Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Online Only

Contact: Emma James /Jo Weston  Overview & Scrutiny Officers


No. Item


Apologies and Welcome


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting, and introduced Paula Furnival, new Strategic Director for People.


The Chairman explained that this meeting was being held online to comply with regulations issued for the coronavirus pandemic and enabled County Council meetings to take place, visible to the public, whilst they could not take place at County Hall.


Apologies had been received from Panel members Andy Fry and Phil Grove.


Declarations of Interest




Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Assistant Director for Legal and Governance, 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 Wednesday 10 June 2020). 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 held on 27 January 2020 were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.


COVID-19 People Directorate Response for Adult Services pdf icon PDF 262 KB


In attendance for this item were:


Paula Furnival, Strategic Director for People

Elaine Carolan, Assistant Director for Adult Social Care

Fran Kelsey, Lead Commissioner, People Directorate

Cllr Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care


The Director provided a summary of the Agenda report and thanked staff across Adult Social Care for all their work and commitment. The report set out how the Directorate had responded to the COVID 19 pandemic in respect of Adult Services, including:


·         meeting the needs of those in receipt of care and support

·         Care Act easements (the Corona virus Act 2020 allowed all Councils to apply ‘easements’ to the Care Act, which effectively permitted the Council to turn its duties under the care Act into powers, so long as its actions remained compliant with Human Rights legislation)

·         safeguarding

·         hospital discharges

·         workforce and working practices

·         funding arrangements

·         supporting the market

·         personal protective equipment (PPE)

·         social care day centres

·         home care

·         residential settings

·         prevention as part of the response

·         Worcestershire’s Local Outbreak Plan


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


·         The Chairman asked whether the Government’s Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund had been accessed and whether it was sufficient? The Lead Commissioner advised that the grant had been received, and had quite specific conditions for use. 75% would go directly to care homes, equating to approximately £960 for each and first instalments would be received over the next few days.

·         The Chairman asked about the COVID-19 outbreak in prisons and was advised that cases reported early on at Hewell prison, which had a more transient population, had been dealt with appropriately. Other prisons had stopped transfers. Adult Social Care Officers were working closely with Public Health colleagues and maintained a good overview of the situation and social care staff visiting prisons had appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

·         The Vice-Chairman reported very positive feedback on the Council’s response to COVID-19, however asked what had been most problematic and scary. Within the context of the Government funding to health and social care to help respond to COVID-19, she also asked about progress with looking at how care was funded between the Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The Directorate’s Officers explained that early on the Council had made some brave decisions to get ahead, based on what would protect Worcestershire residents. Officers’ knowledge of the county’s care homes and the well-maintained Quality Assurance Team had made a big difference, as well as good working relations with the CCG, other health colleagues and the Council’s Public Health Team. In general providers felt well supported. The Council was working on its restoration plan, as well as seeking to influence others’ plans where relevant to adult social care. Alongside the challenges, a lot of learning had taken place and new ways of working had, in some cases proved beneficial; it would be important to assess learning points and what should be retained.

·         Comment was invited from the Cabinet Member with Responsibility (CMR) for Adult  ...  view the full minutes text for item 351.


COVID-19 Care Home Support Plan pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Additional documents:


Paula Furnival, Strategic Director for People

Elaine Carolan, Assistant Director for Adult Social Care

Fran Kelsey, Lead Commissioner, People Directorate

Cllr Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care


Fran Kelsey, Lead Commissioner provided a brief summary of the COVID-19 Care Home Support Plan, which was something the Government had asked all councils to work on, to help combat the spread of the virus in care home settings. The Council was already well placed in this work – key to which was the Worcestershire Care Home Hub, a partnership involving Adult Social Care, Public Health, Public Health England, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other partners.


The Care Home Plan was very much a live document, which would be updated.


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


·         The Vice-Chairman asked how long the Council had been given to complete the Plan and was advised that two weeks had been given, however the Council was already in a good place to do this.

·         When asked for more information about the increase in fees to care homes, the Officers explained that an annual fee increase took place at the beginning of April. The COVID-19 increase of 5% on banding rates was temporary and open-ended but under review. Rates at quite a few homes were above banding rates, so not all would receive 5%, some may receive 2%, which was why homes had been given the additional option of support depending on their individual pressures. It was confirmed that the increase had come from the Government funding for COVID-19 and was not intended to supplement homes on an ongoing basis.

·         In respect of training for infection control offered to homes, a Panel member asked whether this had been virtual and about take up from homes? Officers advised that the approach had been mixed, for example some was virtual and some had been delivered in carparks, with clinical health staff being trained to deliver training, as well as some Council staff. Take-up had been slower than expected, but the Quality Assurance Team had worked tirelessly to increase this. An audit trail was kept and for any home becoming infected, training was insisted upon.

·         Reassurance was sought about availability of PPE, which had been subject to debate nationally. Officers confirmed that the Council had always been able to supply care homes, with 75% sourced independently. Some care homes had complained about the Council not providing all PPE; therefore, homes had been reminded that it was the responsibility of homes to source PPE, with the Council as fallback. However, the majority of homes were happy with the PPE support provided. At one point care homes were struggling to procure PPE as suppliers had been told only to supply the NHS, and the Council had stepped in to address this.

·         A Panel member pointed out the important role of local councils and their ability to often come up with solutions.

·         Comment was invited from the Healthwatch Worcestershire representative present, who advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 352.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman invited discussion of the Work Programme and any potential changes in light of COVID-19.


Panel members’ preference was to maintain the meeting scheduled for 17 July. It was agreed that discussion of feedback from the peer review was a priority and the Director was happy to provide this for the July meeting, within the broader strategic approach being developed across the Directorate.


The Panel identified the following items as appropriate for consideration in the near future:

·       The Council’s approach when self-funders in residential care homes run out of funds

·       Here-to-Help – future development

·       Watching brief on the Care Act easements

·       Respite Offer (addition to the Work Programme)

·       Joint Funding arrangements not just CHC across the Board and maybe cross cutting to include children (addition to the Work Programme)

·       Care home market resilience


The Chairman, on behalf of the Panel paid tribute to the dedication of all staff involved in adult social care, and asked that the Director pass on her thanks.