Venue: Conference Room 1a, County Hall, Wynnstay Road, Ruthin, LL15 1YN
Apologies were received from Councillors Colin Hughes and Win Mullen-James (Chair of the Future of Adult In-house Social Care Task and Finish Group).
The Chair paid tribute to the late Councillor Richard Davies, a member of the Committee and of the Task and Finish Group, who had passed away recently. Condolences were conveyed to his family and as a mark of respect all in attendance stood in silent tribute.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
The Scrutiny Coordinator (SC) responded stating that the Task and Finish Group (T&FG) had been established by Performance Scrutiny Committee to undertake a piece of work on its behalf. Its membership was made up of representatives from all scrutiny committees. The T&FG was effectively a sub group of Scrutiny who had been asked to look at the subject of in-house social care in more detail and report their findings back to the full Committee. No decisions had been taken by the T&FG as it did not have decision making powers. It was only reporting it findings, and based on those findings, its recommendations to Performance Scrutiny Committee at the current meeting. The current meeting was the Committee’s opportunity to scrutinise the findings and the proposals being put forward prior to formulating recommendations in relation to them for submission to Cabinet for approval in late May 2016.
On the issue of observers at Task and Finish Group meetings, the SC re-iterated that the T&FG was a ‘closed group’ working on behalf of the scrutiny committees, and therefore it was not normal practice to permit observers to attend.
Councillor Roberts asked to have it noted that he thought this was very unfair.
Councillor Jason McLellan declared a personal interest in business item 4 in relation to his work in the constituency office of Ann Jones AM – a copy of the AM’s response to the consultation was included in an appendix to the report which the Committee would be considering.
URGENT MATTERS AS AGREED BY THE CHAIR
Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.
No items were raised which in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972
To seek the Committee to consider the findings, conclusions and proposals of the Task and Finish Group established to examine options for delivering high quality social care services in Denbighshire, and formulate recommendations for presentation to Cabinet in relation to the care establishments at Hafan Deg (Rhyl), Dolwen (Denbigh), Awelon (Ruthin) and Cysgod y Gaer (Corwen).
Prior to the introduction of the report the Chair advised that there had been some considerable interest in this review, with councillors receiving a high volume of e-mail and other correspondence with respect to it. He explained that for the discussion on this business item he would be permitting Committee members to ask questions first, followed by questions from other non-scrutiny elected members, prior to asking the Committee to formulate recommendations for submission to Cabinet.
Councillor Meirick Lloyd-Davies, past Chair of the Task and Finish Group (T&FG), introduced the report in the absence of the current Chair. Councillor Lloyd-Davies explained that the T&FG was a politically and geographically balanced group that had been asked to examine value for money options for delivering high quality social care in the County. He emphasised that as the process progressed initial assumptions changed based on the evidence analysed.
The Group had met nine times over the preceding two years. It oversaw the planning and implementation of the ‘listening and engagement’ exercise which resulted in the development of the options for public consultation. On 17th March 2016 Officers presented the responses received during the public consultation to the T&F Group. The Group then prepared the recommendations in the report, presented to Committee at the current meeting, for scrutiny and comments prior to their submission to Cabinet on 24th May 2016.
The Head of Community Support Services (HoCSS) presented the evidence from the public consultation on the future of Denbighshire’s in-house care services. He explained how the consultation had been undertaken in accordance with the 1985 Gunning Legal Principles around consultation to ensure that the Authority complied with legal expectations.
The HoCSS put forward the case for the need to change in-house care services as:
• Although the number of older people was increasing, demand for standard residential care and day services in Denbighshire had been falling for several years, and was continuing to fall;
• Demand for more enabling alternatives to standard residential care (such as Extra Care Housing) was increasing, and there was unmet demand for Extra Care Housing in Denbighshire, as well as for more specialist mental health and nursing homes;
• Research showed that outcomes for people who lived in Extra Care Housing were better compared with outcomes for people who lived in standard residential care;
• The introduction of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act required the council to focus on enabling people to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible;
• The cost of running care services in-house was high compared to commissioning services form the independent sector, and compared to the cost of supporting people to live in Extra Care Housing.
At the conclusion of the Task and Finish Group’s work the following options had been presented for public consultation:
Options presented for Hafan Deg (Rhyl)
1. The council’s preferred option: The council would enter into a partnership with an external organisation and transfer the building to them, commissioning a day care service within the building and, in addition, enabling 3rd sector agencies to provide early intervention activities for older people that reduce social isolation, support independence and promote resilience.
2. To re-provision services at Hafan Deg with the potential that the centre would close and the service users and their families be supported to find suitable alternative provision.
3. The council would consider any other alternative or option put forward that met the demand for day care places and social activities within the available resources.
• The only alternative option put forward during the consultation was for the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.