Agenda Item No. 5

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 2ND JULY, 2018

 

REFERENCE FROM HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 12TH JUNE, 2018

 

 

“76      ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES 2017-2018 – CHALLENGE VERSION (DSS) –

 

The Director of Social Service presented the report, the purpose of which was to allow Elected Members to contribute to the challenge process of the Director’s Annual Report for 2017-18 and to agree the future priorities for the service. 

 

The Director advised that this was an important report for the people of the Vale of Glamorgan, Members of the Council and Council partners, both statutory and in other sectors.  The Annual Report outlined the current context within which social services were operating and detailed proposed priorities for improvement.  A Challenge Version of the Director’s Report was attached at Appendix 1.

 

For this year, the format of the report had changed as part of the transition to a new format as required by Welsh Government through regulation.  The Director had utilised this year to allow the new Director’s Report to have close alignment with the Council’s Corporate and Service Plans.

 

As part of the challenge process, the Report was presented to provide Elected Members with an opportunity to contribute their views.  This was regarded as a key milestone in finalising the Report because of the crucial role that the Committee had in providing consistent oversight and monitoring of social services.

 

The final Report would be presented to Cabinet for approval of the priority objectives and then circulated widely.  It would then be made available via the Council’s website. 

 

The Director advised that for the new format, the Report had been split into six well-being standards. The six standards being: 

  • Well-being Standard 1 – working with people to define and co-produce personal well-being outcomes that people wished to achieve;
  • Well-being Standard 2 – working with people and partners to protect and promote people’s physical and mental health and emotional well-being;
  • Well-being Standard 3 – taking steps to protect and safeguard people and reduce common neglect or harm;
  • Well-being Standard 4 – encouraging and supporting people to learn, develop and participate in society;
  • Well-being Standard  5 – supporting people to safely develop and maintain healthy, domestic, family and personal relationships;
  • Well-being Standard 6 – working with and supporting people to achieve greater economic well-being, having a social life and living in suitable accommodation that meets their needs.

The Director, in summarising his Report, stated that during 2017/18, the performance of the Directorate was very positive.  This was against a very challenging financial climate.  This positive performance had been backed up by views provided by service users and the Report contained a great deal of customer feedback. Statistics on complaints and compliments were provided on page 19, which also included a summary of key lessons learned. 

 

Around Well-being Standard 1 and the production of personal well-being outcomes, the Director referred to the successful pilot delivery of an outcome focused case management and measurement system for long term care.  This was the subject of a Committee report presented on 15th May, 2018, entitled “Your Choice” – A New Approach to Commissioning Outcome-focused Care and Support at Home”.  In addition, the Directorate completed a citizen’s engagement panel for people with care and support needs, which was to ensure that the Directorate actively engaged with clients to develop ways that could shape and define services. 

 

The Director advised that for 2018/19 there were three key priorities.

 

1.         Expand and extend the use of Dewis Cymru for the provision of information, advice and assistance for preventative services;

2.         Fully implement outcome-based commissioning across all domiciliary care agencies;

3.         Develop a learning disability commissioning strategy.

 

With regard to Well-being Standard 2, and the need to promote people’s physical and mental health, the Committee was advised that during 2017/18 the Directorate was able to agree a joined up care package approval process with the University Health Board in order to further enhance the integrated discharge service.  In addition, the Director referred to close working with partners in order to develop an area plan on a regional basis which was in response to the Population Needs Assessment. 

 

The Director advised that 2018/19 priorities were to focus on: 

  • Strengthening communications with the mental health service in order to support effective transition for young people into adult mental health services;
  • Further developing and implementing the integrated Autism service to strengthen links with other services and to enhance the service user and carer experience.

For Well-being Standard 3, around protection and safeguarding, the Director advised that the Council had been able to take steps to further strengthen the responsibility for safeguarding by delivering by safeguarding training and also by raising awareness and understanding of safeguarding policy and practice.  In addition, during 2017/18, there had been focus on improving the consistency of responses in relation to nursing / residential and domiciliary care.  The Directorate also continued to focus on implementing the actions as outlined in the Operation Jasmine Action Plan. 

 

For 2018/19, the key priorities were to: 

  • Support the completion of the review of the all-Wales child and adult protection procedures with a focus on combining the safeguarding procedures for both adults and children nationally across Wales and the associated preparatory work for implementing revised safeguarding policies;
  • Continue to focus on the delivery of the Corporate Safeguarding Action Plan and to put in place appropriate mechanisms to monitor compliance of the Policy across the Council for all relevant staff, contractors and volunteers.

In terms of Well-being Standard 4 and encouraging people to learn, develop and participate in society, during 2017/18 a working group produced an options appraisal to evaluate the options available for developing a Cardiff and Vale independent professional advocacy service.  As a result of this, the intention was to commission an independent organisation to provide a single point of access or gateway for all advocacy services for adults across the region.  It was the key aim for this to progress and be implemented during 2018/19.

 

In relation to Well-being Standard 5 regarding people developing and maintaining personal relationships, the Director advised that through effective partnership working with the NHS, the Directorate had been able to further integrate health and social care services in relation to the Reablement Service.  Furthermore, the pilot Therapeutic Fostering Scheme intended to promote placement stability for Looked After Children had been completed and the pilot for Direct Family Support to promote the prospect of children remaining with their families had been extended. 

 

For 2018/19, there were two priorities.  The first was to continue to enhance the collaborative approach in relation to Flying Start and Families First by further aligning their activities.  The second priority was to establish a Reflect Service in line with Welsh Government priorities.  This would enable the development of a more joined up approach to working with parents who had experienced the removal of children into care to support them to better their life choices and decisions for any future children. 

 

With regard to Well-being Standard 6 and the need to support people achieving economic well-being, the Director referred to the significant progress that had been made towards the development of a Commissioning Strategy for Accommodation with Care.  This was in order to meet the increasing demand for people to remain as independent for as long as possible.  The Committee was advised that discussions were underway with the Council’s Housing Department to develop opportunities that were informed by the findings of the recent market position statement and also the Population Needs Assessment.  Going forward, the Council would be working on a regional basis to develop a Commissioning Strategy for Accommodation with Care. 

The Director also advised that there continued to be an emphasis on increasing the number of direct payments to adults to give people greater control and independence over their choice of carer. 

 

The priorities for 2018/19 were to:

 

1.         Work with Council partners regionally to develop and Accommodation with Care Strategy to promote independent living;

2.         Implement a bespoke family information service data base and record management system.

 

The Director then referred to the section of the Report outlining how the Directorate would support its workforce and their professional roles.  The Director stated that following a staff survey, it was pleasing to note that t the responses from staff were more positive than the previous year.  The Director also advised that there had been a drop in the number of positive responses related to staff receiving help to understand their wider contribution to the Council’s wider Corporate Plan.  The priority during 2018/19 regarding the Directorate’s workforce was to address any vacancies that existed in relation to critical posts by continuing to focus on reducing reliance on agency staff and by exploring more targeted recruitment opportunities. 

 

A Committee Member, in referring to mental health support for children transiting to adulthood, stated that there was no mention as to the condition and suitability of the Amy Evans building that housed the Mental Health Team.  These views were echoed by the Committee as the condition of the building did not reflect well on the service.  In reply, the Director stated that a report on this would be presented at the Committee’s next meeting and confirmed that progress had been made with it being planned for the Mental Health Team to relocate to Barry Hospital. 

 

Following a query regarding the Suicide and Self-harm Prevention Strategy, the Director stated that there was a balance within the Report as it was not possible to include all strategy documents that the Directorate was involved with.  He added that in the Report the priority action in relation to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) was key, but as this was a major focus of the Committee, then it may be prudent to reconsider whether reference should be made to the Suicide Strategy. 

 

In reply to a question regarding how many complaints had been upheld, the Director stated that the main aspect of complaints was around resolution.  The term “upheld” was mainly used for cases referred to the Ombudsman and the Director confirmed that of the nine cases passed to the Ombudsman, only one was partially upheld.

A Member queried the process to commission services from care agencies and how the Council reacted to complaints made against agencies.  The Director advised that for services for adults there were various quality assurance mechanisms in place.  All agencies used had to be on the approved providers list and registered with the Care Inspectorate Wales, with each agency subject to regular checks and monitoring visits.  The Director added that a key mechanism for quality control was issues being picked up by social work staff.  Also, through the process of contract monitoring, if concerns increased then the Council would implement the escalating concerns procedure.  The Committee Member then asked whether the Council challenged the response given by a care agency.  The Head of Adult Services, in clarifying the process, advised that agencies would be regularly visited by contracting and social work staff who would examine and challenge responses given where there were specific issues raised or were not satisfied with the evidence provided.  The Directorate relied on information received so if the Directorate saw an increase in concerns or regular themes being reported then the Council would prioritise its visits to that provider as opposed to sticking to a planned schedule of contract monitoring visits. 

 

A Committee Member referred to page 43 of the Director’s Draft Annual Report and increasing enquiries from parents who had experienced difficulties in finding suitable child care to meet their needs.  In reply, the Committee was advised that this related to the 2016/17 child care sufficiency audit.  As a result of this, there were specific areas of the Vale of Glamorgan where families would receive additional support. 

 

The Committee noted that information around Council advice and support to parents relating to Inset Days and child care would be sought from the Director of Learning and Skills. 

 

Having thanked the Director, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T the improvement priorities for Social Services as set out in the Director’s Annual Report for 2017-2018 be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-3)    To provide Elected Members with an opportunity to contribute to the challenge process for the Director’s Annual Report 2017-2018.”

 

 

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 12th June, 2018