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Agenda Item No. 8


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 9th October 2018


Report of the Director of Social Services


Service User Satisfaction Consultation - 2017/18 Outcomes


Purpose of the Report

  1. To ensure that Elected Members are provided with an overview of the consultation and engagement activity and outcomes within Social Services.


That Scrutiny Committee considers:

  1. The outcomes of citizen and carer consultation, and the outcomes are reported annually to relevant departments as part of a wider Quality Assurance function.
  2. The co-production between departments which encourages individuals to be more involved in the design and delivery of services.
  3. That qualitative measures are 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 inform Elected Members of the quality assurance process within Social Services; specifically in relation to engagement and consultation with citizens and carers.
  2. To ensure effective scrutiny of a key function undertaken by Social Services on behalf of the Council and the link with corporate engagement processes.
  3. To ensure Elected Members are informed about our objectives in line with the requirements of the Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014.


  1. Social Services is committed to a quality assurance process which ensures and facilitates continuous improvement and reshaping of its service provision through engagement with key stakeholders and citizens.
  2. The Policy and Quality Assurance Officer for Social Services undertakes an annual programme of consultation to explore the experiences and views of citizens 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.
  3. The two main drivers for the Social Services consultation work plan are the corporate reporting mechanisms (service plan and self-assessment), and the Report of the Director of Social Services.  These define the needs around consultation and engagement and how we ensure those needs are incorporated into the Five Year Service and annual work plans.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The annual consultation plan incorporates consultation activity that provides performance information to inform regulating bodies of our service providers e.g. fostering, adoption, or residential care.  Additional bespoke consultation exercises are also carried out in line with the requirements of the department.
  2. In 2016, the Welsh Government made it a requirement for Social Services performance to be measured under section 145 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.  Ibn addition and to comply with this, the Policy and Quality Assurance Officer carries out a consultation exercise from 1st November to 31st March each year to obtain citizen's feedback.


  1. Consultation methods are developed and agreed according to the requirements of the service. Citizens are always provided with a range of options for engagement. For example for those who have physical disabilities, interviews are often carried out at the settings they attend.
  2. For the Performance Measures, separate questionnaires were developed by the Welsh Government and sent to a sample of all adults and carers with a care and support plan, and all children and young people known to the service as at 1st November 2017.  Additional questions were included to obtain specific feedback about the Vale of Glamorgan Social Services.

Consultation Areas

  1. During April 2017 - March 2018, citizens receiving care and support from the following services were consulted;
  • Flying Start
  • Adult Placement Service
  • Placements and Permanency (Fostering)
  • Residential Services
  • Vale Community Resource Service (VCRS)
  • Welsh Government Performance Measures (an overview is provided according to respondent groups).
  1. A report and action plans are produced for each service to highlight development areas.  To facilitate service improvement, this report highlights areas in accordance with the thematic sections of the questionnaires.  The attached Annual Quality Assurance report contains a more detailed overview of the thematic learning.

Overview of the 2017/18 thematic learning:

Information Provision

  1. A good level of information is being provided about services at the appropriate stage, for example, so that an informed decision can be made to become a foster carer, or for an older citizen moving into a residential home.  People also received enough written information, for example foster carer procedures and service user guides.
  2. Where information has been provided during initial visits, citizens felt involved and were signposted to additional services.  Adult Placement Hosts and citizens feel information is clear, and service guides are also useful to inform people about what to expect from Social Services. Information from the Flying Start service was very useful especially for first time parents, and people felt that any concerns or questions have always been addressed.  Foster Carers felt that they had been provided with appropriate information about the stages of the assessment process, and the written information they receive on approval is comprehensive.

Services and Support

  1. Residential services are providing opportunities for a social life and a good degree of choice in daily routines or activities.  The service supports citizens' religious beliefs, and also primary health care needs.
  2. For citizens who received support from the Community Resource Service, nearly all felt they had been treated with dignity and respect and find the staff reliable.  Citizens felt encouraged and support to do as much as they could when they felt ready, and the service effectively assisted citizens to maintain or regain their independence.
  3. The Fostering Service has provided support through challenging periods, and carers have felt involved throughout.  Social workers within the Fostering Service are willing to listen and foster carers find the team is easily contactable if needed.  Foster carers are satisfied with the training courses provided and their needs are taken into account as part of supervision.  Foster carers generally felt that training courses were relevant to their needs with many indicating they are satisfied with most aspects.  Most received regular supervision; however frequency did vary in some cases.
  4. Parents and families felt that Flying Start had improved their confidence in parenting and that families felt engaged to participate in other activities.  Amongst almost all respondents, the service has met their expectations with very few suggestions for improvement identified.
  5. Hosts and citizens who had been placed with them felt very satisfied that the Adult Placement Service identified a suitable match and citizens were very happy where they lived.
  6. Carers/relatives feel reassured that their relative is being well looked after and receive a high quality service.  Carers/relatives feel involved in the citizen's review meetings and know who to speak to if they require any support or have any concerns.  Communication with families is also good.

Welsh Government Performance Measures Outcomes

Your Life at the Moment

  1. A large proportion of adults and carers felt that they live in a home that best supports their well-being.  Although most said they could do things that are important to them, some find it difficult due to mobility issues.  With support, many feel part of their community, however some citizens felt isolated due to their frailty, a disability or because they are looking after a relative.
  2. Young people have a sense of belonging to the area where they lived.  Nearly all young people lived in a home where they are happy and most were happy with the people that they lived with.
  3. Many carers find it difficult to do everyday activities without respite support, however, most indicated that they still felt part of their community.  Only just over half felt that they can find time to look after their own health and wellbeing.  In many cases, the person they care for needs support most of the time, which in turn prevents them having time for themselves, and they find caring very isolating.

Information and Advice

  1. Many adults, parents and young people received information and advice when needed, but some felt there was a lack of communication at times.  Support workers gave explanations about how the service could help, and where necessary signposted citizens to other support.  Young people felt that they had received information and advice to prepare them for adulthood.  Carers felt that the information and communication they received was of a good standard.
  2. Most adults, carers, young people and parents knew who to speak to about their care and support, for example staff, Social Workers or Young Person's Advisors.  Most felt listened to in relation to their care and support.  Nearly all respondents said that they had been treated with respect by Social Services.
  3. Adults, carers and young people feel involved in planning their care and support and felt that they have choices about their support.  Parents felt that social workers strive to involve the whole family in meetings and provide clear and consistent advice to families.  Most felt that staff or a social worker would help them find an advocate if they needed one.

Service and Support

  1. Most adults were satisfied with the settings they attended and the opportunities to socialise helped to reduce feelings of isolation.  Nearly all adults, carers, parents and young people who responded have been treated with dignity and respect by Social Services staff.
  2. Overall adults, carers, young people and parents feel that their views are listened to. People feel actively involved in decisions about their care and support and that of the person they care for.  Young people felt people wanted what was best for them, but few had been made aware of their rights as a child/young person.
  3. Nearly all adults, young people and carers are generally satisfied with the care and support they have received.  Young people's experience of foster care was positive and they felt that professionals were supportive.  Informal carers feel somewhat supported in their caring role and felt less isolated as a result.  Parents feel they are working well with social workers and feel they are committed to working towards solutions to the issues within the family.

Improvements Required

  1. Young people value consistency in social workers, being listened to and having more contact with their family.
  2. Young people and adults with a social worker would like to see improved communication between departments, having more contact with their allocated Social Worker, and reduced delays in response to queries.
  3. The Policy and Quality Assurance Officer will continue to establish stronger links with corporate engagement and work jointly on a number of priority areas, for example reshaping services.  Work is also being carried out for a Regional Engagement Work Stream for the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.  A regional Work Stream has been established and has identified a project that will inform best practice and strengthen citizen engagement across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Consultation and engagement 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.  An engagement sub group has been developed to join up Social Services engagement with work across the authority.  This ensures that exercises can be carried out jointly and that work is not duplicated.
  2. Action plans 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 citizens 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 citizens 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:
  • Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promote independent living.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

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

Appendix 1 - Quality Assurance Annual Report 2017/18.

Appendix 2 - Consultation Priorities.

Contact Officer

Natasha James, Operational Manager, Safeguarding and Service Outcomes

Officers Consulted

Laura Eddins, Policy and Quality Assurance Officer

Responsible Officer

Lance Carver, Director of Social Services