Agenda and minutes

Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 22nd April, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: virtually via Microsoft Teams - if you would like to attend this meeting live via Microsoft Teams please contact committee.services@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Contact: Democratic Services  5100

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Simultaneous Translation

You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so.  A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.

Minutes:

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

 

2.

Apologies

To receive.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S. Thomas (Chair), G. Collier, G.L. Davies, M. Moore, G. Paulsen and T. Sharrem.

 

3.

Declarations of Interests and Dispensation

To consider any declarations of interests and dispensations made.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

 

4.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 17th March, 2021.

 

(Please note the Minutes are submitted for points of accuracy only)

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 17th March, 2021 were submitted.

 

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

 

5.

Living Independently in the 21st Century Strategy – Annual progress update 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 515 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Adult Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The Head of Adult Services spoke to the report and gave a detailed overview of each of the 8 priority areas as part of the overarching approach to service development.

 

Priority 1 - Long term care

 

A Member enquired regarding what areas of good practice could be taken forward post Covid and also referred to the drop in numbers of residents in Care Homes.  The Head of Adult Services said that across all 8 priorities there were a number of areas of good practice, specifically in relation to Care Homes they were working closely with ABUHB to develop enhanced infection control processes and taken the learning from that to actually develop a new service moving forward, so that Care Home providers have a robust and easy access to infection control leads, etc.  In relation to the reduced numbers of residents in Care Homes, it was too early to say if this was due to confidence and whether this trend would change, people may have decided to stay in their own home because Care Homes had been particularly affected by the pandemic or they may be thinking differently regarding their future care needs.

 

A Member enquired of the number of COVID related deaths in care homes.  The Officer responded that this information could be provided, but with a note of caution, owing to some people who may not have contracted the infection in the care home, but within the hospital setting.

 

With some Care Homes currently undersubscribed, a Member enquired what impact would the opening of a new Care Home have on the existing provision going forward.  The Head of Adult Services explained that Care Homes were regulated by CIW and anyone could open one, the new Care Home in Tredegar had opened early in the pandemic and had already developed that provision pre-pandemic, she explained that some of the residents could be from Caerphilly, Rhymney Valley and Powys and not just from Blaenau Gwent.

 

A Member commented that the report showed that the Social Services Directorate had reacted swiftly and professionally during the pandemic, engaged with a number of partners and continued to deliver a high level of quality services that affect vulnerable members of society.  He thanked all members of staff in the Directorate for their good work and felt the report provided reassurances to both Councillors and the general public who may have relatives in our care settings.  All Members of the Scrutiny Committee supported these comments and felt that Social Services staff across the board had performed extremely well during a very challenging year.

 

With the reduced number of people going into Care Homes a Member enquired how people were managing in their own homes.  The Head of Adult Services said that one of the main drivers of Living Independently in the 21st Century  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Regional Partnership Update pdf icon PDF 451 KB

To consider the report of the Corporate Director Social Services.

Minutes:

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 5 months by the Regional Partnership Board.

 

The Corporate Director of Social Services spoke to the report and gave a detailed update in relation to the Regional Partnership Board.

 

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1; namely that the decisions of the Regional Partnership Board be supported.

 

7.

Support at Home Services Tender and Market Performance for commissioned services with Independent providers pdf icon PDF 454 KB

To consider the report of the Corporate Director Social Services.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which was presented to provide Scrutiny Members with Contracts and Commissioning information relating to care and support for Blaenau Gwent citizens within their own homes.

 

The Head of Adult Services spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained within the report.

 

A Member enquired how the quality and standard of care given by the private sector was monitored.   The Service Manager Development & Commissioning explained this had been a challenge throughout the pandemic, however, through district nurses, telephone calls and the call monitoring service which was an electronic system whereby carers log in to the system, where the length of calls could be monitored, if there were any complaints or issues this could provide an early trigger warning.  There was a twice weekly two-way communication flow with providers to ensure the service was alerted to any concerns, etc. and there was the monitoring information to validate some of those calls.  There were also copies of reports from providers and their own quality assurance checks.  Any reported issues such as PPE non-compliance or two carers travelling together in the front of a car would be investigated and escalated to the service provider.

 

With regard to spot checks, the RI would carry out spot check visits on their own staff and produce daily reports.  If a particular area had a number of carers breaching regulations it could ultimately result in an investigation and potentially disciplinary action.  A lot of information had been disseminated to the Domiciliary Care agencies, making sure that they were following protocols.  Working closely with Environmental Health colleagues had resulted in a good source of information coming into the Commissioning Team to be able to respond to issues at an early stage.

 

A Member raised concerns with the high turnover of staff for some independent providers, with some clients having new carers on a regular basis.  The Service Manager said that continuity of care was vital and was one of the reasons why they had introduced a new tender and not commissioned existing packages as there were concerns around recruitment and growth, providers needed to demonstrate they could recruit a workforce as it was important that service users had continuity.  In the past there had been concerns with the high turnover of staff with providers and after consultation and engagement improvements had been made and as part of the new contractual arrangements providers needed to confirm they could recruit a pool of dedicated carers. 

 

The Member felt that this area should be Regulated by the Welsh Government and should make the role of carer more appealing with an increase in salary for the important role they undertake in the community.

 

A Member enquired if consideration should be given to bring this service back in-house.  The Head of Adult Services said there was a new white paper out currently in relation to social care and sustainability in the market position was part of that work.  She  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.