Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
To agree the minutes of the meeting on 29 October 2019.
The minutes of the meeting on 29 October 2019 were agreed as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
No additional declarations were made.
Members have requested an update on this service area with a particular focus on mobile libraries.
4.1 Jane Everiss introduced the paper outlining the Council’s current position regarding libraries. She emphasised that public libraries were digital, creative and cultural centres of excellence. They were seen as impartial non-threatening trusted community spaces with Gloucestershire Libraries receiving over 2 million visits per year. There was in increase of use from members of the community in deprived areas.
4.2 The report outlined a number of statistics to demonstrate how libraries were part of the Gloucestershire Growth Hub network and were access points to business advice and information. In addition, libraries also supported the Council’s health agenda by providing health and wellbeing zones, dementia reading groups and books on prescription.
4.3 The service provided children’s services in libraries where activities were provided to encourage reading and learning as well as supporting the School
4.4 In addition, libraries provided access to free activities such as baby bounce and rhyme and reading clubs. Over 9,000 children had signed up for the Reading Challenge. The Service had launched its first innovation lab at Coleford library with a second ‘lab’ due to be installed in Gloucester Library.
4.5 With regards to the Mobile Library, the vehicle had failed a safety inspection test in March 2019. The service had worked hard to ensure that customers who previously used the service had been able to continue to access library services and there had been constant communication with individuals as detailed within the report.
4.6 The service had identified 7 locations which, due to the numbers of borrowers (74 in total), who used the mobile regularly, would benefit from a community access point. The service had written to Parish Councils in order to work with them to agree community points within those locations. A further point at Northleach was also raised.
4.7 The service was still liaising with GFRS to use an obsolete vehicle as a trial to fully understand the need prior to obtaining agreement to procure a new vehicle to support the service.
4.8 In response to a question it was explained that the mobile library historically had been about offering book lending. It did have access to a PC but having a working internet connection in rural areas was a challenge. Advice and guidance sessions had also been offered there.
4.9 Members thanked the service on behalf of their local areas with Coleford Library and Nailsworth being mentioned.
4.10 In response to a question it was stated that the community access points had yet to be set up, but the current service was working well. The majority of service users were accessing public library buildings.
4.11 There was a discussion on the use of computers in libraries with it explained that while computer usage had declined, there had been an increase in the use of public Wi-Fi. This demonstrated that over time the way individuals accessed the internet had changed. There were still individuals who required access to ICT and the support of library staff to use it. The rollout of the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Members have asked for a report outlining how the service is performing and in particular:
· Animal Welfare
· Counterfeit goods
· Cyber Crime
5.1 Wayne Bowcock, the Chief Fire Officer, updated the Committee on Trading Standards performance in the areas of animal welfare, counterfeit goods and Cyber Crime.
5.2 Trading Standards was responsible for disease control amongst farmed animals. However, disease control could not be separated from animal welfare issues as farmers that did not meet welfare standards were invariably creating environments that also breached important disease control measures. Animal Welfare had always been a service priority with a number of specialist officers dedicated to working in the area. Funding from DEFRA had ceased in 2013 but the Council had continued to employ a significant proportion of available resources in that area. Due to the reduction in staffing the overall level of work had reduced with officers concentrating on high-risk and critical control points. Members noted the performance information which included 78 visits to markets, abattoirs and collection centres, 78 visits to farms or other interventions and 198 office based checks to ensure compliance.
5.3 7795 contacts from the public, business or other agencies were made in 2018/19. Service priorities were set to ensure resources were allocated to animal health work, protecting vulnerable consumers and responding to trends and styles of trading which presented the largest amount of consumer detriment or harm, as well as supporting local businesses by providing advice.
5.4 In 2018/19 Trading Standards received only 65 reports identifying counterfeit goods. This meant that although Trading Standards carried out work when it received intelligence that was a priority, much counterfeit activity remained un-investigated. Trading Standards had seized 247,160 counterfeit cigarettes and 481kg of counterfeit Hand Rolling Tobacco valued at £179,515. 57 counterfeit items were seized and 7 cases were currently within the legal process. There was not only a financial impact but also a health aspect. The team relied on the proceeds of crime to fund their work, but often that was a complex and could be a ‘drawn out’ process.
5.5 Members were informed that Trading Standards recognised that use of an internet connection was a vehicle that could be used to carry out criminal activity in the same manner as high street shops, cold calling and distance selling. Cyber-crime was changing the nature of policing in the UK, it was a borderless crime, and there was a similar impact on Trading Standards. Often several Trading Standards teams would be involved or referred to other agencies. The Service had worked hard to build a relationship with Adult Social Care, especially safeguarding and accepted referrals in relation to service users who had been identified as being at risk from scams. Trading Standards did carry out visits, either alone or with social care staff to help ‘victims’ identify the signs of scams, to help them take any steps to recover losses and help build confidence.
5.6 Brexit was on the radar for the Trading Standards team regarding animal welfare and cyber-crime. They were linked into national trading standards arrangements to ensure they were prepared for any changes to legislation.
5.7 Members commented ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
6.1 Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health, gave a presentation that outlined the significant information within the Annual Report. The focus was on Gloucestershire’s economic prosperity to tackle health inequalities. The report stated that what was good for health was also good for business, increased performance and productivity and lower sickness absence for example. Members noted the ‘health and wealth’ cycle.
6.2 It was explained that while the Gloucestershire population was comparatively healthy, this hid inequality. The life expectancy gap for males between the most deprived and least deprived wards was 8.1 years.
6.3 Inclusive growth was a crucial part of any strategy to increase productivity. Tackling inequalities through inclusive growth should also tackle poor long term economic performance and improve the productive potential of Gloucestershire. Members noted the current model of ‘grow now and redistribute later’ against the newer model.
6.4 The Committee were informed of social mobility across early years and school readiness, educational attainment and post 16 options and rewarding employment opportunities. Members noted the social mobility index ranking across the districts.
6.5 With regards to school readiness, it was explained that this was a key determinant of outcomes in later life, with Gloucestershire’s performance in line with the national average however children in receipt of free school meals were likely to fare less well.
6.6 The Committee noted the key infrastructure related actions to support inclusive growth such as social value from infrastructure projects, delivering affordable housing and investing in public transport.
6.7 Around 74,000 people were working in health, care and public sectors in Gloucestershire in 2015. There were opportunities here to drive inclusive growth through future workforce, employment practices, procurement spend, social value, public estate and health innovations.
6.8 There were a number of recommendations within the report directed at the Health and Wellbeing Board and GFirst as well as other partner organisations within the public sector and in business. The report would go to both the Health and Wellbeing Board and GFirst and work was being undertaken by Leadership Gloucestershire.
6.9 One member asked whether
in some areas of the county the attainment gap between those
eligible for free school meals and their class mates was reducing
with respect to the Good Level of Development social mobility
indicator. He asked whether the good practice could be taken
forward and that improvement be seen across the board. In response
it was explained that good practice was examined and then rolled
out more widely. 2018/19 figures demonstrated an improvement
bringing the County up to the national average but the aspiration
was to do better than that. The focus should be on early years and
ensure pupils were ‘school ready’. A briefing could be
provided to the member outside of the meeting on the work taking
place in this area.
6.10 One member asked whether the public health visitor workforce was at the numbers needed in Gloucestershire. In response, it was stated that this was an area of recent investment. More could always ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
7.1 Margaret Willcox, Director of Adult Social Care, introduced the report detailing the Thriving Communities Grants introduced in April 2018 as part of the Adult Social Care Change programme. 77 applications for a grant had been received up to £7500. This was linked to the ‘Know Your Patch Network’ and the three tier conversation in adult social care.
7.2 Members noted the detail around the new blue badge legislation and the detail around the new eligibility criteria. It was explained that there the team only charged an administration fee when a blue badge was given, but if work was undertaken to explore whether someone was eligible and a badge wasn’t issued then no fee could be charged. It was explained that the same number of parking bays were available but potentially double the number of people had been issued with badges. Members were concerned about the restricted number of parking bays available to meet the demand. One member gave details of her positive experience with members of the public making an application.
8.1 Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health, introduced the report referring to the Time to Talk event to mark World Mental Health Day.
8.2 1,444 staff and members had taken part in the flu vaccination programme in Gloucestershire County Council. The target was 1,800 vaccinations.
8.3 Members noted the information of the NHS Long Term Plan and understood that a final submission was due on 15 November and there would be further updates to members.
8.4 The draft joint Health and Wellbeing strategy was in the final stage of engagement.
8.5 The Committee noted the data set on indices of multiple deprivations within the report. One member stated that she would welcome more information on what was considered as part of determining an area of multiple deprivations. In response it was explained that there were eight separate measures and we needed to be careful in its use. A future report would include that information for members.
8.6 One member raised the successful approach of ‘happy to chat’ benches. It was acknowledged that this could help tackle loneliness and isolation. The member asked that whatever initiatives regarding loneliness and isolation be outlined to the Committee. Other members discussed how existing benches could be used for this purpose. It was agreed that the Committee would consider an item at a future meeting on the work that was being carried out to tackle loneliness and isolation.
ACTION Sarah Scott/Emma Savage/ Lead Members
8.7 One member provided details on an initiative carried out in Coleford regarding the development of some land by the community which included, CCTV, public toilets, paths and benches. This had been really successful in bringing the community together.
9.1 Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer, explained that a programme board and been established in relation to HMICFRS Inspection with a report due at the end of December. A copy of the pre-publication heck report had been seen and several actions were being put in place alongside the actions from the Audit report. There were still further audit reports to be received as there were still specific investigations ongoing.
9.2 Members noted the GFRS Structural Review and there had been support from across departments and from Cabinet to help project manage the process. The organisation had given its own feedback and the conversation had been positive and received well. The Committee noted the new appointments as outlined within the report.
9.3 It was explained that community fire stations were community assets and could be used to help tackle isolation and loneliness.
9.4 The Committee noted the update on the Coroners Service including the new appointment of two Assistant Coroners.
9.5 With regards to Performance the service was liaising with Human Resources to bring in secondary contracts in relation to missing the target on the safe and well visits.
9.6 Members were informed that the Mortuary regulatory body the Human Tissue Authority had recently issued their annual compliance questionnaire and Gloucestershire had retained its licence as no concerns had been identified. Members congratulated the team on this.
9.7 Members queried whether there was any breakdown of types of fire relating to the indicator on number of accidental dwelling fires. One member was thinking about whether there was any advice that could be relayed to the community. In response it was explained that the local station manager could provide support to members who wished to pass on information or educate community groups. It was noted that accidental dwelling fires included people living independently or alone, kitchen fires and open fires (which were more prevalent this time of year). It was important to recognise that the numbers were still very low.
9.8 One member asked whether faulty white goods had been a cause of fires and was informed that yes this accounted for some and that the service worked with Trading Standards around this.
9.9 One member asked for clarification around how uncertainty around Brexit was affecting the animal welfare team. It was explained that leaving the European Union could lead to legislative changes relating to animal welfare that the team would need to react to. The Committee understood the work that was being carried out with Sarah Scott as the Brexit Lead for the County Council assessing the risks and implications of legislative changes. Brexit planning had been paused nationally and locally. Guidance was being provided by central Government.
9.10 One member expressed surprise that
Brexit did not feature in the risk register for the services the
committee were considering. Officers would go back to the
performance team to see why the risk had not been flagged up on the
service specific risk register.
9.11 One member ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Performance data was picked up within the individual Director Reports.