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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 14th July, 2014

 

Present: Councillor R.L. Traherne (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. M.E.J. Birch (Vice-Chairman); Councillors R.J. Bertin, Ms. R. Birch, Ms. K. Edmunds, K.J. Geary, Dr. I.J. Johnson, Ms. R.F. Probert and J.W. Thomas.

 

Also present: Councillors S.C. Egan and N. Moore.

 

 

200     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillor S.T. Wiliam.

 

 

201     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16th June, 2014 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

202     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

203     CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE SERVICES – COMMISSIONING STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN 2013 – 2018 (REF) –

 

Cabinet, on 16th June 2014, had received a report the purpose of which was to update Members on progress made in implementing the Children and Young People Services Commissioning Strategy and Action Plan 2013-18.  A copy of the Strategy was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The Strategy contained four key objectives:

  • To support families to stay together and reduce the need for children to be looked after by ensuring a focus on early intervention and preventative action across all service provision for children, including statutory and independent providers. 
  • To manage risk confidently and provide support at the 'edge of care’ by making sure that need and risk are accurately assessed and receive the proper response, so that the right children are accommodated at the right time.  This includes supporting families by making private arrangements within their wider family networks.
  • To provide and commission a flexible and affordable mix of high quality placements that met the diverse range of children’s needs.
  • To give children clearly planned journeys through care which remain focused on achieving care plans; prevent drift; enable them to be reunited with family and friends where possible; provide them with stable placements and opportunities to exit the care system positively.

To ensure that the Strategy was implemented effectively, work had been focused on the following key areas:

  • preventing children and young people becoming looked after where this was not necessary to safeguard their welfare;
  • enabling those who do come into care to be rehabilitated back to their family network, where it was safe to do so;
  • providing the best possible outcomes for those who remained accommodated; and
  • increase the range of placement options available for Looked After Children.

An updated Action Plan was attached at Appendix 2 and confirmed good progress in the first year of the Strategy.  Many of the actions had been completed while other longer-term measures were on track and on time.  It would be important to ensure a continuing and co-ordinated effort that built on the achievements to date.

 

Referring to the Action Plan a Committee Member queried as to the progress currently made.  In reply the Head of Children and Young People Services advised Members that the work to integrate support services had begun and that following the tender process in regard to the provision of residential care, a contract had been entered into.  An update report detailing the developments within the Strategy would be provided to the Committee in six months.

 

A Committee Member raised a query regarding Llamau and its intention to no longer provide accommodation, this being due to financial pressures being experienced.  Members were advised by the Operational Manager, Children and Young People Services, that Llamau provided many services such as mediation between families to repair breakdowns and also to support families.  As far as the Directorate was concerned the situation had not changed.  Further to this point the Director of Social Services commented that this may be related to the supported living aspect of Llamau’s service and this may be an issue for Housing Services. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress made in delivering the Children and Young People Services Commissioning Strategy and Action Plan be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To provide Members with opportunities to exercise oversight of a key strategic document for the Council.

 

 

204     REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION – FIRST GRADE CARE DAY SERVICE (COUNCILLOR DR. I.J. JOHNSON) –

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson had requested that the matter be considered by the Scrutiny Committee in order to update Members on the impact of First Grade Care withdrawing specific services upon service users and how the Directorate would mitigate the impact of any further withdrawal of services currently provided by the voluntary or independent sector.

 

In response, the Head of Adult Services advised that on 12th June 2014, First Grade Care (a private provider) wrote to people who used their service, advising them that the day centre was closing from 11th July 2014.  The service had been supporting 19 service users, the majority of them attended for one or two sessions per week.

 

The staff of First Grade Care had worked closely with Adult Services to ensure that the closure caused service users and carers as little disruption as possible, partly through the establishment of the assessed needs of the individuals supported by the service. 

 

In terms of the broader issue and the impact on services, he advised Members that First Grade Care was an independent and not a voluntary sector provider.  They also had a contract to provide domiciliary care.  First Grade Care’s day service was set up in a very entrepreneurial fashion and their service was not commissioned directly by the Council and this differs significantly from how other similar services have been commissioned.  It was extremely difficult to predict any future demises of this kind.  Work had been done with third sector providers in order to look at their business models and the service was open to dialogue and a business continuity plan was in place. 

 

The Chairman sought clarification from officers that there were no other providers facing a similar predicament.  The Head of Business Management and Innovation in reply informed Members that they had met with all domiciliary care providers and that they all had been encouraged to talk to the Council in order to discuss any problems.  The Service would also be willing to run a process of dialogue to see if there was anything that the Council could do to help. 

 

The Committee, in querying the contract agreements entered into between the Council and care providers, noted that each organisation had to provide a period of notice when entering into the care sector.  Under the terms of the contracts they were obliged to inform the Council of any problems that they were encountering as soon as possible and that this arrangement was communicated at the beginning of the planning stage to those organisations entering into the sector.

 

The Director of Social Services advised Members that a report on providers detailing some of the main aspects discussed would be brought to the Committee within the next few months and that it was right to say that First Grade Care’s day service was different to other service contracts entered into through the tendering process.  The demise of Southern Cross was an example of how Local Authorities could be faced with significant changes to service provision but the Authority’s dialogue in respect of fees and charges, as an example, was highly regarded within the residential care sector. 

 

Having considered the above, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To update elected Members.

 

 

205     CLOSURE OF ACCOUNTS 2013/14 (DSS) –

 

The Committee was informed of the financial position of the Social Services Directorate for the 2013/14 financial year. 

 

Set out below is a table comparing the amended estimate and the actual expenditure for the Directorate.

 

Service

Amended Revenue Estimate

Total Provisional Actual

Variance Favourable  () Adverse

 

       £’000

          £’000

             £’000

Social Services

 

 

 

Children and Young People

15,083

15,138

(55)

Adult Services

36,967

36,911

56

Business Management and Innovation

298

294

4

 

 

 

 

Total

52,348

52,343

5

 

 

 

 

 

The final outturn position for the revenue budget was a £5k favourable variance as detailed below.  As part of the Social Services Budget Programme, £2.241m of the Social Services Fund had been approved for use in 2013/14, however, this funding was not required at year end.

 

Children and Young Peoples Services – Adverse Variance of £55k

 

There were adverse variances relating to the Children's Placement budget of £429k due to a number of high cost placements, however, this was reduced by a £40k contribution from Education.  There was a transfer to provisions of £210k to fund future high cost residential placements and a reduction in the use of approved funding from the Social Services Fund of £213k.

 

There was a favourable variance of £45k on alternative means of provision and accommodation costs required for the current cohort of children, £53k on staffing due to administrative vacancies and during the recruitment of the new Operational Managers, £100k on the legal budget, £209k additional adoption income and a reduction in adoption allowances, additional grant funding £99k, £24k additional income from Health and the Emergency Duty Team recharge from Cardiff Council was £25k less than anticipated.   There were further favourable variances of £105k as a result of the reduced recharge from the Business Management and Innovation Division and the savings achieved ahead of those required of £97k.

 

Adult Services – Favourable Variance of £56k

 

There was an adverse variance of £509k on community care packages but with an over recovery of £528k on income received under the Deferred Payment Scheme, the net position at year end was a favourable variance of £19k.  The £200k savings on residential services as a result of negotiations with Hafod were not achieved in 2013/14, however, this would be pursued during 2014/15.  There was a transfer to provisions of £126k to fund potential future increases in Care Home fees in excess of inflation provided in the budget and a transfer to reserves of £205k to contribute towards the cost implications of future legislative changes.  There was also a reduction in the use of approved funding from the Social Services Fund of £2,028k.

 

There were favourable variances of £235k following the closure of Bryneithin, £174k on staffing, £50k on Transport, £138k on Supplies and Services and £91k on additional grant income.  With the levels of savings required for 2014/15 and 2015/16, budgets were being re-examined during 2013/14 with a view to their possible realignment as part of the consideration of new models of service delivery required to delivery future savings targets.  There was a £646k favourable variance due to the receipt of the First Steps grant from Welsh Government and £854k due to the allocation provided for other pressures through the budget setting process.  There were further favourable variances of £212k as a result of the reduced recharge from the Business Management and Innovation Division and the savings achieved ahead of those required of £196k.

 

Business Management and Innovation – Favourable of £4k

 

The majority of this budget was recharged to Children's and Adult Services.  The position before recharges to services was a favourable variance of £321k.  This was made up of £130k on staffing, due to staff vacancies being held under the Protection and Policy heading pending a review of service provision which was now complete, the part year vacancy of the Business Manager post and the Operational Manager Safeguarding and Performance post, £11k on transport, £97k from grant and other income and £83k from Energy.  The favourable variance has meant that there had been a reduced internal recharge to Children's and Adult Services of £317k.

 

The Social Services Fund was not utilised in 2013/14.  As part of the closing process the Social Services provisions were reviewed and £609k had been transferred into the Fund from other available provisions.  This would increase the Social Services Fund to £6.224m as at 31st March 2014.  This, therefore, allowed the savings targets identified as part of the Social Services Budget Programme to be re-profiled.  It was considered that a longer period was required to deliver the Service Remodelling savings, as a result of collaborative working.  This issue would be considered as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan.  £415k had also been transferred into a new provision to cover grant exit strategies.  Grant funded schemes such as Flying Start and Families First only have approval for a set period.  Welsh Government has stated that redundancy costs could not be funded from the grant allocation.  If grant funding was to cease, the Council could find itself in a position where it would have to pay redundancy costs.  This provision had been set up to cover this eventuality.

 

Capital

 

The overall outturn for the Directorate of Social Services was a variance of £198k.  This was mainly due to the Southway and Cartref Porthceri Home Upgrade scheme which slipped by £149k.  Assessment had to be undertaken to find the best options for delivering the works in a working residential home environment.  Works had commenced and would incorporate the fire precaution works planned for 2014/15. Completion was anticipated during July 2014.

 

Reserves

 

A reserve is an appropriation from a revenue account and does not constitute a cost of service until the expenditure is eventually incurred.  A reserve does not cover a present obligation or liability and is a voluntary means of setting aside monies for future requirements either capital or revenue.

 

A provision is a charge to revenue and is included as part of the cost of the relevant service at the point the provision is created.  A provision covers a present obligation or liability that has occurred to a past event and is compulsory under accounting regulations.

 

Funds no longer required as reserves may be transferred to the General Fund to be used for other purposes.

 

Attached at Appendix 3 to the report was a schedule showing the Directorate's reserves as at 31st March 2014.  The reserves had been reviewed and were currently considered adequate for reported uses.

 

The Chairman asked the Operational Manager – Accountancy if she could advise Members as to what was the main purpose of the Social Care Fund.  In reply Members were advised that the Social Services Fund was created at a time of considerable overspend and its purpose being to cover the difference between the high level of expenditure and the original budget level.  It is allowing the service, by means of a savings programme, to bring expenditure back in line with budget, over a number of years.  The usage of the Fund was approved by Cabinet and it is ringfenced for this specific purpose.  She further advised that reserves are set aside for more general aspects while provisions are set aside for a known specific purpose which can be calculated.

 

A Committee Member, referring to a figure of £1.5m, sought clarification as to whether or not it was part of the budget.   The Operational Manager – Accountancy confirmed that this funding was part of the Social Services base budget.  £646k of the allocation had been released for the service to utilise part way through the year while the remainder was not released until year end.  This release of funding had resulted in there being no drawdown from the Social Services Fund in 2013/14.  If the £1.5m funding had not been released, then money would have been drawn down from the Social Services Fund.  The Council had also received a one off grant payment of £646k from the Welsh Government for First Steps.  The Committee considered that it would be appropriate for Members to partake in a training workshop in order to discuss and understand the makeup and working arrangements of how the budget was managed and controlled.  The Chairman agreed to arrange this.

 

Referring to Appendix 2, Capital Monitoring, a Committee Member queried as to what were the plans for the Gardenhurst site.  In reply the Head of Adult Services informed Members that the site would be sold.  Councillor N. Moore, with permission to speak, advised the Committee that the proceeds from the sale would be allocated back into the Social Services budget but this could only be utilised under capital expenditure. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the report and the financial measures taken and proposed be noted.      

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To note the report and financial measures taken and proposed.

 

 

206     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2014 TO 31ST MAY 2014 (DSS) –

 

The Operational Manager – Accountancy presented the report the purpose of which was to advise Members of the position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st May 2014. 

 

Revenue

 

As it remained early in the financial year, the current forecast for Social Services was a balanced budget.  In addition to increased demand for services, there was pressure on the Directorate to achieve its savings targets for 2014/15 onwards.

 

A table and graph setting out the variance between profiled budget and actual expenditure to date and the projected position at year end were attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The Appendix also included a graph showing the trend in Adult Services expenditure to budget for the year to date.

 

Children and Young People's Services - The major issue concerning this service was the continued pressure on the children’s placements budget.  Any increase in the number of children becoming looked after by the Council over the year could have a significant impact on the service.  The Joint Budget for Residential Placements for Looked After Children was set this year at £3.335m.  Currently the projected outturn was for a balanced budget.

 

Adult Services - The major issue concerning this service was the continued pressure on the Community Care Packages budget.  This budget was extremely volatile and could be adversely affected by outside influences.  While the budget was currently showing a breakeven position, there would be great pressure on this budget throughout the coming year and Committee would be advised of any change in this position.  The annual deferred income budget for 2014/15 had been set at £725k and £107k had been received as at 31st May 2014, which was slightly behind the current budget profile of £121k.

 

The Social Services Directorate was committed to achieving a balanced budget in 2014/15 while delivering the approved savings.

 

Capital

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st May 2014.

 

The monitoring report showed that actual expenditure for the month of May 2014 was matched by a similar figure in the 'profile to date' column, thereby showing no variances.  Profiled expenditure had been requested from Project Managers and would be updated in the next report.

 

Members should be aware that Appendix 2 to the report did not include requests for unspent committed expenditure to be slipped from 2013/14 into 2014/15.  A request for this slippage would be included in the Closing Down report presented to a future Cabinet meeting.

 

For all schemes where it was evident that the full year's budget would not be spent during the year, the relevant officers were required to provide an explanation for the shortfall and this would be taken to the earliest available Cabinet.

 

Social Services Budget Programme Update 

 

On 5th March 2014, Council also approved the savings targets for 2014/15 and the initial savings targets for 2015/16 and 2016/17.  Due to the pressures on the community care package budget, it was approved that £125k of the 2014/15 saving be deferred until 2015/16 and a further £300k deferred from 2015/16 to 2016/17.

 

The Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £3.97m by the end of 2016/17.  The surplus shown was as a result of the foster carer recruitment project and could be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future years.

 

The following table shows the approved savings targets and the savings identified by year.  It includes the £293,000 identified in 2012/13 in excess of the saving target for that year. 

 

Year

Savings Required

£000

Savings Identified

£000

In Year Surplus/ (Shortfall)

£000

Cumulative Surplus/   (Shortfall)

£000

Previously Identified Savings

 

293

293

293

2014/15

713

454

(259)

34

2015/16

1,600

1,676

76

110

2016/17

1,657

1,733

76

186

TOTAL

3,970

4,156

 

 

 

Appendix 3 to the report detailed the latest progress for each savings project currently identified. 

 

The Social Services Directorate was committed to achieving a balanced budget.  The Corporate Budget Programme Board for Social Services and project teams overseeing the plan would continue to develop it further and ensure delivery and progress.  Progress updates would be reported as part of the overall financial monitoring report for the Directorate.

 

A Committee Member queried with officers as to how confident they were that a balanced budget for this year would be achieved.  In reply Members were informed that extra care had been highlighted as an area of concern due to the delay in the completion of the facility within Barry.  Members were also asked to note the volatile nature of the budget for residential care packages. 

 

In referring to the budget savings plan, a Member queried if this included provision.  The Operational Manager – Accountancy advised Members that this did not include provision and the use of provisions would be assessed at year end if budgets were overspent. 

 

A Committee Member, making reference to the recent foster care recruitment campaign, asked if this had made a difference.  In reply the Head of Children and Young People Services stated that the campaign had made an impact and that all the targets had been met. 

 

The Committee sought clarification around whether savings within the back office were being considered before any possible front line savings.  The Director of Social Services informed the Committee that any detailed review of the structure of the service placed significant emphasis on maintaining front line services over back office functions.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the position with regard to the 2014/15 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and referred to Cabinet for information.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2014/15 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

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

 

 

207     CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE SERVICES – ANNUAL PLACEMENT REVIEW (DSS) –

 

The Committee received a report, the purpose of which was to outline the actions taken within Children and Young People Services during 2013/14 with regard to placement provision for Looked After Children (LAC) and to outline the actions being undertaken during 2014/15. 

 

In providing a background summary the Operational Manager – Children and Young People Services advised Members that resource management in Children’s Social Care was inherently problematic.  This was particularly the case in the area of children’s placements.  The number of children with complex needs was increasing and meeting these needs within appropriate placements placed pressure on budgets.  This cohort of children related both to those with challenging and complex behaviour, and to those with disabilities. 

 

In Children and Young People Services, the major issue was the continued pressure on placements for LACs.  This was the division’s most volatile budget and the one most dependent upon levels of service demand which were not within the Council’s director control.  One of the key savings projects being managed was part of the Social Services Budget Programme relating to residential placements for LACs, with a target of £150k in cashable savings each year between 2014/15 and 2016/17.

 

Attached at Appendix 1 was a report in which officers had analysed the financial position, the demand for placements and the spending patterns. 

 

Referring to page 7 of the Appendix, Members were asked to note the reduction in the number of LACs and that the majority of those placements were with kinship carers and that there was a steady reduction in the number of placements with independent foster carer and residential placements.  There still remained a significant challenge to move children on in an appropriate manner and to manage those children coming into the service, with prevention being a main aspect of the Council’s strategy. 

 

Page 8 of the Appendix contained three brief case studies to illustrate the type of need with which the service was currently working. 

 

Detailed on pages 10 to 14 of the Appendix was a summary of some of the activity undertaken during 2013/14 and showed a number of initiatives that had been implemented to address the key issues and objectives in this area.  This included

external placement audit, internal foster carer recruitment project, joint budget and revocation of Care Orders. 

 

In response to a Committee Member’s query regarding the education achievement of LACs the Head of Children and Young People Services informed the Committee that all LACs have a Personal Education Plan in place and that there were close working arrangements between the schools and partner agencies in order that the actions contained with these plans could be met to ensure positive outcomes. 

 

A Committee Member sought understanding as to the level of support offered to children leaving the service.  Members were advised that there was a host of support available, particularly from social workers and also through an advisor being assigned to all children leaving the care of the Authority and that this could continue up to the age of 24.  Further to this point a Committee Member sought clarification as to whether enough was being done by the Council in its role as Corporate Parent and whether the Authority could do more.  In response the Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that this was regularly discussed at the Corporate Parenting Panel meetings but it was fair to say that more could be achieved, particularly around engaging with children and in understanding their views and viewpoints. 

 

A Committee Member, referring to the number of LACs detailed on page 7 of the Appendix, stated that it would be more useful if this could be shown per 1,000 of population in order to gauge the rate of LACs in the Vale of Glamorgan compared to other Local Authorities.  Further to this point the Committee Member queried as to why the rate of LACs in Wales was higher than in England.  The Committee was advised that there was not a right number of LACs but there was a need to understand whether the Council had properly assessed the risk for all children entering care, the service works to keep children out of care but this was a matter of judgement on a case by case basis. 

 

In response to a query regarding the preparation around the “When I am Ready†Strategy, Members were advised that this had not yet been implemented and that the pilot evaluation had not been concluded. They had received some early feedback that showed that there was an increase in the level of cost being incurred.  The service was gearing itself up for its implementation and this, and the resulting impacts, were being anticipated. 

 

With reference to the work of the Youth Offending Service, a Committee Member queried the impact upon the budget of this service.  In response Members were advised by the Head of Children and Young People Services that they do not receive much notice of young people being presented in court and there was a significant issue with the availability of remand placements. 

 

At this point, and in summary of some of the discussion, the Director of Social Services commented that it had been noted that the level of LACs within England was now increasing and that there wasn’t really a right level. It was just a case of the Council responding appropriately to situations that were being presented.  There was strong evidence to show that Social Services could not cope with large influxes of children entering care and that this greatly impacted upon the pressures placed on social workers and in particular the concerns around placements breaking down.  There was a need to have a range of placements and services available and the Council had been able to achieve a system to reduce the churn and minimise the number of placements that LACs experienced, recognising that stability was one of the most important factors. 

 

As a final point Members were advised that in respect of stability of placements for LACs, the service had a strategy to bring those children placed in England back to Wales so this had impacted on one of the performance indicators as specified by the number of children experiencing three or more placements within a financial year. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T regular updates to existing reporting arrangements be received, including the monthly budget programme report and six monthly reports on the Children and Young People Services’ Commissioning Strategy and Foster Carer Recruitment Strategy.

 

(3)       T H A T a further annual review report be received in July 2015.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-3)    To provide Members with an opportunity to exercise oversight of this key statutory function.

 

 

208     UPDATE ON YOUNG CARER SERVICES (DSS) –

 

The Head of Business Management and Innovation presented the report, the purpose of which was to update the Committee on the support services offered to young carers. 

 

Young Carers are defined as children and young people under the age of 18 who have caring responsibilities for someone who has a physical or mental illness, a physical or learning disability, or a drug or alcohol problem.  The person they look after may be a parent, a brother or sister, a grandparent or other relative.  They may provide practical or physical care, help with personal care, assistance with domestic tasks and / or emotional support.

 

Regardless of their age, all carers have the right to an assessment of their needs as a carer.  There was no specific legislation which refers to 'young carers' as a specific category, although each local authority has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area who are in need and to promote the upbringing of such children, wherever possible by their families, through providing an appropriate range of services.

 

Where a child was providing a substantial amount of care on a regular basis for a parent, they would be entitled to an assessment of their ability to care and the local authority must take that assessment into account when deciding what community care services should be made available to the parent.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan commissions externally a Young Carers Project delivered through Action for Children.  This service provided opportunities for young carers to participate in social activities, events and short breaks outside the school and home environment.  This service was jointly funded by the Children and Young People's Partnership (via the Families First Funding) and by Social Services.

 

A report to the Scrutiny Committee in January 2014 described joint working between the Cardiff and Vale UHB and the two Local Authorities (the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff) to meet the new responsibilities introduced by the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure, especially in respect of improving information to / engagement with carers. Better support for young carers has been a key objective for this joint working.

 

In November 2012, the Children and Young People Partnership commissioned Action for Children to carry out a scoping exercise that would help to identify the potential number of young carers in primary and secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The exercise involved online questionnaires and group talks in schools and a focus group of 13 known young carers.  Information gathered from the exercise was intended to help focus future service development to support young carers.

 

33 schools in the Vale of Glamorgan were approached regarding the young carer’s survey and 18 schools participated.  More than 2,000 children were surveyed: 179 of them believed that they were a young carer and another 214 were unsure if they were a young carer.  Hence, 10% of young people indicated that they had some caring responsibility, although only 8.3% considered themselves to be young carers. These percentages were in line with similar research elsewhere.  Extrapolating from these figures suggested that the Vale of Glamorgan had as many as 1,800 young carers.  Training for teachers was now being offered in order to help them identify particular signs of children or young people that could be carers.  The report outlining the survey findings was attached at Appendix A to the report.  Attached at Appendix B were case studies of services provided to young carers to support them in their role.

 

To take forward recommendations from the scoping exercise and to make progress with the requirements of the Carers Measure, a Young Carers Group was formed in January 2013.  It included representatives from health and social services, the Children and Young People's Partnership, the Learning and Skills Directorate, a Deputy Headteacher and young carer service providers from the Third Sector.

 

As part of the Group's objectives it was agreed that a new service / project should be commissioned for Young Carers, building on the existing service and introducing more individual case work to support young carers improve their educational attendance and attainment.  Work on a procurement exercise had started.

 

Additionally, a Cardiff and Vale Task and Finish Group had been established to develop resources and materials that would support educational performance and raise awareness of young carers' needs.  An e-learning module was in the final stages of production; it would help professionals to understand the issues affecting young carers and to identify those with whom they come into contact.  Young people would be involved in workshops to produce posters and leaflets.  These would be used primarily in schools and to inform parents, partly to remove some of the embarrassment and stigma still attached to identification as a young carer and to provide reassurance that there was support available.  The workshops would also explore further the information needs of young carers.

 

The Chairman sought reassurance that the Council was doing everything to reach as many young carers as possible.  In response the Head of Business Management and Information informed Members that the service was continually reviewed and that the establishment of a Young Carers Group had been important to properly understand the issues facing young carers and to gauge the level of support that they require. 

 

In response to a query regarding the Council’s provision of young carer cards, offering discounts and commercial offers, the Head of Business Management and Information stated that this was not something that the service currently provided but that it was an idea that should be looked into and considered, this being an innovative way to identify and engage with young carers.

 

A Committee Member queried how often would the scoping exercise be carried out and why were some schools reluctant to become involved. In reply the Head of Business Management and Information advised Members that this was not part of a rolling programme and that she did not know why certain schools chose not to participate. She advised that it would be important to go back to the schools and to properly explain the background behind the exercise and also the importance of partaking in the survey.  Further to this point, a Committee Member queried if the report could be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) in order to pursue the issue of lack of engagement with some schools.

 

A Member commented that there was a need for a broad range of services and enquired as to how did the Vale of Glamorgan compare to other parts of Wales. In response, Members were advised that on the basis of population size the Vale of Glamorgan compared reasonably well and that this was based on robust data.

 

Having considered the above, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee receive an update report on an annual basis.

 

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

 

(3)       T H A T the Directorate investigate the possibility of introducing a Young Carer Card offering benefits such as discounts to young carers.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

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

 

(2)       That Members of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) are aware of the work undertaken within schools to engage with young carers and to note the issue of lack of engagement from some schools in participating in the young carers scoping exercise.

 

(3)       To increase the number of young carers identified and to raise the level of engagement, noting the stigma experienced by many children and young people that undertake the role as a carer for a relative.

 

 

209     SOCIAL SERVICES END OF YEAR PERFORMANCE REPORT 2013/14 AND TARGET SETTING 2014/15 (DSS) –

 

The Committee were presented with end of year performance and action monitoring reports for the year ending 2013/14 and were notified of the changes to performance indicators and performance targets for 2014/15.

 

In reviewing the target setting for 2014/15 a Committee Member raised an issue concerning the level of target setting for the following performance indicators, it being noted that in some cases, the current target setting was significantly lower than actual performance achieved in previous years.  These specifically related to:

  • SS02/M004Q – the percentage of initial assessments that were completed during the year where there is evidence that the child has been seen by a worker
  • SCC016Q – the percentage of reviews of child in need plans carried out in accordance with the statutory timetable
  • SCC007cQ – the percentage of referrals during the year that did not proceed to allocation for initial assessment

It was agreed that the Head of Children and Young People Services would look into the target setting for these particular performance indicators and would inform the Committee Members accordingly. 

 

In reviewing SCC037A, the average external points score for 16 year old LAC, Members were advised that the target level seemed low when compared to actual performance as a result of exceptional performance by a looked after child, but that the target setting needed to reflect the cohort.

 

A Committee Member sought clarification as to how the delayed transfer of care figure was calculated.  In response the Head of Adult Services advised Members that this was a very complex undertaking and that he would provide an explanation of the performance indicator’s calculation to each Member individually via e-mail. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the service performance results and remedial actions to be undertaken to address service and performance be noted (paragraphs 5 to 12 with full details in Appendix 1).

 

(2)       T H A T progress to update in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2013/14 be noted (paragraphs 6-7 with full details in Appendix 1).

 

(3)       T H A T proposed service targets for 2014/15 be considered (paragraphs 12 – 14 with full details in Appendix 2).

 

4)         T H A T Cabinet consider the Committee’s recommendation to review the 2014/15 performance target setting for the following performance indicators:

  • SS02/M004Q – the percentage of initial assessments that were completed during the year where there is evidence that the child has been seen by a worker
  • SCC016Q – the percentage of reviews of child in need plans carried out in accordance with the statutory timetable
  • SCC007cQ – the percentage of referrals during the year that did not proceed to allocation for initial assessment.

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

(2)       To enable the Council to demonstrate achievement of its objectives and identify service areas for improvement work.

 

(3)       To ensure challenging targets are set against the Council’s measures for improvement, reflecting the Council’s commitment to continuously improve services whilst mindful of significant financial and service demand pressures of the coming year.

 

(4)       Cabinet have final decision making powers.

  

 

210     SCRUTINY COMMITTEES’ DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT – MAY 2013 TO APRIL 2014 (DR) –

 

The Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and included details of the work of all five of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees for 2013/14.  The report represented an overview of work of the Scrutiny Committees during the year and Members were requested to refer specifically to the relevant sections for the Committee and to make any amendments / suggestions as appropriate.

 

Having considered the report, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the contents of the draft Annual Report for the period May 2013 to April 2014 be approved, subject to any further minor amendments being agreed in consultation with the Chairman and that it be submitted to Full Council in September 2014. 

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To approve the draft Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report to allow it to be submitted to Full Council in September 2014.

 

 

211     SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND WORK PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 2014/15 (DR) –

 

The purpose of the report was to advise Members of progress in relation to the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and to confirm the work programme schedule for the Scrutiny Committee for 2014/15. 

 

Members noted that within the work programme there were two references relating to a report concerning the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Partnership.  Members agreed to retain the first action recorded.  Members also noted that a report request entitled “Range of Service Providers†that was discussed at the meeting of 16th June 2014 should be added.

 

Following discussions on the content of the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following recommendations be deemed completed and deleted from decision tracking:

 

07 October 2013

Min. No. 462 - Annual Report of the Director of Social Services 2012/2013 – Challenge Version (DSS) – Recommended 

(2)   That the version of the Director's Annual Report for 2012/13 – Challenge Version that is presented to Cabinet be also reported to this Committee.

 

 

 

 

Copy of Annual Report e-mailed to all Members of the Scrutiny Committee.

Completed

07 November 2013

Min. No. 570 – The Financial Position in Adult Services (DSS) – Recommended

(6)   That the creation of the Intermediate Care Fund in the 2014/15 draft Welsh Government Budget to promote collaboration between Local Health Boards and local authorities be welcomed and that the Council’s own application development process commences as soon as practicable in order to make best use of this funding opportunity.

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

13 January 2014

Min. No. 727 – Review of the Resolutions Fostering Service (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That Scrutiny Committee receive a further report in six months’ time outlining how the process of implementing the preferred option is progressing.

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 728 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2013 to 30th November 2013 (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and referred to Cabinet for information.

 

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 10th February 2014, noted the report. (Min. No. C2190 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 730 – Support Services for Carers (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That a further report be brought before Committee in July 2014 outlining the difficulties facing the Council in contacting 'hard to reach' carers, particularly 'young carers', and that the report be jointly prepared with the Chief Learning and Skills Officer.

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 731 – The Vale of Glamorgan Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Partnership (DSS) – Recommended

(2)  That Committee continue to receive reports every six months on the work of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Partnership.

(3)   That Committee receive a report (prepared jointly with the Chief Learning and Skills Officer) on CAMHS, which might also require the involvement of the NHS.

 

 

 

(2)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

(3)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 734 – Bryneithin Update – Recommended

(2)   That a further update report be brought before Committee in July 2014.

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

10 February 2014

Min. No. 815 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2013 to 31st December 2013 – Recommended

(2)   That the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and referred to Cabinet for information.

 

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 10th March 2014, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2232 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 817 – The Vale Family Information Services (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That regular updates on the work of the Service be brought before future meetings of the Committee by way of an Annual Report.

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 818 – Regulatory Reports – Improvement Tracking (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That the matter be referred to the Audit Committee for further consideration.

 

 

 

Referred to Audit Committee meeting on 28th April, 2014.

Completed


10 March 2014

Min. No. 910 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2013 to 31st January 2014 (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and be referred to Cabinet for information.

 

 

 

 

Referred to Cabinet.

Completed

Min. No. 915 – Protection of Children: Update Report (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That information about the work undertaken to protect children continues to be reported to this Scrutiny Committee on a six monthly basis.

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 917 – Task and Finish Activities for 2014/15 (HDS) – Recommended

(3)   That the review to be submitted for consideration on behalf of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) be as follows:

·           An examination of the potential contribution assistive technology can provide in the development of a dementia supportive community in the Vale of Glamorgan through enabling people to live independently.

 

 

 

On 30th April 2014 the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group Agreed

(1)   That the No. 1 Priority for Task and Finish Review work for 2014/15 be:

An Examination of the Potential Contribution Assistive Technology Can Provide in the Development of a Dementia Supportive Community in the Vale of Glamorgan Through Enabling People to Live Independently.

(2)   That the Group receive a report to each future meeting on progress on the above Review in order to assist consideration of further prioritisation of topics as appropriate.

(Min. No. (d) refers)

Completed

19 May 2014

Min. No. 22 – Presentation: Neale-Kent Ward at Barry Hospital – Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – Recommended that the contents of the presentation and the accompanying consultation document be forwarded to Cabinet in view of the potential for increased costs to the Council.

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 16th June, 2014, resolved that the Managing Director write to the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Welsh Local Government Association to discuss cabinet’s concerns over the potential for increased costs in respect of nursing home placements in the Vale of Glamorgan.

(Min. No. C2337 refers)

Completed

16 June 2014

Min. No. 65 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April to 30th April 2014 (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and referred to Cabinet for information.

 

 

 

Referred to Cabinet meeting on 14th July 2014.

Completed

Min. No. 66 – Update on the Social Services Budget Programme 2013/14 (DSS) – Recommended that the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme during 2013/14 be noted and the report referred to Cabinet for information.

 

 

Referred to Cabinet meeting on 14th July 2014.

Completed

Min. No. 67 – Update on the Development of Families First Services (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the Committee continues to receive annual updates on progress.

 

(3)   That the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(4)   That a further report be received in six months’ time detailing how the Council can meet the challenges of service demand for services for families. This should include Welsh Government grants, regional and partnership working arrangements.

 

 

 

(2)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(3)   Referred to Cabinet meeting on 14th July 2014.

Completed

(4)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 68 – “Together for Mental Healthâ€: Local Delivery Plan (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That a further and more timely report relating to the 2013/14 action plan is presented to the Committee as soon as it is available.

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 70 – Assistive Technology – Task and Finish Group – Scope (DR) – Recommended

(3)   That reports of the Task and Finish Group be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) for consideration.

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the work programme schedule attached at Appendix C be amended as detailed above and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To maintain effective tracking of the Committee’s recommendations.

 

(2)       For information.

 

 

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