Agenda item

Gwent Regional Partnership Board - Market Stability Report


The Leader presented the report on the Market Stability, which was a statutory document that Welsh Government required each statutory partner to produce on a three yearly cyclical basis. A regional overview report must also be published on the same timescale. Local authorities were required under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 to work in partnership with health boards to produce a regional MSR.


The MSR sets out the extent to which the commissioned services are stable within the region based on local footprints to support people in need of care and support.


The six commissioning organisations in Gwent currently commission 106 care homes and 109 domiciliary care providers for older adults across the region.


Care Homes

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were few concerns with regards to care home vacancies and the financial viability of providers.  Most providers required at least 90% occupancy to remain financially viable. Care home bed vacancies were monitored on a weekly basis at local and regional levels. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the provision of care and support in Gwent.


Domiciliary Care

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages, domiciliary care services were currently at critical levels and at times unable to fully meet demand. Staff continued to leave the sector due to poor pay, terms and conditions and costs of employment (such as driving and registration). In recent months this situation was further exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis and particularly the rising cost of fuel. Staff shortages increased delayed transfers of care from local hospitals, creating bottlenecks across the wider system.


There was currently an increase in individuals requiring care at home and there was a concern this would continue following the COVID-19 pandemic.  Also of concern was the number of packages of care that were returned to commissioners, over 70 providers returning more than 950 weekly hours per week. This caused commissioners to prioritise the most vulnerable citizens with complex needs.


The Partnership approach with care homes and domiciliary care agencies that was established during the pandemic helped build a positive working relationship with providers to support them to continue to deliver good quality, responsive services during a critical time. It also provided a useful platform to engage providers in messages about infection prevention and control measures and to consider business continuity issues. Seminars continued to be held monthly and were much valued by LA’s, ABUHB and service providers alike.


Children’s Services

Children’s services were currently insufficient to meet the needs of the region in terms of residential services and foster placements. Demand for foster services currently outstripped supply and it was often difficult to source the right type of placement. The lack of appropriate residential services resulted in children being placed out of county and Gwent LA’s were now focussing on increasing capacity through in-house and external developments and investing in preventative services.


A careful balance would need to be struck between ensuring that the right level of services for looked after children were commissioned close to home and to reduce reliance on high profit organisations often far away from people’s homes.


Mental health and learning disability services

There was a renewed opportunity for the regional team and commissioning organisations to work closely to develop a framework for action and to take forward several key commissioning related activities to further support people at local and regional levels.


The areas summarised above would be picked up and considered as part of the area planning process and where at all possible mitigating measures would be taken to minimise any associate risks.


The MSR was developed alongside our local and regional Population Needs Assessment to ensure targeted action plans.


The report would be discussed across all Members of the Regional Partnership Board and once agreed a priority action plan would be developed.


Comments of Cabinet Members:


§  Councillor Hughes mentioned that as a former social worker, the challenges faced were unprecedented and the impact on staff should not be underestimated by the Council or Cabinet.  The Cabinet Member for Social Services that said that he proud of social care staff and their positive impact and contribution to the residents of Newport.  Councillor Hughes listened to a gathering of Newport City Council social workers earlier that day where they discussed their successes in the prevention inclusion teams, youth justice teams to name a few and the strong partnerships with other agencies.  Reassurances therefore from staff was that they would respond as they always had done in the past when faced with challenges.


§  The Leader agreed with Councillor Hughes’ comments highlighting the work of officers going above and beyond in their duty.


§  Councillor Batrouni made reference to Newport’s population change, which was the fastest growing area in Wales. It was double that of Cardiff and growth of over 90s highlighted that Newport was an ageing city. Consideration should therefore be given on how to structure the services going forward.




That Cabinet -

§  As required under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 (SSWBA) accepted and agreed the Market Stability Report for the local authority area.

§  Newport City Council continued to engage with Regional Partnership Board (RPB) and support the development of the regional Area Plan, where actions would be identified setting out how priorities would be addressed.


Supporting documents: