HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 11th September, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor K.F. McCaffer (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. R. Nugent-Finn (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. J. Aviet, G.D.D. Carroll, Mrs. C.A. Cave, S.T. Edwards, K.P. Mahoney, L.O. Rowlands and N.C. Thomas.

 

 

260     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks.

 

 

261     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 10th July, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

262     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

263     CORPORATE SAFEGUARDING ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18 (REF) -

 

Cabinet on 3rd September, 2018 were updated on the work that had been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults were required specific Council services.  The report had been referred onto the Scrutiny Committee for its consideration. 

 

The Operational Manager for Safeguarding and Service presented the report which outlined that the Corporate Safeguarding Working Group had been established to learn lessons from the 2011, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), and Estyn Joint Report following their investigation into the way Pembrokeshire County Council was managing allegations of professional abuse and its arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children in education.

 

Attached at Appendix 1, was the Annual Report that brought together safeguarding activity undertaken by the Resources and Safeguarding, Learning and Skills and Social Services Directorates.  It provided a holistic representation of safeguarding activity across the Council.  During 2017/18, the Environment and Housing Directorate joined the Corporate Safeguarding Working Group.  This Directorate already had a key role in a number of safeguarding and protection approaches and this activity would be included as part of this reporting arrangement for 2018/19. 

 

The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 had been implemented in April 2016.  This had brought about changes in particular relating to the introduction of a duty to report which meant a revision of the Corporate Safeguarding Policy to bring staff’s attention to this duty.

 

The new ‘Working Together to Safeguard People Guidance’ under Part 7 of the the new Act had been published.  Guidance on handling individual cases (volumes 5 and 6) to protect children and adults at risk was launched for public consultation by Welsh Government on 31st January, 2017.  The guidance provided advice on what should happen if an individual had concerns about the wellbeing or welfare of a child or an adult at risk.  The guidance was published in 2018. 

 

With regards to the area of Social Services, the Committee noted the activities in the following areas: 

  • Child Protection Registration
  • Allegations Against Professionals
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Protection of Adults at Risk (formerly Protection of Vulnerable Adults)
  • Audit
  • Consultation
  • Cardiff and Vale Safeguarding Children Regional Board
  • Children and Safeguarding Adults Regional Board.

With regards to child protection, the Committee was advised that for the period April 2017 to September 2017, 500 individual referrals were received by the Division.  For the period October 2017 to March 2018, 2,050 referrals had been received.  Of these, 150 had progressed to a Strategy meeting or an investigation under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.  It was reported that the recording and reporting of referrals had changed in terms of referrals received on open cases and how these were counted.  This led to the significant increase in referral numbers. 

 

Members were advised the 50 Child Protection Conferences held between October 2017 and March 2018 with 92% (46) held within statutory timescales.

 

In terms of allegations against professions, it was reported that for the period October 2017 to March 2018 there were 14 new referrals which met the threshold for consideration under Section 4.3 of the All Wales Child Protection Procedures.  These concerned allegations of the abuse of children by professionals/staff members.  In addition, there were five cases that were carried over into this period.  In total, 19 referrals were dealt with during this time period. 

 

As at 31st March, 2018, 10 referrals had been concluded of which 1 led to a caution by the police or resulted in the alleged perpetrator charged with an offence.  Members noted that none of the new cases for the year involved criminal charges. 

 

In relation to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Members were advised that there had been 5 referrals received by the Protection and Policy Officer during the period of October 2017 through to March 2018, with 10 cases carried over from 2017/18 where concern of CSE had been a significant feature.  Of the 15 children, 1 was male and 14 were female, with the age range of 12 years through to 17 years.  Of the 15 children, 4 were children who were looked after and 5 were subject to Child Protection Registration.  Of the 5 new referrals, 2 had been re-referred.  Of the new cases all were deemed to be vulnerable to CSE, but it was reported that none had resulted in a prosecution of any perpetrator(s).

 

With regard to Protection of Adults at Risk (formerly Protection of Vulnerable Adults), new safeguarding duties under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act now applied to adult protection, as safeguarding was preventative as well as protective.  Members were advised that during 2017/18, 375 referrals had been received, which compared to 318 being received during the previous year 2016/17. 

 

Members were advised that the Children and Young Peoples Services Division, Adult Services Division and the former Business Management and Innovation Division had in place an audit framework and monitoring arrangements, carried out at quarterly intervals, to ensure that robust information was available about their safeguarding work and other areas of service.  Auditors met 6 weeks prior to the date of the audit and the subject area was agreed. 

 

Audit activity in the first 2 quarters of the year related to risk assessments in Adult Services and assessments within Children and Young Peoples Services.  As a result, Audit recommendations were made to ensure that risk assessments were updated when significant events occurred and that the management and reduction of risks were clearly documented.  The audit found that in most cases, reviews of risk assessments were appropriate which included evidence of the Citizens Voice being present.  There were further recommendations made in terms of consistency of recording key data in assessments in terms of ethnicity and nationality which would be rectified with the introduction of the new information system that would ensure core data sets were consistently recorded. 

 

Two further audits for Adults and Children and Young Persons Services were currently being carried out using a detailed audit tool that focussed on the quality of aspects of 10 cases.  Reports would be prepared in due course.

 

In relation to consultation, Members were advised that implementation of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014, involved a considerable focus upon qualitative surveys which were circulated between November 2017 and March 2018.  The questions for the exercise were determined by the Welsh Government and in relation to safeguarding, included the question “Do you feel safe?”  Of adults who had received support from the Community Reablement Team service, most people (78%) said that they felt safe but (5%) did not.  All safety concerns related to mobility and a fear of falling.  For the mainstream adults questionnaire, 76% said they felt safe but some did not, mainly because they had mobility issues and were again afraid of falling.  In some cases, people had experienced violence and aggression near to where they lived so felt vulnerable.  87% of young people who responded to the Measure said that they felt safe.

 

Finally, the Committee also noted the work around multi-agency risk assessment conferences and was provided with an update on the Cardiff and Vale Safeguarding Children Board and the Cardiff and Vale Safeguarding Adults Regional Board.  Members noted that the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 contained a new Order that could be obtained from the magistrates court.  These Adult Protection and Support Orders allowed for a private conversation with a suspected adult at risk; to find out if that suspected adult at risk was free to make their own decisions and to assess whether they were an adult at risk.  Members were advised that it had not been necessary to apply for any Adult Protection and Support Orders to date in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the work undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for Safeguarding and Protecting Children and Adults be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Following consideration of the recent developments in corporate arrangements for safeguarding.

 

 

264     LEISURE CENTRE CHANGING ROOM UPGRADING (DEH) -

 

The Operational Manager for Leisure presented the report the purpose of which was to provide an update on the upgrading of changing room facilities at Penarth and Barry Leisure Centres.  For this item the Committee also welcomed the Operational Manager for Property and the Commercial and Consultancy Manager.

 

It was reported that approval for the refurbishment of the changing rooms at Barry and Penarth Leisure Centres was granted by Cabinet on 26th September, 2016.  Following approval of the funding an instruction was issued to the Council’s Property Section to undertake the work.  As the scale of the project was significant and of a specialist nature the appointment of external consultants who developed the design, tender documents and to project manage the works was identified as being essential.  This appointment process was unfortunately delayed due to a long-term staff sickness issue within the Council.  Following a tendering process to appoint multi-disciplinary consultants, AECOM were appointed to progress the project in July 2017. 

 

AECOM prepared detailed drawings and specifications and tendered the project based on the original feasibility study used to bid for funding for this project.  Whilst the original feasibility study was comprehensive, factors including timetabling the works to keep the centres open during the project, the routes of existing services running through the changing rooms, structural engineering challenges and access difficulties to both sites for delivery and removal of materials, caused added complications to the project which in turn resulted in delays with the production of tender documents.

 

Following the completion of the specifications, the work was tendered in accordance with Council Procurement Policy to a select list of five contractors generated through Construction Line (a pre-qualification process providing a randomised list of suitably qualified and competent contractors).  The return date for the tender was 20th March, 2018 but only one submission was received.  Whilst this was compliant with the specification it was significantly over the budget allocated for the works.  The decision was therefore taken to re-tender the works on the Sell2Wales website allowing any interested organisation to bid for the works subject to them passing the Council’s Pre-Qualification Questionnaire.  In excess of 50 contractors registered an interest in the project but only 2 tenders were received on 25th March, 2018, one of these being the over-budget original tender. 

 

Members were advised that evaluation of the lowest tender took longer than anticipated due to the due diligence process required to ensure that specific proposals contained within the tender were achievable (i.e. the contractor proposed a faster delivery proposal and new working methods than those specified in the tender documents).  The tender was slightly under budget and following several meetings with the consultants (AECOM) and Council officers, the preferred contractor, G. Oakley and Sons from Cowbridge were appointed to undertake the works. 

 

The Commercial and Consultancy Manager also advised that the contractor had begun work in Penarth on 10th September, 2018 stripping out fittings and fixtures in the dry changing room.  This work would continue until the end of next week.  It was currently envisaged that this work would be completed by the end of November.  In relation to the wet changing rooms, the work on this would start early in December and should be completed by early March next year.  With regard to the wet changing rooms at Barry Leisure Centre, the Committee was advised that this work should be completed by the middle of February 2019. 

 

In terms of the original tender exercise, the Commercial and Consultancy Manager stated that there was a very limited and specialist pool of contractors that could undertake the work.  Members noted that G. Oakley and Sons had submitted a bid during the first tender round but their tender had been sent directly to AECOM and not the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  This meant that the bid could not be accepted as tenders had to follow specific tendering rules outlined within the Council’s Policies.

 

A Committee Member asked whether there were any lessons to be learnt from the initial tendering exercise.  In reply, the Commercial and Consultancy Manager stated that the problem was that most contractors would “hedge their bets” with some not able to tender as they would not always know what work they may have.  Some contractors would have other work in the pipeline and so it would not be in their interests to inform the Council of this.  He also stated that he was unsure what else the Council could have done and that it was unusual to just have one tender returned.  For this, reasonable time had been given and officers had been willing to meet contractors on site.  It was possible for the Council to look at a larger pool of contractors above the original five in this case, but the issue then was officers having sufficient time to review all then tenders that had come in.  There was therefore a balance between the number of tenders returned and the ability of officers to review documentation. 

 

The Operational Manager for Property Advised that the Section always followed the tendering rules in place, which were there to protect the Council and the companies taking part.   This was why a sealed bids approach was adopted. With regard to the use of the Sell2Wales website, she advised that bids on this site was seen by all companies signed up, with all prospective bidders asked to complete the same pre-qualification survey.  She added that she would go back to look at the documentation to see that it stated correctly where the bids should be returned to.

 

A Committee Member commented that Members of the public had raised concerns regarding the use of unisex changing rooms.  In reply, the Operational Manager for Leisure stated that the Council had adopted a mixed approach and that for the wet changing rooms people would be encouraged to change in the changing village.  This was due to the amount of space available and the need for ease of maintenance.  With regard to the dry changing rooms, the Operational Manager stated that these would remain as single sex changing rooms, and members of the public if they had a strong objection could still use them and not the changing villages. 

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the update on the upgrade of changing room facilities at Penarth and Barry Leisure Centres be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Following the Committee’s update on the current position with the upgrade of the changing rooms at Penarth and Barry Leisure Centres.

 

 

265     DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY SAFEGUARDS AUDIT (DSS) -

 

The Operational Manager for Safeguarding and Service Outcomes presented the report the purpose of which was to highlight the implications that case law had in relation to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) 2009, and the impact upon Social Services Directorate’s capacity to meet statutory obligations under DoLS. 

 

DoLS ensured people who could not consent to their care arrangements in a care home or hospital were protected if those arrangements deprived them of their liberty.  It applied to all those persons who (a) lacked capacity; (b) who were under continuous supervision and control and (c) who were not free to leave.  The person's care arrangements, and the restrictions upon their liberty, were assessed to check they were necessary, proportionate and in the person’s best interests.  Representation and the right to challenge a deprivation were other safeguards that were part of the DoLS regime.

 

The Cheshire West ruling effectively lowered the threshold for what constitutes deprivation of liberty in care.  In doing so, it significantly increased the number of people requiring assessment for protection under the DoLS scheme, which covered placements in care homes and hospitals.

 

Since the Cheshire West Supreme Court ruling, the team had seen a significant increase in the number of referrals.

 

Table A below showed the number of DoLS referrals prior to the Cheshire West decision compared with 2017/18 referral rates:

 

Table A

REFERRALS  

   2013/14

   2017/18

Cardiff Council

32

1,012

Vale Council

6

458

C&V UHB (Hospital Wards)

55

1,036

Total

93

1,326

 

Table B showed the number of completed assessments undertaken by the DoLS team for 2017/18 per Supervisory Body and the number of DoLS Authorisation Requests that are outstanding as of April 2018.  Hospital generated DoLS referrals had to be prioritised because of the unpredictable nature of hospital admissions and therefore an increased proportion of authorisations with Cardiff and the Vale UHB were urgent.

 

Table B


 

ASSESSMENTS

 

Completed

   Assessments

   %

   Workload

Outstanding

   Assessments

Cardiff Council

508

32%

504

Vale Council

328

21%

230

Cardiff and Vale UHB

840

47%

95

Total

1,676

 

829

 

Where a Managing Authority (Care Home for the Local Authority or Hospital Ward for the UHB) made an Urgent Authorisation following a sudden and unforeseen event, they were in effect authorising themselves to deprive a person of their liberty for up to 7 days.  The Managing Authority must request a Standard Authorisation from the Cardiff and Vale MCA/DoLS Team at the same time as issuing their own urgent Authorisation.  The team then had 7 days to undertake a full DoLS assessment to consider an ongoing Standard Authorisation.

 

There had been significant impact on the number of referrals the team received since the Cheshire West ruling as had been previously outlined in Table A.  Some additional resource by the three partners was initially provided in terms of extra posts, however, the rate of referrals and demand far exceeded the capacity that the team currently had, resulting in a backlog of outstanding requests.

 

Further case law has impacted on the financial resource of the team.  AJ v A Local Authority (2015) changed the guidance in terms of who could be appointed as the Relevant Persons Representative (RPR) for the person being deprived of their liberty.  Historically, this role could be undertaken by a friend or family member who had been identified as wanting and being able to challenge when a person's liberty was being removed (Article 5 Humans Rights Act 1998).  However, following this case law it had been determined that there may be a conflict if this person was involved in the best interest decision to place the person within the current setting.  In essence, this would mean that the person undertaking the RPR role would be challenging, if required, their own previous decision.  The team now sought to appoint an independent paid RPR in these circumstances, which had resulted in a significant rise in costs for this service. 

 

The issues being faced in terms of increase in numbers and backlog of assessments were not unique to the Vale of Glamorgan or to this DoLS team.  This reflected the picture nationally and all Supervisory Bodies report the same challenges relating to capacity, both in terms of the numbers of assessments being requested and the financial implications.

 

In April 2018 Care Inspectorate Wales published the following report; Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: Annual Monitoring Report for Health and Social Care 2016-17. This report examined the key findings for the year 2016-17 across all Welsh Local Authorities and Health Boards, providing an analysis of the information and a description of trends, concerns and achievements.  This report recognises that the Supreme Court ruling (Cheshire West case) had resulted in a very large increase in the number of applications for DoLS authorisations, resulting in a backlog for health boards and Local Authorities.  The report stated that of the applications progressed for assessment and authorisation, The DoLs Team completed 94% of applications which puts it in the top 1% of authorised assessments for 2016-17.

 

As a result of the most recent audit findings a business mapping process was being undertaken to consider the current business operational functions of the team and how they may be streamlined to be more efficient in terms of time and resource.

 

A Committee Member stated that it appeared that the Council was facing a significant challenge and that new cases coming into the Authority could be prioritised before older ones.  In reply, the Operational Manager stated that this had been the case and this was why a review of DoLS had been undertaken.  The Operational Manager added that if the DoLS assessment was urgent then it had to be prioritised and so a matrix had been put in place in order for the service to prioritise cases.  She also advised that the priority in each individual case was around meeting the care and support needs for those people whilst waiting for a DoLS assessment.  The Committee also noted that the DoLS team was not working in isolation and social workers from other teams continue to work with service users ensuring that their needs had been assessed and were being met.

 

The Committee asked whether there was anything that the Voluntary Sector could do in order to help the situation.  In reply, the Operational Manager stated that the service was always willing to operate with the assistance of the Voluntary Sector but that this would depend on the individual case. 

 

Subsequently, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the implications of the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Cheshire West case in 2014 be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T case law in respect of arrangements for safeguarding adults who are unable to consent to their health and social care arrangements, and also the increased risk to the Council of legal challenge where statutory timescales are not met, be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Audit Committee for its consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee is aware of the impact of the decision in the Cheshire West case which extended the scope of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.  The Local Authority has a duty to ensure that all care arrangements for people lacking mental capacity do not deprive a person of their liability without an independent legal process to authorise the care regime.

 

(2)       To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee can continue to exercise oversight of the service and the risk to the Council.

 

(3)       To ensure that there is a robust scrutiny of a risk that remains on the Local Authority Risk Register and to address questions posed by the Audit Committee.

 

 

266     CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE SERVICES – ANNUAL PLACEMENT REVIEW (DSS) -

 

The Head of Children and Young People Services presented the Annual Placement Review, the purpose of which was to outline actions taken during 2017/18 with regard to placement provision for looked after children.  The report also outlined priority actions for 2018/19.  For this item, the Committee also welcomed the Operational Manager whose responsibilities included the children looked after team and the provision of placements.

 

Resource management in children's social care is inherently challenging.  This is particularly the case in the area of children's placements.  Local Authorities face considerable difficulties in managing fluctuating numbers of children looked after populations, finding appropriate placements for them, ensuring children's support needs are met while using placement resources effectively.  The number of children with complex needs is increasing.  Meeting needs in appropriate placements places pressure on budgets.  This cohort of children includes those with challenging and complex behaviour and those who are disabled.  Some individual placements are also expensive.  The costs of placements for children with complex needs can exceed £250k a year.

 

The Operational Manager was then asked to provide an overview of the annual review report which was attached at Appendix 1.

 

The Operational Manager outlined that there were a number of outside influences. 

 

The first related to children with complex needs and she advised that in common with other Local Authorities, the Vale of Glamorgan had experienced an increase in the number of children with complex needs which had resulted in rising costs and a continuing pressure on the budget.  Children and young people with challenging and complex behaviours often could not be maintained within foster placements and required admission to residential care.  Placements of this type could cost in the region of £250,000 a year. 

 

The second external influence was the Welsh Governments “When I Am Ready” scheme which aims to promote better support by extending a young person’s transition to adulthood within a supportive family and household environment.  Young people were now able to remain with their foster carer beyond the age of 18 until their 21st birthday, or until they felt able to leave for independent living before that age.  The scheme was implemented in April 2016 and as of 31st March, 2017 the Council had 14 young people in “When I Am Ready” placements with a potential further 5 identified for this financial year.  The Committee was advised that this scheme would continue to have an impact upon the Fostering Service as children remained in placements for longer and there was a need to recruit and retain foster carers.

 

The third external influence was remand placements, which were linked to the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.  This meant that Local Authorities became responsible for the costs of young people under the age of 18 who had been remanded into Youth Offending institutions, Secure Children’s Homes and Secure Training Centres.  The costs of a remand placement were £158 per night for a Youth Offending institution, £561 per night for a Secure Children’s Home and £533 per night for a Secure Training Centre. 

 

Moving on, the Operational Manager referred to the current placement profile which showed the number and nature of placements on a quarterly basis during 2017/18.  With regard to placements with Friends and Family Foster Care (also known as Kinship Care), Members were advised there had been a significant increase in kinship care from 93 in March 2017 to 110 in March 2018 and 120 in July 2018.  These were arrangements involving the placement of a child looked after subject to an Order from the Court with family and friends, where the arrangement required the assessment and approval of these carers as foster carers.

 

Placements with parents referred to circumstances where a child looked after subject of a Care Order was placed with one or both parents with a degree of delegation of parental responsibility for decisions about the day to day care of that child, whilst parental responsibility was shared with the Local Authority.  There had been an increase in placement with parent arrangements, from 36 in March 2017, to 45 in March 2018, to 48 in June 2018. 

 

With regard to the overall children looked after population, the Operational Manager outlined that similar to Local Authorities in Wales, there had been an increased, with 224 during March 2017 to 249 in June 2018.

 

With regard to the number of children requiring residential care, the Operational Manager advised that this remained stable during 2017/18 with on average 13 children requiring this type of provision during the year.  It was reported that this level of usage of residential care reflected the success within the Service in reducing the numbers in residential care from 23 in March 2014 to 13 in March 2018.  In addition, the Committee noted there had been an increase in the number of young people remanded via criminal proceedings during the last quarter of 2017/18 and the first quarter of 2018/19.  Within this cohort there was a young person who had been subject to Secure Order for the past nine months and was placed in a specialist unit costing £9,065 per week.

 

The Committee was then provided with an overview of three case studies to illustrate the type and level of need that required a residential placement.  The first related to a young person with complex needs who had become looked after in May 2016.  The young person’s behaviour had become extremely challenging which resulted in him being excluded from school.  This young person was now placed in a specialist residential school out of area at a cost of £213,000 per year.  This had 3 months and with further concerns regarding his behaviour and the risks he posed to himself the others, the Local Authority applied for a Secure Order.  This person was now placed in a specialist secure unit costing £471,380 per year.

 

In commenting on the use of secure placements, the Head of Children and Young People Services advised that there were two aspects in relation to these; one where a young person could be placed in secure accommodation via the Court for criminal behaviour and the other where an Order is sought linked to the needs of a young people on welfare grounds. The associated costs of these individual placements challenge the resource constraints of all Local Authorities.  The Committee was reassured that secure settings were not used lightly and the focus would remain on how and when a young person could be appropriately ‘stepped down’ to a non-secure setting.

 

Moving on to the placement budget, the Operational Manager advised that the budget for children looked after for 2017/18 was overspent by £560,000. 

 

The Committee noted that pages 10 to 13 of the appendix detailed a number of initiatives implemented to address key issues.  These included: 

  • An Audit of external placements
  • Implementation of the Foster Carer Recruitment Strategy
  • Establishment of Joint Budgets
  • Revocation of Care Orders and increase use of Special Guardianship Orders with kinship carers.

Page 14 illustrated opportunities that had been identified in order to manage risks and issues: 

  • To reduce the use of independent fostering agencies which would include a target of eight newly recruited foster carers and a reduction of two independent foster placements for 2018/19.
  • Minimise movement into residential care – limit the numbers coming in and the length of stay.
  • Utilise local residential provision to return children looked after to local lower cost residential placements where possible.
  • Continue to address the overall children looked after population with a focus on the increase of kinship placements, through the use of revocation of Care Orders and preventative services.
  • Work in partnership with Health to offer increased therapeutic support to children looked after and foster carers to promote placement stability and prevent placements breaking down and lending to more costly placements.
  • Development of the service structure to include a specific team for Children Looked After.

A Committee Member commented that it appeared that there was a need for more specialist foster carers to support the more complex cases.  In reply, the Operational Manager stated that the Service was constantly working to recruit foster carers to meet the needs of our children looked after.  The therapeutic fostering service would support the Service to develop skills within its cohort of foster carers, and also to consider the development of specialist foster carers to meet the needs of children with more complex needs. For this, a training programme had been rolled out in order for foster carers to provide more therapeutic care.  Parent and child placements were also highlighted as an area where dedicated recruitment was being considered.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee continues to receive regular updates through existing reporting arrangements, including the monthly Budget Programme report and update reports on the Corporate Strategy for Children in Need of Care and Support and also through the Foster Carer Recruitment Strategy.

 

(3)       T H A T a further Annual Placement Review report be received in July 2019.

 

(4)       T H A T the report be referred to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-4)    In order to allow Members to have opportunity to exercise oversight of this key statutory function.

 

 

267     VALE OF GLAMORGAN ANNUAL REPORT (IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 2) 2017/18 (DSS) -

 

The Director of Social Services presented the report the purpose of which was to present the draft Vale of Glamorgan Annual Report (Improvement Plan Part 2) 2017/18, which outlined the Council’s progress towards achieving the Council’s Wellbeing (Improvement) Objectives agreed in April 2017.

 

The report also outlined the Council’s performance for 2017/18 on a range of services relative to all other Welsh Local Authorities as published by the Local Government Data Unit (now Data Cymru).  The report also incorporated the Council’s Annual Improvement Report from the Auditor General for Wales which summarised the audit work undertaken in the Council during the period 2017 to 2018. 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Annual Report (Improvement Plan Part 2) 2017/18 could be viewed via the following link: Vale of Glamorgan Annual Report.  Hard copies were available from the Members’ Room for inspection.

 

Based on evaluation of progress at end of year, the Council had concluded that overall, the Council had made strong progress in achieving the majority of the outcomes intended in the Well-being (Improvement) Objectives for 2017/18, despite challenging financial times and increasing demand for services, giving an overall performance (or RAG) status of AMBER for the Corporate Plan. On balance the Council had delivered on the majority of the planned activities for the year which was contributing to achieving the Corporate Well-being priorities and the well-being of Vale of Glamorgan citizens. However, these remained long term strategic priorities for the Council and the success achieved in 2017/18 represented the start of what would be a long programme of initiatives aimed at working towards building 'strong communities with a bright future', the long term vision of the Council.

 

3 out of 4 Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes ('An Inclusive and Safe Vale', 'An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale', and 'An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale) were attributed an overall Amber performance status and the final (An Active and Healthy Vale) a Green status.

 

A Green performance status was attributed to two (Valuing culture and diversity and Encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles) out of the eight Corporate Plan Well-being (Improvement) Objectives to reflect the excellent progress that has been made with the delivery of planned activities relating to the aligned Corporate Plan priorities. Strong progress was also made in the remaining 6 Well-being (Improvement) Objectives, resulting in an Amber performance status being assigned at end of year. In relation to Corporate Health, it was reported that the Council continued to make excellent progress in the context of supporting Council services in the implementation of its Corporate Plan priorities or Well-being (Improvement) Objectives and this was reflected in the Green performance status achieved at end of year.

 

Pages 92 to 94 in the Annual Report gave an overview of performance at end of year 2, April 2017 - March 2018, in achieving the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives relating to Well-being Outcome 4, 'An active and healthy Vale'.

 

For each of the two Well-being Objectives aligned with Outcome 4 ('Encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles' and 'Safeguarding those who were vulnerable and promoting independent living'), the annual review incorporated a performance snapshot and provided progress in detail in relation to the Council achievements, challenges and risks.  This could be viewed on pages 94 to 121 of the attached Annual Report.

 

88% (49 out of 56) of Corporate Plan activities aligned to year 2 of the Corporate Plan had been successfully delivered. 80% of performance measures associated with the Well-being Outcome met or exceeded target (green status) and two measures were within 10% of their target (amber status). A further two measures two measures missed their target by more than 10% resulting in a red status.  As a result of the consistent performance, this had resulted in an overall Green performance status for the Well-being Outcome at end of year.

 

Overall the Council was performing well in performance indicators across all service areas and once again, for the fourth consecutive year, the Council had been the top performing Council in Wales in relation to the national indicator set. The following table demonstrated performance in comparison with the remaining 21 Local Authorities.

 

 

Upper

  Quarter (1)

  Upper Middle

Quarter (2)

  Lower Middle

Quarter (3)

Lower

  Quarter (4)

    N/A

  Points

  Rank

 

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

    #

    %

Vale   of Glamorgan

9

50

7

39

1

6

1

6

0

0

60

1

Denbighshire

6

33

6

33

4

22

2

11

0

0

52

2

Gwynedd

8

44

3

17

3

17

4

22

0

0

51

3

Monmouthshire

8

44

1

6

6

33

3

17

0

0

50

4

Cardiff

7

39

4

22

2

11

5

28

0

0

49

5

Carmarthenshire

6

33

4

22

4

22

4

22

0

0

48

6

Flintshire

6

33

3

17

6

33

3

17

0

0

48

6

Isle   of Anglesey

5

28

5

28

5

28

3

17

0

0

48

6

Conwy

4

22

6

33

5

28

3

17

0

0

47

9

Powys

6

33

4

22

3

17

4

22

1

6

46

10

Swansea

2

11

8

44

6

33

2

11

0

0

46

10

Ceredigion

7

39

0

0

4

22

7

39

0

0

43

12

Merthyr   Tydfil

5

28

4

22

2

11

7

39

0

0

43

12

Newport

3

17

5

28

5

28

5

28

0

0

42

14

Caerphilly

4

22

4

22

3

17

7

39

0

0

41

15

Pembrokeshire

2

11

7

39

4

22

4

22

1

6

41

15

Bridgend

2

11

5

28

7

39

4

22

0

0

41

15

Torfaen

3

17

5

28

3

17

7

39

0

0

40

18

Neath   Port Talbot

5

28

1

6

4

22

8

44

0

0

39

19

Blaenau   Gwent

5

28

0

0

4

22

9

50

0

0

37

20

Wrexham

3

17

3

17

4

22

8

44

0

0

37

20

Rhondda   Cynon Taff

2

11

5

28

3

17

7

39

1

6

36

22

 

 

Note: The above table contained data for 18 performance indicators published by Data Cymru in August 2018. This excludes two waste management PIs for which data had recently become available but was yet to be formally published. The data for these two additional measures were included in the summary analysis below.

 

Pages 155-165 of the Vale of Glamorgan Annual Report details how the Council performed against the 2017/18 national performance dataset in comparison with the previous year and with other Local Authorities in Wales.

 

The Council collected and reported data on 26 national performance indicators in 2017/18 (this figure did not include 6 social services measures which would be published separately by Welsh Government in October 2018. Of the 20 indicators, 14 had data that could be compared with the previous year  (this included the two waste measures) which showed that:

  • 43% (6) improved
  • 50% (7) declined
  • 15% (3) achieved best possible performance
  • Performance remained static in 7% (1) indicator.

In line with the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Auditor General Wales was required to produce an annual report on Welsh Councils and other public bodies entitled, the ‘Annual Improvement Report (AIR)’ which summarised the audit work undertaken during the period 2017 to 2018.  The report brought together the key findings from all audit work undertaken in the Council during 2017-18 including those of other inspection and regulatory bodies such as Estyn (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Schools in Wales) and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

 

The Wales Audit Office (WAO) report findings were generally positive and concluded that overall the Council was meeting its statutory requirements in relation to continuous improvement.  A number of proposals for improvement were made specifically focusing on strengthening scrutiny arrangements within the Council to enable us to respond to future challenges and have greater impact. Further strengthening our arrangements for Scrutiny remains a priority for the Council as identified in the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment and work is underway to address these.

 

Further strengthening the arrangements for Scrutiny remained a priority for the Council as identified in the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment and work was already underway with the Chairs and Vice Chairs of Scrutiny Group to develop an action plan to address these proposals. The action plan would be reported to the Corporate Performance Resources Scrutiny Committee in due course and incorporated within the Insight Board’s Tracker. These proposals would be monitored by the Insight Board and reported to Scrutiny Committees and the Audit Committee as work to address them progressed.

 

A copy of the Wales Audit Office Annual Improvement Report for 2017/18 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan Annual Report (Improvement Plan Part 2) 2017/18 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure the Council fully discharges its duties under both the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to publish an annual review of Council performance against its Wellbeing (Improvement) Objectives.

 

 

268     SCRUTINY COMMITTEES’ DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT MAY 2017 TO APRIL 2018 (MD) -

 

The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer presented the Scrutiny Committees’ Draft Annual Report for 2017/18. 

 

The Annual Report was attached at Appendix A and detailed the role of Scrutiny, how Scrutiny was undertaken in the Vale of Glamorgan and highlighted key achievements from the work of each of the five Scrutiny Committees.

 

It also included significant events during the year and provided information on future working.  Relevant items for this Committee were on pages 11 and 12 and included a summary of: 

  • The Committee’s review into mental health services
  • Consideration of the Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Strategy and the Dementia Strategy
  • The work of the Leisure Management Working Group
  • Detail around the impact of two Reshaping Services Projects, these being the review of Learning Disability Day Services and Changes to the Meals on Wheels Service.

Subsequently it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the contents of the draft Annual Report for the period May 2017 to April 2018, be approved subject to any further minor amendments being agreed in consultation with the Chairman, and for the report to be submitted to Full Council in September 2018.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To approve the draft Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report and to allow it to be submitted to Full Council in September 2018.