Agenda and minutes

Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 17th September, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: remotely via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Democratic Services  5100

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 Councillor G. Collier.

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.

Time of Future Meetings

To consider.

Minutes:

The Committee AGREED that future meetings be held at 10.00 a.m.

5.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee Minutes pdf icon PDF 251 KB

To receive the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 13th February, 2020.

 

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

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 13th February, 2020 were submitted.

 

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

6.

Action Sheet - 13th February 2020 pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To receive the Action Sheet.

Minutes:

The action sheet arising from the meeting of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 13th February, 2020 was submitted.

 

The Committee AGREED that the action sheet be noted.

7.

Proposed Scrutiny Forward Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 389 KB

To consider the report of the Chair of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The Committee AGREED that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1; namely that the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme 2020-21 be approved.

8.

Social Services Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic pdf icon PDF 564 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 Members with information on how the Social Services Directorate has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 4 months.

 

The Director of Social Services spoke to the report and gave an overview of the Social Services Directorate response to COVID-19.  He said that the Directorate continued to deal with the virus whilst at the same time trying to move slowly and safely towards recovery, although a second wave was possible, especially in the next few months or early next year. 

 

The Director hoped that Members would be reassured that the pandemic had not reached its worst case scenario regarding hospital capacity and support in the community had been able to cope with the initial outbreak locally and regionally first time round due to collaborative working by all partners.  There had been spikes in some neighbouring authorities and enhanced in-house protection had been put in place.  He stressed that unless people continued to follow social distance rules, hand hygiene and other safety practices then it may become more prevalent in the Blaenau Gwent area.

 

A Member expressed thanks to all agencies involved, our own and partner agencies, for the wonderful job they had done, their hard work was very much appreciated.  The Chair said that all Members of the Committee agreed with these comments and also wanted to express their appreciation to staff and partner agencies in the community.

 

Children’s Services

 

At the invitation of the Chair the Head of Children’s Services gave an overview of how Children’s Services had managed during this time.  Services had been maintained in relation to Information, Advice and Assistance (IAA) and priority had been given to safeguarding investigations for children on the Child Protection Register.  Children Looked After cases had fallen from 214 to 207 and there had also been a decrease in the number of children in residential care.

 

In response to a Member’s question regarding Children Looked After and children exiting care and new cases coming into care, the Head of Children’s Services said that there was a combination of both and an increase in children looked after numbers was anticipated.  In terms of children exiting care some were returning to their parents and some had been adopted. A full report was being prepared and would be presented to this Committee on 5th November which would include further detailed information.

 

A Member enquired if the service was anticipating an increase in the number of referrals now that schools had re-opened.  The Head of Children’s Services said that Education was one of the biggest referrers and as such the Service was anticipating an increase in referrals from Education colleagues, although there had been no upsurge in referrals to date.  There were also some proactive measures in place such as preventative services in Families First. It was noted that 4 social workers had been aligned to schools in order to support teachers and children.

 

A Member  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.