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Agenda and minutes

Adult Social Care Select Committee
Thursday, 5 September 2013 10.30 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN

Contact: Ross Pike or Andrew Spragg 

Items
No. Item

34/13

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Colin Kemp. There were no substitutions.

35/13

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 20 June 2013 pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To agree the minutes as a true record of the meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting.

36/13

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

 

Notes:

·    In line with the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012, declarations may relate to the interest of the member, or the member’s spouse or civil partner, or a person with whom the member is living as husband or wife, or a person with whom the member is living as if they were civil partners and the member is aware they have the interest.

·    Members need only disclose interests not currently listed on the Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

·    Members must notify the Monitoring Officer of any interests disclosed at the meeting so they may be added to the Register.

·    Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

37/13

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS pdf icon PDF 23 KB

To receive any questions or petitions.

 

Notes:

1.  The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (30 August 2013).

2.  The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (29 August 2013).

3.  The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: Sarah Mitchell, Strategic Director, Adult Social Care

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    A Member’s question was received from Hazel Watson. The questions and responses were tabled, and are enclosed with these minutes.

 

2.    The Chairman invited Hazel Watson to ask a supplementary question. The Member asked that the report following the Serious Case Review (SCR) be published in full, and that the contact details of Chair of the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) are made available to the public.

 

3.    Officers confirmed the report would be published in full on the Safeguarding Adults website following completion of the SCR. It was agreed that the direct contact details of the Chair of the SSAB could be shared with Members, pending permission of the Chair being obtained to do so.

 

 

Recommendations:

 

None.

 

Actions/further information to be provided:

 

None.

 

Committee Next Steps:

 

None.

38/13

RESPONSES FROM THE CABINET TO ISSUES REFERRED BY THE SELECT COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 18 KB

Recommendations were made to Cabinet regarding social capital, following the meeting of Adult Social Care Select Committee on 20 June 2013. A response was given by the Cabinet Member at the Cabinet meeting on 23 July 2013. This is included in the agenda papers.

 

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: None.

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    The Committee noted the response from the Cabinet Member in reference to Social Capital and agreed to review it in conjunction with the Budget Update (item 7).

 

Recommendations:

 

None.

 

Actions/further information to be provided:

 

None.

 

Committee Next Steps:

 

None.

 

39/13

DIRECTOR'S UPDATE

The Strategic Director for Adult Social Care will update the Committee on important news and announcements.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: Sarah Mitchell, Strategic Director, Adult Social Care

 

Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    The Strategic Director for Adult Social Care thanked Members for their engagement during Learning Disabilities Awareness Week. The Committee was informed that the information and feedback collected during the week was being collated and would be circulated to the Committee. Members commented that they had been impressed with the level of information available as part of the engagement exercises, but also asked that this information was shared with key referral agencies as well.

 

2.    The Committee queried whether there were concerns regarding the level of staffing in Adult Social Care. Officers commented that the Directorate was more fully staffed than it had been historically, and that levels of sickness were below the national average for Adult Social Care staff. Officers outlined the measures the Directorate had to identify where service pressures were and when extra staffing support was required. The Committee was informed that a number of initiatives were in place to recruit social workers from universities, as well as continuing to fund qualifications where appropriate.

 

3.    The Committee had a discussion regarding the use of agency workers. It was raised that agency workers were more costly to the Directorate, but that many experienced practitioners found agency placements preferable to contracted work. The Committee requested that a report on social worker recruitment and retention be brought to a future meeting.

 

Recommendations:

 

None.

 

Actions/further information to be provided:

 

A report on social worker recruitment and retention will be brought to a future Committee meeting.

 

 

 

Committee Next Steps:

 

None.

 

40/13

BUDGET UPDATE - JULY 2013 pdf icon PDF 788 KB

Purpose of the report:  Scrutiny of Budgets/Performance Management

 

This report provides an opportunity for the Committee to scrutinise the Adult Social Care budget.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: Paul Carey-Kent, Senior Finance Manager, Change & Efficiency

Neill Moore, Senior Principal Accountant

Sarah Mitchell, Strategic Director, Adult Social Care

 

Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    Officers outlined the financial position as of July 2013. The Committee was informed that the Adult Social Care budget was complex, due to it being demand driven and required to meet significant saving challenges. It was highlighted that savings of £24 million for 2013/14 were still to be met. Officers commented that the actions to meet these savings challenges would begin to take effect as of September 2013. The Directorate would then be able to make a judgement as to whether further action was required.

 

2.    The Committee asked for clarification regarding Whole Systems funding, it was explained that this was funding the NHS was required to pass onto the local authority.

 

3.    The Committee invited the Cabinet Member to comment on the decisions he had taken on 4 September 2013 in relation to the Invest to Save fund. The Committee was informed that the decision related to the development of an IT portal that would enable assessment teams to identify and access placements. It would also be linked to the Surrey Information Point, allowing a maximisation of the use of social capital and beds already available.

 

4.    Members asked for clarification on the individual actions that would account for the savings in relation to social capital being made. The Cabinet Member explained that social capital was making use of resources both in the voluntary sector and community to meet need, and that part of implementing this would be to embed it within the assessment process.

 

5.    The Committee was informed that work was being undertaken in conjunction with the community to identify where there were resources to meet people’s needs. Officers commented that user groups had initially identified social capital as a means of empowering them. It was recognised that there was risk attached to the savings being made through social capital.

 

6.     The Cabinet Member expressed the view that of the overall saving target of £46 million in 2013/14, £5 million was at risk of not being achievable. The Committee challenged this view as optimistic, and commented that the projected budget should reflect a more realistic outcome.

 

7.    Members queried whether £9.5 million overspend forecast in the Older People budget for 2013/14 was achievable given overspend was £6.1 million in the first financial quarter. Officers commented that the majority of savings connected to social capital were in the Older People budget, and that the implementation of this management action plan through the year would impact on the current rate of spend.

 

8.    The Committee expressed the view that the budget position of the Directorate was still of serious concern, and that there should be recognition of the need to prioritise the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and older people.

 

9.    Members asked for clarification around the reclaiming surplus balances for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40/13

41/13

INCOME / DEBT UPDATE REPORT pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Purpose of the report: Scrutiny of income and outstanding debts.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: Paul Carey-Kent, Senior Finance Manager, Change & Efficiency

Sarah Mitchell, Strategic Director, Adult Social Care

Toni Carney, Benefits and Charging Consultancy Team Manager

 

Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    The Committee asked how the Council’s social care debt position stood in comparison to other local authorities. Officers confirmed that it was within the upper quarter in terms of performance. It was agreed that figures could be circulated to the Committee.

 

2.    Members commented on a significant level of write-offs in 2009-2010 and asked officers whether they were confident that the Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) would lead to a reduction in the level of debt being written off, as well as the level of unsecured debt. Officers expressed the view that the changes would have an impact when they became fully effective. It was highlighted that one of the key outcomes of the RIE was ensuring that the paying for care conversation was undertaken by financial assessments and benefits staff. This was being piloted in September 2013, with it being implemented fully across the Directorate by November 2013.

 

3.    The Committee asked for clarification about what financial advice could be provided to service users, and whether they could be advised to raise finance against properties. Officers commented that service users were encouraged to seek independent financial advice when identifying the means for paying for care. The Committee was informed that the Council is prevented by legislation from providing financial advice or directing service users in how to pay for their care. It was further highlighted that the statutory duty of the local authority was to provide care, irrespective of an individual’s ability to pay.

 

Recommendations:

 

None.

 

Actions/further information to be provided:

 

Comparative social care debt data from other local authorities to be circulated to the Committee.

 

Committee Next Steps:

 

The Committee will receive an update on the social care debt position in six months.

 

42/13

THE CARE BILL - REFORMING CARE AND SUPPORT pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Purpose of the report:  Policy Development and Review 

 

This report details the main changes to Adult Social Care in England outlined in the Care Bill, May 2013.

 

The Committee is asked to note the areas of impact and provide early input into implementation planning in Surrey.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: John Woods, Assistant Director for Policy & Strategy

Sarah Mitchell, Strategic Director, Adult Social Care

 

Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    The Committee was provided with a presentation on the proposed changes contained within the Care Bill. A copy of this is provided as an appendix. The Committee was informed that the changes presented a significant financial and cultural challenge, and that a working group had been set up to examine the implications of each clause contained within the Bill.

 

Recommendations:

 

a)    That the Directorate deliver further Care Bill awareness events for staff and Members across all localities.

 

Action by: Assistant Director for Policy & Strategy

 

 

b)    That the Care Bill implementation Group is initiated.

 

Action by: Assistant Director for Policy & Strategy

 

c)    That updates on implementation progress to come to the Adult Select Committee

 

Action by: Scrutiny Officer/ Chairman

 

d)    That the Chairman of the Committee send a letter to the Department of Health, requesting that the funding formula for the allocation of central Government funding to meet the costs of the Care Bill is clarified and adequately reflects the demographic 

 

Action by: Scrutiny Officer/ Chairman

 

Actions/further information to be provided:

 

·         All future reports to the Committee to contain a section that outlines the implication of the Care Bill in relation to the item.

 

Committee Next Steps:

 

None.

 

43/13

CARE HOME TOP-UP FEES pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Purpose of the report:  Scrutiny of Services and Budgets/Policy Review

 

In July 2013, the Independent Age published a report into Care home top-up fees. The report, based on a Freedom of Information request (FOI) rated all 152 councils, including Surrey, according to how the councils responded to the FOI.

           

This report has been prepared at the request of the Select Committee to explain the practice in Surrey regarding top-up fees.

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: Sarah Mitchell, Strategic Director, Adult Social Care

Toni Carney, Benefits and Charging Consultancy Team Manager

 

Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    The Committee was informed that the Directorate was happy to discuss its practices with organisations or individuals, and that often Freedom of Information requests were not the most practical means of exploring an issue. Members commented that Surrey’s categorisation seemed unfair.

 

2.    The Committee asked whether there was a plan to update how information on top-up fees was held. It was confirmed that the new IT portal being developed would enable this information to be stored centrally.

 

Recommendations:

 

None.

 

Actions/further information to be provided:

 

The Directorate to reissue guidance on the use of top-ups to care practitioners.

 

Committee Next Steps:

 

None.

 

44/13

RECOMMENDATION TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 33 KB

The Committee is asked to monitor progress on the implementation of recommendations from previous meetings, and to review its Forward Work Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Declarations of interest: None.

 

Witnesses: None.

 

Key points raised during the discussion:

 

1.    The Committee noted its Forward Work Programme and Recommendation Tracker. It was agreed that an item on recruitment practices and procedures would be brought to the Committee as a future item.

 

Recommendations:

 

None.

 

Actions/further information to be provided:

 

An item on recruitment practices and procedures to be added to the Committee’s Forward Work Programme.

 

Committee Next Steps:

 

None.

 

45/13

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Committee will be held at 10am on 24 October 2013.

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be on 24 October 2013 at 10.30am

 


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