Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 5TH NOVEMBER, 2012
REFERENCE FROM VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE: 17TH OCTOBER, 2012
“450 CONTRACTS WITH THIRD SECTOR ORGANISATIONS FOR PROVIDING SOCIAL CARE SERVICES (DSS) -
Committee was updated on the arrangements for contracting with third sector providers of social care services in the Vale of Glamorgan. Whilst the Council was a direct provider of social care services, it was also a commissioner of those services on a large scale from other organisations primarily in the independent and third sectors. Social Services currently spent about £6.75m. a year on services provided through contractual arrangements and Service Level Agreements (excluding the spend on care home placements and domiciliary care packages). Of that, £5.172m. was for Adult Services and £1.614m. for Children's Services. A list of the organisations involved was appended to the report.
In 2010 the Welsh Government had provided statutory guidance setting out the responsibilities of local authorities in commissioning social services. That guidance and good practice identified 13 standards which formed the basis of the actions set out in the commissioning section of the Social Services Change Plan 2011 - 2014. To assist staff with the complex activities involved in social care commissioning, the Council had produced its Social Service Commissioning Framework 2011, the link to which was included within the report. The aforementioned Framework provided a uniform approach to the task of producing commissioning strategies. In order to support the production of specific commissioning strategies for the different areas within Social Services and to monitor delivery of the service specified in contracts, staff from within the Directorate had in place a programme of regular engagement sessions with the relevant organisations, including an annual review. Each third sector project also had a nominated Operational Manager from Social Services with responsibility for maintaining a dialogue with the service provider about the shape of services and plans for change.
The Council's Social Services Commissioning Strategy for Older People’s Services 2011/18 had been approved in November 2011. A link to the aforementioned Strategy was contained within the report. The Strategy had helped to inform the dialogue with service providers from the third sector and the independent sector and development meetings would continue with those providers to help shape services in readiness for future procurement exercises. A Learning Disability Commissioning Strategy was also being drafted, a key feature of which was to maintain constructive relationships with providers and to work collaboratively in helping to determine the overall pattern of services.
During the course of her presentation of the report, the Head of Business Management and Innovation had stressed that discussions had been held with the 3rd sector throughout the process of realigning and reconfiguring services, in full knowledge of the level of savings required to ensure that services commissioned would be focussed and deliverable, thereby reducing the impact on service users and their families. Ms. Connor commented that it had been an interesting process which had been initially challenging and that the voluntary sector recognised that efficiency savings had to be made. By way of clarification, it was explained that the efficiency savings required to be made by the Directorate from the funding arrangements with the third sector were 4% year on year from 2011/12 to 2013/14. Ms. Connor confirmed that services had been tweaked accordingly. When asked whether there would be statistics evidencing client satisfaction with the realigned services, she responded that it was likely that voluntary sector organisations would have such evidence.
(1) T H A T the current arrangements for contracting with third sector organisations be noted.
(2) T H A T Cabinet be asked to consider receiving a future report outlining the arrangements with the voluntary sector across the authority during the budget setting process.
Reason for decisions
(1&2) To ensure effective scrutiny of key functions undertaken by the Council.
(Note: During consideration of the above, Councillor Franks indicated that he felt he should withdraw from the room and subsequently did so).”