Agenda and minutes
Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall
Contact: Suzanne Price Scrutiny Facilitator
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors I David Bithell MBE, Krista Childs, Tina Mannering and Nigel Williams.
Declarations of personal interests, if any
Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting.
Agenda Item 6 – Children’s Social Care Departmental Service Activity and Performance Half Yearly Update (Quarters 1 -2 ) for 2018/19, Paragraph 4.25
Councillor Gwenfair Jones – Personal – being the wife of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales. The Councillor stayed in the meeting and took part in the discussion and voting thereon.
To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 November 2018.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2018 were submitted.
Correction to Minutes:
Minute 31, Community Safety Partnership Performance Report, Priority 2 – Tackle anti-social behaviour, 5th bullet point: The Local Member had informed the Scrutiny Facilitator that at the time of the meeting, the installation of CCTV was being investigated, therefore, delete the wording ‘and the success achieved by the installation of CCTV at strategic locations within the village’.
RESOLVED – That, subject to the above, the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2018 be signed as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Head of Finance
The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/138/18s) to assist the Committee in considering its Work Programme for the coming year.
The Scrutiny Facilitator introduced the report and advised Members that the items identified for further scrutiny at the previous meeting had been provisionally scheduled into the draft Work Programme, a copy of which was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.
The Chair referred to the proposed changes to the Council’s Senior Management Structure with the removal of the Head of Adult Social Care and Head of Children’s Services and the creation of a new post of Chief Officer Social Care. He requested that this Scrutiny Committee receives an update on the work being undertaken to ensure that there will be a smooth transition to the new structure prior to its implementation in April 2019.
The Head of Adult Social Care commented that this work was on-going and would not be finalised until April 2019, also, the Adult Social Care department would be undergoing a Care Inspectorate Wales inspection in February 2019. However, she was willing to provide a verbal progress report to the March 2019 meeting of this Scrutiny Committee, if required.
AGREED – That the draft Work Programme attached at Appendix 1 to report HF/138/18s be approved and that the Scrutiny Facilitator liaises with the Head of Adult Social Care on submitting a verbal update on the implementation of the new Senior Management Structure to the March 2019 meeting.
Update on Allied Healthcare in Wrexham
To receive a verbal update from the Head of Adult Social Care.
The Head of Adult Social Care gave a verbal update on the impact on adult social care service users and other service providers within Wrexham arising from the recent developments in relation to the Care Quality Commission assessment of Allied Healthcare.
Following warnings on the credible risk of disruption to service users of Allied Healthcare, the Council’s contingency plans were implemented. Good communication between the Local Authority, national and local government, service users and other prospective service providers had ensured that continuity of services had been maintained for all service users. In addition, all existing staff, with the exception of those at Plas Telford, Cefn, have transferred to the new owners of Allied Healthcare. The Plas Telford domiciliary care contract is now being delivered by the Council’s home care service and six members of staff from Allied Healthcare transferred to Adult Social Care department.
Members welcomed the report, acknowledged that robust contingency plans were in place and that the situation had been well managed. They thanked the Head of Adult Social Care for keeping them so well informed of events as they arose as this helped them to allay the fears expressed by many service users within their wards at the time.
In response to a question on the lessons learnt following the collapse of Allied Healthcare, the Head of Adult Social Care commented that the Council’s procurement procedure ensures that the Council is not dependent on a single service provider; all but one of the service providers used are national UK providers; and all service providers are closely monitored to ensure due diligence. However, this was a fragile market and continued vigilance was required.
The Head of Adult Social Care agreed to Members’ request that she discuss with the Council’s Procurement Team whether any further oversight was possible.
The Chair thanked the Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care and the Head of Adult Social Care for attending the meeting.
RESOLVED – That the committee note the report and the Head of Adult Social Care be thanked for keeping members so well informed of the situation at that time.
To consider the report of the Lead Member People – Children’s Services.
The Lead Member for People – Children’s Services submitted a report (HCSC/05/18) which advised Members of key performance management information within Children’s Social Care Services for the period 1 April 2018 – 30 September 20128. Where appropriate, comparison data such as Welsh averages has also been included. The report provided Members with an opportunity to monitor performance and discuss any issues that related to the information provided.
The Lead Member together with the Interim Head of Children’s Services introduced the report which contained a mix of both national and local measures/information and highlighted the main points contained therein. A copy of the Children’s Social Care Performance Report 2018 -19 (1 April 2018 – 30 September 2018) was attached at Appendix A to the report.
During the most recent inspection of Children’s Services in Wrexham (January 2018), the Care Inspectorate Wales had expressed concerns on various staffing, quality assurance and departmental processes. To address these concerns, improvements have been made to departmental working arrangements to make best use of office time and technology. Action was being undertaken to improve performance in key areas and meetings to discuss performance issues were now held on a weekly basis with the Head of Department. Work was also being undertaken in partnership with Human Resources to address vacancies in the Department. The Department has also developed, with its partner agencies, an ‘Edge of Care Panel’, which sets out a multi-agency approach to provide co-ordinated services and packages of support for children and young people who are on the edge of becoming Looked After. These measures have resulted in improved performance which will be reflected within the Quarter 3 & 4 measures.
Members considered the report and made reference to the following matters in particular:
· The demand for Children’s Services has continued to increase with a 2.3% increase on the previous years’ figure and the Department continues to experience significant pressures.
· Members welcomed the new initiatives implemented by the Interim Head of Children’s Social Care and it was noted that these should improve service performance going forward.
· It was noted that 44% of all referrals received by the Department came from North Wales Police, a proportion of which were related to concerns for children placed in Wrexham by other local authorities either into private residential homes or independent foster places. Members continued to raise concern on the increased work and financial impact on the Children services budget arising from the high number of such referrals.
· Further information was requested on the measures being undertaken to recruit and retain social worker staff. The Interim Head of Department reported on the recent success in recruiting to all the vacant management positions in the Assessment and Intervention team (AIT) and a new recruitment programme will be launched in early 2019 to progress the process of filling the remaining posts. New posts of Recruitment Officer and Placement Officers for the Fostering Team had also been agreed.
· In response to a query from a Member the Interim Head of Department confirmed that ... view the full minutes text for item 37.