Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Connor Hall Scrutiny Adviser
Declarations of Interest
The minutes of the previous meeting held 21st September 2021 were accepted as a true and accurate record.
The Head of Adult Services acknowledged that the report only reflected the last six months and highlighted that they were still dealing with the pandemic. The Head of Adult Services noted that the report had allowed them to refocus and prioritise workstreams to make sure they were what was required due to the pandemic.
The Head of Adult Services noted that the number of referrals had remained steady, but referrals were more complex. The Head of Adult Services highlighted the increased activity in Adult Services within hospital sites and notably the Grange, as well as a reduction of staff available in both hospitals and in social care generally, with the lack of domiciliary care having slowed processes down.
The Head of Adult Services highlighted the financial sustainability of care homes where there was a threat of other providers closing and staff shortages. The Head of Adult Services assured committee that they have been proactive in working creatively with providers to give them the resources necessary to keep them open.
The committee asked:
service user voice been used by Adult Services and have any changes
been noted in said voice?
The Head of Adult Services highlighted the example of independent living for young people with learning or physical disabilities and how work had been done to hear their voices to improve their experience regarding building skills and learning. The Head of Adult Services also noted the importance of consulting individuals at every stage to ensure the optimal outcome for them regardless of what that is.
Is there a
plan B if there were any further closures of providers?
Head of Adult Services noted
that staffing issues within domiciliary care could influence the
packages that providers are able to give, and work was being done
to ensure that everyone had the minimum required to continue
working and were working to prevent future issues.
the closure of the provider and rehoming of its residents, are
families involved in these discussions?
The Head of Adult Services confirmed that families were involved and that they used this as an opportunity to revisit what would be best for the person at hand. The Head of Adult Services acknowledged that it was lucky that all 27 residents were able to be moved to a new location that was preferable to them and their families.
companies able to help people with disabilities get into the
The Head of Adult Services confirmed that there were day opportunities available which was a part of care planning for the individuals and reiterated the importance of these for people with learning and physical disabilities. The Head of Adult Services highlighted the importance of recognising the interests of the individuals and ensuring that they are fully supported to do that as part of package. The Head of Adult Services noted that while there are various opportunities across Newport, the effects of the pandemic are still evident.
· How concerned was the Head of Adult Services at this stage ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Strategic Director for Social Services highlighted the challenges faced in both service areas by workforces in public services, health, and social care due to the pandemic. The Strategic Director for Social Services highlighted the challenge faced by social care, and while not unique, noted the magnitude of these challenges going into winter. The Strategic Director for Social Services informed committee of the pressures faced by staff, and the challenge of retaining and recruiting staff, which The Strategic Director for Social Services assured committee was not a Newport-only issue, but UK-wide. The Strategic Director for Social Services assured committee that work was being done to address these concerns.
The Strategic Director for Social Services noted the forecast underspend present in the reports and highlighted that this was due to unusual circumstance within social care. The Strategic Director for Social Services emphasised that the budget reporting masked some issues like workforce issues as there was less spending on staff, as well as adult social care being unable to deliver some packages of care due to that staff shortage which would have cost a substantial amount, therefore making the saving “sad and unfortunate”. The Strategic Director for Social Services also noted that multiple Welsh Government Covid grants had been received, with some spend being applied directly back to Welsh Government on a month-on-month basis, and planning for £3.5 million on grant expenditure for this financial year, which masks budgeting and finance issues.
The Strategic Director for Social Services focused on the Children’s report, noting the increase in contacts being made with Children’s Services which reflected the difficulty of the pandemic for people. The Strategic Director for Social Services highlighted that these increased referrals placed staff under greater pressure and noted the increasing complexity in referrals made.
The Strategic Director for Social Services highlighted work done with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, working in partnership with Cardiff to rehome those arriving in Kent and from port transfers, the piece of work being presented to Partnerships scrutiny tomorrow. The Strategic Director for Social Services noted that Newport had real options in being able to care for this group, offering positive services for good and strong care given the circumstances of their arrival.
The Strategic Director for Social Services noted the success seen with the MYST programme.
The Strategic Director for Social Services noted that Windmill Farm was moving forward with building and had a completion date in April, with staff being fully trained before opening.
The Strategic Director for Social Services felt that despite challenges faced, service provision had continued to be maintained, with work being done to innovate and hoped the report evidenced that despite the pandemic, Children’s Services has been able to deliver services effectively and safely.
The committee asked:
· Were there restrictions in offering a competitive salary?
The Strategic Director for Social Services said that budgeting was a restriction but felt that good wages were offered relative to neighbouring authorities. The Strategic Director for Social Services noted that recruitment was the issue ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Conclusions of Committee Reports
Following the completion of the Committee reports, the Committee will be asked to formalise its conclusions, recommendations and comments on previous items for actioning.
The committee recommended:
o A Member’s seminar to update Members regarding the ‘crisis’ in adult services.
o A visit to Windmill farm takes place.
An update be given on the Rosendale Annex
The committee commented that overall they were happy with the report and the answers given by attendees.
a) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)
b) Actions Arising (Appendix 2)
The Scrutiny Adviser noted the next meeting of this committee would start at 10am on the 30th of November 2021.