Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Emma James /Jo Weston  Overview & Scrutiny Officers

No. Item


Apologies and Welcome


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Declarations of Interest




Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, in writing or by email indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 10 July 2019). Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/email address below.




Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting

Previously circulated


The Minutes of the meeting on 14 May 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Direction of Travel for Worcestershire County Council Care and Support Services pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:


In attendance for this item were the Director and Assistant Director of Adult Services, as well as the Cabinet Member with Responsibility (CMR) for Adult Social Care.


The Chairman asked the Director to provide an overview of the direction of travel for the Council’s Care and Support Services, which had been endorsed that morning by Cabinet. The Panel then had the opportunity for questions, in order to determine whether any further scrutiny was required at this time.


Referring to the Cabinet report, the Assistant Director highlighted the background to the new direction for the Council’s Care and Support Services. These included changes to Adult Services since 2014, the review over the past year of all services directly provided by Adult Services, the development of the new Strategy for services directly provided by the Council for Care Act eligible adults, additional investment in Howbury House and the creation of a Community Re-ablement Service.


As part of the Council’s commitment to taking a strategic commissioning approach, all services directly provided by Adult Services had been reviewed over the past year and where appropriate officers had sought to identify alternative providers. However, following tendering and market engagement, it had not been possible to find alternative providers, except for Timberdine Nursing and Rehabilitation Unit which was transferred to Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.  This was largely due to the implications of TUPE transfer.


In light of the commissioning challenges, the Directorate carried out a review and the report outlined the resulting Strategy which represented a shift from the Council being at arms-length, to the new more engaged role of seeing itself as one of a range of providers in the market. Importantly, where the Council provided services, these should be exemplary and always be rated at least ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission.


The new Strategy was also about the Council being innovative and sharing learning with the independent sector; quality of life was key.


The report to Cabinet also related to Howbury House, a residential care home in Malvern for older people with dementia which had been invested in to use innovative technology to enhance care at reduced cost. The plan was for Howbury to showcase its achievements to the wider market.


Regarding plans for re-ablement, Cabinet had been asked to approve the business case of extending the current service run by the Council into the community, an area which the market was not currently able to deliver. The Council’s current re-ablement service performed well with very skilled staff and it was recognised that provision of intensive support over a 6 week period was an opportunity to turn someone’s situation around, as well as achieve savings based on people not requiring ongoing care packages.


The Chairman invited questions and the following main points were raised:


·         Panel members queried whether there was flexibility with the 6 week timetable for re-ablement when required, and the Director advised that the 6 week timescale was based on national good practice and evidence, however the Director also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 323.


Performance and 2018/19 Year-end Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 80 KB

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In attendance for this item were:


Avril Wilson, Director of Adult Services

Michael Hudson, Chief Financial Officer

Mark Astbury, Interim Head of Finance

Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility (CMR) for Adult Social Care


The Chairman advised that members of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) had also been invited to attend the discussion and Cllr John Gallagher was welcomed to the table.  


Year-end Budget Monitoring


The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) introduced the Panel’s consideration of year end budget information for 2018/19 for Public Health and Adult Services and pointed out that from the start of the following year it was hoped to bring forward the timescale for publishing financial information to be aligned with the Scrutiny timetable.


The Panel’s attention was drawn to the key headlines set out in the agenda for Adult Services (page 23) and Public Health (page 25). The year-end position for Adult Service was an overspend of £12.420m, which did not sound good, although members were reminded that the figure had originally been £17m, and that regular reports had been submitted to Cabinet and to Scrutiny regarding lessons learned. For Public Health there was an underspend of £0.100m.


Questions were invited and the following main points were raised:

·       When asked about the variance for Learning Disability Services, the CFO believed that rather than a change in demand, this was more related to previous underfunding and increasingly complex needs, therefore the budget had been increased over successive years, as reported previously. It was confirmed that budget pressures in this area continued and had been factored in to the 2019/20 base budget.

·       A member asked about the use of internal reserves and was advised that there wasn’t any.

·       A member asked whether the acknowledged need for more capital investment at Howbury House was factored in to the budget. Officers advised that of the three elements of works involved, only one was not included in the current figures for Adult Services, and there would be a report to Cabinet about this.

·       It was confirmed that there was approximately a £2m difference between the net expenditure for Older People and Learning Disabilities services, but this would be higher in 2019/20.

·       Referring to the changes made within Learning Disability Services, a member asked what savings would have been made and the CFO advised that £7m was outstanding, so it was known that the September base budget figure was incorrect, and the base budget would be adjusted for 2019/20 to just under £66m. A range of savings projects had also been designed and the net budget for Learning Disabilities would be £65.977m

·       The Director of Adult Services confirmed there were no new savings plans for Learning Disabilities at the moment, apart from progressing earlier plans for the redesign of day opportunities and respite.

·       The HOSC member present asked whether the 12% overspend was a continuing trend from the previous year and the Interim Head of Finance pointed out that three contributing factors had made 2018/19 a very different year, namely  ...  view the full minutes text for item 324.


Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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The Panel added support for carers to the current work programme.