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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 13th April, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor R.L. Traherne (Chairman); Councillors R.J. Bertin, Dr. I.J. Johnson, Ms. R.F. Probert and J.W. Thomas.

 

Also present: Councillor S.C. Egan.

 

 

1073   APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillor Mrs. M.E.J. Birch (Vice-Chairman); Councillors

Mrs. R. Birch, F.T. Johnson and S.T. Wiliam.

 

 

1074   MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 9th March, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1075   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

1076   ARRANGEMENTS FOR TRANSFERRING THE INDEPENDENT LIVING FUND FROM THE UK GOVERNMENT TO THE WELSH GOVERNMENT (DSS) –

 

The Head of Adult Services presented the report, the purpose of which was to provide the Scrutiny Committee with an update on the actions being taken to support people in the Vale of Glamorgan who use the Independent Living Fund (ILF) when responsibility for the scheme transfers from the UK Government to the Welsh Government in June 2015. 

 

As a background summary, the report highlighted that the ILF was a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department of Work and Pensions that currently operated on a UK wide basis.  The fund was established in 1988 to provide discretionary payments for disabled people, to enable them to live in their communities rather than in residential care.  In 1993, additional eligibility rules for new users were introduced, requiring social services to make a weekly contribution to the support package of ILF users.  The fund was closed to new applicants in 2010. 

 

In December 2012, following a public consultation, the UK Government decided to close the fund completely from April 2015 and to transfer funding and responsibility for supporting ILF users to local authorities in England and to devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland.  There was a legal challenge to the decision and the transfer was stopped.  This was subsequently overturned and the UK Government restarted the transfer process in March 2014.

 

Between October 2014 and March 2015, the Welsh Government undertook a consultation process.  Following this, it decided to facilitate a grant scheme, administered by local authorities, to pay existing ILF recipients their current level of funding.  This approach was influenced by the need for arrangements to be put in place by 30th June 2015 and the short term nature of the current funding offer from the UK Government.  The grant scheme would run from July 2015 until the end of March 2017.  Funding of £20.4m had been confirmed for the period July 2015 to end of March 2016.  This was based on the number of people who would be receiving ILF when the current scheme would come to an end on 30th June 2015.  Funding beyond this date was subject to the next Spending Round.

 

As at January 2015, there were 1,648 ILF users in Wales.  The number of people known to be using ILF in the Vale of Glamorgan was 39, this was at June 2014.

 

Information about the transfer review programme had been sent to all ILF users.  Most recently, this had included a letter from Welsh Government regarding the outcome of the consultation.  Each local authority had nominated a contact officer for this purpose, in the Vale of Glamorgan this would be the Head of Adult Services.

 

Individual reviews had been carried out jointly by an ILF independent assessor and a local authority officer.  This had been a difficult process given that there was no clear decision at the time about the fund in Wales.  Adult Services were already very much involved in reviewing ILF packages because the eligibility criteria for the scheme required most users to be in receipt of a certain level of local authority support.

 

The Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru had participated in a stakeholder group, along with the Welsh Local Government Association, representatives from third sector disability organisations, service users and local authority contact officers.  The Welsh Government was developing a project plan to support the transfer.

 

In the Vale of Glamorgan, a project group had been restarted in Adult Services to ensure that key stakeholders were kept informed about the changes and that measures were in place to enable a smooth transfer of the fund.

 

Financial implications for the Council were still unclear as the terms of the grant had not been issued and the consequences for each individual case would need to be calculated thereafter.  The Vale of Glamorgan had lower than expected numbers of people currently in receipt of the fund compared to the Welsh average and the grant allocation was likely to reflect this.

 

The Chairman sought clarification that  the 39 known ILF users in the Vale of Glamorgan would not see any real change to their support packages.  In response, the Head of Adult Services confirmed that yes, it was anticipated that this would be the case as it would be easy to transfer funding arrangements over to the new system.  The Head of Adult Services was also able to clarify that all the service users in the Vale of Glamorgan had undergone an assessment of their needs. 

 

A Committee Member queried with officers whether they felt that the Welsh Government had missed an opportunity to create a national scheme similar to the one operated in Scotland.  In answer to this, the Head of Adult Services stated that he could see the benefits of both systems.  The national scheme offered greater security but would not allow closer individual reviews of service users.  With the current arrangements proposed by the Welsh Government, the Vale would have the benefit of a halfway house that would include a single budget administered by Local Authorities. 

 

Referring to the up-coming general election, a Committee Member enquired whether, with a potential change of Government, there was any possibility for further changes to the ILF arrangements. The Head of Adult Services advised Members that he was not aware of any plans for any changes detailed within the main political parties’ manifestos.

 

In reply to a Committee Member’s query regarding the feedback and concerns from service users, Members noted that the Welsh Government had received a high number of responses, with the main concern being the effect upon an individual’s funding arrangements.  No direct feedback had been received from residents within the Vale of Glamorgan but it was noted that the stakeholder group was pleased with the current proposals. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the content of the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure effective oversight of proposed arrangements for transferring responsibility for the Independent Living Fund.

 

 

1077   IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES AND WELL-BEING (WALES) ACT 2014 (DSS) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee received an update on the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 on 3rd November 2014.  The purpose of this latest report was to detail work undertaken since that time to prepare for implementation of the Act in April 2016. 

 

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act received Royal Assent and became law on 1st May 2014.  Its purpose was to repeal or consolidate existing legislation and to specify the core legislative framework for social services and social care in wales, giving effect to the policy stated in the White Paper "Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action".  The Act was intended to transform the delivery of social services through an approach that was focused on achieving the outcomes necessary to promote a person’s wellbeing – as an individual, as part of a family and as part of their community.

 

The report detailed that there were eight priorities for action to be introduced in support of a new way of working.  In summary these were:

 

·         A strong national purpose and expectation, and clear accountability for delivery;

·         A national outcomes framework;

·         Citizen centred services;

·         Integrated services;

·         Reducing complexity;

·         A confident and competent workforce;

·         Safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of citizens and

·         A new improvement framework.

 

The Director of Social Services in the Vale of Glamorgan was the Regional Lead Director for co-ordinating the work to support implementation of the Act across the Vale and Cardiff.  Currently, this programme was being overseen primarily by the arrangements in place for integrating Health and Social Care services across the region, including the Governance Board chaired by the Leader of this Council.  The Board had membership from the three statutory bodies as well as the umbrella third sector organisations.

 

The Welsh Government timetable for implementation was set out as follows:

 

·         Formal consultation on two tranches of draft regulations and codes of practice – from November 2014 and Summer 2015

·         Regulations and codes to be made in the National Assembly – from Summer 2015

·         Staff training – 2015 and 2016

·         "switch on" – April 2016.

 

The first tranche of draft regulations and guidance on parts 2, 3, 4, 7 and 11 of the Act were issued during November 2014.  The Director of Social Services submitted a response to this consultation in February.  This response was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

Included in the response were some additional general overview comments.  These covered the potential financial investment required to allow for new services to be developed and set out other points including implementation of the Act, preventative services, roles and responsibilities of partners, training, performance measures and Safeguarding Boards.

 

A self-assessment of the Council’s readiness to implement the Act was prepared in conjunction with partners.  The Local Authorities, the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff Third Sector Council and the Vale Council for Voluntary Services took part in the self-assessment which was shown at Appendix 2 to the report.  This assessment was submitted to Welsh Government on 30th January 2015 in line with the requirements of the Delivering Transformation Grant. 

 

Work was currently ongoing to develop by the end of March a first iteration of the Regional Implementation Plan which would focus on 11 strategic themes:

 

·         Access to information, advice and assistance;

·         Proportionate assessment to maximise independence and wellbeing;

·         Meaningful engagement with the local population;

·         Providing care and support for the most vulnerable people;

·         Integration to achieve better outcomes for people;

·         Primacy of wellbeing and its connection with prevention, assessment, eligibility and information;

·         Early intervention to maintain people’s independence;

·         New models of delivering care and support;

·         Giving people more control over their lives;

·         Governance arrangements and

·         Training and development of the workforce and partners.

 

The Implementation Plan would be presented at the Committee’s next meeting.

 

Training requirements for implementation had been considered by Welsh Government.  A first level training programme was being designed for all core staff and partner agencies involved in delivering the Act, including the NHS.  This would be produced as a ready to use "pack", with a framework for delivery.  It was expected that Local Authorities would take a lead role in planning and delivering the training with their partners, in line with the expectations of their role under the Social Care Workforce Development Programme (SCWDP). 

 

Welsh Government had recently announced that it would continue investment in social care workforce development through the well-established grant funding made available to Local Authorities by means of SCWDP.  15% of the money available would be used to design a national training programme for implementation of the Act.  The priorities of this part of the SCWDP grant in 2015/16 and 2016/17 would be:

 

·         To ensure staff engaged in duties delivered under the Act had the knowledge, skills and competencies to operate under the new legal framework; and

·         To ensure all core training and development, including induction and qualification training, is reframed to reflect the new legal framework.

 

In terms of resource implications, the Welsh Government had confirmed that the Delivering Transformation Grant would be available again in 2015/16 and it was to be used to support the regional implementation of the Act.  This grant would be paid on a regional basis with the Vale Council being the lead Authority.  The funding available for the region in 2015/16 had doubled and would be £414,648.  Proposals had to be submitted to Welsh Government by the end of April detailing how this funding would be used.

 

The Director of Social Services went on to comment that the Act was an enabling Act and the most comprehensive one that the service had seen; it would be accompanied by a considerable volume of regulations and guidance, to be made available over the next year.  The Directorate had responded to the consultation exercise covering Tranche 1 of the Act’s Regulations and Guidance and the service was now waiting for Welsh Government ratification of the responses and subsequent notification of any changes.  Draft regulation and guidance regarding the second Tranche of the Act would be made available in late 2015 or during the early part of 2016.  He also stated that as a consequence the service was still speculating in regard to some of the detailed requirements of the Act and that at present there were only partial answers.  Implementation of the Act was likely to be fast moving.  The service was confident that necessary governance arrangements were in place on a regional basis but that these may need strengthening as proposals came to light. 

 

The Chairman raised a query regarding the impact upon resources available and whether any cost analysis had been undertaken.  In response the Director of Social Services explained that the service was not entirely sure of the financial consequences of the Act.  The service may be able to make some better estimates of potential costs from the final guidance but this was some way off.  The Council and other organisations had responded to the legislation during its passage through the Assembly and there was no real body of evidence to support the view that the Act would be cost neutral.  Both the Institute of Public Care and the Association of Directors of Social Services had been asked to look into the cost of the Act, but both bodies were unsure of the true consequences as there were many areas still to be clarified.  The Chairman went on to query whether it would be possible for any part or the entire Act to be delayed or changed.  In response the Committee noted that there was very little chance for the detail within the Act to be changed and all parts would need to be implemented at the same time.

 

A Committee Member then raised three questions.  The Member’s first query was as to whether the Act represented a central dictat from Welsh Government or whether there was scope to implement some aspects of it in a more flexible manner.  The Director of Social Services advised that the whole tenure of the Act was about doing away with the post code lottery and creating a consistency of services across Wales.  He highlighted the potential conflict regarding the prescription of services outlined within the Act and he commented that Local Authorities should retain some discretion about how to provide services that respond best to local need. 

 

The Member’s second query related to Appendix 2 and the self-assessment which showed readiness to implement the Act.  The Member questioned whether the scoring assessment method used represented a true appraisal of the current position.  In response, the Director of Social Services stated that the service had tried to be honest about the scale of work required to implement the Act.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Health Board were, on the whole, a little more sceptical compared to Cardiff Council which was more optimistic, particularly in regard to the impact upon Children’s Services.  Following some robust conversations and dialogue, a consensus had been agreed, so it was true to say that the figures were realistic. 

 

The Member’s final query was in respect of some rather vague responses detailed within the self-assessment and the Member queried whether this was as a result of lack of understanding.  The Committee noted that the Act was in some areas aspirational, such as the emphasis on preventative services and the use of social enterprises.  This would require a fundamental change in the direction of the service and an even greater degree of integration between partners that would result in a significant culture change for staff and the way they worked.  The ICF and the RCF grants were examples of the start of this change but the Act required a more considerable organisational change and a real breakdown of the barriers that currently exist between care providers. 

 

A Member of the Committee voiced the opinion that the Act deviated from its initial intentions and that it lacked clarity.  The Member queried whether the timetable in respect of training would be met.  In response to this, the Head of Business Management and Innovation advised that money for training would be provided by Welsh Government but there would be no increase in what was normally received for training.  Services would need to be careful as to how money for training was earmarked, as some areas would require more intensive training.  This would be a challenge for the future but the service was aware of this and would plan accordingly. 

 

A Committee Member also queried whether there was enough information regarding eligibility criteria within the Act.  In response, the Committee noted that the Eligibility Framework for Wales remained an area of confusion.  Members were also advised that the "Can" and "Can Only" aspects of the Act determined that Local Authorities or Health should provide a service when they were the only option available to individuals and there would be a greater expectation on individuals to fund and support themselves when it came to their care needs.  Practitioners and service users needed clarity around their ability to make judgements that were based on clear guidance.  Further to this, the Committee was asked to note that the "Can" and "Can Only" aspects of the Act were open to interpretation. Revoking the old legislation that dated back to 1948 meant putting aside over 70 years of case law.  To some extent this new Act would now be defined over the next few years by new case law and the Committee was reminded of the impact made following the changes to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. 

 

In regard to  Children’s Services the Committee was made aware that, for Looked After Children and Child Protection cases, there would be clarity as these service users could be defined as 'passported groups’ within the Act, and on that basis would be eligible for services.  However, the challenge would be for those service users currently defined as Children in Need as this status would be changed by the Act. 

 

In answer to a Committee Member’s query regarding the potential cost of the Act, particularly in relation to preventative services, the Director of Social Services advised Members that an interesting parallel could be made with the Families First Service.  This highlighted that, in many cases, support was intended to be very time limited but very often this would extend beyond the time limits because of the scale of need that required greater, longer term intensive support.  He was not sure preventative services offered true solutions in regard to reducing resources as in reality preventative services often only deferred demand to a later point.  He also questioned the ability of community based services to carry out the same level of support and functions as those services within Local Authorities. 

 

A Committee Member asked for clarification in respect of the population assessments and how they could be used and their link to the register of Disability Index.  The Head of Adult Services stated that the population assessments, supported by Public Health Wales, were a useful tool that allowed the Authority and its partners to compare and contrast data with other areas.  Following implementation of the Act, there would be a need to revisit how Public Health Wales and others acquired information and to ensure the service used the information in a more thorough and effective way.  In respect of the Disability Index, he questioned whether, in its current form, it provided a great deal of value for individuals.  Further to this point the Director of Social Services stated that if the Index was used in the same way as the Children’s Services Register, it could be more meaningful in helping to manage demand and targeting support. 

 

In referring to the Welsh Government’s statement that Local Authorities should remain cautious about whether sufficient resources would be available to meet any increased commitments, a Committee Member questioned as to how this could be the case when the increased demand was as a result of the new legislation.  In response to this, the Director of Social Services stated that caution meant having an understanding of the impact upon duties contained within the Act.  In some respects the Vale of Glamorgan was better placed than other Local Authorities, at least in understanding and knowing the implications of the Act.  Effective oversight of the Social Services budgets and individual evidence of changes in support packages for service users and cost implications would mean that the service would be able to identify very quickly if factors were changing.  This would allow the Directorate to respond and take appropriate action.  He alluded to the budget management in regard to increasing demand and reducing resources and stated that at some point the UK and Welsh Governments were going to have to properly respond to the implications.

 

In relation to the self-assessment, the Chairman stated that this had been returned to Welsh Government and he asked whether the Association of Directors of Social Services and the WLGA were in dialogue with civil servants in the Welsh Government and whether they had been listening to the concerns raised. In response, the Director of Social Services explained that joint dialogue with officials within the Welsh Government had demonstrated that they themselves had struggled for answers and so they too would have to be somewhat pragmatic.

 

As a final point, the Director of Social Services stated that the self-assessment tool would be kept up to date and presented to Committee when available, as would the accompanying Implementation Plan.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee continues to receive monthly updates.

 

(3)       T H A T the concerns and views of the Scrutiny Committee as outlined in the minutes be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration, in summary these covered the following points:

 

·         The lack of clarity and absence of necessary detail within the Act.

·         Concerns regarding the potential impact upon limited resources  and whether this  had been appropriately costed

·         The potential impact on the role of social workers

·         The need for greater training and awareness raising for social workers

·         The lack of clarity over eligibility criteria and the impact on the work of social workers

·         The impact on the Children in Need service and those on the edge of care and the support required by those families.

·         Concern as to whether community based services could carry out the same level of support as Local Authorities.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-3)    To ensure that elected members are kept informed about fundamental changes in the policy and legislative framework which underpins the work of Social Services.

 

 

1078   THE VALE FAMILY INFORMATION SERVICE (DSS) –

 

The Head of Business Management and Innovation presented the report, the purpose of which was to update Members on the work of the Vale Family Information Service (FIS).

 

The report outlined that the Vale FIS provided information and advice for parents and  carers of children and young people aged 0–25 years in the Vale of Glamorgan, as well as for professionals working with families.  Its aim was to provide them with the knowledge required to get access to services that would help support them and give them a better quality of life.  The service provided information and advice relating to the following:

 

·         Registered and unregistered childcare;

·         Parent and toddler groups and activities and services for children and young people;

·         Holiday play schemes and leisure activities;

·         Education and health and wellbeing services;

·         Family support services;

·         Services supporting children with special needs;

·         Services promoting the Welsh language;

·         Help with childcare costs and benefits for parents and

·         How to become a childminder or start a career in childcare.

 

The FIS maintains a database of over 1,000 services.  Families and professionals could contact the service directly and information was also available online via a childcare search facility, a family support directory and the Swoosh website for young people.  Information available would be updated on an annual basis.

 

FIS also provided an outreach service which supported parent groups in schools and new intake sessions.  The service works with agencies such as Flying Start, Communities First, Job Centre Plus, Health Visitors and Play and Leisure to reach parents and carers whose need for help was greatest. 

 

Funding for the FIS was provided through the Families First Grant in order to administer the Disability Index, which was a directory of children and young people in the Vale who had specific impairments and requirements.  There were now 330 children and young people registered on the Index who received regular information, this was an increase of 25% on last year.  FIS had increased its use of social media to promote the service and reach parents and professionals.  Facebook and Twitter were used regularly to highlight important campaigns and promote events and activities. 

 

As a comparison to previous performance information presented before the Scrutiny Committee, the report outlined that for the period October 2013 to September 2014 the following had been identified:

 

·         1,458 enquiries direct to the service (41% decrease from the previous year)

·         38,703 page views to the FIS web pages (34% increase from the previous year);

·         2,001 online childcare enquiries (67% increase from the previous year);

·         375 online family support enquiries (140% increase from the previous year);

·         2,537 page views to the "Children with Additional Needs" web pages (17% increase from the previous year);

·         658 requests for childcare information;

·         132 direct enquiries for special needs support and the Disability Index;

·         230 direct enquiries for holiday activities;

·         95 direct enquiries for help with childcare costs.

 

In terms of outcomes, 54% of those who contacted the FIS were able to find suitable childcare, 36% said their circumstances had changed or they had not started looking yet and 10% were unable to find childcare.  74% of those able to find childcare were also able to take up training, find work or remain in work.  Half of all direct enquiries were requests for childcare information and advice.  The remaining enquiries varied greatly but included information about holiday activities, becoming a childminder, database updates, help with childcare costs, leisure activities, family support and education.  Some examples of enquiries were detailed within Appendix 1 to the report.

 

It was evident that more people were using the service online rather than contacting FIS directly.  The service received many enquiries as a result of providing outreach, which accounted for 16% of all enquiries while enquiries via social media had almost tripled from the previous year. 

 

Over the past year the service had made many achievements.  These included the following:

 

·         80% of users said the information had made a different to them and their families, by improving their knowledge, enabling them to access services, ensuring that the child had made friends or increased in confidence.

·         98% of users were satisfied or very satisfied with the service received from FIS and 99% would recommend the service to others.

·         919 new enquirers accessed information from FIS (65% of all enquiries).

·         The number of online childcare searches increased by 67% and family support searches by 140%.

·         3 more primary schools achieved the Level 1 FIS School Certificate of Achievement (16 in total) and 2 schools had achieved Level 2.

·         The service assisted with the compilation of the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment, by reporting on the supply of childcare in the Vale, levels of demand for FIS, and feedback gained from customers.  Also, the service assisted the process for consulting with parents and providers.  FIS is also making a contribution to many of the actions in the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Action Plan, to help parents back into work and training.

·         The service co-ordinated a family fun day for families with children with special needs and their siblings, funded through the Families First Grant.

·         The service worked with the Network Childminding Facilitator and ran focus groups with childminders within the Vale, to consult on how they felt about FIS and how the service could work together more effectively.

·         The service worked with Job Centre Plus in Barry to help lone parents get back into work and now attended weekly group sessions.

·         The service produced another successful Summer Holiday Activity Programme, available online, which resulted in 15,000 web hits.

 

Examples of key achievements were shown at Appendix 2 to the report. 

 

The service had identified the following key actions which would be progressed for the next year.  These included:

 

·         Completing a Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Refresh;

·         Implementing the actions from the Welsh Government guidance "Delivering Quality Information for Families Together";

·         Working to integrate the Swoosh database and FIS database so that information needed to be updated only once;

·         Working with Ysgol Y Deri to promote the Disability Index and gain the FIS School Certificate Level 1;

·         Helping health visitors and midwives to ensure that new parents are aware of FIS, by attending Parent Craft sessions and carrying out presentations;

·         Continuing to work with Job Centre Plus to ensure that lone parents were aware of available childcare options;

·         Encouraging partner agencies to work towards the FIS certificate and

·         Improving the Disability Index web pages and introducing an incentive to encourage families to sign up to the Index.

 

The work of the unit would be reviewed this year to ensure that the Council would be able to meet the full the requirements of the Act with regard to the broader provision of information, advice and assistance (IAA). 

 

To meet the requirements of the Act, any IAA service must be available to all people in the local area and help to provide the entry point to the care and support system.  The IAA service must include, as a minimum, the publication of information and advice on the following:

 

·         How the care and support system operates in the Local Authority area;

·         The types of care and support available;

·         How to access the care and support that is available and

·         How to raise concerns about the wellbeing of a person who appears to have needs for care and support.

 

The Local Authority would need to ensure that the IAA service offered appropriate support and guidance to people and professionals.  It would need to:

 

·         Be well publicised in the locality, particularly in places and through media that will reach people of all ages;

·         Be available through a variety of media (including online, digital media, telephone, face to face, outreach and publications);

·         Be available through a variety of formats (including easy to read versions and child friendly versions);

·         Be available through the medium of Welsh;

·         Be staffed by a range of skilled professionals including those with experience in the social care, health, third and independent sectors, to provide an holistic approach;

·         Support individuals to build on their strengths and draw out what the person wanted to achieve, and

·         Meet service content accreditation standards for the range of formats to ensure a consistent and reliable response.

 

In referring to the current staff structure of the service, a Committee Member queried whether, with the increased demand, would the staff be able to cope.  In response, the Head of Business Management and Innovation advised that yes, they would cope as the issue was more around the skill mix as opposed to staff capacity.  The Council would monitor the situation, particularly in relation to the build-up to the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

 

A Committee Member, in querying the change in the mix of enquiries made to the service between telephone and website, was advised that the service would carry out regular customer satisfaction surveys with latest figures showing that 98% of users were satisfied or very satisfied with the services and 99%  would recommend the service to others.

 

In response to a query regarding the future demand for Child Care and Childminding services, the Committee noted that an Audit of provision was undertaken every two years. The Directorate would gather a lot of information that would highlight the areas for future work. Dialogue would be held with Childminders to see if they were well supported and regular contact is made with the Children and Family Support services. The Committee also noted that information held on the website regarding providers of Childcare and Childminders was completely impartial.

 

In terms of the future of the Vale FIS, the Committee was advised that following implementation of the Act, there would be a greater demand on Local Authorities to provide information and advice about services.  There were no current or future plans to reduce the service although, where the service fits within the Council’s structure might need to be looked at as it was considered that this was not primarily a Social Care Service.

 

Having considered the report, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the work of the Family Information Service be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the potential impact of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 upon the service be noted, as it requires that the Council and its partners put in place a broader wellbeing service which provided people with information and advice relating to care and support and assistance in accessing care and support.

 

(3)       T H A T a further update be provided on an annual basis.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-3)    To ensure effective oversight of a social care service.

 

 

1079   SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND WORK PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 2015/16 (DR) –

 

The Committee was advised of progress in relation to the Committee’s recommendations and to confirm the updated / amended work programme schedule for the Scrutiny Committee for 2015/16. 

 

Attached at Appendix A to the report were decision tracking recommendations for the second quarter, July to September 2014, while at Appendix B was decision tracking for the third quarter, October to December 2014.  Appendix C contained the fourth quarter decision tracking for January to March 2015 and at Appendix D was the work programme schedule for 2015/16.

 

The Committee agreed that an overarching report with regard to Adult and Child Safeguarding arrangements would be reported to Committee every six months.  A report scheduled for the end of November on the Association of Directors of Social Services Annual Conferences would be moved to the Committee’s meeting scheduled in September.  The Committee also noted that a report regarding the accommodation of older people would also be presented in September 2015. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

06 October 2014

Min. No. 477 – Outcome Agreement 2013-2016: End Of Year Report For 2013/14 (DSS) – Recommended

(3)   That 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.

 

 

 

Targets have been amended.

Completed

01 December 2014

Min. No. 640 – CSSIW Annual Performance Evaluation 2013-2014 – Presentation by Gillian Huws-John and Margaret Rooney – Recommended

(2)   That the report and presentation of the Chief Inspector’s Annual Performance Evaluation of the Vale of Glamorgan’s Social Services Department 2013-14 be referred to Cabinet.

 

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 12th January 2015, noted the report and presentation and good performance highlighted within the CSSIW performance evaluation.

(Min. No. C2596 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 642 – Initial Revenue Budget Proposals 2015/16 (DSS) – Recommended

(3)   That Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) be advised that Social Services is facing significant cost pressures and increased demand for services from all areas of its work.

(4)   That Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) be advised that it was the unanimous view of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) that the cost pressures detailed at Appendix 2 be fully funded.

 

  

(3&4)   Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), on 9th December 2014, recommended

[2]   That the initial Revenue Budget proposals for 2015/16 be noted and that the Cabinet be informed of the outcome of the Scrutiny process on the matter subject to the references which include the comments from the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) and (Economy and Environment) being forwarded on to the Cabinet and the Budget Working Group for further consideration.

(Min No 681 refers)

Referred to Cabinet meeting on 12th January 2015. Cabinet, on 12th January 2015, noted the report.

(Min. No. C2598 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 644 – Update on How the Council is Managing Increased Demand for Family Support Services (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the report be referred to Cabinet in order to highlight concerns around the number of grant funding streams and the short term nature of funding.

 

 

  

Cabinet, on 12th January 2015, noted the contents of the report and resolved

[2]   That Cabinet shared the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee (Social care and Health) regarding grant funding especially short term and fixed term grant funding that can cause difficulty to the Council in service delivery.

(Min No C2595 refers)

Completed

05 January 2015

Min. No. 745 – Presentation – CSSIW National Inspection of Safeguarding and Care Planning of Looked After Children and Care Leavers Who Exhibit Vulnerable or Risky Behaviour – Recommended

(2)   That the report and presentation of the National Inspection of Safeguarding and Care Planning for Looked After Children and Care Leavers who exhibit vulnerable and risky behaviours, be referred to Cabinet.

 

 

 

  

 

Cabinet, on 9th February, 2015, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2627 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 746 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2014 to 30th November 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 9th February, 2015, noted the contents of the report and resolved that the issues raised be included in the budget report that was to come to Cabinet on 23rd February 2015.

(Min. No. C2628 refers)

Cabinet, on 23rd February, 2015 approved that the Director of Social Services continued to review the Social Services Budget Plan and take the necessary actions in order to manage future service demand.

(Min. No. C2651 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 752 – Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Work Programme Schedule 2014/15 (DR) – Recommended

(2)   That the updated work programme schedule be uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

 

  

Uploaded to Council’s website on 19th January, 2015.

Completed

02 February 2014

Min. No. 836 – Presentation on the Vale of Glamorgan Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) – Recommended – That a presentation on the MARAC from the perspective of the victim be provided to a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

  

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 837 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2014 to 31st December 2014 (MD) – Recommended

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

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 23rd March 2015, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2696 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 839 – Request for Consideration of Matter (Councillor R.J. Bertin) – The Meals on Wheels Service (DSS) – Recommended

(2)   That the report be referred to Cabinet.

 

 

 

(3)   That a further report be received by the Scrutiny Committee detailing the outcomes and findings from the comprehensive review.

 

 

 

(2)  Cabinet, on 23rd March 2015, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2697 refers)

Completed

(3)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

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

 

(3)       T H A T the work programme schedule attached at Appendix E to the report be amended as follows and uploaded to the Council’s website:

 

·         All adult and child safeguarding arrangements and reports to be reported to Committee every six months or more often, if need be, in a consolidated report;

·         The annual report on themes and topics discussed at Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) annual conferences be presented to the September 2015 meeting instead of the November meeting

·         A report on the accommodation of older people to be presented in September 2015.

·         The Annual Report on Service User and Care Consultation should be presented in September 2015.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To maintain effective tracking of the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations.

 

(3)       For information.

 

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