Venue: Committee Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
To note any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Pam Tracey, (substituted by Cllr Andrew Miller), and Cllr Suzanne Williams, (substituted by Cllr Ben Evans).
Declarations of Interest
To record any declarations of interest.
No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.
To agree and confirm the minutes of meetings held on 5 and 20 July 2022 (attached)
The minutes of the meetings held on 5 and 20 July 2022 were confirmed as an accurate record of those meetings.
A presentation on the applications of behavioural science within public health. Tom Beasley, Chief Executive Officer of Active Gloucestershire, will contribute to the presentation and attend the meeting to answer questions.
The committee received a detailed presentation on the use and application of behavioural science in local government, including proposed next steps to the integration of behavioural science in the delivery of the council’s services. Please refer to the report circulated with the agenda and the attached PowerPoint presentation presented at the meeting for information.
Behavioural science is the scientific, evidence-based, study of human behaviour used to better understand and influence desired changes. Expanding on the rationale for the application of behavioural science in local government decision making, it was explained that, whilst individuals may have access to lots of information and appear to have the best of intentions, they didn’t always necessarily behave in a logical or rational way.
Tom Beasley and Sarah Haden-Godwin from Active Gloucestershire attended the meeting to respond to questions and to share some of the success stories emerging from the use of behavioural science with their work. Responding to questions, it was confirmed that one of the advantages of using behavioural science was that it could applied to a range of different levels and, from local experience, had proven to be successful across the whole of the county. It was recognised, however, that it was important to adhere to firm principles in its application.
Members were advised to refer to the Public Health England ‘Achieving Behaviour Change’ publication, (guide for local government and partners), for more information on the application of behavioural science in local government.
Agreeing to provide further updates at future meetings, it was hoped the examples referred to at this meeting would help highlight the benefits to local councils from using evidence-based behavioural science. The committee noted the report, including further opportunities for embedding behavioural science in the council’s business.
An update on the Council’s suicide prevention work in Gloucestershire from Claire Proctor, Head of Commissioning: Public Mental Health and Domestic Abuse.
Claire Procter, Assistant Director of Prevention, Wellbeing and Communities and Nicky, Commissioning Officer for Public Mental Health, gave a detailed presentation on the Council’s suicide prevention work in Gloucestershire. The presentation included the latest data on suicide trends, both nationally and locally, and an overview of the Council’s work with system partners to help reduce suicide and to offer support to those affected by it. The PowerPoint presentation presented at the meeting is attached for information.
It was explained that, as part of the its public health responsibilities, the Council was responsible for co-ordinating the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership and for overseeing delivery of the countywide Suicide Prevention Strategy and Suicide Audit.
Suicide prevention in Gloucestershire is led by the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Steering Group. Chaired by the Public Health Team, the Steering Group includes representation from the Corners Office, Police, Mental Health Trust, and Integrated Care Board. The Steering Group reports to the Mental Health and Wellbeing Partnership Board, which in turn reports to the Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board.
The Steering Group works alongside the Gloucestershire Suicide Prevention Partnership Forum, a broad network of partners from across the public, voluntary and community sector. The forum is open to all with an interest in preventing suicide and is designed to encourage information exchange and joint working. The forum meets several times a year
Highlighting the importance of the Gloucestershire ‘Support After Suicide Service’ (GSAS) launched in February 2022, members were informed that investment in the service had arisen from the allocation of NHS England funding in 2021 for the purposes of improving support to those bereaved through suicide. The service supported people aged 18 plus living in the county who had been affected or bereaved by suicide. This included family, partners, friends, colleagues, health & social care professionals and those who may have witnessed a death. The service provides a range of support including practical and emotional support, bereavement counselling and peer support groups.
Gloucestershire had also benefitted from the allocation of NHS England funding for wider suicide prevention. A tranche of this funding, (allocated in 2029/20), had been used to part fund the Gloucestershire Wellbeing Community Grant Programme. It was confirmed that a total of 28 grants had been awarded to facilitate a range of projects. These include: a mental health and postnatal depression support project for mothers; a counselling project for young people; new sporting clubs for children and adults with disabilities, and wellbeing workshops to help improve people’s mental health, wellbeing and resilience.
Responding to questions, it was confirmed that nationally, there did not appear to have been an increase in overall suicides culminating from the pandemic. Nevertheless, the impact of the past two years had almost certainly exacerbated some of the key risk factors that contributed to poor mental health and suicide. These included, social isolation, financial challenges, and bereavement. Acknowledging the importance continuing to promote the support available to people who may be experiencing mental health issues, the committee was informed that this would be ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
An overview of the Council’s Voluntary and Community Sector Strategic Partnership arrangements, including new developments that have emerged during the pandemic.
Di Billingham, Head of Commissioning, (Voluntary and Community Partnerships), updated members on the council’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) strategic partnership arrangements, including an overview of new developments emerging from the pandemic.
The report circulated with the agenda was taken as read at the meeting.
One area of work highlighted at the meeting was work being undertaken by the Gloucestershire Voluntary and Community Sector (GVCS) Alliance. It was noted that, since April 2018, Gloucestershire NHS had invested in the GVCS Alliance to enable it to extend its work and improve the health and wellbeing of Gloucestershire residents.
Noting an earlier presentation to the committee, it was reported that the Alliance, whilst still very much in its formative stage, was progressing well in the recruitment of volunteers. It was confirmed that a partnership action plan had been produced, with a focus on the better use of resources and on raising more awareness on the role of the Alliance.
A key area of focus for the Alliance in 2022-23 was the Development of a Memorandum of Understanding from which to commit to new ways of working based on shared values and principles. It was hoped that the bringing together of organisations and improved partnership working would make a significant difference to the county.
Members were advised to refer to the link here for more information on the work of the Alliance: ICS - Gloucestershire VCS Alliance (glosvcsalliance.org.uk)
Members noted that funding allocated to the Alliance during the past 12 months had helped local VCS groups secure over £220,000 to maintain their delivery. For more information please visit Gloucestershire VCS Alliance - Gloucestershire VCS Alliance (glosvcsalliance.org.uk)
The report was noted.
To consider performance data relating to the delivery of services within the remit and context of the committee during Quarter 1 of 2022/23.
The committee considered a detailed analysis of performance relating to the delivery of services within the remit of the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee. The analysis was produced by the County Council’s Performance & Improvement Team, based on data to the end of June 2022.
The information was noted.
A report from the Director of Public Health, (Gloucestershire County Council).
The committee received an update from the Director of Public Health on matters relating to Public Health in Gloucestershire. To view the published information report relating to this item, please open the link here
The report included detailed updates on the following areas of work (undertaken by the Prevention, Wellbeing and Communities Team): -
1. Gloucestershire Combatting Drugs Partnership
2. Covid-19 Update
3. Health Protection Strategy
4. Monkey Pox
5. Update on work to tackle Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Expanding on the latest daily Covid-19 vaccine statistics published via https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map/vaccinations it was confirmed that, as of 9 August 2022, 88.0% of the population aged over 12 years in the county had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Work was underway within the system to offer everyone over 50 years of age, or in a clinical risk group, an Autumn Civid-19 booster vaccine from the middle of September. Members were advised that the vaccines would be delivered in line with the JCVI cohort groups to ensure that those most clinically vulnerable to Covid were offered the booster vaccination as a priority, commencing with care home residents.
Concerns were noted that the potential for people to experience flu symptoms during the winter period presented an equally significant risk to people’s health. Conscious of the impact an increased number of flu cases might have on the healthcare system highlighted the importance of encouraging people to take up the offer of the flu vaccine.
Updating members on the outbreak of the Monkeypox infection, (commonly found in West or Central Africa), it was confirmed that, since May 2022, there had been reports of cases of monkeypox reported in multiple countries that did not normally experience the virus, including the UK.
Members were advised that people with likely or confirmed monkeypox would be able to isolate at home. More serious cases would need to seek professional treatment and advice. It was clarified that Monkeypox did not spread easily between people but, in some circumstances, may spread through:
· Direct contact with monkeypox skin lesions or scabs (including during sexual contact, kissing, cuddling, or holding hands);
· Coughing or sneezing of an individual with a monkeypox rash when they’re close to you
· Contact with clothing or linens (such as bedding or towels) used by an infected person
As of 15 August 2022, 3,081 cases of Monkeypox and 114 highly probable cases had been confirmed in the UK. Cases in Gloucestershire were low, with 8 confirmed or highly probable cases, (at the time of the report). It was noted that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) was closely monitoring the situation, with vaccinations being offered to individuals at higher risk of exposure to the disease, (including healthcare workers in settings such as sexual health services).
Vaccination offered protection and helped to reduce the spread of disease. In Gloucestershire, vaccination against the disease was being delivered by Gloucestershire Health and Care via the Specialist Sexual Health service. It was confirmed that, nationally, there were limited supplies of the vaccine, ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
A report from the Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities, (Gloucestershire County Council).
Included in the report, members are asked to consider the Gloucestershire Frailty Strategy at Appendix 1 of the report.
The committee received an update from the Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health on matters relating to the delivery of Adult Social Care services in Gloucestershire. To view the information report relating to this item, please open the link here
Included in the update, (Appendix 1 of the report) was an overview of the Council’s Frailty Strategy. The strategy focuses on prevention, early identification of health needs, and improving urgent support, when needed. This proactive approach, combined with improved collaboration between primary, community, acute and social care, aimed to provide support to frail and older adults and enable them to live independently for longer.
The committee noted an update on the Cabinet decision to decommission four care homes within the Gloucestershire Care Partnership. The decision, (following a six-week consultation and engagement exercise), agreed to the closure of the following care homes: -
Orchard House, Bishops Cleeve, Tewkesbury
Westbury Court, Westbury, Forest of Dean
Bohanam House, Gloucester
The Elms, Stonehouse, Stroud
Members recalled the call in of the cabinet decision in July and the outcome of the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting to uphold the Cabinet decision.
Members received an update on Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care and Care Act Reform. It was explained that the purpose of the Fair Cost of Care Act, (referred to as Cost of Care), would be to redress the gap between the charges paid for care by Local Authorities and those paid by self-funding individuals. It was confirmed that a national exercise was underway to establish the median cost of care for domiciliary care for over 18s and care homes for over 65s in every local authority. Once determined, the figures, submitted as part of a “Market Sustainability Plan”, would be used to inform the financial settlement awarded to each local authority from the “Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund.
It was reported that the Council had appointed a third party to act as an independent receiver of the data from the exercise, (due to providers being reluctant to share market sensitive information with commissioners).A working group had been established, made up of representatives from Finance, the Adult Transformation Programme, Performance and Commissioning. The group would be required to analyse the returns/outcomes of the exercise.
The Government Care Cap, (plans to introduce a new £86,000 cap on the amount any one individual in England would be required to spend on their personal care over their lifetime), would be introduced in October 2023. A consequence of this decision is that each local authority will be responsible for funding the cost of care for everyone reaching the care cap; subsequently impacting on the Council’s spend on external care.
From October 2023, the Government is proposing to make the means test for accessing local authority funding support more generous. The upper capital limit, (threshold above which somebody is not eligible for local authority support), will increase from £23,250 to £100,000. The lower capital limit, (threshold at which ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
An update on matters relating to the portfolio of services delivered by the Chief Fire Officer, (Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service), and within the remit of the Gloucestershire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee, (Trading Standards, Civil Protection and Coroners Services).
The committee received a detailed overview of matters relating to the delivery of services within the portfolio of services covered 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).
To view the full report, please open the link here
Cllr Terry Hale reiterated concerns about risks associated with free roaming sheep in the Forest of Dean District and advised of the intention to arrange a meeting involving representatives from each of the statutory organisations responsible for the welfare and safety of the sheep.
Responding to questions, it was agreed to make a recommendation to the Environment Scrutiny Committee that the committee, (Air Quality Management Task Group), consider the impact of air pollution from wood burners and the burning of other substances.
The report was noted.
To suggest items for consideration at future meetings.
The following items were suggested as items to add to the committee work plan: -
Ø Joint review (ASCC and HOSC) of work to support people of all ages at risk of taking their own lives.
Ø Action on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Gloucestershire Collaboration Presentation
Ø Recommendation to the Environment Scrutiny Committee that the committee, (Air Quality Management Task Group), consider the impact of air pollution from wood burners and the burning of other substances.
Ø Behavioural Science – 6 Month Update (March meeting)
Ø Gloucestershire Combatting Drug Partnership Update
Ø Care Act Reform – Information Session to all Councillors
Chair of the Committee, Cllr Stephan Fifield, conveyed his intention to seek the views of the committee on how best to take forward committee work planning arrangements.