Meeting documents

Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 24th January, 2019 9.30 am

Date: Thursday 24th January 2019 Time: 9.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre

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

PresentAndReport toReport of

COUNCILLOR S. C. THOMAS - CHAIR

Councillors: D. Bevan
S. Healy
J. Millard
M. Moore
K. Pritchard
K. Rowson
T. Sharrem
T. Smith

Corporate Director of Social Services
Head of Children Services
Integrated Services Team Manager � Children & Families
Service Manager � Adoption SEWAS
CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE COUNCILDEMOCRATIC SERVICES OFFICER - DEMOCRATIC & CORPORATE SUPPORT
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Version of Agenda Coversheet (172K/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:

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G. A. Davies

K. Hayden

J.� Holt

J. P. Morgan

B. Summers
J. Wilkins.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (328K/bytes)
Cofnodion (270K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 1st November, 2018 were submitted.

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The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.
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Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (51K/bytes)
Attachment 1 (856K/bytes)
Attachment 2 (56K/bytes)
Attachment 3 (99K/bytes)
Attachment 4 (34K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 1st November, 2019 was submitted whereupon:

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Item 6

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A Member made reference to the Position Statement and the unpredictability of both services.

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Item 7

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Following a request for an update on the Childcare Offer the Integrated Services Team Manager explained that the Offer was working very well. She advised that Torfaen had since been taken on and the number of those accessing the offer at Torfaen was considerably higher, at 574, as opposed to 179 in Blaenau Gwent. She continued that it was the intention to carry out further marketing.

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The Corporate Director stated that since February, 2016 there had been 134 cases with 83 (62%) being dealt with by internal solicitors and 51 (38%) by external solicitors; it was estimated that the legal costs were approximately �400,000 plus. He continued that it had proved difficult to employ solicitors to work for the Authority due to difficulty recruiting as well as other authorities offering higher salaries. A Member requested information on the average cost per case for internal legal solicitors compared to external and the Head of Children Services undertook to provide this information although this may be difficult as each case has different complexities.

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The Committee AGREED that the Action Sheet be noted.
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Agreed
7. REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP UPDATE
Report (134K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (104K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which was presented to update Members on the work and decisions taken over the last 6 months by the Regional Partnership Board.

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The Corporate Director of Social Services spoke to the report and highlighted the Purpose of the Report as well as the Scope and Background.

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In response to a question regarding a suitable property and a facility for people to be assessed, the Corporate Director said that the intention was to look at a facility that housed various rooms with equipment to carry out assessments.

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Following the request for an update on the Well-Being Services the Corporate Director explained that the Integrated Well-Being Network were looking at working with the GP Clusters in Blaenau Gwent and were currently looking at developing consultancy support for compassionate communities, this would be similar to the IAA system but based in GP practices.

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A Member referred to Aneurin Bevan being the main organisation bringing services together and asked what Blaenau Gwent would be doing to bring their workforce together. The Officer responded that Blaenau Gwent had an Integrated Partnership Board which would drive forward transformation offers and focussing on what is right for the Authority.

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In reply to where the Integrated Team would be based, the Head of Children Services explained that this Team was now called MYST and attempts were being made to establish a facility which would most likely be in Torfaen as it was the most central location for Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Monmouthshire; however, a site had not yet been located. The Member asked if there would be a cost in transporting the children to the facility and the Officer confirmed that there would be a cost but this would not be significant.

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A Member referred to the 2 year plan and the Corporate Director stated that should developments be implemented there was the possibility of Welsh Government extending the two year funding however this is not official.

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A question was asked whether there was confidence in being able to deliver the service and the Officer said that this was the only region in Wales submitting a bid for Children�s Services, he was totally happy with progress and was completely focussed on Blaenau Gwent�s needs.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely:

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� To scrutinise the report and to support the decisions of the Regional Partnership Board;

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� To accept the funding to implement the transformational change identified in the bid;

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� To accept the Integrated Care Capital Funding to progress the schemes specifically for Blaenau Gwent.
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Agreed
8. CORPORATE PARENTING PROGRESS REPORT
Report (153K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (111K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (97K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (120K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Children�s Services which was presented to provide Members with the progress made by Blaenau Gwent Corporate Parenting Board (CPB) throughout 2018.

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The Integrated Services Team Manager spoke to the report and highlighted the salient points contained therein:-

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� Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
�� Key Priorities 1 to 8
� Appendices

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In response to a question regarding Housing Partners the Integrated Service Team Manager confirmed that the responses and meetings had proved extremely positive with a lot of information being shared and business plans developed.

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A Member asked if talks were being held with Tai Calon Community Housing as he was concerned that there were properties in their ownership that were being demolished. The Officer explained that the demolition was part of a wider strategy as there was intention of reconfiguring the accommodation needed to a higher quality. The Member requested that emphasis be made on the importance of what was required and needed.

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It was felt by a Member that there were many old properties in Blaenau Gwent that were in desperate need of updating and it was important to work closely with the Housing Authorities regarding this. He wished to congratulate the Officer and hoped she would be successful in moving this forward.

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A Member referred to 6.1.1 relating to annual checks and asked if there was an update. The Officer responded that it was currently too early for the January figures. She continued that children are required to have an annual medical over the age of 5 years or a 6 monthly medical if under the age of 5 years; however although the number of Looked After Children had risen, the capacity of nurses hadn�t, resulting in the delay in checks.

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Reference was made to 6.1.2 regarding sexual exploitation and it was asked if there was sufficient capacity to manage this. The Officer confirmed that the risks were being managed; the exercise was to look at this cohort of children and where social workers were making a difference. She felt confident that work was being carried out with every child.

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A Member alluded to 6.1.7 regarding support and social wellbeing and asked what reasonable support a child could expect to receive when leaving care. The Officer explained that there was a statutory responsibility to ensure contact was kept with all youngsters leaving care at the age of 18. She stated that youngsters may choose not to engage with this support; however, attempts would still be made to support them with housing, employment, finance etc., and they would be allocated a personal adviser up to the age of 25.

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A Member raised concern about when youngsters go out into the community and asked what strategy would be in place within the social housing as a support mechanism. The Officer related to a facility that housed 4 beds and had 24/7 support, she explained that in some cases this proved to work but in other cases the youngsters indicated their preference to have their own accommodation. The Member felt that support may still be required after the age of 25 and felt that a block of flats with a supervisor could prove successful. The Integrated Service Team Manager said that this suggestion had previously been a consideration and in fact a mapping exercise had been carried out with youngsters. The result was that this was not what they wanted; they wished to remain in their own communities.

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A Member referred to 6.1.1 � Key Priority 1 and requested information on the number of youngsters the Health Board had failed to carry out a medical. She also raised concern that an Equality Impact Assessment had not been carried out to accompany the report and asked the reason for this. The Head of Children Services said she would investigate this issue for future reporting.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely to acknowledge progress made throughout 2018 and feel confident that the Local Authority and its partners are doing enough to improve outcomes for our Looked After Children as part of our corporate parenting responsibilities. Embrace its role as Corporate Parents and ensure appropriate, regular attendance and input at the Corporate Parenting Board meetings.
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Agreed
9. NATIONAL ADOPTION SERVICE ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18
Report (113K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (3M/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which was presented to provide Members with the performance of the South East Wales Adoption Service (SEWAS) and the National Adoption Service (NAS) for 2017/2018.

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The Adoption Service Manager SEWAS spoke to the report highlighting salient points contained therein.

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� Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
� Risk Including Mitigating Actions
� Performance Information and Data
� Appendix 1 � Figures 1 to 14

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 2 be agreed, namely to accept the information as reported.
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Agreed
10. DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY SAFEGUARDS (DOLS)
Report (132K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (118K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which was presented to provide Members with an update on the numbers of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) referrals received during 2017 � 2018.

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The Corporate Director spoke to the report and highlighted the key points contained therein:

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� Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
�� Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)
�� Kay Changes
�� Current Position
� Supporting Evidence

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A Member asked if there would be a reduction in the risks to the Authority when the law changes and the Corporate Director confirmed that the risks would become less burdensome with the possibility of making savings.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely to scrutinise the report and agree the approach adopted by the Directorate to meet the demand placed on the Team as a result of the Supreme Court Judgement. It is proposed to continue to use these arrangements until the law changes at which point the position can be reviewed.
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Agreed
11. FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME � 7TH MARCH 2019
Report (81K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (47K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Chair of Social Services Scrutiny Committee which was presented to provide Members with the Forward Work Programme for the Meeting on 7th March, 2019 for discussion, and to update the Committee on any changes.

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The Committee AGREED that the Forward Work Programme for the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting on 7th March, 2019 be accepted, namely:

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� Living Independently in the 21st Century

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� Assistive Technology

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� Supporting Change Team Update

Agreed