Agenda and minutes

Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 18th November, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: as a Hybrid Meeting: Via MS Teams/Abraham Derby Room at the General Offices, Ebbw Vale - if you would like to attend 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 G. Collier, K. Rowson and T. Sharrem.

 

Head of Children’s Services

3.

Declarations of Interests and Dispensation

To consider any declarations of interests and dispensations made.

Minutes:

Councillor Wayne Hodgins declared an interest in the meeting as some of his clients may also be service users of the Social Services Directorate.

4.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 7th October, 2021.

 

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

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 7th October, 2021 were submitted.

 

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

5.

Action Sheet - 7th October 2021 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To receive the Action Sheet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The action sheet arising from the meeting of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 7th October, 2021 was submitted.

 

The Committee AGREED that the action sheet be noted.

6.

Regional Partnership Update pdf icon PDF 446 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 6 months by the Regional Partnership Board, developed under statutory guidance Part 9 of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 (SSWB Act) since the last report presented to Social Services Scrutiny Committee on the 22nd April 2021.

 

The Corporate Director of Social Services spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein and explained that the Regional Partnership Board was an advisory body and was expected to provide direction to any areas of integrated working across health and social care.

 

In response to a Member’s question regarding the development of a children’s residential home at Windmill Farm in Newport the Corporate Director of Social Services confirmed that funding for the children’s residential home would be provided by the Integrated Care Fund capital together with the ICF revenue funding stream to deliver the proposed integrated model across Gwent.  The Member commented that it was pleasing to note that the long term objective was to get care closer to home.

 

A Member enquired regarding blockages in hospitals and raised concerns that people had passed away as they had been unable to access the required treatment and care.  The Director of Social Services said that in relation to health and the ambulance service they now had an additional 40 military staff which covered the area across South Wales, to drive the ambulances, which freed up additional paramedics. This had been implemented approximately 3-4 weeks ago and would hopefully have an impact on being able to attend more incidents.    Over the past 8-9 weeks they had been looking at measures to improve the situation and had been working with WAST regarding social workers in their call centre to give advice on whether a person needed to go into hospital or be supported at home with domiciliary care provision. 

 

The Head of Adult Services reassured Members what they were doing from a social care perspective to ensure they could discharge as many patients as safely as possible out of hospital.  They met regularly with senior managers in the Health Board and held discussions to escalate any patient that had been prevented from being discharged from hospital to look at solutions to discharge them.  They had increased capacity to carry out assessments by offering additional overtime, weekend and evening work to social care and social services staff.

 

A Member raised concerns regarding staff shortages at the Grange Hospital.  The Director of Social Services advised Members that he had requested a Members Briefing Session with the Health Board which would give Members an opportunity to ask appropriate questions.  The Health Board had agreed to hold a session during February 2022 after winter pressures had eased. 

 

With regard to recruitment of Social Care workers, a Member enquired if the Council’s pay structure was comparable to other authorities.   The Director of Social Services said that across the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

National Adoption Service Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the report of the Head of Children's Services.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Children’s Services which was presented to report on the performance of the South East Wales Adoption Service (SEWAS) and the National Adoption Service (NAS) for 2020/21.

 

The Service Manager, South East Wales Adoption Service spoke to the report and highlighted the three main areas contained within the report:-

 

        Recruitment

        Placing Children

        Adoption Support

 

In response to a Member’s question regarding Life Journey Work, the Service Manager (SEWAS) explained that every child who was adopted had Life Journey Work, it comes in various forms and goes with them so their adopters would have an understanding of the history of the child, in a child centred way, and it contained all the information about the child’s birth family.

 

With regard to recruitment for placements a Member enquired if the format for advertising could be widened, such as localised engagement i.e. a roadshow, when COVID restrictions allow.  The Service Manager said that other regions had invested £6,000 in billboard advertising locally and had gained little response from that investment.  A Marketing Officer was now in post and looked closely at where to invest money to get the best response and that was through social media platforms.  She advised Members that recruitment for this year had doubled and they were above target for their recruitment goals.

 

The Member felt that with the Blaenau Gwent demographics people liked face to face interaction to ask poignant questions.  The Service Manager advised that they also hold information events for the public to attend.

 

The Director of Social Services added that they had moved to a more digital platform for advertising with some success.  With the pandemic restrictions they had been unable to hold some public events such as roadshows at supermarkets and when COVID restrictions ease they could consider revisiting this locally as it may work better for Blaenau Gwent than other areas across Gwent.  

 

A Member said it was pleasing to note that recruitment had doubled this year and enquired if any marketing data was available for Members to compare what type of advertising had the most impact.  The Service Manager confirmed that information was available and would forward it to Members for their information.

 

The Chair said that potentially they could also look to do some advertising in the locality hubs where people visited regularly.

 

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 2; namely that the information be accepted as reported.

8.

Forward Work Programme: 20th January 2022 pdf icon PDF 397 KB

To receive the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Chair of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Chair informed Members of some changes to the Forward Work Programme for the next meeting in January 2022 for the Committee to consider.

 

The Future Model of Assistive Technology/Telecare Provision report be moved to the next cycle, the Safe Reduction of Children Looked After Strategy and the Integrated Care Funding report be moved to the scrutiny meeting in March and the Proposals for delivery of Legal Services for Children’s Services be added to the next meeting in January 2022.

 

The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1; namely that the Forward Work Programme for the meeting on 20th January, 2022 be amended and the following reports be presented:-

 

        Proposals for delivery of Legal Services for Children’s

         Services

        Corporate Parenting Progress Report

        Director of Social Services Quarter 1 & 2 update

        Social Workers Pay and Incentives