Agenda and minutes
Safeguarding, Communities and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee/Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 20th June, 2018 4.00 pm
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, Russell Gilmartin, Gwenfair Jones and Joan Lowe (Lead Member People – Health and Adult Social Care).
The Chair welcomed Councillor Ronnie Prince to his first meeting as a Member of this Scrutiny Committee.
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
Members were reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare any interests in relation to any business to be transacted at this meeting. The following declarations were made:
Agenda Item 5 – Children’s Social Care Departmental Services Report Activity and Performance Half Yearly Update (Quarters 3 – 4) for 2017/2018
Councillor Krista Childs – Personal – a Social Worker within the team being known to her. The Councillor remained in the meeting taking part in the discussion and voting thereon.
Agenda Item 6 – Social Services Annual Director’s Report 2017/18
Councillor Trevor Bates – Personal – a relative is employed as a Community Agent. The Councillor remained 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 30 April 2018.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 30 April 2018 were submitted.
AGREED – That the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 April 2018 be signed as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Head of Finance
The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/64/2018s) to assist the Committee in considering its Work Programme for the coming year.
The Scrutiny Facilitator introduced the report and provided updates on the matters contained therein. She advised Members that the items identified for further scrutiny at previous meetings had been provisionally scheduled into the draft Work Programme, a copy of which was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.
Members considered the report and with reference to the meeting with the Governor of HMP Berwyn, several Members expressed disappointment that the Governor had not accepted the invitation to attend a future meeting of this Committee as this would have allowed Members to discuss matters of public interest within the public domain. With reference to the submitted option, there was a general consensus that the invitation to visit the prison, followed by a Member Workshop on site, be accepted.
(i) That the report be noted and the draft Work Programme attached at Appendix 1 to report HF/64/18s be approved.
(ii) That the Scrutiny Facilitator liaises with the Governor of HMP Berwyn to arrange a visit for Committee Members to the prison, followed by a Workshop, in early Autumn 2018.
(iii) That the Scrutiny Facilitator liaises with the Chief Executive of BCUHB to schedule two further meetings to deal with the matters as set out in report HF/64/18s.
(iv) That the report by the Lead Member People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety with regard to PCSOs be considered at the scheduled July 2018 meeting of this Scrutiny Committee. To allow sufficient time to consider this item, the meeting to commence earlier in the afternoon.
(v) That the report by the Lead Member People – Health & Adult Social Care with regard to the review of Day & Work Opportunities for the Autumn 2018 be provisionally scheduled for consideration in Autumn 2018.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Children’s Services.
(Member declaration of interest in relation to this Agenda Item is set out in Minute 3 above).
The Lead Member for People - Children’s Services submitted a report (HCSC/03/18) which advised Members of key performance management information within Children’s Social Care Services for the period 1 October 2017 – 31 March 2018. 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. A copy of the Children’s Social Care Performance Report 2017 -18 was attached at Appendix A to the report.
The Lead Member, supported by the Head of Children’s Social Care and David Keen, Policy & Projects Officer, introduced the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.
Members then considered the report and the following items were raised in particular:
· Members noted that the demand for Children’s Social Care Services has continued to rise with the number of contacts the department received during 2017/18 increasing by 2.3%.
· PMC024 – The percentage of assessments completed for children within statutory timescale: Members requested an explanation for the drop in performance in the 2017/18 Year End Performance figure (64.9%) being below the Welsh Average (90.8%) and when compared to Wrexham’s performance in 2016/17 (85.3%). In response the Head of Children’s Social Care commented that the drop was attributed to recruitment and retention issues within the Assessment Team. A report has been presented to Senior Leadership Team (SLT) outlining a strategy to offer retention allowances in the recruitment of Independent Safeguarding and Reviewing Officers. The Executive Board was due to consider various proposals with a view to resolving these issues at its July 2018 meeting.
· The Head of Children’s Social Care confirmed that vacant Social Worker posts were covered by substantive or agency staff. The use of agency staff has had a significant impact on the staffing budget and on the efficiency and timely completion of assessments.
· It was noted that Wrexham still retained the requirement for all children to be seen and spoken to by a social worker before a comprehensive assessment was signed off. This was not a requirement of the National Performance Framework and caused further delays within the assessment process, however, it did ensure that the child’s views had been taken into consideration.
· A Member requested an update on the rollout of the new joint Health and Social Care Database, WCCIS (Welsh Community Care Information System). The Head of Children’s Social Care commented that work continued to be undertaken to review all existing departmental forms and business processes in preparation for the implementation of this database throughout all 22 Local Authorities in Wales. There had been no additional resources provided to undertake this work and confirmation of an implementation date was still awaited from the Project Board.
· In response to a Member’s question, the Head of Children’s Social Care provided further information with regard to the budget overspend on Out of County Placements.
The Scrutiny Facilitator commented ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To consider the Joint Report of the Lead Member for People – Children’s Services and the Lead Member for People – Health and Adult Social Care.
(Member declaration of interest in relation to this Agenda Item is set out in Minute 3 above).
The Lead Member for People - Health and Adult Social Care and the Lead Member for People - Children’s Services submitted a joint report (HASC/02/18s) which enabled consideration to be given to a draft version of the Social Services Director’s Report for 2017/18 including the improvement priorities for 2018/19 prior to its submission to the Executive Board on 10 July 2018. A copy of the Social Services Director’s annual report for 2017/18 ‘Social Services: What We Do, and the Difference it Makes’ was attached to the report.
The Lead Member for People - Children’s Services supported by the Head of Health and Adult Social Care and the Head of Children’s Social Care introduced the report. The annual report evaluated the performance of the local authority in relation to the delivery of its social services function 2017/18. The report also set out objectives in relation to promoting the wellbeing of people who need care and support and carers for the forthcoming year.
Members then considered the report and raised the following matters in particular:
· It was noted that during the last four years Adult Social Care had delivered £7,889,037 of savings and Children’s Social Care delivered £1,190,072 of savings and Social Services budgets will be required to deliver further revenue budget savings of over £3 million over the next two years.
· The Head of Adult Social Care commented that the savings have been achieved by re-designing working patterns and commissioning services more efficiently. This includes working with partner organisations and the Third Sector to develop quality services within the community which helps to manage demand or reduce escalation of needs. The challenges faced were greater than ever with increased demand for services and having fewer resources, however, both departments continue to meet their statutory requirements.
· Members acknowledged the continuing challenges faced by the Children’s and Adult Social Care Services and the good performance they were achieving under difficult circumstances. Several Members expressed concern on the difficulty of maintaining viable social service provision within the County Borough if the additional savings were implemented and that these concerns be forwarded to the Executive Board.
· Clarification was sought on the funding and recruitment of Community Agents and Members acknowledged the beneficial support they provide in enabling the elderly to live independent lives in their own homes.
· In response to a question from a Member the Head of Adult Social Care confirmed that the Local Authority continued to undertake work at HMP Berwyn. She confirmed that the Welsh Government grant was sufficient to meet funding at the present time, however, the prison was not currently at full capacity and further resource will be required in order to provide social services for men released from prison.
· The Head of Adult Social Care provided further information on progress being made in reviewing all care and support plans for people in receipt of Welsh Independent Living Grants and that all reviews ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Health and Adult Social Care.
The Lead Member for People – Health and Adult Social Care and the Lead Member for People – Children’s Services submitted a joint report (HASC/01/18s) which provided Members with details of the numbers and types of complaints and compliments received by Social Services (Adult Social Care Department and the Children’s Social Care Department) for the year 2017/18 and to highlight the lessons learnt and actions taken to address complaints across the service.
The Lead Member for People – Children’s Services together with the Corporate and Statutory Complaints Manager introduced the report and gave an overview of the complaints procedure and the timescales in respect to responding to complaints. Due to restructures within both Departments, historical comparison per service were only possible for the previous year. In accordance with the resolution of the Committee held on 21 June 2017, a summary of the complaints received and outcomes for 2017/18 had been included at Appendix A to the report.
During consideration of the report the following matters in particular:
· Members welcomed the report and were satisfied that there were procedures and processes in place to manage complaints effectively and to ensure that the Local Authority was dealing with complaints in accordance with agreed procedures.
· It was noted that in response to a Member’s request at the June 2017 meeting, Appendix A provided details of all the complaints received and this level of detail would not be included in future reports.
· With reference to Appendix A, Column 4 ‘Outcome’ further clarification was sought on the terminology ‘local resolution’.
AGREED – That the report be noted.