Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr USK. View directions
Election of Chair
County Councillor M. Groucutt was elected as Chair for the meeting.
Appointment of Vice-Chair
County Councillor S. Howarth was appointed as Vice Chair for the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
County Councillor P. Pavia declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in Item 5. Chief Officer’s Annual Report as an Employee of Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru.
Public Open Forum
No members of the public were present.
Chief Officer's Annual Report
To provide the Adults Select and Children and Young People Sect Committees to consider and comment upon the Annual Report of the Statutory Director of Social Services.
This is the third and final report of the Statutory Director of Social Services with
Monmouthshire County Council representing personal analysis and reflections of strengths and the challenges and opportunities facing wellbeing, social care and health in Monmouthshire. As it is a final report as Statutory Director in Monmouthshire, this is also an opportunity to reflect on the progression over the three years and advise Council how far we have come, and how much further we have to go to be the very best social services in Wales.
At the heart of the report is a vision for wellbeing achieved through connecting people and communities, person centred practice, and quality services. The standard we set is that every adult and child who comes into contact with social services in Monmouthshire, or who experiences wellbeing approaches from outside of social services, feels listened to and understood, feels that what mattered them (adult, child or carer), was central at all times, even, indeed especially, in the most challenging of circumstances. In reflecting back, and looking forward, the report sets out the key issues that an incoming Director of Social Services, the Council and partners will need to focus on in supporting our most vulnerable citizens to live their own good lives and to overcome barriers to fulfil their potential.
It is a statutory requirement for every local authority in Wales to appoint a Director of
Social Services, and for the Director to report to Council annually on performance and outcomes in the previous year, and highlight the direction and actions for the year ahead. The format of the report is required for all such reports in Wales and has been developed to show how we are meeting the requirements of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act (2014) and the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care
(Wales) Act 2016 (SSWBA).
The Chair appreciated the quantity of work involved but expressed the disquiet of the Select Committee that the report was presented in an unfinished state which made scrutiny more difficult. Following presentation of the report, Members were invited to ask questions and make comments.
· It was confirmed that the aim is to have no agency staff by August 2018 but added that occasionally staff circumstances forces use of such arrangements as circumstances require.
· It was explained that complaints can be dealt with informally in house at Stage 1 or alternatively can proceed to Stage 2 for independent review. Complainants can miss Stage 1 and proceed straight to Stage 2. The average cost of independent review will be identified and provided after the meeting.
· Referring to Qualitative Measures: Children and Parents, concern was expressed that responses to opinions about standards of care were RAG rated red which compared badly against Welsh averages. It was also queried that there was only one ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
This purpose of this report is:
· To evaluate the progress of Monmouthshire County Council’s key safeguarding priorities during 2017/18, using identified measures to highlight progress, identify risks and set out clear improvement actions and priorities for further development.
· To inform Members about the effectiveness of safeguarding in Monmouthshire and the work that is in progress to support the Council’s aims in protecting children and adults at risk from harm and abuse.
· To inform Members about the progress made towards meeting the standards in the Council’s Corporate Safeguarding Policy approved by Council in July 2017.
1. This safeguarding evaluation is based on activity and information from October 2017 – March 2018, and where relevant considers the whole year perspective. It builds upon the previous progress review reported in relation to the period March 2017 – October 2017. The timing of this report reflects a biannual reporting cycle to Select Committees and Council.
2. The report is developed within the context of the approved Monmouthshire
County Council’s Corporate Safeguarding Policy which covers duties for both children and adults at risk in line with the Social Services and Well Being
(Wales) Act (2014). The analysis within the report reflects progress against priority areas set out within the policy and draws on data and information concerning both groups.
3. Embedding and sustaining the highest standards of safeguarding is a continuous endeavour. This Evaluative Report forms an integral part of the improvement of safeguarding practice across the Council. It asks critical questions about what are we trying to achieve, how well we are doing, what is the evidence to support our analysis, do we understand, manage and mitigate risks and how can we improve and develop. This is fundamental to an open and transparent approach to the evaluative task. The report tries, wherever possible, to balance qualitative and quantitative data as well as drawing in other sources of information to support triangulation of the assertions around progress.
4. The provisional self-assessment score has been developed by the Whole
Authority Safeguarding Group (WASG) on the basis of evidence reviewed to date and critical challenge. It uses the corporate scoring framework to provide an overall judgement of effectiveness.
5. The key risks arising from the Evaluative Report have been extracted and incorporated into the Safeguarding Risk Register (Appendix 2). The most significant risks also feature in the Council’s Corporate Risk Register.
6. Priority improvement actions arising from the Evaluative Report form the basis of the Safeguarding Action Plan which is implanted and monitored through the Whole Authority Safeguarding Group.
Members are requested to:
· Jointly scrutinise the Safeguarding Evaluation Report in its current draft format.
· Make recommendations in respect of its further development in preparation for presentation at full council.
· Note the key safeguarding risks and approve the priority improvement actions identified to date.
The report was introduced by the Head of Children’s Services and the following observations were made and questions asked:
· Surprise was expressed by a Member that the report ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To provide an update on the provision of disabled facilities grants (DFGs) and Safety at Home (SaH) grants and the outcomes achieved for both service users Social Care. The report also seeks to assure members that service is aligned with the Council’s safeguarding policy.
1. The Council has a statutory duty to provide DFG’s within six months of receiving an application. Failure to do so lays it open to legal challenge. It also has discretion to provide SaHs. All DFGs are capped at £36,000 and while the
average adult award is about £6,000 each year a number of larger, complex grants are provided to meet the needs of both adults and children with complex disabilities. Children’s DFG’s aren’t capped and, therefore, can utilise a disproportionate amount of the budget.
2. SaHs are intended for smaller works such as handrails, half steps and minor alterations, often costing less than £250 but which make a dwelling safer for a disabled resident. SaH’s often facilitate hospital discharge or reduce the risk of falls and injuries, which might necessitate hospitalisation and are administered on behalf of the Council by Care & Repair alongside Rapid Response Adaptations.
3. In recent years, an annual shortage of funding for adaptations has impacted upon the time some clients have needed to wait for DFG’s. On occasions it has been necessary to prioritise SaH. The increased funding for 2017/18 significantly improved the situation.
4. The average time to complete a DFG was reduced from 386 days in 2016/17 to 193 days in 2017/18. In addition, the Council has delivered more adaptations and, therefore, assisted more applicants. Not only has this improved the quality of life for more applicants, carers and their families, it will have provided business benefits to Social Care. The success is also applicable to the SaH minor adaptation programme and it wasn’t necessary to prioritise work towards the end of the financial year. The success was achieved through:
The additional £300,000 capital funding for DFG’s (but also SaH); reviewing
contractor quotation arrangements; re-introducing ‘lean’ processing (which
streamlines means-testing) and managing the budget based on actual
expenditure rather than committed expenditure.
5. A more detailed overview of performance is detailed in Appendix 1 of the report.
6. Alternatives to DFGs and SAHs do exist, including annual ENABLE funding from Welsh Government, which offers a fully flexible option with simplified approvals (e.g. no means testing or necessity for an Occupational Therapist to assess).Welsh Government encourages use through a partnership approach. The Council, however, strictly can’t replace DFG funding with ENABLE funding. Other options to fund adaptations are available but are significantly less utilised. Nevertheless some potential applicants do opt to proceed with the necessary works at their own cost.
The Committee consider how the disabled adaptation programme is supportingresidents to remain living safely and independently at home, reflect onperformance and make recommendations as appropriate.
The Housing & Communities Manager presented the report and questions and comments were ... view the full minutes text for item 7.