Meeting documents

Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 7th September, 2017 9.30 am

Date: Thursday 7th September 2017 Time: 9:30 a.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR S.C. THOMAS (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (177K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from:

Councillors: J.P. Morgan and T. Sharrem

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

Councillor M. Moore declared an interest in the following item:

Item No. 7 Adult Services Assisted Transport

Noted
5. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (194K/bytes)
Cofnodion (187K/bytes)

The minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 16th June, 2017 were submitted.

RESOLVED that the minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (49K/bytes)

The minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 13th July, 2017 were submitted.

RESOLVED that the minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
7. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (43K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 13th July, 2017 was submitted, whereupon:-

A brief discussion ensued when the Head of Children's Services confirmed that a report on Looked after Children would be submitted to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee, and would include an update on implementation of the Edge of Care Team.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the action sheet be noted.

Agreed
8. ADULT SERVICES ASSISTED TRANSPORT
Report (152K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (311K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (83K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (158K/bytes)

Councillor M. Moore declared an interest in this item.

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which provided information on the current assisted transport provision and future options.

At the invitation of the Chair the Head of Adult Services presented the report and explained the background of the work undertaken for the benefit of new Members. She confirmed that discussions had been ongoing for the past 18 months in relation to the provision of assisted transport for people accessing Community Options services, and following a report in June 2016 Members requested further information on the financial charges and the impact on people accessing the Community Options services.

The Officer explained that the current situation was that people accessing the Community Options service was automatically entitled to assisted transport. Over the past 18 months work had been undertaken to identify the number of people currently accessing transport, whether they were in receipt of benefits or mobility allowance; or had access to a vehicle e.g. a mobility car; and the findings to date were detailed at sections 1.11 to 1.17 of the report.

She confirmed that consultation had also been undertaken with stakeholders. An assessment of the impact on those utilising the assisted transport service, and some initial costings was highlighted at sections 1.18 to 1.20 of the report.

The Officer reported that other neighbouring Authorities were also in the process of reviewing their transport provision. However, Merthyr Tydfil had expected their citizens to find their own methods of transportation for a number of years.

A Member referred to the costs for public transport to the Pond Road provision, and pointed out that the bus provision to Pond Road was very limited.

In response the Officer explained that the options were very indicative at this point. She said Option 2 outlined in the report was the preferred option from an Officer point of view, which proposed a consultation exercise with all relevant stakeholders in relation to adopting the Draft Assisted Transport Policy, and to consult on imposing a charge for those deemed ineligible but want to continue to access assisted transport.

The Officer said it was not intended to stop assisted transport, but reduce the transport fleet over time. However, an assessment of the impact was needed to enable Adult Services to support people in finding other methods of accessing the Community Options service; and for those still wanting assisted transport, to implement a fair charging policy following a complete review of their needs.

A Member questioned the financial implications, and in response the Officer explained that the charges detailed in the report were for example purposes.

She said if the outcome of the consultation exercise was favourable and people were able to utilise other methods, then the fleet could be reduced quite quickly. She pointed out that there had already been a reduction in the fleet following the introduction of a more flexible approach to the operating hours of the Community Options service which enabled some family members to transport individuals to services, and this had been developed through the Community Options Parent's & Carers' Group which met every 6 months to look at development of our outreach services.

Another Member asked whether the transport fleet could be utilised for other services within the Authority, and the Corporate Director confirmed that this had been looked at, particularly within the Education Directorate and Leisure Services, but there were difficulties with times etc. However, the service does provide some support to voluntary organisations for particular events etc.

The Member asked whether the buses could be advertised for use in the community, and the Corporate Director explained that there may be implications in terms of the leasing agreement, and also insurance.

In response to a question raised, the Officer undertook to provide information on the number of full-time equivalent employees.

The Chair said if Option 2 was supported, in terms of consultation it would be useful to have a report on the situation in Merthyr and their experiences.

A brief discussion ensued when it was:

RESOLVED to recommend that that the report be accepted and the Social Services Scrutiny Committee approve the preferred Option 2, namely to introduce and consult on the Draft Assisted Transport Policy, including a charge or continuing with the free service. This would progress onto the Executive Committee for approval. Following approval and conclusion of the consultation exercise, a further report would be presented to the Social Services Scrutiny Committee with further options.

Agreed
9. ANNUAL REPORT AND REVIEW OF COMMISSIONING AND CONTRACTING ACTIVITY IN 2016/17
Report (187K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (87K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which provided information on Commissioned Services in Blaenau Gwent and the activity undertaken by the Commissioning & Contract Team during 2016/17.

At the invitation of the Chair the Head of Adult Services spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. Section 1 of the report explained the work of the Commissioning Team and gave an indication of the size of the Team and their roles etc., and provided a summary of the key areas of work for the Team.

Members went through the report and the following points were raised:-

Voluntary Sector

In response to a question raised by a Member regarding the voluntary sector, the Officer confirmed that all 11 providers were working on specific contracts, however, the Authority worked closely with the voluntary sector to ensure there was no duplication of service provision.

Domiciliary Care

A Member referred to Appendix 2 of the report and enquired as to the reasons for the high staff turnover within domiciliary care and whether this impacted on the level of care provided.

The Officer said this was a national issue, and impacted in terms of continuity of care. There were a variety of reasons for the turnover, but very often people went into the care profession and within 6 weeks decide it is not for them. A number of staff was also lost to the Health Authority which provided more opportunity for career progression which was not provided within the domiciliary care market. However, work was being undertaken with Social Services Care Wales to map a career pathway for those working in domiciliary care to encourage people to remain in service.

In response to a question raised by a Member regarding the level of staffing within domiciliary care, the Corporate Director said there was approximately 70 staff currently employed in the service, but it was intended to further develop re-ablement support to prevent people needing domiciliary care.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the Scrutiny Committee acknowledge the Annual Report and forthcoming demands placed on Commissioning Social Care, and support the approach taken.

Agreed
10. SUPPORTING PEOPLE CONTRACT AND COMMISSIONING UPDATE 2016/17
Report (152K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (48K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (67K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (84K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (58K/bytes)
Appendix 6 (791K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which provided a review of the Contract and Commissioning Activity undertaken by the Supporting People Team in 2016/17.

The Head of Adult Services spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. The work of the Supporting People Team was the provision of housing related support to vulnerable people to ensure they maintained their independence through a range of services. The report detailed procurement and commissioning demands on the Team to ensure that Providers are compliant and that people accessing the Supporting People services are safeguarded, and that service standards are met and maintained in line with the Supporting People Programme Grant Guidance (Wales) 2013.

In response to a question raised by a Member regarding funding of the collaborative working arrangements, the Officer explained that the formula used to allocate funding was set in 2003 and based on housing benefit spend. However, the Wales Audit Office had recommended that Welsh Government look at a new formula to allocate funding to the areas of greatest need, which would mean additional funding for Blaenau Gwent, and a response on this was awaited from Welsh Government.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the Scrutiny Committee acknowledge the current and forthcoming demands placed on the Supporting People Programme in Blaenau Gwent and endorse the approach detailed within the report.

Agreed
11. UPDATE ON THE WELSH GOVERNMENT CHILDCARE PILOT OFFER
Report (157K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (58K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which provided an update on the progress made with the roll out of the Welsh Government Childcare Pilot Offer in Blaenau Gwent, which commenced on the 4th September, 2017.

At the invitation of the Chair the Head of Children's Services presented the report, and confirmed that since December 2016 to date significant progress had been made on the implementation of the Programme in Blaenau Gwent, with a substantial marketing campaign undertaken between May and June 2017. The Programme had gone live this week and 62 families are currently benefiting from the offer of free childcare.

However, the number of parents applying for the offer was lower than anticipated across all pilot Authorities, but this was expected to increase with 'word of mouth'.

In response to a question raised by a Member, the Officer explained that the funding the Authority received from Welsh Government was to manage programme, and the childcare providers were paid directly from Welsh Government.

She confirmed that the offer continued to be marketed, and the Family Information Service was very pro-active in sending out information via social media. The Early Years Team had also worked very hard to promote the Offer to parents and had held a number of meetings throughout the Borough.

In response to a further question, the Officer assured that there were sufficient providers in the Borough to manage an increase in demand, and they were all regulated by the CSSIW.

Members commended the report and the work undertaken to implement the pilot offer, and it was

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the Scrutiny Committee acknowledge the work done so far to implement the pilot and endorse the plan.

Agreed
12. LIVING INDEPENDENTLY IN THE 21ST CENTURY STRATEGY - ANNUAL PROGRESS UPDATE 2017/18
Report (172K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which provided an overview on the Living Independently in Blaenau Gwent in the 21st Century Strategy.

The Head of Adult Services spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. She said the Living Independently Strategy was introduced in November 2006 and transformed the way the Directorate delivered social care in Blaenau Gwent. The Strategy was revised in 2012 in anticipation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, and many of the priority areas and changes implemented as a result of the Act was very similar to the changes implemented back in 2006 as part of the Strategy. She said the Strategy had 8 key priorities and progress against these priorities was detailed at Section 2 of the detailed report.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the Social Services Scrutiny Committee endorse the approach detailed within the report.

Agreed
13. AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (42K/bytes)

RESOLVED that the items be agreed for the next meeting scheduled to be held on the 19th October, 2017.

Agreed