Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Alyson Grice/Samantha Morris  Overview & Scrutiny Officers

No. Item


Apologies and Welcome


Apologies were received from Ms R L Dent, Mr P M McDonald, Ms T L Onslow and from the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Health and Wellbeing, Mr J H Smith.


Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip


Agenda Item 4 - Update on the Assessment Pathway for Children and Young People who may have Autism


Mr S J Mackay declared an interest in that a close relative who had autism was a Looked After Child in another local authority.


Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services 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 24 September 2019).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.





Update on the Assessment Pathway for Children and Young People who may have Autism pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:


Attending for this item were:


Kath Cobain, Director of Public Health, WCC

Stephanie Courts, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Jenny Dalloway, Worcestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups

Sue Harris, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Sally-Anne Osbourne, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust


Colleagues had been invited to provide an update on the assessment and diagnostic pathway for children and young people who it was considered were, or may be, on the autistic spectrum.  This pathway was known in Worcestershire as the Umbrella Pathway.


The responsibilities of partners were confirmed.  The Worcestershire NHS Health and Care Trust (WHCT) was the provider of the service, Worcestershire County Council (WCC) was the commissioner, and funding was provided by the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).


It was confirmed that the expectation was that support would be provided to families once children were on the pathway.


Members were provided with a presentation and the following main points were made:


·       The performance of the service had previously been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board in May 2019.  At that time, the Board had considered that not enough progress had been made and had requested that the Business Case should be considered by the Children and Families O&S Panel as soon as it was available.

·       Since then, the service had been working closely with the Local Authority in relation to the SEND graduated response, which clearly laid out the expectations of all partners and the need to work together.

·       This need for partnership working was also a key feature of the NHS Long Term Plan which aimed to stabilise systemic changes.

·       The backlog of cases was due to the number of pupils being referred onto the pathway.  One aim was to identify those children whose needs were less complex and ‘fast track’ them through the system.  This would not be possible for all cases and would depend on the complexities of the child and their family situation.

·       The aim was to reduce the backlog by increasing the number of diagnostic meetings.

·       Longer term support for children with exceptional needs, including 1-to-1 work, would need to be done in partnership with education colleagues.  An example of exceptional need would be a child or young person who was unable to attend school because of anxiety.

·       Anxiety workshops had been held recently, delivered by a facilitator with lived experience and these had received positive feedback.  Those attending could also be signposted to other support.

·       The referral process had been reviewed and now included parental and school questionnaires at the referral stage, additional information which would help at the planning meeting.

·       Although it was acknowledged that all cases were complex, those judged to be more straightforward could be fast tracked.  The aim was to hold a clinic with two professionals to identify those cases to be fast tracked.

·       Diagnostic meetings were multi-disciplinary.  These were not attended by parents and may involve discussion of more than one child.  The resulting reports were usually shared within two weeks.

·       The aim  ...  view the full minutes text for item 401.


Future Provision of Overnight Unit-Based Short Breaks for Children with Disabilities pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:


Attending for this item were:


Catherine Driscoll, Director of Children, Families and Communities, WCC

Sue Harris, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Debbie Herbert, Lead Commissioner, WCC

Sally-Anne Osbourne, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Andy Roberts, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families, WCC


Colleagues had been invited to update the Panel in relation to the future provision of overnight unit-based short breaks for children with disabilities ahead of the discussion at Cabinet on 26 September.


The Chairman of the Panel referred to local press coverage which had suggested that the County Council was closing the Ludlow Road Unit.  She pointed out that the County Council did not own the site and so could not be blamed for its closure.  Ofsted’s requirement that all children should be accommodated in single rooms had meant that the Unit was no longer financially viable.


By way of introduction, the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families reminded the Panel that, at the start of the review process he had met service users and their families, and had made two guarantees:


1.     The aim was to provide a sustainable future for the service.

2.     He would not react to party politics.


The proposals for the future model of provision included additional investment and improved facilities.


The Lead Commissioner outlined the proposals and made the following main points:


·       In June 2019 Cabinet agreed to consult on the proposals and would be considering the results of the consultation on 26 September.  The Council’s duty to provide short breaks for children with disabilities remained.

·       The proposals would see substantial investment in Osbourne Court, Malvern to ensure there was sufficient provision.  The proposals also extended provision for adult service users.

·       The consultation included an online survey and drop-in sessions.  Every family with a child attending Ludlow Road had been contacted personally.

·       Members were reminded that the overnight units were not locality based.  Instead, each unit served the whole of the County.  The proposals meant that 14 of the families currently using Ludlow Road would have a shorter journey whereas two would be further away.  Transport support had been discussed with these families.

·       In terms of transitions, Officers would work to develop clear plans to meet the needs of the children and families.  It was acknowledged that in the short-term change would have an impact, but this was justifiable given the improved facilities.

·       It was confirmed that staff at the Providence Road unit would be trained to meet health needs.

·       Members were informed that there had been a change in the eligibility criteria for provision at Acorns Hospice, but this change had been absorbed.


The Chairman of the Panel informed Members that she had attended one of the drop-in meetings that had been held as part of the consultation.  She had spoken to parents and carers and, although there was still a degree of anxiety, there was also much more confidence about the proposed changes.  Those whose children would continue to receive respite care as adults  ...  view the full minutes text for item 402.


Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel reviewed its work programme for 2019/20 which had been agreed by Council on 12 September 2019.  Members were reminded that:


·       A further report on Overnight Unit-based Short Breaks for Children with Disabilities would be requested once the new model of delivery has been running for six months.

·       A further report on the Umbrella Pathway would be requested for the second half of 2020 once the new service model had been implemented.

  • The Edge of Care Service would be considered in Summer 2020.  In the meantime, the Panel asked that the staff structure chart for the Service be circulated to Panel Members.

·       Concern was expressed about CAMHS and, in particular, the effectiveness of the out-of-hours service.  Members were reminded that HOSC also had a role in Scrutiny of CAMHS and it would be important to ensure that the issue was considered by the correct scrutiny body, or via joint work.

·       It was agreed that the Scrutiny Panel should consider the revised model of Medical Education Provision before the Cabinet discussion.  The date of this was to be confirmed.

·       Members were reminded that a Joint Targeted Area Inspection was expected soon.  This was a very challenging inspection and the current theme was mental health.  This was not just CAMHS but would include all partners.

·       An update on Worcestershire Children First would be requested in January 2020.

·       A request for volunteers to join a scrutiny task group on Children who are educated ‘otherwise’ would be circulated to all County Councillors.