DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES' ANNUAL REPORT 2017-18
To consider a report by the Principal Manager: Support Services (copy attached) to enable Members to scrutinise the draft annual report prior to it being submitted to the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).
11.40 a.m. – 12.25 p.m.
The Corporate Director: Communities introduced the report (previously circulated) which presented the Committee with the Director of Social Services’ Annual Report for 2017-18. It was explained that it was a statutory requirement for each Director of Social Services in Wales to produce an annual report summarising their assessment of the Service’s effectiveness in delivering social care services during the year and outlining the priorities for improvement identified during the course of the year that would require focus going forward.
During her introduction the Director paid tribute to the commitment of the workforce, both paid, and unpaid volunteers, whose dedication had resulted in the Annual Report being a positive one overall. She drew members’ attention to the Services’ key achievements during the year and highlighted the areas that required further work. The guidelines for the presentation of the Annual Reports stipulated that they should not exceed a specified number of words, consequently it had not been possible to include all aspects of adult social care and children services work in the report. Nevertheless, having reviewed all the evidence, the Director was confident that Denbighshire continued to provide good quality social services for children, adults and carers from cradle to grave, and in doing so had achieved some excellent performance in areas which were important for residents and communities. The Director advised that whilst legislation relating to social care had changed significantly during the last five years the principles of the legislation were actually what Denbighshire’s social care services aspired to, delivering positive outcomes for individuals based on what mattered to the them and providing early intervention and prevention at the right time to mitigate against the risk of needs escalating to require more intensive services. Despite the significant pressures faced by adult and children’s social care services during the year the Service had performed well but as always there was more to do, particularly in light of the growing demographic, financial challenges and pressures that lay ahead.
The Chair referred to the excellent Estyn report received earlier in the year on the county’s Education and Children’s Services. He also referred to the fact that a report on the ‘Provision of Respite Care across Denbighshire’, focussing in particular on the availability of respite facilities to ease the burden on carers in line with the aims of the Council’s Carers Strategy, would be presented to Partnerships Scrutiny Committee in September 2018.
Responding to members’ questions the Director and the Principal Manager: Support Services:
· advised that support for carers was provided in a variety of different ways dependent upon their needs i.e. at home, in a residential/nursing home, at a hotel or an alternative location away from their normal environment. Carers were entitled to receive a carers needs assessment, but were not obliged to have one. The Authority was working very closely with the North East Wales Carers Information Service (NEWCIS) in a bid to understand carers’ concerns, the types of services they required and how services to carers could be improved;
· advised that information on the aims and implications of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 had been presented to carers through a variety of different channels e.g. training/workshops, community and voluntary groups information sharing events and communications, as the Council realised that not all carers could attend events held due to their caring duties;
· confirmed that the Council was working closely with domiciliary care agencies examining the individual outcomes to be achieved when commissioning domiciliary care packages. The regional framework for commissioning domiciliary care had recently been renewed and the Council now had a list of which domiciliary care agencies wanted to provide services, including double-handed care services, in Denbighshire;
· advised that before a patient could be discharged from hospital a suitably qualified medical professional would have to certify that the patient was medically fit to be discharged. Hospital discharge care package assessments were not always undertaken by social workers, they were performed by the most suitably qualified professional dependent upon the individual patient’s needs and requirements. Once a care package had been agreed steps would then be taken to commission the service(s) required for the individual. Wherever possible care packages were aimed at supporting the individual to regain as much independence as possible in order to improve their quality of life;
· agreed that safeguarding was everyone’s responsibility, members and officers across all services alike. In a bid to highlight to all Council staff their own individual responsibilities in relation to Safeguarding a mandatory training programme had been rolled-out across the authority during 2017-18; and
· confirmed that if service-users’ mental capacity to take informed decisions about the services they required was impaired the Council/family members/carers could apply for Court of Protection (CoP) orders
During the discussion members referred to the pressures faced by health and social care services due to people living longer and the increasing levels of mental health related problems being recorded, even in primary school age pupils. They also noted the success of the Single Point of Access (SPoA) Service.
Officers undertook to make enquiries with regards to the delay encountered in providing young carers with free leisure cards and to confirm that GPs throughout the county were referring patients to the County’s Leisure Services, in light of concerns raised that neither St. Asaph nor Llangollen were referenced in the report.
At the conclusion of the discussion members:
(i) subject to the above observations and the provision of the requested information to confirm that the report provided a clear account of performance during 2017-18; and
(ii) to confirm that those areas which were either underperforming or of concern were already listed on a scrutiny committee forward work programme for further examination
- DofSS Annual Report covering report 17-18 190718, item 7. PDF 365 KB
- Director's Annual Report 201718 Final Draft 190618, item 7. PDF 2 MB