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Agenda Item No. 6


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 9th October 2017


Report of the Director of Social Services


Service User Satisfaction Consultation - 2017 Outcomes and 2018 Plans


Purpose of the Report

  1. To ensure that Elected Members are provided with an overview of the on-going service user engagement activity within Social Services.


That Scrutiny Committee:

  1. Notes the Service User and Carer Consultation outcomes and recommendations.
  2. Notes that qualitative measures are required to be collated in line with the requirements of the Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014, and that this is incorporated into the current Social Services consultation outcomes.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To provide Elected Members with information about engagement and consultation activity with service users and carers.
  2. To ensure scrutiny of the requirements of the Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014.


  1. The Policy and Quality Assurance Officer for Social Services undertakes an annual programme of consultation from January to December, to explore the experiences and views of service users and their families who have been involved with Social Services. The areas of the consultation are underpinned by service priorities as confirmed by senior management at the start of the year.
  2. These priorities are derived from the findings from audit, inspection and other quality assurance processes.
  3. A consultation plan (Appendix 1) is developed for the forthcoming year with Operational Managers and Heads of Service, which allows sufficient flexibility to respond to emerging needs.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The annual consultation plan schedules consultations which are mandatory to ensure we are compliant with any requirements for regulating bodies for service providers e.g. fostering, adoption, residential care, adult placement and social work practice. At times, the Policy and Quality Assurance Officer will also be required to carry out additional consultation according to the requirements of service areas.
  2. The methodology for consultation activity is adaptable and varied. Service users are provided with a range of options for engagement including telephone interview, paper based questionnaires and face to face interviews. Questionnaires using symbols are also developed for people who require them in this format. They can also be developed in alternative languages when required. Whilst questionnaires are the most frequently used method, semi-structured interviews and focus groups are also used.
  3. For the work related to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, separate questionnaires were developed by the Welsh Government and sent to a sample of all adults and all carers with a care and support plan, and all children and young people known to the service as at 1st September 2016. Interviews were carried out where appropriate via telephone or face to face.
  4. Our questionnaires have been enhanced this year by incorporating some areas identified by the Older Persons Commissioner and the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. More specific questions are included regarding support and choice in daily living. There has also been more of a focus on the support provided to unpaid / family carers.
  5. During April 2016 - March 2017, we explored levels of satisfaction with support and information received from the following services:
  • Contact OneVale: Effectiveness of the signposting and information provided by C1V.
  • Respite for Adults with a Learning Disability.
  • Elderly Day Services.
  • Flying Start Service Users.
  • Fostering.
  • Golau Caredig (Extra Care Accommodation).
  • Safeguarding - Adults at risk.
  • Residential Services: to establish residents and their family's views about the residential homes in line with the Older Persons Commissioner Review into the quality of life and care of older people living in care homes in Wales.
  • Youth Offending Service (YOS) - Consultation with partner agencies who work with the YOS.
  • Vale Community Resource Service (VCRS).
  • Welsh Government Performance Measures.
  1. A report is produced for each area and an action plan is developed to address areas identified for improvement. To ensure that learning from one area is translated into improvements across the Directorate, issues are also collated thematically according to sections of the questionnaires.


Information, Advice and Assistance

  1. Those contacting Contact OneVale required advice and assistance, and some required a Carer's Assessment. Very few experienced any issues obtaining the information and felt it was enough to support them to take the next course of action. Comments from respondents were positive and suggested that staff were professional and helpful.
  2. The Policy and Quality Assurance Officer also explored the relationship between the Youth Offending Service and external agencies. Actions of the YOS and their input at meetings are viewed positively and encouraging comments were provided about regular communication, and the good relationship with other agencies. Some issues about information sharing were highlighted, but overall it was recognised that there was a good level of partnership working with other agencies.
  3. Nearly all respondents said they received information about the service at the appropriate time in their involvement with the service, for example to make an informed decision about moving into a residential home, or to discuss further support. This was in relation to verbal information in particular. Some respondents felt they did not have enough information about more specific aspects of the service, for example, financial information, or daily routines. Where handbooks are provided for services, many service users did not recall receiving one, however, for these services, visits to the settings were considered very useful and informative. Where information has been provided to families regarding support parents feel listened to and most are able to contact the service when they need to.
  4. Where information was required in an alternative format, for example larger print, or in Welsh, this was provided in most cases. Recommendations for future provision of information have been sent to the relevant managers to ensure that information is sufficient, given in the correct format and in a timely manner.

Services and Support:

  1. Residents and service users have been made to feel very welcome by staff and managers across the services. The atmosphere at most settings feels welcome and reassuring to service users and their families. For service areas that provided activities, service users and carers were satisfied that these provided enough opportunities for social interaction.
  2. Many people felt that the support they have received has met, and often exceeded their expectations. In particular domiciliary care staff were reported to be reliable, courteous and polite. People appreciated time that staff spent with them but acknowledged that this could be limited if they were busy.
  3. There was some uncertainty about who to speak to regarding Adult Safeguarding, however most felt supported once the relevant team were involved.
  4. Parents and carers involved with services such as Flying Start were pleased with the play support, events and days out for the children. Having someone there to support them, provide advice and enabling them to connect with others was reassuring.
  5. In those services where food is provided, choice and quality was highly rated. Food was served in a timely manner and people are given enough time to enjoy their meals.
  6. Service users feel they are encouraged to maintain skills and independence where possible. In most cases, opportunities are provided for a social life and service users have a good degree of choice in areas such as leisure time, and daily routines. Opportunities are available to support service users' religious practices, and also to support primary care needs,
  7. Service users said they feel safe and needs are generally well catered for, although some relatives identified short staffing as an issue in some of the Council run residential homes.
  8. Staff are generally very highly regarded across Social Services. Many services have had a considerable impact on the lives of service users and carers, and when asked to provide suggestions to improve the service, most had very few improvements as they are happy with the support they have had.

Carers / Relatives:

  1. Carers / relatives commented about how well looked after their relative / friend is across social services settings. They feel that there is a warm and caring atmosphere in Council run residential homes and that residents are safe and cared for.
  2. Many carers felt that their views as a carer / relative have been taken into account during the service provision that they and the service user have received. They also feel that staff listen if they need to talk to them about any concerns. They are particularly appreciating of the reassurance they feel that their friend / relative is being supported.

Complaints and Compliments

  1. Many people have never felt the need to make a complaint about the service they or their relative has received. Of those who did, most felt the process had been considered appropriately by the service, and addressed through the relevant means. Where it was difficult to implement required changes, service users mostly understood that this may have been due to constraints of the service.


  1. Questionnaires for the Welsh Government Performance Measures were developed by the Welsh Government and different from the ones sent as part of our annual consultation. The outcomes from each service user group are outlined below:


  1. Most felt they lived in a home that best supports their wellbeing, although some said "sometimes". Most can do the things they like to do although a large number said this was only sometimes the case. Around a quarter said they could not. Some struggled with mobility and others could carry out tasks only with the support of a carer. Many feel part of their community however many only felt they "sometimes" did. A fifth did not.
  2. Most people felt happy with the support they have from family, friends and neighbours. Where people said they did not feel safe, this was often due to reasons such as risk of falling and general mobility issues.
  3. Nearly all respondents knew who to speak to about their care and support; although some mentioned that they had not had much contact from social workers. Nearly all respondents felt their views about their care and support had been listened to.
  4. Nearly all adults who responded feel they have had the right information or advice when they needed it. Some felt they "sometimes" did. Some respondents found that advice from different departments of the Council was inconsistent, and that some social workers were more helpful than others. Nearly all adults feel that they had been treated with dignity and respect, and most are happy with the care and support they have had, and where applicable, most said it had been their choice to live in a residential home.


  1. Most carers felt that they can do the things that are important to them. Just over half of the carers who responded feel they are part of their community, and most knew who to contact about their support. A small percentage however did not.
  2. Over half of the carers who responded felt they have had the right information or advice when they needed it.
  3. Many carers who responded felt they have been actively involved in decisions about how their support was provided. Nearly all feel supported to continue in their caring role.

Young People

  1. Nearly all children and young people who responded said they lived in a home where they are happy, and are happy with the people they live with. They feel they belong in the area they live in, and in most cases, young people feel they can do the things they like to do. Nearly all feel safe and are happy with their family, friends and neighbours.
  2. Regarding their care and support, most young people know who to speak to, and many have had the right information or advice when they have needed it. Nearly all felt that their views about their care and support have been listened to and that they have been treated with respect. Nearly all were satisfied with the care and support they have received.


  1. Parents were asked to think about the support their child has had, and consider whether they have been actively involved in all decisions about their child's care and support provided. Nearly all felt that they have been involved, Comments were positive and described how they have benefitted and have appreciated the support from Social Services.


  1. It was suggested that some service users would be able to understand information more if it was provided verbally, for example, someone providing general advice about the assessment process.
  2. For service providers, some information needs to be more specific, for example detailing daily routines for services such as Residential and Day Services.
  3. In regard to communication and information from social workers, respondents suggested that if it was difficult to respond to queries, they should acknowledge receipt of them if they cannot immediately respond.
  4. Complaints information must consistently be provided to service users and their families as some people are still reporting that they are not receiving documentation.
  5. More staff contact was suggested so that the service users can interact with them and reduce social isolation; however it was acknowledged that there are considerable constraints on staff time
  6. Having a wider choice of activities was mentioned as an improvement across Social Services settings.
  7. Others felt that the appearance of some of the Council buildings was poor and could do with improvement, for example paintwork and furniture appeared out of date and required upkeep.
  8. Response rates to consultation could be improved through interviewing more service users and carers, particularly young people. For 2018, questionnaires will be sent to young people via e-mail to enable them to respond in their own time and provide opportunities to ask questions if they wish.
  9. The Performance Measures questionnaires will be sent again for 2017/18 over a six month period, and a wider range of people will be contacted.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Consultation activity is carried out within existing resources. Where consultation is being carried out in other directorates or through existing mechanisms (e.g. panels or fora) consultation for Social Services is carried out in conjunction if appropriate.
  2. Actions and benchmarking log will continue to be sent to individual managers to enable them to understand where the consultation has identified improvements and to support comparison with future consultation exercises.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising directly from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There is a requirement for local authorities to consult with service users in the delivery of regulated social services.
  2. In 2016, Welsh Government required that social services performance be measured under Section 145 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. It is intended to:
  • Enable people to understand the quality of social services and to make informed decisions about their care and support;
  • reinforce local authorities' strategic planning to enable targeted resources and improvement activity;
  • support local authorities to compare and benchmark their performance against others and learn and improve;
  • promote the shift in service provision to support people and families to live independently.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The Local Authority is required to comply with its duty under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. Section 149 requires a Public Body when carrying out all of its functions to give due regard to the need to limit discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations in respect of the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
  2. Consultation activity is designed to promote equality of opportunity and ensure that service users and carers are able to respond according to their ability and preferred method.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This service is consistent with the Council's Corporate Plan, Well- being Outcome 4: An active and Healthy Vale.
  2. Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promote independent living.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This report is in accordance with the Council's policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. There are no matters in this report which relate to an individual ward.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Healthy Living and Social Care.

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Suzanne Clifton, Head of Resource Management and Safeguarding.

Officers Consulted

Matthew Brown, Interim Operational Manager, Safeguarding and Performance.

Laura Eddins, Policy and Quality Assurance Officer - Social Services.

Responsible Officer

Lance Carver, Director of Social Services.