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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 6th October, 2014

 

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

 

Also present: Councillor S.C. Egan.

 

 

471     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillor Ms. R.F. Probert.

 

 

472     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 1st September, 2014 be approved as a correct record, it being noted that apologies for absence were received from Councillor S.T. Wiliam. 

 

 

473     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

474     IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 2: ANNUAL REVIEW OF PERFORMANCE 2013/14 (REF) –

 

On 16th September 2014 the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) referred the Improvement Plan Part 2 to this Scrutiny Committee for consideration, citing the need to evaluate the direction of travel of certain Performance Indicators when compared to the Welsh average.

 

In considering the reference and report, the Chairman drew the Committee’s attention to page 70 of the Improvement Plan and requested that officers offer an explanation of issues affecting performance against certain Indicators.

 

In respect of Performance Indicator SCA/001(the rate of delayed transfers of care for social care reasons per 1,000 population aged 75 or over), the Head of Adult Services advised Members that this Scrutiny Committee would be well aware of the issue in respect of delayed transfers of care.  Last year’s performance was disappointing and this could be mainly attributed to winter pressures affecting service demand and also problems caused by staff vacancies.  He asked Members to note the latest performance information which showed a much improved position. 

 

A Committee Member queried as to what other Local Authorities were doing in instances where their rate of delayed transfer was lower than that in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Committee was advised that it was of interest to note that Cardiff Council was also within the same quartile as the Vale.  Both the Vale and Cardiff Councils were covered by the Cardiff and Vale Local Health Board and this indicated that it may be a regional issue.  It would be more of a concern if the Vale was not on a par with its neighbouring authority. 

 

Further to this, a Member enquired as to what extent was this a local authority issue and whether it was more of a matter for the Local Health Board i.e. was the Vale being judged on a partnership working arrangement and how could this be properly dealt with?  In response the Head of Adult Services stated, that within the calculation of the delayed transfers of care Performance Indicator, there were seven different categories for social care reasons causing the delay in discharge out of hospital.  Many cases of delayed transfer of care were directly influenced by health but in general terms this Performance Indicator related directly to Social Services.  The Director of Social Services advised there was an element of confusion in respect of data about whether people were consistently fit for discharge when referred by NHS staff to Social Services and that sometimes patients would require further medical treatment which thus affected the ability of social care practitioners to assist in discharging individuals. 

 

In discussing the performance of Indicator SCA/002a (the rate of older people (aged 65 or over) supported in the community per 1,000 population aged 65 or over at 31st March), Members were advised that this Indicator did not offer great value in terms of improved understanding about performance or provide evidence of good service delivery. It could be argued that a low figure showed a better position as it indicated that more people were living independently without help from Social Services. 

 

Moving on to Performance Indicator SCA/007 (the percentage of clients with a care plan at 31st March whose care plans should have been reviewed that were reviewed during the year), Members noted that this was a legitimate area where the Vale of Glamorgan could have performed better.  A rise in service demand had adversely affected the ability of social workers to review in a timely way care packages in place.

 

In assessing Performance Indicators relating directly to Children’s Services, Members were advised that for Performance Indicator SCC/011a (the percentage of initial assessments that were completed during the year where there is evidence that the child has been seen by the Social Worker), that a local Performance Indicator which included social care officers as well as social workers showed that the current service performance was around 83% and that the picture for Quarters 1 and 2 were much healthier.  The issue related to the wording of the Performance Indicator that made reference to an assessment by a qualified worker.  In many cases, a non-qualified member of staff had been able to see the Child but that this could not be counted when calculating the National Performance Indicator.

 

In commenting on Indicator SCC/011b (the percentage of initial assessments that were completed during the year where there is evidence that the child has been seen alone by the Social Worker), the Head of Children and Young People Services advised the Committee that she had looked at the reasons why children had not been seen and she was reassured that the reasons were legitimate. She advised that 39 children were not seen alone as they were too young, a further nine children refused and, in some cases, the child was unborn.  She assured the Committee that children were seen when it was appropriate to do so and that all workers were supervised by appropriately qualified team managers. 

 

The Committee was advised that specific to Indicator SCC/033e (the percentage of young people formerly looked after with whom the authority is in contact, who are known to be in suitable, non-emergency accommodation at the age of 19), this represented a very small cohort and that performance had been affected by one young person who was in prison and one in emergency accommodation.

 

Referring to Performance Indicator SCC/033f (the percentage of young people formerly looked after with whom the Authority is in contact, who are known to be engaged in education, training or employment at the age of 19), the Head of Children and Young People Services advised Members that this was generally a very small cohort of individuals and that the performance for Quarter 1 had improved to 77.7%.  When calculating this Performance Indicator, the makeup of the cohort needed to be fully appreciated; in many cases, this included teenagers who were pregnant or suffered from an illness and therefore could not engage or were not willing to engage in education, training or employment. 

 

The Head of Children and Young People Services advised the Committee that for the performance against Indicator SCC/037 (the average external qualifications point score for 16 year old looked after children), this again was very much dependent on the cohort of children.

 

In referring to Objective 3 relating to the increase in the number of Council foster carers, officers were asked to comment upon the level of stability currently being experienced by children within care.  In response, the Head of Children and Young People Services advised that the service had been able to improve levels of placement stability through the strategy to reduce the number of placements outside Wales and to increase the number of foster carer opportunities within the Vale of Glamorgan.  This was currently working very well. 

 

Responding to a query regarding the Council’s objective to increase the number of in-house foster carers, the Head of Children and Young People Service informed the Committee that the service had met the target for recruiting new carers last year and efforts were focussing on recruiting carers who could offer respite placement, placements for siblings and those with complex needs.  She advised that the situation was being closely monitored and that although there had been a dip in activity during the summer period due to staff capacity, the service remained on track for meeting this year’s target.

 

A Committee Member commented that so far the focus of the Committee had been on considering the negative performance of the service but that the Committee should be mindful that in 10 areas the Vale of Glamorgan was within the top quartile and that the Committee should note the good performance.  It was currently understood that the Welsh Government was reviewing a number of the key Performance Indicators and the Committee Member asked if officers could provide any updates.  The Director of Social Services advised, that in respect of certain Performance Indicators that may have become redundant, officers were in dialogue with representatives at the Welsh Government and that the appropriate updates would be provided in due course. 

 

Having considered the reference, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the issues and challenges affecting the performance in respect of Children’s and Adult Services be noted. 

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In order that the Scrutiny Committee closely assess the performance of key strategic Performance Indicators.

 

 

475     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2014 TO 31ST AUGUST 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 August 2014. 

 

Revenue

 

The current year end forecast for the Social Services budget was an overspend of £700k.  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. 

 

Children and Young People's Services - This service was currently anticipated to outturn £200k under budget at year end.  The major issue concerning this service continued to be the pressure on the children’s placements budget.  At present, it was currently projected that the Joint Budget for Residential Placements for Looked After Children would outturn within budget at year end.  However, it still remained early in the financial year and therefore this position would need to be monitored closely as any increase in the number of children becoming looked after by the Council over the remainder of the year could have a significant impact on the budget, particularly if they required high cost residential placements.  The areas of projected underspend in the budget were currently legal expenses, adoption income and reduced expenditure as a result of the current cohort of children. 

 

Adult Services - This service was currently anticipated to outturn £900k over budget at year end.  This was due to a projected overspend on Community Care Packages of £1.1m as a result of increased demand for services, particularly for frail older clients.  This was a slight improvement on the previous month's position.  The service would strive to manage demand, not only to avoid a further increase in the overspend, but also to reduce it.  Whilst every effort would be made to improve this position, it could not be guaranteed that this position would not deteriorate further by year end as this budget was extremely volatile and under great pressure.  The annual deferred income budget for 2014/15 had been set at £725k and at 31st August 2014 income received to date was on target.  The year end projection had now been amended from a £150k under-recovery, as reported last month, to a £100k under-recovery.  This position was included as part of the projected overspend on the Community Care packages budget.  The areas of projected underspend in the budget were currently staffing and related travel costs and premises.

 

Capital

 

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

 

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 should be taken to the earliest available Cabinet.

 

Appendix 3 to the report provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes.  

 

Social Services Budget Programme Update

 

On 5th March 2014, Council approved the savings targets for 2014/15 and the initial savings targets for 2015/16 and 2016/17. 

 

As part of the Medium Term Financial Plan, approved by Cabinet on 11th August 2014, it was agreed that the service remodelling savings, included in 2015/16 and 2016/17 would be rephased and were now set as £320k in 2017/18, £320k in 2018/19 and £330k in 2019/20.

 

The Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £3.97m by the end of 2019/20.  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 £293k 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

1,125

1,201

76

110

2016/17

1,162

1,238

76

186

2017/18

320

320

0

186

2018/19

320

320

0

186

2019/20

330

330

0

186

TOTAL

3,970

4,156

 

 

 

Appendix 4 to the report detailed the latest progress for each savings project currently identified.

 

A Committee Member requested an update in respect of the regional fostering marketing initiative that was relayed to the Committee in a previous meeting.  In response the Director of Social Services advised that a business case was being developed within the South East Wales Improvement Collaborative (SEWIC) and that he was currently the lead for this project that encompassed 10 Local Authorities and that an update report would be provided by the end of the year. 

 

Having considered the report, the Committee

 

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 this Committee.

 

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

 

 

476     QUARTER 1 SOCIAL SERVICES PERFORMANCE REPORT 2014-15 (DSS) –

 

In presenting the report the Director of Social Services advised that the Social Services Directorate was well on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes with 97% of actions currently either completed or on track. 100% of the Corporate Plan actions were on track for completion and, of these 14 actions, this represented a total of 13 actions on track whilst one action had already been completed.  There were nine actions relating to the Improvement Objectives, all of which were either completed or on track to be completed.  There was only one action relating to the Outcome Agreement which was currently on track for completion.

 

In terms of exceptional performance, Members were advised to note that the rate of delayed transfers of care for social care reasons per 1,000 population aged 75 which was 0.82 for this quarter.  This represented a significant reduction, with less than half the number of delayed transfers of care compared with the 2013/14 end of year results.  The service had also seen significant improvement in Indicator SCC/033f (the percentage of young people formerly looked after with whom the Authority was in contact, who are known to be engaged in education, training or employment at the age of 19).  This Indicator had improved significantly from 44.4% at year end 2013/14 to 77.78% for Quarter 1. 

 

The Committee was advised that actions against SS/A043 (implementation of a brokerage hub for care home placements with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Cardiff Council) had slipped.  Members were asked to note that this would resume once the department had resolved capacity issues.  Members were also advised that Cardiff Council had introduced a new system of brokerage in respect of residential placements that included a tendering process between providers and Cardiff Council at the level of individual placements.  Within the Vale of Glamorgan there currently operated an agreed rate of payment with providers and that the situation in Cardiff would be monitored and evaluated in due course. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the service performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address service under performance be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T progress to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2014-15 be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

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

 

(2)       To consider the Quarter 1 Social Services performance results as at 30th June 2014 in order to identify service areas for improvement.

 

 

477     OUTCOME AGREEMENT 2013-2016: END OF YEAR REPORT FOR 2013/14 (DSS) –

 

The purpose of the report was to provide an update on the progress made with the achievement of the Outcome Agreement that was agreed with the Welsh Government on 1st April 2014. 

 

Referring to Outcome 3, which was specific to this Scrutiny Committee that related to improving the lives of older people, Members noted that the service had been partially successful in achieving the intended outcome for the year.  Overall, there was an 8% increase in the number of adults supported to live at home, contributing towards the Council’s aim of helping people maintain their independence for longer.  Members were asked to note that targets relating to assessments for Occupational Therapist (OT) and Unified Assessments (UA) were miscalculated. 

 

In reflecting upon the miscalculations made in relation to targets for assessments for OT and UAs, the Director of Social Services commented that targets had been agreed collaboratively between the Social Services Directorate and the Corporate Performance Section.  The main fault for the miscalculation lay with Social Services.  Members were advised that there had been a relatively tight turnaround in calculating the Performance Indicators as initially there were no Social Service outcomes outlined within the Outcome Agreement and that Outcome 3 had been included at a rather late stage of development.  The service had been playing catch up and hence there had been a mistake by Social Services in calculating the targets for two of the Performance Indicators. 

 

A Committee Member queried whether these performance targets had been changed to reflect the true picture.  In response Members were advised that the Corporate centre was in dialogue with the Welsh Government and that there may be scope to assess the targets at a future point.  These were not statutory Performance Indicators and it was felt that Welsh Government would be willing to hear representations from the Council in order to rectify the miscalculation. 

 

In referring to the overall 8% increase in the number of adults supported to live at home, a Committee Member in referring to the percentage of community supported clients receiving 20 or more hours of care per week, asked officers to clarify whether the current rate of 18.1% was good or bad.  In reply, the Head of Adult Services advised that these were a composite of Indicators that showed the Welsh Government the level of complex packages supported by the Council in the community.  This figure was positive in relation to maintaining a person’s independence but presented a negative perspective in relation to budgetary considerations.  For the Council it was a balance between ethical, moral and budgetary factors and that it was important for the Council to provide appropriate levels of support that reduced risks and improved the independence and personal safety of individuals. 

 

The Committee was keen to consider how they might better scrutinise and evaluate performance.  In response, the Director of Social Services recommended that an aspect of this would be included in future quarterly performance reports presented to the Committee for consideration. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the achievement of year 1 outcomes be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T closer scrutiny during 2014/15 of those areas where the Council had not achieved its actions and targets be undertaken.

 

(3)       T H A T the miscalculated targets in respect of Occupational Therapist and Unified Assessment rates be recalculated and that every effort be made to ensure that the Welsh Government agrees the new targets.

 

(4)       T H A T the Service’s future quarterly performance reports reflect and consider the Performance Indicators included within the Outcome Agreement for 2013-2016.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That the Committee is advised of the achievement of the outcomes listed in the Agreement.

 

(2)       The Vale is fully successful in achieving all agreed outcomes in order for Welsh Government to release the performance incentive grant.

 

(3)       In order that the targets set in relation to OT and UA assessments represent a true and factual representation.

 

(4)       So that the Committee can evaluate and scrutinise the ongoing performance in relation to the Performance Indicators agreed within the Outcome Agreement.

 

 

478     REVIEW OF THE RESOLUTIONS FOSTERING SERVICE (DSS) –

 

The Head of Children and Young People Services provided an update in respect of the progress made relating to the review of the Resolutions Fostering Service.  On 16th December 2013 Cabinet had endorsed the decision to implement Option 2 and a decision taken for the service to be brought to an end and that this would require that Resolutions staff be offered redeployment opportunities. 

 

Option 2 had been fully implemented.  A decision had been made by the Management Board to cease referrals to Resolutions in March 2014 and the service was brought to an end at the end of June 2014.  Where the Vale of Glamorgan had children already placed with Resolutions carers, they would remain in placement for as long as this was appropriate for them.  Out of the total of nine Resolution carers, eight had chosen to remain with Bridgend County Borough Council while the final carer had chosen to transfer to an independent agency.  All carers would receive protective allowances on Resolutions rates until the end of March 2015. 

 

A Committee Member queried whether there were still four Looked After Children from the Vale of Glamorgan that were placed with Resolutions foster carers.  In reply the Committee was advised that there was at present one individual and that this placement would continue for as long as it met the young person’s needs. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress made in implementing the preferred option be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To enable Scrutiny Committee to exercise oversight of the progress made.

 

 

479     UPDATE ON THE REGIONAL COLLABORATION FUND AND INTERMEDIATE CARE FUND PROGRAMMES (DSS) –

 

The Committee was provided an update on the progress made in implementing the Regional Collaboration Fund projects and a briefing on new projects being delivered in 2014/15 using resources from the Intermediate Care Fund. 

 

The Director of Social Services advised that this report represented a follow up to a previous Committee report received on 19th May 2014.  This report described how the Welsh Government had provided funding to councils through the Regional Collaboration Fund (RCF) and the Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) intended to support and deliver change projects which remodel delivery of Adult Social Care Services (RCF) and to invest in services which support older people to maintain their independence and remain at home longer (ICF).  Members were asked to note that the amount allocated for the RCF was in the region of £785k and for the ICF funding had been awarded to the Vale in the region of £1.1m revenue and £557k for capital funding to be spent during the year.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council had been working closely with Cardiff Council and the University Health Board on a number of projects that delivered the required outcomes for the RCF and ICF. 

 

The RCF project started in 2013/14 and was currently in its second year. This offered opportunity to remodel services that would be more sustainable in the longer term. Evaluation of the work conducted through the RCF had been carried out and many good outcomes had been achieved.

 

Oversight of the RCF was provided by a dedicated Programme Manager, employed by means of the Welsh Government Social Services Transformation Grant.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council co-ordinated the management and reporting of these projects on behalf of both local authorities.  Regional oversight of the remodelling Adult Social Care Services programme as a whole was undertaken by a cross-authority Steering Group which provides overall direction and monthly monitoring.  The Steering Group operates within the governance arrangements established for the Integrating Health and Social Care Programme, currently chaired by the Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, as set out in Figure 1.

 

Detailed at Figure 1 of the report was the Governance Structure for the RCF Remodelling Social Care and Integration with Health Programme across Cardiff and the Vale.

 

The ICF must be used to:

 

·         encourage collaborative working between social services, health and housing;

·         support older people to maintain their independence and remain in their own home;

·         avoid unnecessary hospital admissions or inappropriate admission to residential care, as well as preventing delayed discharges from hospital. 

 

In order to ensure that a co-ordinated approach was in place for all the projects funded in the Vale under RCF and ICF and that time-limited funding was spent effectively, a Social Services Collaborative Working Programme Board had been established (Figure 2).  The Board meets monthly to ensure that the ICF projects were on track to deliver within the required timescales and that they continued to work towards the Programme's outcomes. 

 

Figure 2 of the report showed the Governance Structure for the Social Services Collaborative Working Programme.

 

 The RCF and ICF were short term funding streams.  Tentatively, the RCF was established for three years, commencing in 2013/14.  Welsh Government only confirms each year of funding on an annual basis and very late in the financial year.  At present, the ICF grant was for one year only.  Although the Council was pleased to have been successful in securing significant investment to support its efforts to reshape services, the short term nature of the funding did present considerable challenges.  The Council was trying to secure wholesale service redesign and a radical shift from hospital-based to community based care.  This had to be a sustained enterprise.  However, one of the greatest threats to progress was the short term nature of the funding currently available.  There was no guarantee of future funding and experience indicates that staff engaged in this work would begin to feel more and more insecure as the end of the funding period approached.  This could result in damaged morale and a failure to deliver fully all the benefits anticipated, as well as the loss of opportunities that may never recur.  All projects were expected to plan exit strategies in case the funding did not continue.

 

The Chairman, in referring to the short term nature of the funding, queried whether there were any updates in respect of the budget settlement provided from the Welsh Government.  In response, the Head of Adult Services stated that nothing had been relayed in relation to the ICF, although there may be an opportunity for funding to be released following the increase in the budget allocated to Health.  Specifically, however, there was no mention in the spending review in relation to RCF or ICF.  He commented that funding had been used very well and had achieved a number of positive outcomes and it would be a shame if the ICF grant was removed.  He cited the examples of the Redland housing development in which there was a high demand from older people who had expressed an interest in moving to the accommodation. 

 

A Committee Member, in highlighting Objective 9 relating to the transforming of the Dementia Service, queried as to what would be achieved.  The Head of Adult Services stated that the service was re-evaluating how resources were used and allocated for dementia services.  A key component of this was to ensure that the reviewing process by care managers was more efficient.  The service had been fortunate to obtain support from the Spider project; this would help to develop the proposed changes to enable the service to be more dementia friendly.  Barry was one of the areas selected as a pilot for the dementia supportive community, but the Committee should be mindful that it would take time to bring about the level of social change required. 

 

Following a query regarding the extra care project, the Head of Business Management and Innovation advised that individuals had begun to move into the extra care facility within Barry and that a phased approach would take place over the next few weeks.  As part of this funding, a unit had been rented within the extra care facility to provide a reablement and discharge service for people leaving hospital.  This was currently a trial that would run for a period of six months and would operate in conjunction with the two units rented at the Redlands facility and this arrangement would be reviewed in due course.

 

A Committee Member enquired, from a project management point of view, whether the service was on course to spend all the allocated money?  In response the Director of Social Services advised that yes, the projects were on track and we are where we expected to be at this point in time. 

 

The Committee expressed concern over the short term funding arrangements and was keen for Cabinet to receive the views of the Committee for the purpose of consideration. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet in order to highlight the good work and positive outcomes that have been made in relation to the Regional Collaboration Fund and Intermediate Care Fund and highlight the Committee’s concern over the short term funding arrangements.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To provide an update and briefing for Scrutiny Members and an opportunity to ask questions on the projects being delivered.

 

(2)       To highlight the Committee’s concerns regarding the short term funding of the RCF and ICF grant monies.

 

 

480     SERVICE USER AND CARER CONSULTATION 2013-2014 (DSS) –

 

The Head of Business Management and Innovation presented the report, the purpose of which was to provide Elected Members with an overview of planned service user consultation activity within the Social Services Directorate.  This was the first of such reports that would detail an important area of work for the Directorate as part of the Quality Assurance Agenda.

 

The Policy and Quality Assurance Officer for Social Services, in collaboration with Heads of Service and Operational Managers, developed a three-year consultation plan for the 2012 to 2014 calendar years.  The themes of the consultation programme incorporated service priorities as confirmed by senior management and these were grounded in the findings from audit, inspection and other quality assurance processes including the monitoring of complaints.  The plan also scheduled annual consultations which must take place to ensure compliance with the requirements for providing regulated service activity such as fostering, adoption, residential care, adult placement and respite services.  There was some flexibility so that the Council could also respond to emerging needs.  A copy of the plan was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

During 2013, the Council consulted on:

 

·         The levels of satisfaction with support and information received whilst receiving a protection service with vulnerable adults (POVA) and families in receipt of child protection services.

·         The Commissioning Strategy within day services for adults with learning disabilities.

·         The effectiveness of the signposting and information provided by Contact1Vale.  This was part of a rolling programme and new service users are identified each month.

·         The effectiveness of support to achieve independence within the Vale Community Resource Service.

·         Satisfaction with the support received in respite services.

·         Satisfaction with the referral process, matching, and placement within Adult Placement Services.

·         Satisfaction with moving into a residential home, the living arrangements and the general management within the residential service.

·         Satisfaction amongst foster carers about the support they received.

·         Satisfaction amongst young people about the fostering process and the support received from their own social worker.

·         Satisfaction with processes and support surrounding recruitment, training, matching, placement and review within the adoption process.

·          Satisfaction with the process and support surrounding transition to adult services for young people within the Child Health and Disability Team.

 

For each consultation exercise, a report is produced and an action plan developed to address areas identified for improvement.  To ensure that learning from one area is translated into improvements across the Directorate, issues were also collated thematically and an overview of the 2013 thematic learning follows.

 

Information provision

 

·         High quality information was provided at the start of the service.  This was particularly evident from consultation with all registered services, including Residential, Respite, Adult Placement, Fostering and Vale Community Resource Service.  Written information was available in paper form and on websites, although verbal information often appreciated.

·         Visits to service settings were found to be very useful and informative. 

·         In some service areas, more service-specific information would be helpful.  This was evident from consultation with those who had been through the POVA process, as well as those who received services from the Vale Community Resource Service and Adult Placement hosts.

·         In most cases, communication between staff, service users and their families had been at a good level but there did need to be more consistency.

 

Planning and Review 

 

·         Respondents reported a high level of involvement with care planning.

·         Documents relating to care planning had generally been explained and provided to service users and families. 

·         The matching process has been a positive experience for many respondents within Adult Placement, Fostering and Adoption services.

·         Respondents have stated that more explanation was required about reviews and their purpose.  Timescales of care planning and reviews also require further explanation.

 

Services and Support

 

·         Respondents reported receiving excellent support through key periods such as transition, the start of a residential service and times of social isolation.

·         Respondents provided positive feedback regarding their treatment and the treatment of their families by staff across social services.

·         Accommodation and living arrangements were found to be satisfactory in settings across the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Carers / Relatives 

 

·         Most carers who responded felt informed about any issues relating to the service users’ support.

·         Service users’ needs were catered for by the services in most cases.

·         Carers Assessments were not always offered and carried out.

·         Some carers felt that the Social Services Department in general did not take their own needs (as a carer) into account in the way that it supported the service user.  This might be because they were not able to access sufficient respite for their needs or did not feel that they were able to have a break from caring.

 

Complaints and Compliments

 

·         Where complaints were made, most people had been satisfied with the outcome.

·         Nearly all young people knew who to speak to when they needed to make a complaint / compliment.

·         Many people have provided compliments both verbally and in writing.

·         Some respondents say that they were not aware of the complaints procedure and that they had not received a copy of it.

·         Where some had not been satisfied with the response to a complaint, this was due to lack of timely communication between the complainant and the team concerned.

 

What was Learned?

 

·         Many areas of good practice were identified.

·         Social Services were responsive at times of emergency (e.g. placements).

·         Advice and support was available from professionals.

·         Service users were usually treated as individuals and this personal approach worked very well.

·         Staff displayed knowledge and professionalism.

·         There was generally a good level involvement in planning and reviews so that people felt part of the process.

 

Improvements Desired by Respondents

 

·         Outings for service users to take place more often.

·         More stimulation / conversation during the time spent in service settings.

·         Updating menus / decor of residential and day settings.

·         Timescales for completion of processes to be reduced.

·         More consistent communication across teams.

·         More consistency from social workers across teams.

·         Less delay in returning calls, particularly to young people.

·         Provision of complaints information to be more consistent.

 

Following a Member’s query as to what was planned over the next three years, the Committee was advised that the programme was being put together in order to show the level of activity for 2015 onwards. This would be circulated to Members in due course.  The Committee was keen to receive an annual report in relation to the service user and carer consultation and a report would be provided during July of each year.

 

Having considered the report, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T information about consultation activity be reported to the Scrutiny Committee annually each July.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To provide Elected Members with information about engagement and consultation activity with service users and carers.

 

(2)       To ensure effective scrutiny of a key function undertaken by Social Services on behalf of the Council.

 

 

481     WORKFORCE CHALLENGES FACING PROVIDERS OF SOCIAL CARE (DSS AND DR) –

 

The Committee was provided with an update in respect of current and future workforce challenges being faced within Social Care.  In summarising the report, the Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that the Welsh Government had expressed its strategic intent ("to support a competent workforce within the social care area" in Section 3 of "Sustainable Social Services for Wales – A Framework for Action".  The Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014 would introduce even higher standards and significant training requirements without any commitment by the Welsh Government to provide additional funding.  Within the Vale of Glamorgan, there were over 2,000 people working in the social care sector and that these staff work in Council managed services and in services provided independently by the commercial and third sectors.  They provided support in a wide range of settings including people’s homes, residential and nursing homes and day service settings.

 

The Directorate was required to work with the wider social care sector and in the area to support providers in developing and delivering workforce plans for all staff. This would be achieved via a social care workforce partnership which comprised representatives from the Council, care sector and the further education sector.  It was hoped to identify and address gaps within training and ensure development opportunities were available across the care sector in the Vale and also to develop a productive relationship with local further education colleges. 

 

There was a strong relationship with trade unions in order to discuss issues, particularly around the restructuring of the service model. 

 

The Social Services Workforce Plan for 2013-17 had been developed and this was helping ensure that a sufficient, skilled, safe and focused workforce was available to meet assessed needs.  The service would need a flexible approach from its staff and workforce in order to develop new ways of working to meet future challenges.  It had been identified that within the service an aging workforce would require better succession planning and occupational support.  Registration of social workers was an important development established under the Care Standards Act 2000 and all staff on the register would have to show their suitability for work in social care by satisfying the Care Council for Wales that they had the necessary qualifications, were physically and mentally fit, were of good character and agreed to comply with the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers. 

 

The training programme for the service was developed annually and reflected training requirements identified through the Council’s personal development review process and by training returns submitted by social care providers from across the area.  Resources available to fund training were likely to reduce in the future and providers were finding it more difficult to release staff for training during normal working hours. 

 

A Committee Member commented that the development represented a considerable challenge for the service, particularly in relation to reduced resources and queried whether the service used exit interviews when staff were leaving the service.  In response, Members were advised that exit interviews were used and staff were encouraged to complete a survey or sit down with either a line manager or a representative from Human Resources.  The service takes on board any feedback received from individuals and officers consider the reasons given by staff when leaving.  Although the Authority had not pursued an Investor in People award, the views of the Authority’s staff and workforce were considered through close consultation and supervision arrangements, within annual personal development reviews alongside ongoing training and support functions.  In reference to Investor in People status, a Committee Member queried whether this was something that the Council should reconsider in order to encourage prospective staff to consider a career with the Council. 

 

Further to the Committee’s queries regarding an aging workforce, the difficulty in recruiting and annual staff turnover, Members were advised that the service was looking at these in detail and that there were a few hot spots, particularly in relation to the Youth Offending Service and intake into the Children and Young People Service.  Staff within older people’s Residential and Domiciliary Care were relatively low paid and would require higher standards of qualifications in order to pursue a long term career.  There was quite a churn within the residential / nursing care sector and this may be an increasing problem as the required skill sets and registration qualifications increased. 

 

A Committee Member enquired about the opinion of the Association of Directors of Social Services regarding the Registration and Inspection Bill.  In response, the Director of Social Services stated that proposed legislation appears to be somewhat equivocal;  the Bill was likely to call for new and higher standards and regulations for staff but may baulk at the need to impose registration on a wider scale. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the issues regarding the social care workforce and challenges facing the Social Services Directorate in ensuring that social care services are timely, effective, safe and professional be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the proposed changes to the Social Care Workforce Development Programme grant funding be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet consider the possibility of the Council seeking to achieve an Investor in People accreditation.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that Elected Members can exercise proper oversight of a key function of the Social Services Directorate.

 

(2)       To ensure Elected Members are aware of funding changes that will have an impact on Social Services.

 

(3)       To help and improve workforce development and as a way to encourage prospective employees.

 

 

482     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 consider the updated / amended work programme schedule for the Scrutiny Committee for 2014/15.

 

Detailed at Appendix A were recommendations in relation to the Municipal Year April 2013 to March 2014, at Appendix B, recommendations for the first quarter April to June 2014, and at Appendix C recommendations for the second quarter July to September 2014.  Attached at Appendix D was the work programme schedule for 2014/15. 

 

The Chairman advised Committee that he had recently attended the Cardiff and Vale Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and was made aware of the work undertaken by the Cardiff Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) that dealt with domestic abuse cases which inevitably involved child protection issues.  The Chairman asked the Committee whether Members would find it of value to receive a presentation from the Vale MARAC.  Committee agreed that such a presentation would be of value and that it should be added to the work programme. 

 

Referring to reports within the national and local media of possible problems in relation to diabetes, the Committee agreed that the Local Health Board be invited to conduct a presentation to provide an overview and summary of the service within the Vale and to highlight any related issues. 

 

A Committee Member queried whether there were any updates in relation to the Bryneithin site and in relation to the Hafod contract.  The Director of Social Services advised that in respect of Hafod, discussions were currently at a delicate stage and that there were some legal issues that were being considered.  Members were advised that in relation to the Bryneithin site, contract negotiations were ongoing with the successful bidder. 

 

The Head of Adult Service also indicated that the CSSIW Annual Social Services Inspection Evaluation and Review would be presented at the Committee’s meeting to be held in December 2014.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following actions detailed below be accepted as completed:

 

13 January 2014

Min. No. 729 – Extra Care Housing (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That a site visit of the premises be held, possibly in June 2014.

 

 

Visit held on Monday, 1st September 2014.

Completed

16 June 2014

Min. No. 71 – Scrutiny Committee Work Programme (DR) – Recommended that the work programme set out at Appendix 1 and amended as agreed be endorsed for publication.

 

Uploaded to the Council’s website September 2014.

Completed

14 July 2014

Min. No. 206 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2014 to 31st May 2014 (DSS) – Recommended

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

 

 

  

Cabinet, on 8th September 2014, noted the contents of the report (Min. No. C2448 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 207 – Children and Young People Services – Annual Placement Review (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That 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)   That a further annual review report be received in July 2015.

 

 

 

(2)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

 

 

 

(3)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 208 – Update on Young Carer Services (DSS) – Recommended

(1)   That the Scrutiny Committee receive an update report on an annual basis.

(2)   That the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for consideration.

 

 

 

(1)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(2)   Referred to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) meeting on 8th September 2014.

Completed

Min. No. 209 – Social Services End of Year Performance Report 2013/14 and Target Setting 2014/15 (DSS) – Recommended

(4)   That 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.

 

 

  

Cabinet, on 8th September 2014, noted the report and resolved

[2]   That the 2014/15 performance target setting for the following performance indicators as detailed below be reviewed:

*   SS02M004Q – 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 I 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.

(Min No. C2449 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 210 – Scrutiny Committees’ Draft Annual Report – May 2013 to April 2014 (DR) – Recommended that 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. 

 

 

To be submitted to Full Council on 29th September 2014.

Completed

Min. No. 211 – Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Work Programme Schedule 2014/15 (DR) – Recommended

(2)   That the work programme schedule attached at Appendix C be amended as detailed above and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

 

 

Uploaded to the Council’s website in September 2014.

Completed

01 September 2014

Min. No. 316 – Presentation: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Mrs. R. Whittle, Commissioning Lead – Cardiff and Vale CAMHS and Dr. J. Downey, Clinical Psychology Lead – CAMHS Network – Recommended

(1)   That the presentation and minutes from this meeting be referred to Cabinet.

 

(2)   That a further update report be presented in 12 months’ time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)   Referred to Cabinet meeting on 6th October 2014.

Completed

(2)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 317 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2014 to 31st July 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 6th October 2014.

Completed

Min. No. 323 – Protection of Vulnerable Adults: Six Monthly Update (DSS) – Recommended

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

(3)   That information about the work of the Cardiff and Vale Adult Safeguarding Board be reported to the Scrutiny Committee on a six monthly basis.

 

 

 

(2)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

 

(3) Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 324 – Social Services Representations and Complaints – Annual Report 2013/2014 (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

 

(2)       T H A T the progress against the remaining recommendations identified as ongoing as detailed in the report be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T a presentation in relation to the Vale Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) be presented to a future Committee meeting and be added to the Scrutiny Committee’s work programme.

 

(4)       T H A T the work programme be updated to show that a representative from the Local Health Board be asked to make a presentation in relation to diabetes.

 

(5)       T H A T the updated / amended forward work programme schedule attached at Appendix D be approved and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To apprise Members of the progress with Scrutiny Committee recommendations.

 

(2)       To note progress in respect of those uncompleted actions.

 

(3)       To provide Members with an overview and understanding of an important area of multi-agency working involving potential child protection issues.

 

(4)       To highlight the possible future impact in relation to diabetes.

 

(5)       For information.

 

 

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