Meeting documents

Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 7th March, 2019 9.30 am

Date: Thursday 7th March 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
G. A. Davies
K. Hayden
S. Healy
J. Holt
J. Millard
M. Moore
J. P. Morgan
K. Pritchard
K. Rowson
T. Sharrem
T. Smith
B. Summers

Head of Children Services � Social Services
Head of Adult Services � Social Services
Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance
Scrutiny Adviser
CHAIR & 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 (169K/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 Councillor J. Holt.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. SOCIAL SERIVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (273K/bytes)
Cofnodion (158K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 24th January, 2019 were submitted.

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The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (35K/bytes)
Attachment 1 (71K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 24th January, 2019 was submitted whereupon:

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Children�s Services � Legal Costs

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The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance presented the response relating to the Children�s Services � Legal Costs in detail and stated that there are difficulties in recruiting suitable in-house legal professionals, and that this is an issue throughout the region. For this reason, additional service in relation to the legal work for child protection has been procured through the National Procurement arrangements, and Hugh James solicitors are the currently the only providers who are able to offer a service. In this critical area of responsibility, the Council needs to be confident that the highest level of professional service is engaged.

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In response to a question relating to Hugh James Solicitors, the Officer explained that this firm of Solicitors provided a service to 6 other authorities throughout Wales and had the capacity and capability to undertake this highly specialised work.

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The Committee AGREED that the Action Sheet be noted.
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Agreed
7. LIVING INDEPENDENTLY IN THE 21ST CENTURY STRATEGY � ANNUAL PROGRESS UPDATE 2018/19
Report (158K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (37K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (447K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Adult Services which was presented to provide Members with an overview of the �Living Independently in Blaenau Gwent in the 21st Century Strategy�.

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The Head of Adult Services Services spoke to the report and highlighted the priorities detailed in Section 6 of the Report whereupon:

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Priority 1 � Long Term Care

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A Member referred to bullet point 2 and asked in relation to children, what were the types of disabilities being dealt with. The Head of Adult Services informed Members that up until 2017 there were two separate teams, however, following a review of the service both children�s and adult disability teams were brought together and managed under Adult Services with strong links to Children�s Services; the Officer confirmed that these were children with complex needs and with a wide range of disabilities. The Officer offered to carry out a Member Briefing on the work being undertaken on the transition between Children�s and Adult Services, which was welcomed by Members

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Reference was made to the Team based at Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan (YAB) and a Member asked if this Team was funded by both the Authority and the Health Board. The Officer confirmed that the team was not as a result of the creation of new posts but was created by locating two existing members of staff � Complex Care (Senior Practitioner) and long term Social Worker.

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In response to a question relating to capacity in care homes for the future. The Officer explained that there was currently over capacity with a number of Nursing Homes carrying vacancies.

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A Member asked whether the Authority attracted clients from other authorities to fill the capacity in care homes within Blaenau Gwent. The Officer explained that a weekly vacancy register was circulated around the Gwent Local Authority commissioning teams; however, it had been determined that many people�s preferences was to remain in their own areas and therefore very few vacancies were taken up by other authorities.

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Reference was made to a Blaenau Gwent facility and the Officer confirmed that this was a residential home for people with Dementia where there were very few vacancies and this particular facility was very popular and had a waiting list.

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Concern was raised regarding an opportunity that had not transpired on a site for an extra care facility that would have alleviated many problems being experienced. The Officer stated that discussions were being held with Housing Associations around this particular site and undertook to come back to Committee with a progress update.

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Priority 2 � Reablement/Enabling Services

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A question was asked whether the �125k Community Legacy Funding would be coming to an end and the Officer confirmed that funding had been secured until 2020 when extra funding would be sought.

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Priority 3 � Day Opportunities/Community Options

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A Member welcomed this section of the report and referred to the Community Connectors support. The Officer was requested to write to the Community Connectors, and their supporting groups, to thank them for the excellent work they carried out especially over the Christmas period.

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Priority 4 � Assistive Technology

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Members felt that this was a forward thinking report and it was suggested that a Member Briefing be held. The Officer agreed with this; however, she stated that following the construction of the Smart Houses in the Spring of 2019, she would undertake to arrange a visit which she felt would be further productive.

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Following a question regarding partnerships with United Welsh Housing and Linc Cymru, the Officer stated that arrangements were in place for meetings to also be held with Tai Calon Community Housing, which was welcomed by Members.

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Priority 5 � Direct Payments

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Reference was made to Universal Credit and an option of assisting residents within their own homes, working with the Credit Union.

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Priority 6 � Accommodation

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A Member welcomed the close working relationship with Tai Calon Community Housing and asked how many residents were currently on the waiting list for adaptations. The Officer was pleased to note that there were less than 10 residents waiting which proved to be the lowest number for many years.

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Priority 7 � Carers

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A question was asked whether data was available to identify how many young carers were in Blaenau Gwent and the Officer explained that this was calculated by Schools as part of the Estyn Inspection; however, data was available on the young carers who had attended events that had been co-ordinated through Families First, but it was also noted that it was difficult to undertake a full analysis of numbers as many young people did not categorise themselves as carers.

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Priority 8 � Domiciliary Care

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A Member asked if the Authority had in-house Domiciliary Care and the Officer stated that the main areas of the work for the in house team was extra care and was carried out alongside colleagues of the Re-ablement Team who focus on emergency care within the home to enable quicker discharge from hospital.

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Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be accepted, namely to endorse the report and the evidence provided to support progress in the 8 priority areas, and for the Department to continue to provide progress updates on an annual basis to the Scrutiny Committee as outlined in this Report.
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Agreed
8. 12 MONTH EVALUATION REPORT OF THE SUPPORTING CHANGE TEAM
Report (297K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (568K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Children�s Services which was presented to provide Members with an evaluation of work undertaken by the Supporting Change Team since its launch in December, 2017 to December, 2018.

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The Head of Children�s Services spoke to the report and highlighted the salient points contained therein:-

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� Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
� Implications Against Each Option
� Human Resources
� Supporting Evidence
�� Figure 1

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The report was welcomed by Members who were pleased to see the plateau on Looked After Children and to see them being returned back into their own homes. In response the Head of Children�s Services informed Members that since writing the report there had been an increase in the number of Looked After Children owing to two families with large sibling groups being identified as looked after, and that the team would be working closely with both these families.

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In response to a question regarding what support was provided to a child following their return to the home environment, the Head of Children�s Services explained that continual work would be carried out with both children and parents and there was a robust plan of ongoing work to ensure safe transition.

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A Member referred to 5.1 of the report and asked if reassurance could be given on how work would be carried out with both children and families. The Officer assured that work would be undertaken with families and this also extended to other agencies in relation to drug and alcohol. The Member then referred to 6.3 of the report and requested data be provided on the number of youngsters the Authority had engaged with and the Officer undertook to provide figures at a future meeting. Concern was raised by the Member in relation to 6.8 of the report where it was felt that the wording did not portray the best possible perception and he suggested that the wording be amended. The Officer undertook to relook at the wording of this particular item.

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It was noted by a Member that Item 15 of the Evaluation Report indicated that the Authority had actually created further employment with funding through Barnardo�s.

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A Member referred to the cost saving / cost avoidance figures and requested that potential savings with regard to legal fees be provided. The Officer undertook to provide this information.

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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 scrutinise the information contained within the report and endorse the Evaluation Report of the Supporting Change Team.
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Agreed
9. EARLY INTERVENTION AND PREVENTION STRATEGY 2019-2021
Report (134K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (3M/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Head of Children�s Services which was presented to provide Members with the development of a 3 year Children�s Social Services Early Intervention and Prevention Strategy.

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The Head of Children�s Services spoke to the report highlighting key points contained therein:

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� Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
�� 4 Objectives
� Supporting evidence
�� Expected Outcomes for the Public

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Reference was made to Objective 4 - working co productively. The Officer explained that one of the actions under this objective would be to work with other services including the Police who have provided an amount of funding that has secured 2 additional support workers as well as a Police Sergeant who sits on the Assistance & Advice Team.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely to scrutinise the information contained within the report and recommend that the Executive Committee endorse the Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy.
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Agreed
10. FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME � 18TH APRIL 2019
Report (81K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (41K/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 18th April, 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 18th April, 2019 be accepted, namely:

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� Looked After Children Update

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� Quarterly Report of the Director of Social Services � Quarter 3
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Agreed