HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16th April, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks (Chairman); Councillors Ms. J. Aviet, G.D.D. Carroll, K.P. Mahoney, Mrs. R. Nugent-Finn, L.O. Rowlands and N.C. Thomas.

 

 

844     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. C.A. Cave and S.T. Edwards.

 

 

845     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 12th March, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

846     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

847     RESPONSE TO THE OLDER PEOPLE’S COMMISSIONER FOR WALES - FOLLOW UP TO CARE HOME REVIEW (DSS) -

 

The Head of Adult Services presented the report, the purpose of which was to provide the Scrutiny Committee with oversight of the Directorate’s response to Older People’s Commissioner for Wales following her follow-up to the publication “A Place to Call Home” Care Home Review.

 

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, using her powers under the Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Act 2016, undertook a formal review into the quality of life and care of older people in residential care in Wales.  The report, “A Place to Call Home? - A Review into the Quality of Life and Care of Older People Living in Care Homes in Wales” was published in November 2014.  She concluded that “Too many older people living in care homes in Wales have an unacceptable quality of life”.  The Commissioner wrote to all local authorities in Wales, outlining requirements for action.  The letter to the Vale of Glamorgan included cross-cutting themes and also specific observations relating to the Council’s own Part 3 care homes.  The Council prepared two responses for the Commissioner’s consideration and these were attached as Appendices 1 and 2 to the report (January 2015 and May 2015). 

 

The Older People’s Commissioner wrote to the Council requesting a progress report in January 2017 and a follow up report was provided outlining evidence in March 2017 responding to the areas she required evidence of progress.  This response was attached at Appendix 3 to the report for context.  Further correspondence was then received in January 2018 when the Commissioner wrote to the Managing Director, a copy of this letter was attached at Appendix 4 to the report.  The Commissioner commented on the evidence provided last year, and shared a publication “A Place to Call Home Impact and Analysis”, a copy of which was attached at Appendix 5 to the report.  The Commissioner advised that of four Requirements for Action she made the following observations referenced at Appendix 6 to the report, with the Council’s responses also highlighted. 

 

The Head of Adult Services believed the Council had been able to evidence progress against the Commissioner’s areas of concern, demonstrating that the Council had continued to deliver quality services despite the challenges related to cost pressures and increasing complexity of the residents supported in residential care homes, both Council run and in the independent sector.  This was highlighted in the Council’s response which was attached at Appendix 6 to the report.

 

The response to the four Requirements for Action had been returned to the Commissioner on 16th May, 2018 outlining the actions taken by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  Details of the Councils’ response were located at Appendix C attached to the report with the corresponding evidence that supported the Council claims attached at Appendices 6a, 6b, 6c, 6d and 6e to the report respectively.  The Council awaited further correspondence from the Commissioner in relation to this response. 

 

The Head of Adult Services noted that the Regional Safeguarding Adult Board had requested sight of each of its statutory partners’ responses to the Commissioner’s Review.  These were Cardiff Council, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  Each organisation’s response was due to be presented to the next Full Board scheduled for 15th May, 2018.

 

Finally, the Head of Adult Services asked if any Committee Members had questions.

 

The Committee discussed if more could be done to push standards higher in care homes, and what powers the Council had to drive change within independent sector care homes and support best practice.  In response, the Head of Adult Services commented that care home staff were going through outcome based training to push standards higher, and, while the Council worked with care homes to provide placements, overall regulation was provided by the Care Inspectorate for Wales. 

 

Another Member of the Committee highlighted Appendix 6(b) attached to the report, the “Life Story of”.  The Committee Member queried if this document was targeted at a particular group.  In response, the Head of Adult Services stated that this document was intended for every resident and was designed to be easily accessible to multiple users and organisations.  The Head of Adult Services commented that while she had not carried out this work, she would check for the Member if this document had been used and was suitable for all service users. 

 

In conclusion, the Chairman noted that the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s response to the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales had already been sent and was a detailed response with lots of work.  As such, she was satisfied to move the recommendations. 

 

Subsequently, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the role of the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s response to Reviews undertaken by the Commissioner be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee continued to exercise effective oversight of important functions undertaken by the Social Services Directorate.

 

(2)       To brief Members about the actions points raised by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales in the report “A Place to Call Home? - A Review into the Quality and Life and Care of Older People Living in Care Homes in Wales”, published in November 2014 and a follow up “A Place to Call Home: Impact and Analysis” published in January 2018, and the Council’s response.

 

 

848     SUPPORT FOR CARERS IN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN (DSS) -

 

The Head of Adult Services provided the Scrutiny Committee with an update on support services for carers. 

 

The Social Services and Wellbeing Act, for the first time, gave more carers the same rights as those they cared for.  Regardless of their age, all carers had the right to an assessment of their needs as a carer.  In order to assist in ensuring the enhanced rights of carers were recognised and actively delivered upon, the Welsh Government had established three national priorities: 

  • Supporting life alongside caring
  • Identifying and recognising carers
  • Providing information, advice and assistance. 

The ways in which the Council had responded to the requirements of the new Act and the three national priorities were summarised in Appendix A attached to the report.

 

A Member highlighted page 3 of Appendix A attached to the report which detailed support available to young carers through the Carers Respite Grant.  He noted that 86 opportunities had been created for young carers to receive additional breaks from their caring role.  The Committee Member queried whether these 86 opportunities related to separate carers or could be claimed multiple times by individual users.  In response, the Head of Adult Services commented that she would find out how many individuals had accessed the Carers Respite Grant and notify the Member.

 

The Committee Member then highlighted page 5 of Appendix A attached to the report and noted that Barry Comprehensive had been announced as the first school in Wales to receive the Young Carers Accreditation Scheme.  A Committee Member asked if progress had been made in other schools to progress the scheme.  The Head of Adult Services stated that there were a number of schools who were interested in the scheme, and she could provide this information to the Scrutiny Committee. 

 

Finally, the Member queried if young people knew they could be classified as carers and were eligible for this extra support, and were GPs and youth services asking the right questions to help identify these young carers. 

 

In response, the Head of Adult Services commented that the Council had officers who visited GPs and a successful campaign had been undertaken to ensure young people knew they could access carer services if required.  She commented that the Council always tried to identify young carers, including the Contact Centre, and pushed for the referrals where appropriate. 

 

A Committee Member highlighted page 14 of Appendix B attached to the report, which detailed the level of support that carers felt was available from their school / college / employer.  The Committee Member stated that a diverse range of responses were given, with a worrying number of responses where carers felt they were not receiving the right level of support.

 

The Committee Member asked if the Department knew if these responses were from the same, or different, organisations and therefore if targeted actions could be taken.  In response, the Head of Adult Services commented that she would investigate this matter and provide a response to the Member.  She also noted that the report would be referred to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee for their consideration regarding the support available for young carers in schools. 

 

Subsequently, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the work undertaken to support carers in the Vale of Glamorgan be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee to note the work in respect of young carers.

 

(3)       T H A T the importance of supporting carers be recognised.

 

(4)       T H A T the duties of the Council and its partners in regards to delivering services for carers within the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014, be noted.

  

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To exercise effective oversight of this important function undertaken by the Social Services Directorate.

 

(2)       To provide an update report to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee on young carers on an annual basis.

 

(3)       To note the value of carers.

 

(4)       To note the duties of the Council and its partners as outlined within legislation.

 

 

849     VALE OF GLAMORGAN WELLBEING AND IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES (IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1) 2017/19 (DSS) -

 

The Director of Social Services presented the report, which sought the Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee’s endorsement of the Improvement Plan Part 1 outlining the Council’s Wellbeing and Improvement Objectives and associated actions for 2018/19.

 

Under the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act the Council was required to publish its Wellbeing Objectives by 31st March, 2017 and to keep these under review.  Under the Measure, the Council also had to set any Improvement Objectives and publish these as soon as possible at the start of the financial year.  Appendix 1 attached to the report contained the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Wellbeing and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) for the period 2018/19.  The Director of Social Services noted that pages 8 - 35 of the Plan provided further details on each objective and commented that Improvement Objectives 7 and 8 were key for the Scrutiny Committee. 

 

The Director of Social Services commented that challenging targets had been set for improvement, reflecting the Council’s commitment to continuously improving the services it provided to citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan.  At the same time, the Council was also mindful of significant financial and service demand pressures over the coming year and key targets and milestones for its Wellbeing and Improvement Objectives had been set within this context. 

 

A Member highlighted paragraph 8 of the report, which stated that challenge sessions had been held in January 2018 with sponsoring Directors and responsible officers.  The Committee Member queried if service users could be included in these challenge sessions, as a solely corporate perspective in the service might not be challenged without an outside perspective.  In response, the Director of Social Services stated that no service users had been present as far as he was aware as the challenge sessions had been corporate led.  The Director of Social Services agreed that service user input could be valuable, and noted that page 7 of Appendix 1 attached to the report contained details of how members of the public could get involved in decision making in the Council.  Finally, the Director of Social Services added that Elected Members had been involved in the process.

 

A Committee Member highlighted Improvement Objective 7 as detailed on page 27 of Appendix A attached to the report, which discussed encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles.  The Committee Member queried if providing lighting to active travel routes could benefit this Wellbeing Outcome.  In response, the Operational Manager, Neighbourhood Services, Healthy Living and Performance, commented that the benefits of Active Travel were well understood, however, it was difficult to find funding to light all routes.  As such, only Active Travel routes where there were health and safety concerns had been lit. 

 

There then followed a discussion amongst the Scrutiny Committee regarding leisure centres in the Vale of Glamorgan and outstanding maintenance and tender issues.  Following visits by a Sub-Group of the Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee, the conditions of Cowbridge and Llantwit Major Leisure Centres were noted.  The Operational Manager, Neighbourhood Services, Healthy Living and Performance also provided an update on tenders for Penarth Leisure Centre.  The Committee noted that following tender invitations to six companies, only one had been submitted.  The work for Penarth Leisure Centre would therefore be re-tendered on the Sell2Wales website to a wider group of companies.  While officers were disappointed in the previous round of tenders, there was an expectation that future tenders would be more satisfactory.

 

Subsequently, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Corporate Plan Wellbeing and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure the Council fully discharged its statutory duties to set and publish its Improvement Plan Part 1 outlining how it proposed to meet its Wellbeing and Improvement Objectives for 2018/19.