Agenda and minutes

Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 12 September 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Jo Moore (DSU) 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Terry Hale.

 

Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities, Professor Sarah Scott, was unable to attend the meeting on this occasion. Amanda Jones, (Director of Operations: Adult Social Care), represented Sarah at the meeting.

2.

Declarations of Interest

To report any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 18 July 2023 (attached).

 

To note the summary of actions sheet from that meeting (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 July 2023 were confirmed and agreed as a correct record of that meeting.

 

Chair, Cllr Lisa Spivey, confirmed that, in response to Council Motion 908: Violence Against Women and Girls, (VAWG), considered at the Gloucestershire County Council meeting on 9 November 2022, it had been agreed that the attached committee report, including recommendations, would be presented on behalf of the committee to Cabinet at its meeting on 20 September 2023.

To view the outcomes of the discussion at the full council meeting, please refer to the agenda and minutes published on the Gloucestershire County Council website at the link here.

Forming part of the council motion was a request that the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee investigate and produce a report for Cabinet on ‘the steps County Council should take to address VAWG in the county’.

To view the outcomes of discussions in response to Motion 908 at Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee meetings held on 7 March, 16 May and 18 July 2023, please refer to the agenda and minutes published on the Gloucestershire County Council at the link here.

One member of the committee enquired into an action from the previous meeting and asked if a response to the letter to the White Ribbon Charity had been received following concerns about some of the terminology that had been used by the organisation in relation to Ambassadors and Champions. It was confirmed no response had been received, and agreed that a follow up enquiry be made on behalf of the committee. Action by – Democratic Services Officer

In addition, the Chair of the Committee, requested circulation of updates on the work and activities of the White Ribbon Steering Group. Action by – Democratic Services Officer

4.

Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board (GSAB) Annual Report pdf icon PDF 499 KB

Paul Yeatman, Independent Chair of the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board, (GSAB) and Sarah Jasper, Head of Safeguarding Adults at Gloucestershire County Council, to present the GSAB Annual Report 2022-23. The report forms part of the statutory requirements of the Care Act 2014 and covers the period April 2022 to March 2023.

Minutes:

Paul Yeatman, Independent Chair of the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board, (GSAB), and Sarah Jasper, Head of Safeguarding Adults at Gloucestershire County Council, presented the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board Annual Report 2022-23. The report forms part of the statutory requirements of the Care Act 2014 and covers the period April 2022 to March 2023.

 

The purpose of the report was to set out the work undertaken by the Board during the past 12 months in order to help and protect adults at risk of abuse and neglect.

 

In presenting the report, the Chair of the Board, referred to the establishment of the NHS Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board in July 2022, and the significant opportunities this provided in delivering safeguarding work from across the partnership landscape. He stated that there was further work to be done to enhance quality assurance and data analysis from across the partnership and to build on the data provided by local authorities.

 

It was reported that the forthcoming year was anticipated to be a challenging year for those individuals engaged in adult safeguarding. During 2023, the Care Quality Commission was due to begin its assessment of the quality of care at local authority and Integrated Care Board level in order to provide independent assurance to the public. It was hoped the new assurance regime will focus on adult safeguarding and provide more opportunities to further local collaborative and partnership work to benefit those adults at most risk of abuse and neglect.

 

Members were encouraged to sign up to the distribution list requesting electronic issues of the GSAB Quarterly Newsletter and information on a variety of themes. Action by All

 

Head of Safeguarding (Adults), Sarah Jasper, outlined new arrangements introduced following the launch of the new Safeguarding Adults Single Point of Access Team on 3 August 2023. It was explained that:-

 

a)    Safeguarding contacts from professionals to be communicated direct to the Safeguarding Adults Team via an enhanced referral form and screened by a dedicated team of staff.

 

b)    The ‘Single Point of Access Team’ to make the decision on whether the contact has suggested that a safeguarding enquiry under Section 42 of the Care Act is needed before passing the contacts on to the team’s Practitioners as safeguarding concerns. Prior to this date, all contacts were communicated via the Adult Help Desk.

 

c)    The benefits to the new approach included:

 

                      i.        All referrals were now considered by a dedicated team of safeguarding support staff;

                    ii.        Feedback was provided to those making the referrals on whether the contact had been passed to practitioners as a safeguarding concern, or signposted in cases where they had not;

 

                   iii.        Improved communication and better understanding among professionals about when a safeguarding enquiry may be needed and when other routes are more appropriate;

 

                   iv.        Improved information/data gathering to assist with decision making.

 

Members were informed that during the first 4 weeks of the Single Point of Access Team becoming operational, 566 referrals had been received, an average of 142 per week, equating  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Council Motion 918: Community Meals Service pdf icon PDF 210 KB

Further to briefings at committee meetings on 7 March and 16 May 2023, and in response to Council Motion 918, (24 May 2023), the committee to receive an update on the work being taken to deliver the Community Meals Service in Gloucestershire.

Minutes:

Amanda Jones, Director of Operations for Adult Social Care, gave a detailed update on the Gloucestershire Community Meals Service.

 

To view the report relating to this item please view the link on the County Council website at the link here.

 

Noting the background to consideration of Motion 908 at the Full Council meeting on 24 May 2023, (proposed by Cllr John Bloxsom; seconded by Cllr David Drew), members attention was drawn to the briefings presented to the committee prior to the council meeting to advise of the actions being taken to secure a new provider for the Gloucestershire Community Meals Service with effect from 1 April 2023.

 

At the committee meeting on 7 March 2023, (in response to concerns about the continuation of the Community Meals Service and the impact on local communities), the Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and

Communities advised members that the council was committed to providing a hot meal service to those in need post the termination of the contract Apetito Limited on 31 March 2023.

 

Outlining the challenges presented to the council in trying to secure a new provider, members were assured that everything possible was being done to retain the service. The council was aware of the impact the new arrangement might have on people with dementia and with mobility issues and had focused its work on securing an interim arrangement for a period of six months whilst trying to secure a more permanent arrangement in the longer term.

 

The immediate priority following the failed procurement attempt was to secure a service for vulnerable people and to prevent any sudden withdrawal of support. A significant amount of work had been undertaken to identify people using the service, to review their needs, and to work with families and the private, independent and voluntary sectors, to secure appropriate ongoing support.

 

Adopting a ‘lessons learned’ approach, efforts were made to contact providers who had expressed an interest in the contract, including the existing provider, to try to understand why they were not bidding for the contract and what could be done to improve on the offer in the short and medium term. 

 

With no alternative provision in place, the County Council engaged with the Voluntary and Community Sector to seek their support in engaging with previous users of the service. During subsequent conversations, practitioners found that a number of families had already made alternative arrangements as a result of receiving end of service letters.

 

Some residents chose to stay with Apetito by taking up their frozen meals offer, some signed up to local meals clubs, and some had arranged for home deliveries from other meals suppliers, (advertised via Your Circle and on other information sites).

Following commencement of the new service in April 2023, a total of less than 80 people were in receipt of a subsidised service. Since April, the number in receipt of the service has fallen even further, with only 7 recipients receiving subsidised meals at the beginning of September 2023.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Quarter 1 Performance Report 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 333 KB

To note the Adult Social Care and Communities Performance Report 2023/24 (Quarter 1) detailing performance during the period June to September 2023 (report attached). The report to be taken as read at the meeting.

Minutes:

The committee noted the Adult Social Care and Communities Performance Report, (Quarter 1 2023-24).

 

To view the scorecard published in advance of the meeting please refer to the link here.

 

Referencing the context of below target performance indicators relating to opiate treatment, it was explained that these targets were based on historic data and in arrears due to the current ‘stand-still’ period following the award of the contract. A more accurate picture would be reflected in later reports.  

 

The report was noted.

7.

Adult Social Care Update pdf icon PDF 161 KB

An update report from the Executive Director for Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities. The report to be taken as read and noted at the meeting.

Minutes:

On behalf of Professor Sarah Scott, Executive Director for Adult Social Care, Well-being and Communities, Amanda Jones, Director of Operations: Adult Social Care, gave a detailed overview of the work of the Adult Social Care Team, (within the scope of the committee terms of reference), including anticipated issues and activities that may require consideration during 2023-24.

 

To view the slideshow presentation presented at the meeting, please refer to the link here

 

Key points raised during the discussion included: -

 

The County Council is currently reviewing its Adult Social Care non-residential charging policy, (full title GCC ASC Fairer Contribution Policy). It was explained that the council has to ensure that the policy is fair?and appropriate for service users and residents of the county, now and in the future.  The County Council has commissioned?the Consultation Institute?to help to?prepare for both pre-consultation engagement and public consultation. A working group had been established to plan for the pre-consultation?engagement work, including a ‘stakeholder mapping’ exercise to understand the scope of those affected and to support the initial drafting of Equality Impact Assessments.

 

Following the engagement process, (31 July – 29 August 2023), feedback will be shared and next steps confirmed in a report made available to the public in late September 2023. Based on the engagement activity, a formal consultation may be required to help update the future policy. Please refer to the online portal for further information and online survey at the link here

 

Key dates relating to the council’s preparations for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessment of the county council’s performance in the delivery of adult social care included a LGA peer challenge visit between 19 and 22 September, followed by implementation and delivery of the council’s Quality Strategy in late September 2023. An update on the council’s preparations against the GCC improvement plan will be presented at the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny meeting on 5 March 2024.

 

Noted earlier in the meeting, the new Safeguarding Adults Single Point of Access team launched on 3 August 2023. Safeguarding contacts will be submitted directly to the Safeguarding Adults Team via an enhanced referral form and screened by dedicated staff. Decisions will be made on whether a contact suggests a safeguarding enquiry under section 42 of the Care Act is needed before passing the contacts on to the team’s Practitioners as safeguarding concerns. Prior to this date, all contacts went to the Adult Help Desk. The new approach aims to improve communication and enable a better understanding on whether a safeguarding enquiry is needed or if other options are more appropriate. The new process had been positively received.

 

The report was noted.

 

 

8.

Public Health Update pdf icon PDF 166 KB

An update report from the Director of Public Health. The report to be taken as read and noted at the meeting.

Minutes:

Siobhan Farmer, Director of Public Health gave a detailed overview of the work of the Public Health Team, (within the scope of the committee terms of reference), including anticipated issues and activities that may require consideration during 2023-24.

 

To view the slideshow presentation presented at the meeting, please refer to the link here

 

Responding to concerns about the new Covid variant, the Director of Public Health clarified that the recent increase in cases reflected an increase in a variant of low concern. Confirming that the roll-out of the Covid vaccine was being brought forward based on the rationale that the current vaccine provided the most effective protection against the variant, the Director gave a short update on the anticipated arrangements for the roll out of the Autumn Flu and Covid vaccinations in Gloucestershire.

 

Information published by NHS Gloucestershire after the meeting confirmed: -

 

1)    Everyone eligible for a COVID booster or flu vaccination will receive an invitation from local NHS services to book their vaccination slots. The public is advised not to contact their GP surgeries at this time.

 

2)    Residents in care homes/people who are housebound will be prioritised for vaccination, followed by those most at risk, including those with underlying health conditions or receiving treatment following organ transplant or receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

 

3)    Carers, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions and health and social care staff will be among the groups offered a COVID and flu vaccination, as well as adults aged 65 and over. Where possible, COVID and flu vaccinations will be offered at the same time, subject to available supplies. In parallel, flu vaccines will be given to children aged two and three, and children of primary school age. Secondary school pupils up to year 11 will be offered vaccinations later in the autumn/winter.

 

4)    In addition, parents of children in reception and years 1 to 6 will be invited to give consent for their children to have a nasal spray via the school vaccination programme. Parents of children aged two or three should receive an invite via their GP practice.

 

Vaccinations in Gloucestershire can be accessed: -

 

1)    Via appointment at a GP-led primary care network vaccination centre (these appointments are not available on the national booking system). People will receive an invitation directly from local NHS services to book their appointment. People may be offered their COVID booster and flu jab at the same appointment, subject to supplies.

 

2)    Via the national booking system (COVID booster only). This service will be offered from 18 September 2023.

 

3)    In addition, appointments can be booked at a number of community pharmacies located across the county using the NBS telephone number and website www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or by calling 119.

 

People eligible for vaccination include:

 

1)    Residents in a care home for older adults/staff working in care homes for older adults (COVID booster and flu jab)

2)    Frontline health and social care workers (COVID booster and flu jab)

3)    All adults aged 65 years and over (COVID  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Chief Fire Officer Update pdf icon PDF 210 KB

An update on matters relating to the portfolio of services delivered by the Chief Fire Officer of the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and within the remit of the Gloucestershire County Council’s Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee, (including Trading Standards and Coroner Services).

Minutes:

Chief Fire Officer and Director of Community Safety, Mark Preece, gave a detailed overview of the work of the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service in relation to the areas of responsibility within the scope of the committee terms of reference. These included: Coroners Services and Trading Standards.

 

To view the slide-show presentation presented at the meeting, please refer to the link here

 

Coroners Service

 

An update on the proposed visit to the Coroners Court, Gloucester was provided. It was agreed to circulate proposed dates for the visit after the meeting.

 

Key points raised during the discussion included: -

 

Ongoing challenges facing the Coroners Service, included exceptional winter pressures resulting in significant pressures on mortuary capacity; a national shortage of Pathologists; and a recent growth in uncertified deaths resulting from a reluctance by some medical practitioners to undertake death certification.

 

Other issues included the need to replace essential equipment nearing the end of its working life and outdated facilities at the 10 year old Coroners Court.

 

Expanding on some of the financial pressures impacting on the service, the Chief Fire Officer advised of the intention to secure relevant bids as part of the council’s budgeting and Medium Term Financial Strategy process to ease pressures and add additional funding to the baseline budget to cover increasing costs.

 

It was confirmed that funding had been secured for an Area Coroner to support the Senior Coroner plus additional funding to address increased costs in pathology and mortuary costs. Financial pressures continued to be monitored.

 

Acknowledging the number of increased risks to the service, the committee expressed its support to make future bids from which to secure financial funding. It was suggested that any messages of support should be incorporated in the scrutiny budget process due to commence later in the year and for the Chair and members of the committee to express their views at the Corporate Scrutiny Budget Committee meeting on 10 January 2024. Action: Chair/Committee Members

 

Trading Standards

 

Members received a detailed account of the financial pressures impacting on the service and including a reduction in the net budget of 55%. The Chief Fire Officer also referred to the significant reduction in the size of the team and informed members that the service continued to seek income generation opportunities in spite of it being limited to areas where income generation activities would not prejudice the GFRS role as regulator. Further bids for funding would be made via the County Council’s MTFS and budgetary process.

 

Members noted the extent of some of the issues impacting on the service, including financial and recruitment pressures, and noted the suggestion of inviting the Cabinet Portfolio Holder to the next meeting of the committee to discuss budget considerations in advance of the scrutiny budget discussion meeting in January 2024. Action: Democratic Services

 

The report was noted.

10.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 94 KB

The committee to note and agree the committee work plan (attached).

Minutes:

The committee work plan circulated with the agenda was noted and agreed.

 

The next meeting of the committee would be held on 14 November 2023, at which the Director of Public Health’s report would be considered and a report relating to health considerations of the local migrant population.

 

A joint meeting of the members of the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be held on 11 January 2024 to consider the progress of work relating to the priorities set out in the Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board Strategy.

 

Future meetings:

 

14 November 2023

11 January 2024

05 March 2024

14 May 2024

23 July 2024

10 September 2024

12 November 2024