Venue: Committee Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
To note any apologies for absence
No apologies from the members of the committee.
Other apologies noted at the meeting included: -
Mark Preece, (Chief Fire Officer for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service). Mark was represented at the meeting by Gavin Roberts, (Assistant Chief Fire Officer).
Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee members, Cllrs Emma Nelson and Cllr Linda Cohen. Members of the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been invited to join the meeting to contribute to the discussion on item 4, (Council Motion 890 – Domestic Abuse).
It was noted that Helen Gentles had recently replaced Nikki Richardson as the Healthwatch Gloucestershire representative for the committee but was unable to attend the meeting and had sent her apologies.
Declarations of Interest
To confirm any declarations of interest on matters being discussed at the meeting. Please refer to note (a) on the agenda cover sheet.
No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.
To confirm and agree the minutes of the joint scrutiny committee meeting held with the Health, Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 8 March 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2022 were noted and agreed as a correct record of that meeting.
At the Gloucestershire County Council meeting on 8 December 2021, it was agreed that the members of the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee consider the Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment for Gloucestershire and the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Strategy. In particular, the two committees to scrutinise the Council’s partnership work on ensuring sufficient accommodation and support is provided for victims seeking safe accommodation, including refuge accommodation.
Ruth Saunders, (Director of Communities at Gloucester City Council and Chair of the County Strategic Housing Group), along with the GCC Commissioners responsible for the delivery of the council’s domestic abuse services to respond to questions on how the provision of accommodation for the victims of domestic abuse link with the district council’s housing statutory duties.
The members of the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee have been invited to join the meeting, (via remote access), to participate in the discussion on this item and to consider its response to the issues raised by Council Motion 890 at the Council meeting on 8 December 2022.
Members may wish to familiarise themselves with the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment and the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Strategy (2021-24) ahead of the meeting. Both documents are available on the County Council website.
At the Gloucestershire County Council meeting held on 8 December 2021, members requested that the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee consider the Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment for Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Strategy. In particular, the two committees were asked to scrutinise the Council’s partnership working arrangements to ensure sufficient accommodation and support was being provided to the victims, (and families), of domestic abuse.
Claire Proctor, (Head of Commissioning: Public Health and Domestic Abuse), and Tina Hemingway, (from the Prevention Wellbeing and Communities Hub), at Gloucestershire County Council and Ruth Saunders, (Director of Communities at Gloucester City Council and Chair of the County Strategic Housing Group), gave an in-depth presentation on the findings of the local Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment and the work being undertaken to support the victims of Domestic Abuse in Gloucestershire, before responding to questions, including questions on how the provision of accommodation for victims of domestic abuse links to local authority statutory housing duties. The slideshow presentation presented at the meeting is attached to the minutes and available to view on the Gloucestershire County Council website.
Andy Dempsey, (Director of Partnerships and Strategy: Children’s Services), at Gloucestershire County Council and the members of the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee were in attendance at the meeting, (committee members via remote access), to engage in the discussion and to consider the committee’s response to Council Motion 890.
Prior to the meeting, members were asked to familiarise themselves with the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment and the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Strategy (2021-24). Both documents are available on the County Council website and can be viewed at the links above.
Cllr Stephen Hirst, Chair of the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee, informed members that, following the discussion, he would be seeking the views of both committees, to include as a formal response to Council Motion 890. Comments from the meeting to be included in a draft statement for consideration by both committees prior to presentation to full council by the respective Chairs.
The following information was noted: -
Under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, Tier 1 Local Authorities have a statutory duty to provide support to the victims of domestic abuse, (and their children), residing within refuge and other ‘domestic abuse safe accommodation’.
Each council must:-
a) Produce a Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment;
b) Publish a local strategy to demonstrate how the council will meet the need to provide support in that area, and
c) Convene a Local Domestic Abuse Partnership Board
Gloucestershire County Council recently received grant funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to support the implementation of the new duty. The DLUHC allocated non-ring-fenced funding on an annual basis to support both Tier 1 and Tier 2 local authorities fulfil their statutory obligations. The County Council received allocations of £1,105,661 for 2021/22; and £1,108,722 for 2022/23.
The findings of the Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment identified a number of areas ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
An overview of the current position with regard to drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services for adults in Gloucestershire. The committee to consider the report within the context of the recently published National Drugs Strategy and other strategic drivers which will influence the commissioning arrangements for the services going forward.
Helen Flitton, Head of Commissioning, (Complex Needs), gave an update on the current position of Drug and Alcohol (Adult) Services in Gloucestershire. Rae Davies, (Change, Grow, Live Gloucestershire Services Manager), and Steve O’Neill, (Senior Commissioning Manager), contributed to the discussion and responded to questions.
The update follows on from a report to the committee in September 2021, in response to the Professor Dame Carol Black Review of Drugs: Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, where it was agreed that the committee receive a more in-depth report when details of the new National Drugs Strategy were known and following completion of the local strategic review of drug and alcohol in the county.
In December 2021, in response to the Dame Carol Black Review, the Government subsequently published a new ten-year drugs plan, (a national strategy), with additional investments awarded to the criminal justice system and to local authorities, (via through section 31 grants), to ensure the objectives of the plan could be achieved. The new strategy focussed on delivering three strategic priorities: breaking drug supply chains; delivering a world class treatment and recovery system and achieving a generational shift in the demand for drugs.
In response to the strategy, commissioners at Gloucestershire County Council have engaged with local partners across the system and via the Gloucestershire Drug and Alcohol Working Group (GDAWG) to agree the focus for the allocation of funds to Gloucestershire. The findings of the recent strategic review of drug and alcohol use in Gloucestershire helped to inform the decision-making process for the allocation of funds and how best to invest the additional monies.
Members noted that a national outcomes framework had been produced, the details of which were due to be published later that month. The framework would concentrate on the following priorities; reducing overall drug use; reducing drug related crime; reducing drug related deaths and harms; reducing the levels of drug supply; improving recovery outcomes and increasing engagement in treatment. The new national commissioning quality standards would provide support to local areas for the alignment of services in order to meet the required outcomes.
Gloucestershire County Council’s responsibilities for the commissioning of drug and alcohol recovery services is a condition of the Public Health Grant. Since January 2017, the community drug and alcohol service has been commissioned under a seven year contract by ‘Change, Grow, Live’. Monitored by GCC, the contract ends in March 2024.
Throughout the pandemic, Change, Grow, Live (CGL) Gloucestershire, continued to provide the county with a balanced treatment system, working closely with the council to bring those most in danger of harm into the service and to provide opportunities to promote good health and move on to recovery.
In response to some of the more complex cases, a multi-agency meeting was convened to consider how best to achieve positive outcomes for those most at risk, including people sleeping rough and heavily dependent. This work is ongoing.
Members were advised that it had been difficult to maintain a positive performance record over the past two years, ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
An update on matters relating to the delivery of services within the portfolio of services delivered by the Chief Fire Officer, (Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service), and within the remit of the Gloucestershire County Council Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee, (Trading Standards, Civil Protection and Coroners Services).
The update to include a presentation from Karen Smith, Head of Regulatory Services and Consumer Protection, on the work of the Gloucestershire Trading Standards Team.
Gavin Roberts, (Assistant Chief Fire Officer), informed the committee that, (after considering the Trading Standards Presentation), he would respond to questions relating to the delivery of the other services delivered by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and within the remit of the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee, (Civil Protection Service and Coroners Service).
Gavin invited Karen Smith, Head of Regulatory Services and Consumer Protection, to give an overview of the work of the Gloucestershire Trading Standards Team, including information relating to Firework Regulations.
Members noted the following information: -
Fireworks sold at retail level are classified as HT (hazard type) 4, the lowest hazard classification. H4 fireworks must be stored in a fire resistant cabinet or container and in a dry area away from risk of ignition. For further information, please refer to the House of Commons library paper on the regulation of fireworks
Only three premises in Gloucestershire are licensed for the year round sale of fireworks. An additional licence is required for the sale of fireworks from these premises. The remainder of premises in Gloucestershire are only permitted to sell fireworks during the following prescribed periods.
Ø 15 October to 10 November
Ø 26 to 31 December
Ø 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
As Weights and Measures Authority for Gloucestershire, Trading Standards has a statutory duty to carry market surveillance and enforcement activities in relation to the storage and sale of fireworks. Trading Standards is also the licencing authority. Trading Standards discharge this duty through 3 trained officers. The officers are specifically appointed to act on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive in respect of the Explosives Act 1875 S 30 & S74 and Explosives Regulations 2014.
Named individuals require licencing permits to store explosives in the form of fireworks. Pre-licence checks ensure the named individuals are eligible to store fireworks and that storage areas are clearly defined and fit for purpose. Inspections are carried out on all licenced premises.
Retail outlets are inspected during the period immediately before 5 November, (traditionally the busiest period of sales). In addition, officers respond to intelligence received on sales being carried out during any of the other permitted sales periods. Larger wholesale premises are inspected throughout the year, (outside the busy period). Officers from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) attend these inspections due to the larger quantities of stored fireworks.
Retail inspections ensure fireworks are safely displayed, only sold during the permitted periods and comply with age related sale safeguards. Inspections regulate what type of fireworks and ensure point of sale display arrangements comply with licencing conditions.
Officers monitor social media channels for evidence of unlicensed storage or sale of fireworks. Trading Standards use social media, (in conjunction with GFRS), to highlight the dangers of fireworks and to advise people to buy from reputable retailers, not via social media.
Post inspection, the person, (licensee), demonstrating non-compliance in relation to the sale and storage of fireworks receives written notification of the issues found and a ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
An update from the Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health, (Gloucestershire County Council), on matters relating to public health in Gloucestershire.
Members are asked to note the Coronavirus Prevention Grants 2021 Impact and Activity Report, (attached to the report for this item). The Coronavirus Prevention Fund was set up to award direct grants to key Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations involved in the response effort from the pandemic and who provide support to the vulnerable people and families of Gloucestershire.
The committee received an update from the Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health, (Gloucestershire County Council), on matters relating to public health. To view the full report, please refer to the link here.
The Executive Director explained that, in recent weeks, there had been in a significant reduction in the number of Covid-19 cases across the county. The number of cases/data included in the daily OFFSEN - Summary of COVID-19 Cases in Gloucestershire updates were no longer available and the daily briefings provided to members had been discontinued.
The committee noted the progress of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), the assessment by local authorities and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to consider the health, care and wellbeing needs of the local community. Since the development of the JSNA Plan in 2018/19, several issues have impacted on progress, including changes to Adult Social Care Reform and the move to an Integrated Care System (ICS) and Integrated Care Board (ICB) for Gloucestershire. The committee will continue to receive regular updates on both of these influential considerations impacting on the JSNA.
In June 2020, the government distributed £300 million to local authorities to action the development of their Local Outbreak Management Plans, known as the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF). In response to government guidance, funds were used to provide community-based support to the most vulnerable people in our communities and to those most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The basis for the Gloucestershire response and subsequent spend was to: -
1) Focus on vulnerable communities and redressing entrenched health inequalities. Working to build the resilience within communities across Gloucestershire;
2) Focus on prevention and the wider implications of Covid;
3) Focus on building sustainability to future proof initiatives and deliver lasting impact
The following key messages were highlighted by the report: -
1) The voluntary and community sector is a vital and valued partner in the prevention of the spread of Covid19 in local communities, and in supporting vulnerable people and those at highest risk.
2) The County Council continues to work collaboratively with the voluntary and community sector (VCS) to strengthen connections and invest in the areas where there are gaps or increasing demand.
3) It is essential to invest in our communities to create the conditions for individuals and communities to have opportunities to better take care of their wellbeing and health.
4) The voluntary and community sector has maintained support to the cohorts who have increased their vulnerability as a result of the pandemic due to isolation, loss of income due to furlough or redundancy, deteriorating mental health and wellbeing and digital exclusion.
Responding to questions on the allocation of funding, it was confirmed that the council was committed to the distribution of funds to the areas in most need, and as quickly as possible. This included funding for the voluntary and community sector. It was agreed that the outcomes of the additional funding should be reported back to the committee at regular intervals. Government grants ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
An update from the Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health, (Gloucestershire County Council), on matters relating to adult social care in Gloucestershire.
The committee received an update from the Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health on matters relating to Adult Social Care affecting Gloucestershire.
It was confirmed that the consultation on the proposed closure of four care homes within the Gloucestershire Care Partnership had commenced on 8 April 2022.
For details of the decision making process on the proposed closures, please open the link here.
Following publication of the cabinet decision report in March 2022, (seeking approval to go out to public consultation), GCC staff had met with the staff and residents of the care homes to advise on the contents of the report and on the consultation process. Supported by staff from the Order of St Johns Charitable Trust, GCC staff had subsequently held regular consultation sessions with care home staff and residents, with more sessions planned. The final decision on the closures would be dependent on the outcomes of the consultation, for which an interim report would be presented to the committee.
Members questioned the future of the care homes, (should the decision to close be approved), with a request that the properties should be used to benefit local communities in some way and not go into disrepair.
Outlining key changes in the performance and delivery of the urgent and emergency care system for Gloucestershire, members were advised that, in November 2021, the Care Quality Commission had undertook a pilot review of the Gloucestershire urgent care and emergency care system. The review involved the inspection of NHS trusts but no inspection of the GCC Adult Social Care Service or the independent adult social care sector.
The report from the review featured the following statement: -
There was also capacity reported in care homes across Gloucestershire which could also be used to support patients to leave hospital in a timely way. The local authority should be closely involved with all decision-making due to its extensive experience in admission avoidance and community-based pathways.
It was explained that the capacity in Gloucestershire care homes and the potential use to support hospital discharge had not been discussed directly with the GCC Adult Social Care team. As such, there had been no opportunity to provide any context to the above statement, by the County Council. Spare capacity in the county’s care homes formed part of the rationale for the consultation on the proposed closures of the four GCC owned care homes. It was explained that, not all those waiting to leave hospital required a care home bed and not all empty care home beds were available for use.
Members were reassured that Adult Social Care and the wider County Council continued to work closely with colleagues in the Integrated Care System, and remained committed to supporting, not only the timely discharge of patients from hospital, but also efforts to allow residents remain as independent as possible, and in their own homes, for as long as possible.
The report was noted.
To suggest items for consideration at future meetings: -
5 July 2022
6 September 2002
15 November 2022
The meetings of future meetings were noted: -
5 July 2022
6 September 2022
15 November 2022
Items suggested for consideration at future meetings included: -
New Library Strategy – 5 July 2022
Civil Protection Team Presentation – 5 July 2022
Outcomes of Care Home Consultation (Cabinet Report – June 2022)
Adult Social Care Reform – Ongoing
Update on Motion 890 (Domestic Abuse) – May 2023