Agenda and minutes

Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 14 November 2023 10.00 am

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

Contact: Joanne Moore  Email: jo.moore@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

No apologies were received for this meeting.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2023.

 

The committee to note the progress of any actions from that meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2023 were noted and confirmed as a correct record of that meeting.

 

Members noted the summary of actions from previous meetings, including any outstanding actions. The following updates were made at the meeting: -

 

1.    Referencing a letter from the committee to the White Ribbon Charity in May 2023, following consideration of Council Motion 908, (Violence Against Women and Girls in Gloucestershire), and concerns about some of the terminology used in the White Ribbon accreditation process, (references to men as ambassadors and women as champions), it was confirmed that there had been no response to the letter following enquries made in September 2023. It was suggested that contact be made via dedicated Gloucestershire County Council White Ribbon Officers and this was agreed. Action by – Democratic Services Officer

 

2.    Suggested dates for a visit to the Coroners Court, Gloucester, had been circulated to the committee prior to the meeting. It was suggested that the date receiving the majority number of responses would be the date for the visit and would be notified to members later in the week. After the meeting, members were notified of an alternative date for the visit and it has since been agreed that the visit will now take place on Thursday 25 January 2024.

3.

Declarations of Interest

To record any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.

4.

Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support pdf icon PDF 1 MB

An overview of the support provided to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Gloucestershire.

 

Members are encouraged to read the papers relating to this item, including the Government Publication: Asylum Accommodation, published in July 2023. The publication is attached to the agenda and can also be viewed at the link here.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a detailed overview of the current migration and international resettlement situation in Gloucestershire. 

 

To prepare for the discussion, members were advised to refer to the House of Commons Library Briefing ‘Asylum Accommodation: Hotels, Vessels and Large-Scale Sites’ CBP-9831.pdf (parliament.uk) as background detail, including an explanation of the roles of the Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes responsible for asylum accommodation.

 

Key information referred to at the meeting included: -

 

1.    The number of displaced people in the UK has more than doubled over the last ten years. It is estimated that the number of refugees requiring resettlement in the UK in 2023 will be 36% higher than in 2022.

 

2.    In 2021,14,700 people were granted leave to remain in the UK through asylum-related protection, resettlement, or family reunion visas, and a further 48,500 asylum applications were made.

 

3.    In 2022, the conflict in Ukraine and the introduction of the Ukrainian visa schemes, saw a significant escalation in the number of refugees arriving in the UK. The number of migrants arriving through dangerous routes remains high. In 2022, the number of refugees arriving in the UK exceeded 45,700, a 60% increase on the 28,500 who arrived in 2021.

 

4.    Refugees arriving in the UK will need to have their asylum application heard and be given refugee status to remain in the country or enter the UK on a recognised scheme. Refugees generally have access to mainstream benefits and housing and are granted permission to work.

 

5.    Asylum seekers seeking protection need to apply for the right to be recognised as a refugee. Whilst waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, asylum seekers have limited rights in the UK.

 

6.    Primary refugee and resettlement schemes operating in Gloucestershire include: - 

 

                                     i.        Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) 

                                   ii.        Homes for Ukraine (HFU) scheme

                                  iii.        Ukraine Family Scheme

                                  iv.        Gloucestershire Refugee Resettlement Programme (GRRP) for Syrian refugees (latterly called UK Resettlement Scheme, UKRS)

                                   v.        Sudanese scheme

 

7.    The funding arrangements for the different schemes is described as complex and variable. Currently, funding for the ARAP and ACRS schemes is paid to County and passed to the Housing Partnership.

 

8.    Funding totals circa £24k per adult over three years for resettlement and integration costs. HFU funding comprises a tariff of £10,500 per person (reduced to £5,900 in January 2023) plus additional funds for education and host payments. The budget is managed by the County Council who employ the countywide HFU team, but funds are passed to districts for host, property and staffing payments. Funding of £8,520 is awarded per refugee on the UKRS during year one, with additional funds for education. For years two to five, funding continues, but at a decreasing rate from £5,000 to £1,000 per refugee.

 

9.    The number of Ukrainians ressiding in Gloucestershire on the HFU scheme remains high, with 724 living with host families and over 1,200 remaining in the county. DLUHC statistics show that the average rate of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Director of Public Health Report 2023

A verbal update on the Director of Public Health Report 2023 prior to publication of the report at the end of November.

Minutes:

Director of Public Health, Siobhan Farmer, outlined the context and timelines for the Director of Public Health’s Annual Report 2023. It was confirmed that, whilst not available for publication at the time of the meeting, the report would be published later that month, (November 2023), and circulated to members for comment and any questions.

 

After the meeting, the report, entitled ‘Just Another Drop – the Ripple Effect of Alcohol’ was published on the Gloucestershire County Council website at the link here.   

 

A video on the background and the work invested in the development of the report can be viewed at the link here.  

 

It was explained that the purpose of the report was to raise awareness of the issues surrounding alcohol, including the significant effects on the culture and economy of Gloucestershire, including the potential harm it can cause.

 

Emphasising the need for a system-wide response to prevent and reduce alcohol dependency, it was acknowledged that many people are able to drink and enjoy alcohol without harm being caused or detrimental effects. The report included a serious of recommendations, the successful outcomes of which will be dependent on partnership working and require community involvement in order to make a difference.

 

The recommendations, (outlined below), are divided into actions for the Public Health and Communities Team to progress, supplemented by activities for wider system partners to take forward.

 

The Public Health and Communities team to: -

 

  1. Strengthen the role of the ‘NHS Heath Check’ in identifying people with higher risk alcohol intake and encouraging them to access support. The NHS Health Check is a free checkup carried out at the GP Surgery. It is offered once every five years to people aged 40 to 74 years and can help spot early signs of stoke, kidney disease, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The health check also provides an opportunity to speak to a health professional on alcohol related issues and to learn about the support available to reduce alcohol intake, if needed).

 

  1. Ensure that all health care providers know how and who to refer for alcohol treatment;

 

  1. Explore opportunities to work in partnership with communities to equip local people to deliver brief interventions to support people who are concerned about their alcohol use in order to access support;

 

  1. Build on the opportunity for closer working between the Public Health and Communities Team and District Council licensing leads to strengthen the approach to licensing in the County;
  2. Maximise opportunities to use the ‘Gloucestershire Healthy Award’ to address work-related factors that can drive harmful drinking; raise awareness of the risks of drinking; promote healthier ways of socialising, relaxing and coping with difficulties, and provide signposts to support. The Gloucestershire Healthy Award is a free award scheme open to all Gloucestershire organisations in recognition of the work they do to support employee health and wellbeing.

 

Recommendations to System and Partners included: -

 

  1. Develop a stronger data-informed approach to the identification of risky drinking in Gloucestershire to inform action for early intervention to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Adult Social Care Performance Report 2023-24 (Quarter 2) pdf icon PDF 418 KB

To note the Adult Social Care and Communities Performance Report 2023/24 (Quarter 2) detailing performance during the period June to September 2023 (report attached). The report to be taken as read and noted at the meeting.

Minutes:

The committee noted the Adult Social Care and Communities Performance Report, (Quarter 2 2023-24).

 

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

 

Questioning the below target performance indicators on the number of service users who had not received a review of their service delivery during the past year, and the number of adults with learning difficulties in settled accommodation, it was agreed to review the performance indicators in more depth and to provide an update as part of the Adult Social Care update to the committee at its meeting in March 2024. Action by – Adult Social Care Team

 

Conscious of the ongoing position regarding performance data relating to Financial Assessment and Benefits (FAB) assessments, members were advised that the situation was being monitored, with an update and anticipated resolution in the New Year.

 

The report was noted.

7.

Adult Social Care Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

An overview of information on matters relating to the delivery of Adult Social Care in Gloucestershire. The report to be taken as read and noted at the meeting.

 

Members will be invited to ask questions on the contents of the report.

Minutes:

Professor Sarah Scott, Executive Director for Adult Social Care, Well-being and Communities, introduced the report and gave a summarised overview on 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 report published in advance of the meeting please refer to the link here.

 

Members were reminded of the update provided at the committee meeting on 7 March 2023 detailing the council’s preparations pending the introduction of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) Assessment of Local Authorities and Integrated Care Systems. At that meeting, members had been asked to consider their individual roles, and that of the Committee, in preparation for of a visit by the Care Quality Commission following the launch of the new inspection arrangements on 1 April 2023.

 

As a follow on from the meeting, a discussion on the arrangements for member engagement with the CQC was made at an all member workshop on 25 May 2023. Members also considered the Council’s self-assessment document.

 

The committee was advised that, in preparation for inspection in 2024, an extraordinary meeting, (in the form of a second all member briefing), would be held on 9 January 2024 to consider the Council’s revised self-assessment document, the findings of the recent LGA Peer Review report and the Council’s Improvement Plan.

 

At the briefing, members will be asked to consider the implications of the forthcoming CQC assurance process. After the briefing, the Adult Social Care Team will publish the GCC self-assessment document and the LGA Peer Review Report. Members were asked to confirm their attendance at the briefing to jo.moore@gloucestershire.gov.uk

 

Responding to questions, it was explained that, pending a decision at the Cabinet meeting in January on the findings of the Local Government Association’s recent Corporate Peer Review of the County Council, it would be useful for members to consider and provide input on the findings.

 

Looking ahead, it was noted that the duty on local authorities to promote the efficient and effective operation for adult care and support in the county would be considered during development of a new Gloucestershire Market Position Statement. The updated statement will consider the changing demographics of Gloucestershire over the next 5, 10 and 25 years and cover every service type, including preventative services, care at home and ongoing bed-based provision.

 

Working in partnership with the independent care sector and Newton Europe, (improvement partner for the Urgent and Emergency Care System), the new Market Position Statement will consider what care and support is needed in the county and in what form. The new Market Position Statement will be considered at the committee meeting on 24 July 2024. Action by – Adult Social Care Team

8.

Chief Fire Officer Update pdf icon PDF 193 KB

An overview of information 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, (Trading Standards and Coroner Services). The report to be taken as read and noted at the meeting.

 

Members will be invited to ask questions on the contents of the report.

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 include: Coroners Services and Trading Standards.

 

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

 

Cllr Dave Norman MBE, Cabinet Member for Fire, Community Safety and Libraries, attended the meeting to respond to questions on the areas within his portfolio and within the remit of the committee.

 

Coroners Service

 

Members attention was drawn to some of the key challenges facing Coroners Services, including budgetary issues and funding ambitions.

 

Responding to questions, it was confirmed that the Coroners Service would continue to pursue relevant Medium Term Financial Statement bids during 2024/25, including seeking additional staffing resources to ease current pressures. It was noted that an Area Coroner was now in place to support the Senior Coroner.

 

Members expressed concern about the lack of duty pathologists available to undertake Coronial post-mortem work, (the highest current risk to the Coroners service). It was reported that the issue was a national problem and that the Chief Coroner for England and Wales was actively engaged with the Royal College of Pathologists to identify solutions. The Mortuary Manager at the Gloucestershire Coroners continues to work with the Coroner’s Operations Officer to ensure the Gloucestershire team is able to respond to the needs and availability of pathologists.

 

The update was noted, with a request for a more comprehensive update on local pathologist arrangements at a future meeting. Action by – Chief Fire Officer and Director of Community Safety

 

Trading Standards

 

A key challenges to the Trading Standards team include the growth of online sales and lack of controls in place to regulate sales. This, and the risk of online fraud, continue to be a concern.  

 

Responding to questions, it was confirmed that the Trading Standards team had relocated to Quayside House, Gloucester.

 

In terms of consumer protection, members requested raised awareness of CE marked goods when entering the UK from an EU country, including information on safety checks performed at the point of entry into the EU. It was explained that, following exit from the EU, persons bringing goods into the UK were now responsible for conducting the necessary checks to ensure the product was safe, similar to when products were imported from outside the EU. Members stressed the importance of ensuring local businesses were aware of the arrangements for safety checks and that the information was well publicised. A request was made for a press release to be made before Christmas and the request was noted. Action by - Chief Fire Officer and Director of Community Safety

 

Members noted the recent government policy announcement on creating a smoke free generation. Information on work with Public Health colleagues to address the issue of vaping amongst young people and on the ‘Creating a Smoke Free Generation’ public consultation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Public Health Update pdf icon PDF 143 KB

An overview of information on matters relating to Public Health in Gloucestershire. The report to be taken as read and noted at the meeting.

 

Members will be invited to ask questions on the contents of the report.

Minutes:

Members received a report from Siobhan Farmer, Director of Public Health, detailing the work of the Public Health Team within the scope of the committee terms of reference. The report outlined anticipated issues and activities that may require consideration from the committee in 2024.

 

Included in the report were references to the Government policy paper published on 4 October 2023. The paper Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smoke free generation was noted. Referred to earlier in the meeting, members were encouraged to take part in a government online survey to express their views on the proposals. Action by – Members

 

Members were informed that the contract for the Adult Community Drug and Alcohol Treatment Service was due to end in March 2024. In preparation, permission had been sought to undertake a competitive procurement process for the purpose of awarding a new contract in January 2023. In May 2023, the current provider, CGL (Change, Grow, Live), chose not to compete in the bidding process.

 

It was announced that the new contract had been awarded to V.I.A. (formerly known as Westminster Drugs Project). Operating for over thirty years, it was reported that the new contract would commence on 1 April 2024, following the transfer of services from the current provider at the end of March.

 

Members attention was drawn to a new national suicide prevention strategy. The strategy sets out the Government’s ambitions to reduce the suicide rate in England over the next 5 years and improve support for those people who self-harm and those bereaved by suicide.

 

The report was noted.

 

 

 

10.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To note the committee work plan (attached) and agree items for consideration at future meetings.

 

The committee to note and evaluate the merits of considering a scrutiny item in response to concerns raised by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee in relation to delayed discharges from mental health settings in Gloucestershire and the use of the County Council Estate to facilitate this.

Minutes:

The combined work plan of the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee was noted.

 

The following updates were noted and agreed at the meeting: -

 

1.    Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Plan Proposal: Psychiatric Inpatient Discharges/Support provided by Adult Social Care Services

 

At the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 27 September 2023, members considered the role of adult social care in supporting the discharge from mental health beds in the local NHS Gloucestershire system. The discussion arose from consideration of a report on the management of the Gloucestershire County Council Estate.

 

A briefing note had been circulated in advance of the meeting to assist the members of this committee consider what actions it may wish to take in response to the request to scrutinise the matter in more detail. It was explained that the briefing note had been for information purposes only and had been produced to aid member’s understanding in advance of the work planning discussion.

 

The committee was asked to evaluate the merits of considering a scrutiny item in response to the concerns raised by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on delayed discharges from mental health settings in Gloucestershire and the use of the County Council Estate to facilitate this. 

 

In considering the request, the committee agreed to: -

 

Defer consideration of the request pending consideration of the Health and Adult Social Care Market Position Statement Report and presentation to the committee in July 2024. It was suggested that the matter be considered as a broader ‘in-house provision’ topic, with officers from the in-house provision team invited to the meeting to assist with the presentation.

 

It was suggested that a site visit might be useful for the committee to visit one of the council’s in-house locations in the New Year, and this was agreed. Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) members to be invited to join the visit.

 

As a general perspective, the committee felt that matters relating to the council’s estate were matters for consideration by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and that matters relating to hospital discharges were matters already being considered, and continued to be considered, by HOSC. The committee felt it was important not to duplicate the work of other committees.

 

Referring specifically to use of the County Council owned property at Wheatridge Court, Gloucester, and the temporary closure of the property in October 2021, it was explained that the lay out and provision of facilities at Wheatridge Court meant that the property differed from standard residential care homes.

 

Noting the practical considerations of the property and review of in-house services that commenced prior to the pandemic, members were advised that colleagues continued to work on delivering the Market Position Statement (MPS) for consideration by the committee in July 2024.

 

At the July meeting, members will be provided with an update on the use of the property, plus an overview of any other arrangements covering the next 25 years (to 2050),  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.