The Leader was pleased to present the report which was delayed due to Covid, and was therefore a look back over the period of 2019/20.
This report was out of timescale with the Cabinet timetabling functions in 2019/20 due to Covid-19 measures imposed in March 2020 when it was due to be presented to Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet.
The Leader invited the Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Paul Cockeram who also seconded the report, to say a few words on behalf of the services. The Leader also thanked the Cabinet Member for all of his hard work and commitment to the services.
The Cabinet Member for Social Services took the opportunity to say that Newport City Council had two excellent Heads of Services in Sally-Ann Jenkins and Chris Humphrey and thanked Chris for taking the role of Interim Director for People during this period of time. Councillor Cockeram made a couple of pertinent points within the report:
§ There was an increase of 4038 Adult Assessments by 22% from the previous year.
§ There was an increase of 5944 Children Assessments by 15% from the previous year.
§ There was an increase of 188 Adult Assessments by 71% from the previous year.
§ There was an increase of 3,000 Housing Support Referrals by 10%
There was a positive impact on Hospital discharge reflecting a the combined effort of Home First, as well as Reablement, as well as First Contact, Community Connectors and Residential Placement, which would be explained in more detail as Councillor Cockeram invited the Interim Director of Social Services to say a few words on the report.
The Interim Director of Social Services again highlighted that the annual report was delayed due to the pandemic and that safeguarding progress within the Council continued through the ‘lock down’ period and work that was planned was completed. For example the safeguarding champions were now embedded across the Council and currently met
The Scrutiny Committee received the full Annual Report on Corporate Safeguarding on 30 October 2020, with the caveat that progress was made in the intervening months.
Further progress was highlighted:
In Reach & Home First was continuing to support the development of integrated working practices by improving patient flow within the hospital. Home First prevented unnecessary admission (1167 safe discharges out of 2714 referrals between April 2019 and Feb 2020) through the offer of Information and Advice (IAA) and In Reach ensured planning for discharge was commenced at the earliest point.
Reablement was offered to everyone whether they had a care and support plan or not. This was an intake model and offered support to all older persons upon discharge in order to improve and maintain independence.
Frailty Reablement Specialist Dementia Service which commenced in 2020 and was operational from September. Full reporting was available during 2021/22.
First Contact provided information and advice to 4,588 citizens in 2019/20 – plans to develop further in with the integration of Falls, Physiotherapy and Reablement to the multi disciplinary team to further strengthen the availability of good quality advice and support at the front door.
Community Connectors offered an IAA service to 2,007 citizens in 2019/20 through telephone advice and one to one support. The team maintained the Dewis database, published newsletters, attended community events and supported local groups.
Carers 188 carers assessments were undertaken in 2019/20, an increase of 117 from the previous year. The Carers Network had 510 members and represented the work that had been done to extend the reach of the service through improved methods of communication. The recording processes was improved. Community Connectors provided advice and assistance to 422 carers during the year 135 more than in the previous 12 month period.
Intermediate Care Fund
Step Down beds: ParklandsFive new bed spaces were funded by the Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) in 2019/20.
Transitional PlanningA specialist Occupational Therapist was funded from the ICF in 2019/20 to improve the planning associated with a move into adulthood and the support required to achieve independent living.
The Head of Children and Young Peoples Services was invited to say a few words in relation to her section of the annual report:
Directors Report Highlights - Children
Increasing Residential Placement Opportunities Rose Cottage opened in 2019/20 and offered 4 children previously placed in out of county settings the opportunity to return to Newport. Two more Newport properties received capital funds from the Intermediate Care Fund (Rosedale and Windmill Cottage) and would deliver a further 8 beds in 2020/21.
Foster Carers Payment rates were increased to improve recruitment and retention of carers and six new foster placements were approved in 2019/20. The Council currently had 248 approved foster placements.
MyST(My Support Team) would be implemented in 2020/21 that offered a multi agency therapeutic approach for children with complex needs. This provided better support for Foster Carers and prevent placement breakdown.
Family & Friends Team was established in 2019/20 utilising Intermediate Care Funding (ICF). This service enabled kinship foster carers to become special guardians and reduced the number of children on care orders.
Supporting families to stay together The number of children supported to remain with their family as at 31 March was 58%, which was 7% below target but a 1% improvement on 2018/19. Additional services implemented in partnership with Barnardo’s during 2019/20 that support this outcome were Baby & Me and Family Group Conferencing. Baby & Me worked with pregnant women at risk of having their baby taken into care. An independent evaluation of the service was underway to demonstrate the impact of the service.
Family Group Conferencing (FGC)encouraged families to find their own solutions. There was a 22% reduction in Looked After Numbers following an FGC intervention. There were 52 FGC’s during 2019/20.
Adoption 20 children secured permanent and stable futures in 2019/20.
Young Carers299 young people were supported by Barnardos in 2019/20 with ongoing support and leisure activities.
Joint Inspection of Child Protection Arrangements December 2019 Newport was the pilot city for the new inspection arrangements in Wales. The findings were positive and demonstrated positive and effective partnership working around abuse, neglect and child exploitation in Newport.
Councillor Fouweather could see the incredible amount of pressure that Social Services had been put under over the past year and commended the staff for managing those pressures. It was good that more people were willing to be foster parents. There was also concern that more pressure again around mental health would be increased and Councillor Fouweather asked if there was any measure put in place to address this in both Adult and Child Services.
Councillor M Evans and the conservative group welcomed the report and the honest appraisal during this difficult time and supported the report and recognised the stress that the services had be put under and thanked staff for their achievements during the time of national crisis. Welsh Government had recognised that performance indicators were not fit for purpose, as mentioned by the councillor last year. Councillor M Evans echoed Councillor Fouweather’s concern regarding mental health as well as domestic abuse as a result of the Pandemic. There were some innovative projects taking place and it was hoped to see the development in the coming year.
Councillor Cockeram concluded by referring to the Youth Justice figures, where not one child had been put into custody, which was an important point.
Councillor Whitehead thanked Councillor Cockeram for his continued help in his role as Cabinet Member.
The Leader extended her thanks to both Heads of Service and the Cabinet Member and was very pleased with colleagues’ responses.
That Council noted the Director of Social Services Annual Report for 2019/20.