Venue: Online only
Contact: Samantha Morris/Alyson Grice Overview and Scrutiny Officers
Apologies and Welcome
The Chairman welcomed everyone and confirmed the arrangements for the Board’s first remote meeting.
Apologies were received from Cllr Paul Tuthill and Bryan Allbut (Co-opted Church Representative).
Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip
Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Democratic Governance and Scrutiny Manager (Interim Monitoring Officer) in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case Friday 19 June 2020). Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.
Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 January 2020 were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.
The Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive were invited to the meeting to provide an update on the County Council’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). In addition, the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Panels were invited to feedback on their recent Panels’/Committee’s discussions on how services had been affected by COVID-19.
Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)
The Vice-Chairman of HOSC explained how in just a few weeks the NHS had changed the way that local hospitals and GP practices were run to ensure that it was able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Integration and system working had also moved on significantly. Some examples of the temporary service changes included:
· Most face-to-face outpatient appointments suspended
· Community hospital bed usage changed
· Older adult mental health ward (Athelon) decanted
· Child development centres moved to virtual
· Planned respite for adults and children suspended
· Elective surgery moved to independent sector or cancelled
· Kidderminster Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) closed overnight; Tenbury and Evesham MIUs temporarily closed
· Garden Suite (chemo) and Women's Health Unit both moved from the Alexandra Hospital to Kidderminster Treatment Centre
· Maternity moved to Princess of Wales Community Hospital
· Screening for breast, bowel and Aortic Aneurysms suspended
· GP Out of Hours restricted to two sites (Worcester Royal Hospital and Alexandra Hospital)
Proposals to make any temporary service changes into permanent changes would be subject to appropriate engagement and consultation to ensure patients and stakeholders had the opportunity to be involved before any decisions were made.
The Restoration Phase was the next step in the process (May–2020) and would be looking at:
· Critical service switch on
· Understanding need and demand
· Agreeing local priorities
· Understand what worked/didn’t work
· Agree key transformational activities and ‘what we will keep’.
Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel (E&E Panel)
The Chairman of the E&E Panel explained that at the recent Panel meeting, there had been 14 public participants who had expressed their views about the COVID-19 Emergency Active Travel Fund and asked questions.
Reduced numbers of cars on the road had been positive for the environment and post COVID-19, it would good if the Council could look at encouraging more cycling and walking.
The Panel also received an update from BT Openreach about Broadband, which was critical for the County moving forward especially, if working at home continued and became the norm for residents.
The regular briefing notes sent to all Councillors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic had been a useful source of information.
Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Panel (Children’s Panel)
The Chairman of the Panel highlighted some of the discussion points from the Panel meeting, arising from different ways of working due to pandemic including:
· keeping in touch calls, whilst community visits were restricted, a method welcomed by a number of young people,
· the positive way in which Worcestershire Children First (WCF) had reacted to COVID-19 and its current good budgetary position.
· the concern about next year’s exams for Year 11 and Year 13 including the preparedness of the ... view the full minutes text for item 1145.
The Board was asked to consider and approve the draft Scrutiny Report on Care Work as a Career.
Cllr Liz Tucker, Lead Member of the Task Group introduced the report and in doing so explained how special and poignant this work had proved to be and how vital care workers were. The Task group had concluded its work in January, however, the situation in relation to COVID-19, had meant a delay in being able to present the report to OSPB for consideration.
Following a brief discussion, the Board commended the Report to Cabinet for discussion on 25 June and thanked the Task Group for a clear report.
Other than the issues discussed earlier relating to COVID-19, the Corporate and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel during its June meeting discussed a Member Query Case Management System which, was due to be implemented from September 2020.
The Chairman advised that its next meeting, the Board would be looking to confirm Scrutiny Work Programmes for the forthcoming year and passport to the September meeting of Council for approval.
It was suggested that post-traumatic stress (relating to children and adults) should be added to the HOSC Work Programme.