the period April – September 2013. 

 

As part of the grant funding terms and conditions the Youth Offending Service (YOS) is required by the Youth Justice Board to undertake performance reports in relation to a number of key performance indicators as set out below.

 

The performance indicators reported on a quarterly and annual basis were:

 

            National Indicators

·               Reduction in first time entrants

·               Reduction in re-offending

·               Reduction in use of custody.

 

            Devolved Welsh Indicators

·               Engagement with education, training and employment

·               Access to suitable accommodation

·               Access to substance misuse services.

 

In reference to specific performance for the period April 2013 to September 2013 as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report, the YOS Manager indicated that the service would always be reporting approximately one quarter behind due to the Youth Justice Board validating data.  Also, the analysis of the performance data as included in the report indicated an increase in the number of young people entering the criminal justice system (WYJl1) from 37 in 2011/12 to 45 in 2012/13.  Whilst she was disappointed with the outturn for 2012/13 she stressed that this followed a dramatic reduction from 154 in 2009/10 to 37 in 2011/12 (a 70% fall).  In addition, the increase reflected a trend throughout Wales, particularly evident in areas like the Vale of Glamorgan which had experienced dramatic reductions.

 

Her attention then turned to the indicator which related to the decrease in the frequency rates of re-offending (WYJl2) which also showed a decrease but a slight increase in the binary rate (the number of young persons who offended) which was also in line with trends reported across South Wales YOS and on an all-Wales basis.  She considered that the re-offending rates (WYJl3) were inevitably linked to the risk of custodial sentencing with the custodial rate (WYJl4) at the six month reported stage being the same as the previous year at the same point i.e. five young people sentenced to custody.  Of particular noting she indicated to the Committee that two of the five were females.  She indicated that the incidents of custodey were in the main due to seriousness of offences and non-compliance by the individuals as a result of a failure to engage with the services on offer to them.

 

In regard to indicator WYJl4, those young people who engaged in education, training and employment, the YOS Manager indicated that more young people were engaged in education, training and employment but this was only a slight increase and further work was needed as not all young people were receiving the statutory 25 hours of education.  She indicated that the majority of five young people in the pre-16 cohort who had limited or no hours of education, training, employment (ETE) were in receipt of home tuition or attending the alternative education provision placements.  However, discussions were ongoing and actions were to be taken to increase the hours received up to the statutory provision per pupil.  She also indicated that for those clients above the statutory school age there had been a slight increase in Quarter 1 but remained static in Quarter 2.  Of the young people included in this cohort, one completed a course; two other young people had been difficult to engage although both had been offered numerous appointments and one attended a course for a matter of days.  One young person was included three times within this cohort as they re-offended and current orders were revoked and resentenced.  In addition, she indicated that a number of other young people included in the cohort were making lifestyle choices and some had failed to engage with the services on offer, this was due to the fact that post 16 there was no statutory requirement for young people to engage in education, training or employment unless they were claiming benefits.

 

In regard to indicator (WYJl5) the YOS Manager indicated that there had been a change in recording practices within the team halfway through 2012/13 which had led to a slight decrease in the number of young people accessing suitable accommodation.  Staff were now recording young people placed at home as being in suitable accommodation if there were no risk factors present. 

 

In conclusion the YOS Manager referred to the figure for young people who accessed appropriate support for substance misuse difficulties (WYJl6) this demonstrated that, although all of the cohort was seen and supported by the YOS, some did not engage with services or attend appointments made for them within the prescribed timescales.  Reasons for all the delays were recorded and monitored by the relevant team manager.

 

Having regard to the above and related issues, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Youth Offending Service six monthly performance for the period April 2013 to September 2013 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To monitor and review performance in respect of the Youth Offending Service against the three national and three devolved performance indicators.

 

 

828     CARDIFF AND VALE SUBSTANCE MISUSE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK REPORT (DDS) –

 

The Head of Public Protection referred to the progress against the parameters set out in the above framework during the first six months of 2013/14.  He also introduced Mr. Sean Maidment, the Vale Locality Substance Misuse Co-ordinator for the Safer Vale Partnership, who was attending his first meeting of the Committee.

 

In referring to the report the Vale Locality Substance Misuse Co-ordinator indicated that Area Planning Boards (APBs) had responsibility for the oversight of substance misuse services across the seven health board areas of Wales.  Membership of each of the APBs comprised of representatives from Health, the Police, Probation, Social Services for both Adults and Children, and the Prison Service.

 

The Welsh Government had set seven national key performance indicators for each APB to report against.  In addition to the national guidelines, the commissioning strategy for Substance Misuse 2013-18 had also set a number of local performance indicators for which the APBs had the responsibility of meeting.  He referred to the national key performance indicators which were set out below:

 

·         Those that do not attend Post Comprehensive Assessment

·         Percentage of individual accessing treatment from referral within 20 working days

·         Those reporting decreased problematic substance use

·         Reduced injecting behaviour

·         Those reporting an improved quality of life

·         The number of Planned Case Closures (successful treatment completion).

 

He indicated that each service provider was required to submit their data onto the National Database on a monthly basis.  This took into account the number of referrals and other related information as well as data on the Treatment Outcome Profile which was completed for all service users in receipt of structured treatment.  This Profile measured data referred to in the final four key performance indicators referred to above.

 

He also referred to the period 2012/13, 5,169 people were referred to substance misuse treatment across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.  In the first six months of 2013/14 this stood at 2,552.  Therefore, demand for the service had remained more or less constant.  He indicated that in breaking down the figures for the Vale of Glamorgan, there were 1,141 individuals referred to drug and alcohol services during 2012/13.  Also for the same period there had been 544 referrals in the Vale of Glamorgan.  This represented a similar rate of referral as the previous year.  As for those that failed to attend following assessment saw an improvement during the first six months of this year with a reduction from 32.9% in 2012/13 to 19%.  He indicated that this statistic measured those who were assessed and then stop attending treatment without treatment being classed as successfully completed.  It was highlighted that individuals were being referred to the right service at the right time through the new Entry to Drug and Alcohol Service (E-DAS). 

 

In regard to the percentage of individuals accessing treatment from referral within a 20 day period, this saw a slight drop in performance.  In 2012/13 performance stood at 74% however this fell during the first six months of 2013/14 to 69% of individuals starting treatment within the 20 days of referral.  This drop in performance would be addressed through the procurement of two new services in the coming months (the Open Access Service and the After Care Service), which should have an impact on local waiting times.

 

In referring to those individuals receiving support who report decreased problematic substance use he indicated that the outturn performance for 2012/13 was 66.45%.  The half year report for 2013/14 had seen a drop in performance to 62.95% of those in treatment reporting reduced problematic substance misuse.  His attention then turned to the performance indicator in relation to the reduced injecting behaviour which saw an improvement from 42% to 50% reporting reduced risk.  He pointed out to the Committee that it was the Welsh Government’s intention to delete this KPI in future due to the fact that compliance for the KPI was poor, with percentages representing very low numbers of four service users across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.  He indicated it was the intention that the KPI would be retained to allow the continued monitoring of this measure locally to ensure that it was recorded accurately. 

 

Of those individuals receiving treatment who self report an improved quality of life throughout the duration of their care plan, performance stood at 65% for the first six months of 2013/14, an improvement on 2012/13 when the outturn performance was 55.31%.  He indicated that this highlighted that the services were having a positive impact on the holistic needs of service users.

 

As for the performance indicator which dealt with the number of planned case closures, this saw an improvement from 50% in 2012/13 to 59% in the first six months of 2013/14.  This again highlighted that service users were moving through the treatment system at an improved rate and it was anticipated that further improvements in the coming year would be made as new services became available.

 

The impact of the E-DAS system was evident in the improved attendance rate following referral rates, suggesting service users were being directed to the right service at the right time.  This was also evidenced in the improvements in successful completions which highlighted that successes were occurring in those who were referred to the appropriate level of care.  He acknowledged that there had been a drop in performance in certain aspects of service delivery and these would be addressed through the commissioning of new service packages which were due to commence at the beginning of the 2014/15 financial year.  He further indicated that the Treatment Outcome Profile compliance remained an issue.  The Systems Information Support Service had slipped this year however, once set up, the function would assist in achieving improvements against these in collaboration with service package leads.

 

The Community Addictions Unit that sustains one waiting list had set itself an achievable goal of no waiting list by the end of the current financial year which should result in a further improvement against this. 

 

In conclusion he referred to the population of the full Commissioning Strategy Performance Management Framework which would be carried out by the Systems Information Officer, once recruited.

 

Brief discussion took place on the proposed two new services to be provided and the unrelated services available to prison leavers which were optional on takeup. 

 

Having regard to the above and related issues, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T progress against the first six months of the Cardiff and Vale Substance Misuse Performance Management Framework for 2013/14 financial year be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To allow progress to be monitored and reviewed.

 

 

829     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2013 TO 31ST DECEMBER 2013 (DDS AND DVSH) –

 

The Principal Accountant indicated that the Revenue Budget was projected to outturn for 2013/14 with an underspend of £200,000.

 

Public Sector Housing (HRA) was showing a favourable variance of £219,000.  The main reasons for the underspend related to the following areas:

 

·         Underspend on premises costs - £52,000

·         Incentive to Move scheme budget - £40,000

·         Staff vacancies - £ 74,000

·         Welfare advice - £23,000

·         Antisocial behaviour support (external bodies) - £11,000

·         Various headings underspends - £19,000.

 

The Principal Accountant indicated that subject to the current position in regard to health and safety issues in regard to the management of asbestos in the coming months it was predicted that the HRA would outturn with an underspend of £107,000.  Any underspends in the Housing Revenue Account are ring-fenced, and as such, can be invested into the stock in coming years, improving the position of the HRA Business Plan.

 

As for the General Fund Housing the Principal Accountant indicated that this currently showed a favourable variance of £304,000.   The main reason for this variance was as reported to the last meeting of the Committee i.e. the reduction in the number of homeless individuals requiring emergency accommodation.  Due to the potential pressures on the Service, it is projected that the budget will outturn at £200,000 underspent at year end.

 

Public Protection was currently showing a favourable variance of £80,000 which was primarily due to staff vacancies within the division. 

 

As for all other services, the Principal Accountant indicated these would outturn on target by the year end.

 

In response to the Committee’s request made at the last meeting in regard to the breakdown of expenditure allocated against the General Management, Special Services, Central Support and Operational Buildings areas of the Housing Revenue Account, Appendix 2 to the report provided the information for consideration by the Committee.

 

The Principal Accountant’s attention then turned to the Capital Programme and indicated that details of progress as at 31st December 2013 were set out in Appendix 3 to the report. 

 

He referred to the Emergency Contingency Budget and informed the Committee that a virement of £7,000 had been sought from the Housing Improvement Programme Emergency Contingency Budget to fund works in relation to Parkland Walk, Barry, sewer connection.

 

Appendix 4 provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget of over £100,000.  Where a budget shown in Appendix 3 was more than £100,000 but was made up of several schemes that individually were less than £100,000 the scheme had not been included in Appendix 4 to the report.

 

As for variances between actual spends to date and the profiled spend, the Principal Accountant indicated that the Cabinet had previously agreed that further information would be provided where schemes had a value of £500,000 and showed a variance of 20% or more between actual spend and profiled spend.  In regard to this, the following scheme met this criterion:

 

·         WHQS Works – to December works on renewals of roofs was behind profile and a decision had been taken to delay roofing renewals until the start of 2014/15 as internal works had now been prioritised for the remainder of the current financial year and also due to the risk of tenant dissatisfaction, roofing works had been avoided during the winter months and alternative sources of funding were also being investigated for these works.

 

Brief discussion centred on the breakdown of expenditure as allocated against the budget headings set out in Appendix 2 of the report.

 

Having regard to the above and related issues, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the revenue and capital budget for the period 1st April to 31st December 2013 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of progress made to date.

 

 

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