Annual Directors Report
- Meeting of Social & Health Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 6th June, 2019 2.30 pm (Item 5.)
- View the background to item 5.
That the draft Social Services Annual Report be approved.
The Chief Officer (Social Services) introduced a report on the Annual Director’s Report for Social Care Services 2018/19. He provided background information and advised that the purpose of the Social Services Annual Report was to set out the improvement journey and evaluate Social Services’ performance in providing services to people that promote their wellbeing and support them to achieve their personal outcomes.
The draft Social Service Annual Report 2018/19 was appended to the report and was intended to provide the public, the regulator and wider stakeholders with an honest picture of services in Flintshire and to demonstrate a clear understanding of the strengths and challenges faced. The Chief Officer advised that the report would form an integral part of the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) performance evaluation of Flintshire’s Social Services. The evaluation also informed the Wales Audit Office’s assessment of Flintshire County Council as part of the annual improvement report.
The Chief Officer explained that the Annual Report had been prepared following an in-depth review of current performance by the Social Services Senior Management Team, Service Manager, and Performance Officers. The improvement priorities contained within the report were aligned to the priorities contained within the Portfolio Business Plan, the Council’s Improvement Plan, and associated efficiency plans. The Chief Officer reported on the improvement priorities identified for 2019/20 as detailed in the report.
Councillor David Healey thanked the Chief Officer and his team for their work and for a comprehensive report. He commented on the crisis in continuing health care in some areas of the United Kingdom and the risk to provision of care services in the private sector due to lack of funding. He asked if the Authority was also at risk and what support was provided to assist people to remain independent and continue to live in their homes and specifically patients who were discharged from hospital. He suggested that the criteria for eligibility for care at home be looked at to enable more people to receive support from care providers and to have adaptations in their homes. The Chief Officer thanked Councillor Healey for his positive comments and in response to his questions said that the risk to care services provided in the wider sector due to lack of funding was real for the Authority and nationally. He commented on the recent lobbying by the Chief Executive and Members to the Welsh Government to make the case for more funding for key services to local authorities and to state that current funding was unsustainable.
In summary the Chief Officer provided reassurance regarding the provision of social care services in Flintshire. The Senior Manager, Integrated Services, Lead Adults, responded to Councillor Healey’s question regarding support to help people maintain their independence and continue to live at home and referred to reablement when people are discharged from hospital, recycling of aids and equipment to assist independence, and disabled facilities grants.
The Chair advised that she had asked that an item on the continuing health care budget be considered at the next meeting of the Committee to be held on 18 July and said that the consultation would be sent to the Committee prior to the meeting for information.
Councillor Martin White spoke on the need for care and support services and the preventative work which could be achieved with adequate funding. He also spoke in support of the excellent care services provided in Flintshire and commented on the high standard of care and facilities experienced by some of his family members.
Councillor David Wisinger asked what support was available for people with mental health problems. The Chief Officer acknowledged the concerns raised by Councillor Wisinger regarding the need for people to seek urgent support outside office hours. He gave an assurance that the Authority was doing all it could to support mental health services and referred to the services and future initiatives which were supported. He said that further discussion could be raised at the North Wales Mental Health Service transformation project. The Senior Manager, Safeguarding and Commissioning. provided further information on the Service and the programme. The Chair asked what links the Authority had with the Samaritans. It was agreed that the Senior Manager, Integrated Services, Lead Adults would make enquiries to determine whether the Authority had any formal links between its mental health services and the Samaritans and whether it provided any funding.
In response to a question raised by Councillor Gladys Healey concerning out of county placements for young people the Chief Officer advised that a new small residential care facility was being developed in the Deeside area and work was in progress with an experienced voluntary organisation. The Chief Officer also referred to the Mockingbird project which provided specialist fostering placements for young people with challenging behaviour. The Chief Officer continued that there were a number of services and initiatives used to support young people collectively. He also referred to the Children and Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and said that although the waiting list for CAMHS had reduced the waiting lists for other services had increased.
Councillor Cindy Hinds commented on the issue of cyber bullying. The Chief Officer said there was an initiative around cyberbullying within the Regional Safeguarding Children’s Board and commented on the work being undertaken with the Health Board and other agencies and local authorities to combat abuse through social media. The Senior Manager, Safeguarding and Commissioning. commented on safeguarding and the need to be aware of early signs and spoke of the further work to be undertaken in this area to protect both young and vulnerable people.
That the draft Social Services Annual Report be approved.