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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 28th November, 2011.

 

Present: Councillor Miss. S.J.C. Williams (Chairman); Councillor J.W. Thomas (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. S.M. Bagstaff, Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, S.C. Egan, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, Mrs. K.A. Kemp, N. Moore, C.L. Osborne, Mrs. M. Randall and Mrs. S.I. Sharpe.

 

Also present: Councillor Mrs D.M. Turner (Cabinet Member Social and Care Services).

 

 

628     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 31st October, 2011 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

629     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor S.C. Egan declared an interest in agenda item nos. 9 and 10 in that he was an employee of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board with dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak only.

 

 

630     PRESSURE ON THE SOCIAL SERVICES REVENUE BUDGET 2011/12 AND BUDGET RECOVERY ACTION PLANS (REF) -

 

The Cabinet had referred the report for information to the Scrutiny Committee following its meeting on 16th November 2011.  The report stated that as at September 2011 the projected gross deficit for Social Services for 2011/12 (i.e. before any funding for specific provisions were made) stood at £1.3m. for Children and Young People’s Services and £2.4m. for Adult Services, the reasons for which were detailed in the report. 

 

The Head of Service for Children and Family Services advised that some of the pressures on the budget related to the findings from the Baby P case,  increases in the number of Looked After Children, the fact that three children’s placements alone cost the Authority in the region of £750,000 per year which could not have been foreseen by the Council as it had not had any previous involvement with the children prior to the placements being made. The Department also had only been given a few weeks notice in relation to the introduction of national minimum allowances for foster carers. Although significant savings had previously been made, these were now being overridden by the extra burdens on the budget. 

 

With regard to Adult Services, the Head of Service advised that the overspend was occurring in nearly all service areas within the Division with the exception of adults of working age with mental health problems. The demographic picture was challenging with the number of older people predicted to rise.  The impact of the recession would have a negative impact on state funded care in general and the care home fees uplift would also place a burden on the Department. 

 

The action plans attached to the report identified various actions that needed to take place although Members considered some timescales to be far too late.  In addition to the above issues, the Director also needed additional support to take forward urgently all initiatives required, which included help with project management using the Council’s corporate methodology and toolkit through multi-disciplinary project teams overseen by a project board.  It was also seen as especially important that financial, internal audit, legal and human resource services continued to provide timely corporate support so that all parts of the Council could work together in finding deliverable solutions to the problems the Council faced.   Priority would be given to implementing the whole range of remedial measures described in the plans in order to fund potential shortfalls from within existing budgets wherever possible.  The Director further advised that although there were many obstacles to be overcome, progress was still being made. However given the difficult financial context and increasing demands for services the only sustainable answer for Social Services in the longer term was for the Council and its partners to change the pattern of services based upon an understanding that there was a need for more independence and to focus services away from institutional settings and into people’s homes and local communities. 

 

In light of the above, the Change Plan would also need to be reviewed to ensure that it addresses urgent budget issues. On a positive note the Directorate’s work on new service models was beginning to produce dividends. For example the work with the Social Services Improvement Agency to emphasise the role of services for older people were geared towards reablement and restoration.  The Council had also taken a leading role in taking forward the work of the regional improvement collaborative (SEWIC) in reshaping services.  Although not yet producing quantifiable savings, the work being done on new models of care had clear merits:

  • providing opportunities for creative thinking about how services were delivered, encouraging dialogue and getting consensus about overall direction;
  • providing a way of establishing priorities and clarity for staff, partners and services users / carers;
  • helping to embed concepts which service users and others believed were necessary to underpin a dignified life - independence, choice and control, wellbeing, social inclusion;
  • acting as a precursor for decisions about investment of resources and commissioning;
  • encouraging more investment in preventative services to divert people from inappropriate and higher cost provision or managing demand at lower levels of intensity / intrusiveness; and
  • generating debate about tiers of services, thresholds and access without complex assessments by social workers.

Members considered that, although accepting of the reasons given for the projected overspend, officers should be proactive and keep Cabinet and Committee regularly updated as soon as issues are identified and consistently “flag up” the implications including providing a detailed cost analysis. The Director informed Committee that there was a need for the Department to provide Cabinet with a longer-term budget plan. The department had reducing resources and growing demand and it had to balance the competing priorities at all times whilst safeguarding vulnerable people in the Vale. In the long term, the Council has to pursue more sustainable social care and reshape provision. A Member queried the one off provision of £200,000 and was advised that this had been included as a result of the previous years underspend.

 

Members requested that when a future report was prepared it included information for comparison as to what the demand and the cost had been three years ago and if the demand had remained the same today what that cost would be. 

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the recommendations of the Cabinet be noted with the view that further reports would be presented in the future.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In consideration of the contents of the report and that future reports would be prepared.

 

 

631     INITIAL CAPITAL PROGRAMME PROPOSALS 2012/13 AND INITIAL REVEUNE BUDGET PROPOSALS 2012 /13 (REFS) – Cabinet 16th November 2011.

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the references be noted and considered jointly with the reports at agenda items 7 and 8.

 

 

632     INITIAL CAPITAL PROGRAMME PROPOSALS 2012/ 13 (DSS) -

 

The Cabinet reference and the report were jointly considered it being noted that the initial proposals were presented to the Committee for consideration and that any recommendations were to be referred to the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee by no later than 20th December 2011. The final budget proposals to be presented to Cabinet by no later than 29th February 2012, with a final submission to Council by no later than 7th March 2012.

 

Committee was informed that on 18th November 2011 the Welsh Government announced the provisional 2012/13 General Capital Funding with the settlement representing a 6.8% cut in funding over the last year’s allocation. This had been reflected in the table attached at Appendix B to the report.  The report noted that in addition to funding from the Welsh Government the Council would finance part of the Capital Programme from its own resources, for example Capital Receipts and Reserves.  The table below details the General Capital Funding and internal resources required to fund the proposed schemes detailed at Appendix B to the report:

 

Analysis of Net Funding Required for the Indicative 2012/13 Capital Programme

GENERAL FUND

£’000      

£’000

Welsh Assembly Government Resources     

 

 

Supported Borrowing

3,589

 

General Capital Grant

2,090

 

 

 

5,679

Council Resources

 

 

Capital Receipts

1,021

 

Reserves/Leasing

3,842

 

 

 

4,863

Net Capital Resources

 

10,542

 

 

 

HOUSING REVENUE ACCOUNT

£’000   

£’000

Housing Reserves

5,046

 

Housing Capital Receipts

757

 

Supported Borrowing

560

 

 

 

6,363

Net Capital Resources

 

6,363

 

Due to additional anticipated reductions in future capital funding and in order to review historic priorities, all the budgets previously included in the indicative future Capital Programme had been withdrawn, other than the schemes which would be committed by the end of March 2012.  Officers had been asked to rebid for the sums that they still regarded as high priority as part of the 2012/13 bidding round.  As a consequence of this it was noted that the number of bids submitted had been below that of previous years.  Sustainability checklists would also be required from Project Managers for each of the proposed bids which would be reviewed by members of the Sustainable Development Working Group with a view to ensuring that wherever possible the four sustainable targets as detailed below were addressed:

  • living within environmental limits
  • ensuring a strong, healthy and just society
  • achieving a sustainable economy
  • promoting good governance.

If the schemes detailed at Appendix B were approved, the effect of the General Fund usable capital receipts was detailed in paragraph 17 of the report.  In considering the report Members noted that the bids detailed at Appendix B were all in relation to health and safety matters and that the total capital expenditure proposed programme for the whole of the Council over the five years was £105m. For the services within the Scrutiny Committee’s remit the programme was as detailed at Appendix B.  Members requested an update on the progress in relation to Gardenhurst and were advised that the building works had been taken over by the Internal Building Services Department with the Head of Service advising that a positive picture was beginning to appear based upon good engagement with property services.

 

Having fully considered the report it was


RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the bids detailed at Appendix B to the report be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the position with regard to the Authority’s 2011/12 Capital Programme be noted

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       The Scrutiny Committee endorsed the bids which are supported in view of the Health and Safety issues identified.

 

(2)       In order that Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2011/12 Capital Programme within the Committee’s remit.

 

 

633     INITIAL REVENUE BUDGET PROPOSALS 2012/13 (DSS) -

 

The initial Revenue Budget Proposals for 2012/13 were considered in conjunction with the reference from Cabinet that had been referred to the Committee for consultation. It was noted that the projected overspend position with regard to Children’s Services was £1.3m. with an analysis of the position being reported as follows:

 

Area Of Spend

£000

Note

Children’s Placement

1,114

An increased number of high cost placements

Foster Carers

157

Increased payments to Foster Carers due to the introduction, by the Welsh Government, of the National Minimum Allowance for Foster Carers, which came into force from April 2011

GROSS DEFICIT

1,271

 

Use of Provisions

(210)

 

NET DEFICIT

1,061

 

 

The overspend could be offset by a Children’s Services provision of £210,000 resulting in £1.1m. of savings to be found within the Service in the current financial year. 

 

With regard to Adult Services the year end projected outturn was for an overspend of £2.4m. and an analysis of this position was provided as detailed below:

 

Area Of Spend

£000

Note

Care Home Fees

465

An increase in fees required to pay Care Homes over and above the 2% inflation already included in the budget

2011/12 Savings

286

Savings identified for the year but not being achieved

Community Care Packages

2,370

Made up of both an increase in demand and as a result of the introduction of the Welsh Government First Steps Improvement Package Initiative which introduced a £50 charge cap per week for domiciliary services.

Underspends within Adult Services budget

(721)

largely due to staff vacancies

GROSS DEFICIT

2,400

 

Use of Provisions

(465)

 

NET DEFICIT

1,935

 

 

The overspend could be offset by an Adult Services provision of £465,000 resulting in £1.9m. savings to be found by the Service during the current financial year. 

 

With regard to the service strategy budget, this was projected to outturn on budget by the year end.

 

Overall the year end projected outturn for Social Services was for a projected overspend of £3.7m. in the current financial year.  There were however provisions available to offset this position to the value of £675,000 thus resulting in a net overspend of £3m.   It was noted that remedial measures would need to be undertaken in order to reduce this deficit.  It was also noted that the Council’s budget was determined largely by the revenue support grant with a final settlement likely to be received in December 2011 / January 2012.  The Council was required under statute to fix the level of Council Tax for 2012/13 by 11th March 2012 and in order to do so would have to agree a balanced revenue budget by the same date.   The Council would also receive a sum provisionally set at £1.253m. via the Outcome Agreement Grant but the Council was not guaranteed to receive the full amount of the Improvement Agreement Grant and the portion of the Grant that would eventually be received in 2012/13 would be determined by a rating score of the Council’s performance in achieving its 2011/12 Outcome Agreement targets.  A summary of the overall base budget 2012/13 was attached at Appendix 2 to the report which had been arrived at by adjusting the 2011/12 budget for items such as inflation and unavoidable growth.  A list of 2012/13 cost pressures as identified by the service was attached at Appendix 3 but these were not shown in any order of priority and Appendix 4 detailed the proposed 2014/15 savings, it being noted that more detail was required on the savings and their impact which would be considered as part of the budget review following the elections in May 2012. 

 

Members were concerned that the report did not provide detailed enough figures in relation to the cost pressures and that the Cabinet should be informed in detail of the cost pressures facing the department. Members considered it essential for the Cabinet and all Members of the Council to have more detail of the financial implications as opposed to “guesstimates” and some Members also felt that the pressures would be far more severe than stated at this stage.  The Head of Children’s Services added that there was a need to consider further joint funding initiatives and that it was difficult to confirm at the present time the exact service costs.  Councillor Egan stated that the Scrutiny Committee should raise these concerns with the Cabinet with consideration being given to increasing Council Tax revenue to assist with the commitments.  The Director advised that some cost pressures may translate into commitments in the coming year and that the Department would endeavour to monitor the spend and consider initiatives to reduce the deficit and the overspend.  Members highlighted that as Social Services is 'demand led' unexpected costs such as the 3 child placements amounting to approximately £750,000 p/a, can place significant additional pressures on the Directorate's finances.

 

It being evident that the budget would not be sustainable in light of the factors facing the Social Services Directorate as detailed above it was suggested that the concerns raised by the Scrutiny Committee should be forwarded to Corporate Resources and Cabinet with the importance of protecting and safe guarding social services in the Vale being emphasised in view of the volatile budgets and the reasons behind this.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the above views of the Scrutiny Committee be forwarded to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) and the Cabinet.

 

(2)       T H A T the amended budget as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T the Director of Social Services takes the necessary action possible to bring expenditure in line with the Vale’s budget.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To forward comments to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) and Cabinet.

 

(2)       To facilitate monitoring of the budget.

 

(3)       In order to bring Social Services expenditure in line with the base budget.

 

 

634     SOCIAL SERVICES COMMISSIONING FRAMEWORK 2011 AND THE SOCIAL SERVICES COMMISSIONING STRATEGY FOR OLDER PEOPLE’S SERVICES 2011 TO 2018 (REF)

 

Cabinet had, on 16th November 2011, referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for information.  At that time Cabinet had been advised of the response made by the Director of Social Services to the new statutory guidance in respect of the above and to secure approval for the Social Services Commissioning Framework 2011 as set out at Appendix A to the report and the Social Services Commissioning Strategy for Older People’s Services 2011 to 2018 set out Appendix B to the report. 

 

In January 2011 the Cabinet had given consideration to a report on the “Commissioning Framework and Good Practice Guidance” issued by the Welsh Government.  This guidance set out responsibilities of local authorities in commissioning social services.  The Cabinet at that time had subsequently requested the Director of Social Services and the Director of Finance, ICT and Property to evaluate how far current commissioning arrangements for social care in the Vale of Glamorgan matched the standards and met the challenged set out in the statutory guidance; formulate appropriate actions within the new Change Plan for Social Services that would bring them into compliance with these mandatory requirements as soon as possible and report further to Cabinet in conclusion of that exercise. 

 

These tasks had been undertaken as part of the work done in formulating the Change Plan for Social Services for the period 2011 – 2014 which Cabinet had endorsed on 13th April 2011.  This Plan dealt primarily with issues where a corporate approach, across Council Directorates was required to deliver appropriate action.  The Plan set out the long term actions and timescales for completion.  There was an agreed framework for monitoring and reporting progress.  Commissioning was one of the seven priority areas in the Plan and an ambitious programme of work was underway.  The Plan also sought to link together “in a business-oriented way” the Directorate’s activities in the key areas of planning and partnerships, commissioning and contracting, and resource management.

 

It was noted that the programme of work in respect of commissioning set out in the Change Plan was progressing well with good support from all parts of the Council.  The Social Services Commissioning Framework 2011 described the overall approach to commissioning that was being adopted, one that ensured that the Council was able to fulfil its statutory responsibilities for provision of social services and shape services that respond to the social care needs of residents.  It also addressed the key questions i.e. What was commissioning?  Why is commissioning important? What are the key issues in commissioning social care?  What was best commissioning practice?  What is the Social Care market?  How can we commission to deliver the new service models and efficiencies? 

 

The Social Services Commissioning Strategy for Older People’s Services 2011 to 2018 identified how the social care needs of older people would be met within resources available to the Council during the period.  A draft version of the document had been shared with key stakeholders, including independent sector and third sector service providers.  The overall responses had been positive although there had been some criticisms from a perceived diminution of the important role played by residential care in meeting current and future needs.  In light of representations received, changes had been made when finalising the version of the Strategy that was presented for consideration.  It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Cabinet resolutions be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Following consideration by the Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

635     DELIVERING INTEGRATED SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH SERVICES TO MEET THE NEEDS OF LOCAL PEOPLE (DSS) -

 

Both the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, being the two local authorities, and the University Health Board recognised the need for prompt action in developing integrated health and social care services which are seamless, co-ordinated and responsive and where there is evidence that this would better enable the delivery of high quality care that met the needs of local communities within existing resources.  The three organisations had therefore agreed to create a programme board to ensure that local government and the NHS in the area were collaboratively delivering change within current statutory and organisational governance arrangements and Cabinet had, on 17th March 2010, endorsed this approach.

 

The programme board co-ordinated agreed projects, defined the outcomes expected and provided the overarching leadership required to manage significant programmes of change.  Chairmanship of the programme board rotated between non-officer members of the three statutory organisations i.e. David Francis (Chair, Cardiff and Vale UHB), Councillor Dorothy Turner (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Councillor Kirsty Davies (Cardiff Council).  The programme board was made up of senior corporate officers from the three statutory organisations as well as representatives from both third sector umbrella organisations (VCVS and VAC), recognising the key role of the third sector in moving towards more integrated models of care.  Minutes of the programme board are routinely presented to Cabinet.  The programme board has been working hard to reach agreement on shared values, strong sponsorship for integration at a high level within all three organisations and the identification of common difficulties and mutually beneficial outcomes.  The Director of Social Services of the Vale of Glamorgan had been asked to take on the senior responsible officer role for the programme board as a whole.  Welsh Government expectations in respect of integrating health and social care services had been reinforced by the recent publication of two strategic documents “Sustainable Social Services: A Framework for Action” and “Setting the Direction (Primary and Community Services Strategic Development Programme)”.  The Head of Service advised that closer integration was expected to deliver the following:

  • better quality services for the population
  • more responsible services, with reduced waiting times
  • reduced duplication between services
  • less demand for institutional care.

The Head of Service also advised that the Vale of Glamorgan provided social care services across two health board areas and reported that the majority of patients were assisted by Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board rather than Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.  Primary care services in the Western Vale had been provided by C&V UHB since April 2011, whereas mental health services and maternity services continued to be provided by ABMU.  The situation regarding district nursing in the Western Vale was unchanged.  Mental health services for adults in the community were co-located in Community Mental Health Teams.  A new management structure was being implemented for adult mental health in which the two local authorities shared an Operational Manager post.  The post would be hosted by the Vale of Glamorgan but provide strategic management to both authorities.  With regard to health and social care learning disability assessment and care management services, a joint Operational Manager post had been created with the post being hosted by Cardiff Adult Services.  Substance misuse services for adult social care in the Vale was provided by Cardiff Adult Services and the Community Safety Partnerships played a key role in this area. 

 

The report highlighted that historically Older People’s Services had been less integrated but since January 2010 a number of key developments had taken place in the Vale of Glamorgan.

  • The Vale Intermediate Care Service (VICS, formerly Homecare)) had been co-located with Community Rehabilitation (Health therapies) at Barry Hospital since 1st October.  This had created a Community Resource Service, a development led by the Vale Locality team and facilitated through the joint appointment (Head of Adult Services/ Locality Manager) with C&V UHB.  The new service was already generating significant improvements. 
  • The restructuring of teams and management posts in Adult Services had created an Operational Manager post for the Vale Locality as a whole, responsible for older people's services and for services to people with physical disabilities.  Recruitment to this post was underway and it would complete the formation of an integrated locality management team with C&V UHB.  A copy of the structure was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.  A shared vision for Older People's service delivery was also being developed with C&V UHB and Cardiff Adult Services and there was an agreed programme of work in respect of joint commissioning and a safe and timely discharge from hospital.

Reference was made in the collaborative agreement to the scrutiny function and the Director of Social Services reassured Members that there were proposals for the future where Elected Members would have a greater role in scrutinising public services as a whole.

 

Having fully considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee continue to receive six monthly updates, including delivery plans for individual work streams.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To advise Committee of progress.

 

(2)       To ensure that the Council’s statutory responsibilities for delivering its social services functions are being scrutinised effectively.

 

 

636     SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DLPPHS) -

 

Members were advised of the progress in relation to recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee for the period April 2009 to March 2010, April 2010 to March 2011 and the 2nd Quarter, July to September 2011.  Members’ views relating to the progress against each recommendation were sought and it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the actions detailed as completed at Appendices B and C of the report be approved.

 

13 December 2010

Min. No. 751 - Delivering Integrated Social Care and Health Services to Meet the Needs of Local People (DSS) - Recommended

(2)   That the Committee receives six monthly progress updates.

 

 

 

 

On agenda for 28th November 2011.

Completed

18 July 2011

Min. No. 203 - Scrutiny Committees’ Draft Annual Report May 2010 - April 2011 (DLPPHS) - Recommended

That the contents of the draft Annual Report for the period May 2010 to April 2011, subject to any further minor amendments being agreed in consultation with the Chairman, be approved and presented to Full Council on 28th September 2011.

 

 

 

 

Presented to Full Council on 28th September 2011.

Completed

Min. No. 204 - Scrutiny Decision Tracking Of Recommendations (DLPPHS) - Recommended

(2)   That the progress / action taken as detailed in the Appendices to the report be accepted and it be noted that the report on delivering integrated Social Care and Health Services be reported to the November 2011 meeting.

 

 

 

To be reported to the meeting on 28th November 2011.

Completed

19 September 2011

Min. No. 398 - Social Services Representations and Complaints - Annual Report 2010-2011 (DSS) - Recommended

(2)   That the Scrutiny Committee continues to receive an Annual Report in relation to complaints and compliments received by the Social Services Directorate.

 

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To maintain effective tracking of the Committee’s recommendations.

 

 

637     CORPORATE PARENTING PANEL MINUTES -

 

The following minutes of the Corporate Parenting Panel were received:

 

Minutes of meeting held on 18th May 2011, at the Civic Offices

 

Present:Councillor Dorothy Turner (Chairman), Councillor Anthony Hampton (left at 5pm), Councillor Sally Bagstaff, Councillor Val Hartrey, Phil Evans (Director of Social Services), Gareth Jenkins (Head of Children & Young People Services), Caroline Rees (Head of Additional Learning Needs), Jenny Smith (Specialist Teacher – LAC), Rhiannon Jones (Minute Taker)

 

Cllr Hampton had to leave the meeting at 5pm to Chair another meeting.

 

 

Actions

(1) Apologies for absence

 

 

Apologies were received from Councillor Janice Birch, Councillor Katherine Kemp and Bryan Jeffreys (Director of Learning and Development).

 

 

(2) Minutes of 16th March 2011

 

 

The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true record and were signed by the Chairman Cllr DT.

 

Matters Arising:

Training, Education and Work Opportunities for Looked After Children and Care Leavers– DT has not had the opportunity to write to the Chief Executive with regards to seeing if there are any training and work opportunities for looked after children within the Council.

 

Action: Cllr DT/GJ to write to the Chief Executive

 

It was unusual for Guest D not to attend these meetings and Cllr DT queried whether Guest D had received the papers of the meeting outlining the time and date.  Cllr DT felt it would be useful if JS could have a discussion with Guest D as to what Guest D would like to do with future Panel meetings (as Guest D may be having a problem between attending university and these Panels).

 

Action:   JS to speak with Guest D regarding future Panels

 

Agreed

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr DT/GJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

JS

(3) To receive declarations of Interest

 

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

Agreed

(4) Looked After Children Comparators and Analysis  - Gareth Jenkins

 

This item was tabled at the last meeting but as there was no time to discuss, it has subsequently been agendered for today.  GJ had produced a Looked After Children Briefing Report as a result of discussions in Panel from previous meetings regarding an interest in the LAC population, the breakdown in age, gender, placements and also the rise in LAC numbers.  GJ talked to the paper and pointed out the areas of interest.  

 

In relation to the Southwark Judgement (relates to 16 year olds who are assessed as vulnerable and if in need the LA will need to accommodate under the Children Act).  Housing and Social Services have worked together to address Southwark and there will be a Cabinet Paper in due course. 

 

Cases now allocated to SW– PE wanted to point out a very significant change where previously the majority of cases were allocated to SCO and the Dept has set out to change this over a period of time and to achieve this is a big turnaround.

 

PE raised his concern regarding the increase of LAC and felt there is an issue regarding quality and not just cost.  It is important not to go over the tipping point as this will result in less placement choice and more work for SW in supporting LAC.  It is important to keep a close check and look at comparison of rate of population so that the LA is not getting out of kilter with similar LA’s ie if numbers continue to rise this will cause problems and will need to focus working closely with Education and Health to ensure the right placement and prevention to avoid children coming into care.

 

 

(5) My Planner Book – Jenny Smith

 

My Planner Book has been published by the Children’s Commissioner and is aimed at those young people leaving the care system and covers issues such as their rights, housing and independent living skills.  JS found it to be comprehensive and very useful. 

 

Cllr DT informed Panel that this was discussed at a meeting with the Commissioner at his office and that one issue about the planner is that there is no space to amend details when changing address and perhaps should have been developed as a filofax where new pages could be added (rather than a ring bound document).  Although the planner is a good start, additional information could be added such as having a pathway/contact point where previously looked after children can contact if needed.  There were suggestions such as the 15+ Team, having a contact in One Vale and it was acknowledged that the role of foster carers shouldn’t be underestimated (as some children keep in touch with their foster carers). 

 

The planners have been distributed to the 15+ Team and JS has received a query regarding higher education bursary as young people are entitled to £2k.  As a corporate group, the Panel may want to look at this issue to decide who in the LA pays the £2k (would be a small number of young people going onto higher education) and whether this would be paid as a one-off during or at the end of the course which the Panel would need to agree.  There is no new money for this and is the responsibility of the LA, one funding stream is via RAISE but this is already small and will be closed.

 

It was noted that 2 young people have applied to attend university this September. 

 

Action: 

  • Panel to look at the Higher Education Bursary of £2k that young  people are entitled to at a future meeting (MP to agenda) and;

 

  • GJ to investigate what the past practices were in Children Services regarding young people going onto higher education and how this was done in readiness for discussion at a future Panel meeting

 

  • JS to contact the Children’s Commissioner to enquire if they are able to provide free copies of My Planner Book so that a large stock can be kept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MP

 

 

 

 

GJ

 

 

 

 

JS

 

 

(6) Update on the Forward Work Programme – Gareth Jenkins

 

GJ circulated the Cabinet Forward Work programme which now includes a progress column.  The group discussed the Forward Work Programme and GJ provided updates as follows:-

 

LAC Reviews- GJ confirmed that there will be an annual review for every child having short breaks by the end of 2011. 

 

Transition Team– GJ has awaited the HOS for Adult Services to be appointed before progressing.  GJ confirmed there is a  virtual team but the next step is whether to bring key staff together under one manager or to maintain the status quo.  In addition, Carol Davies, Operational Manager for Children & Young People Services will be providing a report to Scrutiny (hopefully in September) regarding transitions.  Carol Davies has been working with Adult Services and engaging with Health.

 

RAISE– grant is continuing and is now called “School Effectiveness Grant” the LA are awaiting new guidelines on how this will be spent.  COMPLETED for the time being.

 

Minimising LAC school exclusions– CR needs to discuss with Headteachers. 

 

Advocacy– A contract has now been awarded to the National Young Advisory Services (NYAS).

 

Young Person on the Panel– JS to speak with Guest D as to whether Guest D would like to continue on the Panel (still attends LAC Council).  A suggestion was made of having another LAC represented on the Panel as Guest D is now a former LAC, thus having 2 young people on the Panel (if Guest D still wants to continue). 

 

Care Leavers to be engaged in education, training or employment– as previously discussed under minutes and matters, Cllr DT/GJ to write to the Chief Executive as to whether there are training and work opportunities for looked after children within the Council. 

 

8.2 – Community based training opportunities through the 14-19 Network & Adult Education – CR felt this could be done via Youth Services.  They are currently going through restructuring and will be having a post that will target young groups (nobody appointed to new post yet).

 

Families First– Cllr DT felt that the Panel need a report on Families First and what the changes mean for Children and Young People – to be scheduled for September.  GJ updated the Panel that a proposal has been put together and are awaiting guidance from the Welsh Government (it is anticipated that by April 2012 the new model will be in place).

 

PE queried whether the Work Programme will incorporate new issues arising from the ACRF and Service Plan and is an opportunity for Panel to shape regarding what key issues they would like to explore further.

 

Actions:  Report to be produced on Families First outlining what the changes mean for Children and Young People - to be scheduled for Panel in September

 

CR to bring a report regarding exclusions of LAC to the Corporate Parenting Panel in September

 

NYAS to be invited to attend Panel in July as an opportunity to introduce themselves and to provide an overview on how they propose to implement the service

 

JS to identify another LAC representative for Panel

 

Cabinet Forward Work programme to be updated, and need to put dates in the plan when updated and useful to try and decide to have timescales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GJ/Cllr DT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GJ

 

 

CR

 

RJ

 

 

JS

 

GJ

 

 

(7) Awards Ceremony 2011 – Jenny Smith

 

The Awards Ceremony will take place on 24th November 2011 in Barry Memorial Hall.  A discussion was held as to whether anyone had any contacts with TV celebrities ie Jason Mohammed, Derek Brockway & Ruth Jones (but acknowledged this would probably be at a cost).  JS also asked whether anyone had a rotary connections – PE suggested that Jeff Hobden would be the best person to contact.

 

JS may ask the older children if they wish to say anything or thank  anyone special when they receive the award.

 

Action:  CR to check if there was a cost for Ruth Jones when she opened a special school

 

              Panel to e-mail any suggestions of possible TV  celebrities to JS

 

             PE to e-mail Jeff Hobden’s e-mail address to JS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CR

 

ALL

 

PE

(8) AOB

 

Cllr DT wanted to explain the recent publicity around the closure of the SMART club and explain where the funding comes from.  The club was set up under the Children & Young People Partnership (CYPP) to give respite to parents.  The club was informed on behalf of the CYPP 6 months prior that funding will cease, but the club hadn’t passed this information to parents.  When the GEM originally published the story it suggested that Social Services had cut the funding which is incorrect.  The LA issued a press release which was published and clarified the situation. 

 

 

(9) Next Meeting Date

 

 

Wednesday 20th July 2011, 4:30pm, Cabinet Meeting Room

 

Main focus of the next meeting will be the presentation from NYAS (if they can attend).

 

 

 

Minutes of meeting held on 20th July 2011, at the Civic Offices

 

Present:Councillor Dorothy Turner (Chairman), Councillor Anthony Hampton (left at 4.50pm), Councillor Sally Bagstaff, Councillor Val Hartrey,  Councillor Sophie Williams, Councillor Janice Birch;  Gareth Jenkins (Head of Children & Young People Services),  Jenny Smith (Specialist Teacher – LAC), Catherine Hanlon-Vanstone (Minute Taker)

 

Presenters– Mr Gareth Jacobs – NYAS – Service Manager

                        Ms Lesa Pates – NYAS – Senior Advocate

 

Apologies:Bryan Jeffreys (Director of Learning and Development); Phil Evans  (Directors of Social and Care Services) ; Caroline Rees (Head of Service – Additional Learning Needs.) Councillor Katherine Kemp.

 

Cllr Hampton had to leave the meeting at 4.50pm to Chair another meeting.

 

 

Actions

(1) Apologies for absence

 

 

Apologies were received from Bryan Jeffreys (Director of Learning and Development); Phil Evans (Director of Social Services); Caroline Rees (Head of Additional Learning Needs.)

 

 

(2) Minutes of Meeting – 18 May 2011

 

 

The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true record and were signed by the Chairman Cllr DT.

 

Matters Arising:

Training, Education and Work Opportunities for Looked After Children and Care Leavers– DT has written to the CX and has received a response to the Panel indicating that the issue will be raised at CMT on 20 July 2011 and the Chief Executive will then write again to advise further.

 

Guest D attendance at future Panels  - JS confirmed that she has spoken to Guest D regarding attendance and Guest D has confirmed that she is keen to continue her attendance at the Panel Meetings.  JS also has another LAC who has shown interest in joining the Panel. 

 

>JS to confirm arrangements with the second LAC representative for September.

 

Higher Education Bursaries (HEB)– Panel discussed problems surrounding the HEB, with the implications that this will have on the budget.  JS outlined that the Council currently have at 2 LAC attending University which is excellent but some consideration needs to be given to funding.

 

Ø      HEB to be put on Agenda for next meeting. 

 

Ø      GJ/JS to present a Paper to Panel on this issue at the next meeting.

 

Ø      Families First Report and LAC Exclusions – both items to be put on Agenda for next meeting for consideration by the Panel.

 

 

Agreed

 

 

Panel Noted

 

 

 

 

 

 

JS

 

 

 

 

 

MP

 

GJ/JS

 

MP

(3) To receive declarations of Interest

 

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

Agreed

(4) Presentation – National Youth Advocacy Service - NYAS

 

 

DT welcomed Gareth Jacobs and LP from NYAS and introduced the Panel Members.  Panel members were all issued with a copy of the NYAS Information Pack - (Master Copy available for viewing from Cabinet Office).

 

Gareth Jacobs indicated that the focal point of the presentation would be a Service Outline with the opportunity for the Panel to ask any questions they may have.  Some of the key issues referred to within Gareth Jacob’s presentation are as follows;

 

Ø      NYAS was established in 1979 by a group of Social Workers in Liverpool with the key aim of listening to children and young people who feel that their voices are not being heard.

 

Ø      It is a statutory duty for every Local Authority to provide advocacy services and that Advocacy was about empowering young people.

 

Ø      For those who approach NYAS who may not be eligible for their services they still work with the applicant in order to signpost them to the relevant person/agency who can help.

 

Ø      Gareth presented some results from a recent qualitative study that NYAS have carried out with LAC which yielded very interesting data.

 

DT queried whether we have similar study information that can be reported, like the data presented by NYAS.

 

GJ confirmed that we are able to report on some features.  The LA has a rolling programme of consultation concerned with broad themes but there has historically been a poor response rate.  This could be the result of the method of sourcing the information.  It was also recognised that there can be a problem engaging children in work when the Local Authority is leading it  - NYAS are an independent organisation and young people are often more willing to discuss their thoughts and feelings with an independent person.

 

JS indicated that the PEP’s also provide an insight into some of the areas. 

 

Discussion among the Panel regarding how the LA could source information on very basic questions to LAC, for example ‘Are you hungry’ (as some of the responses on the NYAS study worryingly indicated that some children reported feeling hungry as their personal experience of  being looked after.)    It was suggested that there is the potential that the Council could commission NYAS for specific consultation to capture information – NYAS confirmed that they would be very willing to work with the Authority to capture such data if requested.

 

JS also suggested that School Councils could be used as a mechanism to try and encourage engagement of young people in such studies.

 

GJ confirmed that he was pleased that the Council have now reached the position in which the contract has been awarded to NYAS and highlighted the role that each Panel member plays in ensuring universal access to these services, including in their role as local Councillors.

 

DT highlighted that as a result of the work of the Panel and all involved the Vale of Glamorgan Council now has a sound awareness of the issues that affect Looked After Children, and the work is supported across the Council, and by all Councillors.

 

GJ enquired if NYAS are in a position for the Local Authority to have some of their leaflets which have been published for different age groups on their service.  NYAS confirmed that the packs are currently being prepared with the intention that they will be hand delivered for Social Workers to then have an input in disseminating them to LAC.

 

Gareth Jacobs provided the Panel with some case study examples of Advocacy work that NYAS have been involved in.    He explained that in some cases children may ask for something that they are unable to have, e.g. something that may be harmful to them, or may make unreasonable requests.  In these cases NYAS can then assist by acting as independent advisors to the young people.

 

Gareth Jacobs stressed that Article 10 of the UN Convention states that all young people have the right to be heard but this cannot mean that they can always get what they want. 

 

Gareth Jacobs introduced Lesa Pate whose role is that of a visiting advocate.  LP outlined that she had her first visit to Wentworth Place on 19 July 2011 during which she met with LAC’s there and was able to explain her role and the services available.  She outlined that as a result of this meeting she has been invited to WH’s Young Person’s Team Meeting which she plans to attend.

 

She outlined that he role is to extract information from children in residential homes, regarding their experiences, happiness, care etc.. and to relay this information back to the Local Authority.

 

DT thanked NYAS for their presentation and their attendance and intimated that she hoped they would return to a future CPP Meeting to update the Panel.

 

NYAS left a copy of the Information Pack to go on the CPP file.

 

> CHV to file pack for information.

 

 

(6) Update on the Forward Work Programme – Gareth Jenkins

 

GJ circulated the new Cabinet Forward Work programme for the Panel to take away to consider.   GJ stressed that all completed items have now been removed from the Plan and that Higher Education is to be added as an action for the FWP.

 

> GJ to add HE to the FWP.

 

  The group discussed the Forward Work Programme and GJ provided updates as follows:-

 

Items 1 - 3– all have been brought forward from the last FWP with an update in the Progress Column for each item.

 

Item 4 ( Maintain and Improve Engagement, Involvement & Participation) – GJ indicated the first action has been completed given the update provided earlier in the meeting by JS in that Guest D would like to remain on the Panel and an extra representative has been approached.

 

GJ also highlighted that he has included the Awards Evening within the FWP as it is important to recognise this work.

 

Ø      Cllr VH to enquire as to Charlotte Church’s availability to attend the Awards Evening.

 

Ø      JS to email details of the Event to Cllr VH.

 

Item 5 (Health of LAC and Young People)

 

DT circulated letter to all Panel Members from Cardiff and Vale UHB regarding Health and LAC Provision.    DT outlined that the letter states that in order to provide an equitable level of service between the Vale and Cardiff there is to be a loss of service for the Vale in order to minimise the gap.

 

Cllr DT expressed her extreme disappointment at the contents of the letter and the outcome and advised that Panel that she intends to discuss the issue with the Chair of the LHB at her next meeting.

 

Ø      Cllr DT to speak with Chair LHB regarding Health Provision for LAC.

 

JS intimated that to lose the service of specialist nurses after 10 years is very sad.

 

DT suggested that a response to the letter be drafted from the CPP that she will sign as Chair.   Dental Care provision for LAC should also be raised as an issue within the letter.

 

Ø      GJ to draft a response for the Chair to send

 

Cllr SW enquired whether leisure passes provided to foster families are for the whole of the foster family or just for the Looked After Child?

 

GJ indicated that he is still awaiting confirmation on this point.  He has also queried whether all LAC receive leisure passes or just those of Secondary School age.

 

All Panel agreed that the passes should be for the whole foster family in order to promote cohesion and unity within the family so as to not single out the LAC.

 

> GJ to make some enquiries with Leisure Services and will report back to the Panel at a later date.

 

Item 6 (Education, Training or Employment)– GJ outlined that this item has been left on the Programme.  Panel hopefully will have a report for the next meeting regarding CMT Support for Care Leavers. 

 

DT suggested that there may be an opportunity with the new development at the Waterfront for work experience placements to be worked into agreement – suggestion of potential for S106 for Educational Purposes.

 

> Cllr DT to informally discuss how to progress options for work placements for LAC with the Leader.

 

Action will also be added to the FWP under this heading regarding LAC and Higher Education.

 

> GJ to update FWP to reflect this.

 

> HE to be scheduled on Agenda for next meeting.

 

> GJ to circulate papers with the Agenda for next meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

GJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr VH

 

JS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr DT

 

 

 

 

 

    GJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panel Agreed

 

GJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr DT

 

 

 

 

GJ

 

MP

 

GJ

(7) Awards Ceremony 2011 – Jenny Smith

 

JS updated Panel on arrangements for Awards Ceremony.

 

 JS has now been in touch with Rotarians and has been informed that there is a Rotary Scheme which LAC may be interested in getting involved, known as The Rotary Young Leaders Awards (RYLA) as part of which young people are able to go away to carry out activities.

 

Cllr DT confirmed that she is happy to meet with the Rotarians with JS if desired.

 

Ø      Cllr VH to contact Charlotte Church to enquiry as to availability for the Awards Ceremony.

 

JS stressed that there is also the potential for the date of the Awards Ceremony to be altered to suit Charlotte Church’s availability as the date has not yet been publicly circulated. 

 

Ø      JS to send CYPP report to VH to send with the letter for background on the Panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cllr VH

 

 

 

 

 

JS

(8) Future Meeting Dates 

 

 

Ø      Cllr DT to circulate proposed dates for future meetings to all Panel Members.

 

Ø      SW indicated that if the meetings have to be scheduled on Wednesdays then she is unable to meet until 5.30 onwards.

 

 

Cllr DT

 

 

Cllr SW

(9) AOB

 

 A copy of the WLGA News Release was circulated to all Panel Members.

 

GJ outlined that there is nothing contained within that the Panel has not already considered.  GJ congratulated Panel members on the work undertaken to date.

 

 

Next Meeting Date

 

 

To be confirmed.

 

 

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Corporate Parenting Panel minutes for the meetings 18th May, 2011 and 20th July, 2011 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members.

 

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