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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 31st October, 2011

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

The 2010/2011 Annual Report by the Director of Social Services

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To request that Scrutiny Committee notes the Director's view of service effectiveness in the financial year 2010/2011 and the improvement priorities for the service set out in the report.

Recommendation

That Scrutiny Committee:

 

1.             Notes the Director's second Annual Report, attached at Annex 1 and the improvement priorities set out in the report which have been endorsed by Cabinet.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To ensure that Scrutiny Committee has been informed about the views expressed by the Director of Social Services in his report regarding service effectiveness in 2010/2011 and his plans for improvement.

Background

2.             As part of his statutory duties, the Welsh Government now requires the Director of Social Services to report annually on the effectiveness of social care services in the Vale of Glamorgan and plans for improvement.  The current report is based upon a framework developed by local government in response to the statutory requirement. 

3.             The annual reports by the Director of Social Services are intended to:

·         produce a more rounded picture (supplementing the key performance indicators with more user and carer perspectives, and measuring progress against local corporate strategic objectives);

·         be expressed in a language and style which suits each Council and the population it serves, not following a national template;

·         provide a much more immediate feedback into planning and budgetary processes (with the intention of publishing in the Autumn after year-end); and

·         play an integral role in the month-by-month performance management framework used in the Council.

4.             The Director's Report must be made available to the public and key partners of the Council. It is used by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) as part of the evidence upon which they base their annual review and evaluation of performance by social services in each local authority.  A draft version of their report has been received and we anticipate that the final report will be presented by CSSIW to this Committee in December.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             This is an important report for the people of the Vale of Glamorgan and elected Members. It is also a key document for our staff and our partners, including the third sector and independent providers of services. Hence, the report is written for a wide range of people, including service users and carers. It is a long document but contains a summary on page 7 of the progress made by Social Services over the past year and an outline of the future direction which the Directorate needs to take in responding to the challenges that the Council faces.

6.             There is considerable evidence in the report to show that, over the past year, the Directorate has become even better equipped to fulfil the Council's high expectations of the service and to meet the needs of service users and carers. 

7.             The report describes the formidable challenges which face the Council - most obviously in finding ways to bridge the gap between the reducing resources available and the year-on-year growth in social care costs (resulting from demographic trends, increased citizen expectations, changing family structures and increasing numbers of people with long standing and complex disabilities).  Because of the difficult financial context and increasing demands for services, the only sustainable answer for social services in the longer term is for the Council and its partners to change the pattern of services - based upon an understanding that we need to promote independence and focus services away from institutional settings and into people’s homes and local communities. 

8.             The evidence in the report demonstrates that we have good foundations upon which to build in responding to these challenges.  It also shows that we are well placed overall to continue improving because of the way in which the Council is managing programmes of change, with a new three-year Change Plan designed to ensure that there is a clear direction for social services in the Vale.

9.             With his managers, the Director has provided throughout the Annual Report the proposed new improvement actions for each service which they will prioritise for completion in the current financial year. All these improvement actions are collated in Appendix 2 of the report.  Now that Cabinet has endorsed the improvement actions, they will be included in the Directorate's Service Plans and incorporated where appropriate in the Social Services Change Plan.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

10.        The Annual Report set out proposals for dealing with some key resource management issues within the Social Services Directorate, including demographic changes and increasing demand for social care. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.        In June 2009, the Welsh Assembly Government introduced statutory guidance on the role and accountabilities of the Director of Social Services, issued under Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970.  The Annual Report has been developed in accordance with the guidance.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.        There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.        The Equality Act 2010 creates a new public sector duty, replacing the race, disability and gender equality duties. The duty came into force in April 2011. The duty covers age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. Under the general duty, public sector organisations must have due regard to the need to:

·         eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;

·         advance equality of opportunity between different groups;

·         foster good relations between different groups.

14.        The contents of the Annual Report and especially the improvement actions ensure compliance with this duty.

Corporate/Service Objectives

15.        The Director's Report will contribute to the corporate priority of "working with partners to meet the diverse needs of our residents in ways that will safeguard and support those who are most vulnerable and in greatest need; help people to keep fit and healthy; and increase social cohesion and equality of opportunity for all."’

Policy Framework and Budget

16.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.        An earlier version of the Director's Report was shared with a range of stakeholders, including the Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee, to ensure that it accurately reflects the position of social services and to provide an opportunity for challenge. The feedback was positive and amendments have been made in response to specific suggestions. 

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

 

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