REVIEW OF CABINET DECISION RELATING TO THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE REGIONAL FEE SETTING GROUP
To consider a report by the Scrutiny Co-ordinator (copy attached) which seeks the Committee, in accordance with the Council’s Call-In Procedure Rules, to review the decision taken by Cabinet on 13th December 2022 (copy attached).
10.10 – 11.00 a.m.
The Chair welcomed
officers and the Lead Member Councillor Elen Heaton to the meeting. Members
were provided with background information and reasoning for the call in request.
The Chair provided members with a detailed description of the call in
reminded the reasons for the call were as stated in the report:
“To request that Cabinet reconsiders its
decision of 13 December 2022 to accept the recommendations of the Fees Group
given that both Gwynedd and Ynys Môn are recommending to pay care providers
considerably more with a view to ensuring the future sustainability of the
social care sector in their areas.”
Officer informed members that annex B to the report, was the report presented
to Cabinet in December 2022. That report was deemed to include exempt
information under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972. Therefore,
the press and public had been excluded from the consideration of that report at
the Cabinet meeting. The exemption had been granted as per paragraph 14, of
part 4 of schedule 12A of the 1972 Act as the report contained information
relating to the financial or business affairs of an individual or an organisation,
including that of the local authority.
James proposed that the meeting be moved to Part II confidential business for
the discussion on the remainder of the business item, Councillor Delyth Jones
seconded the proposal. On being put to
the vote 6 members were in favour of excluding the press and public and 3 were
against. Therefore, it was:
RESOLVED that under Section 100A of the Local
Government Act 1972, the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting for the
following items of business on the grounds that it involved the likely
disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14 of Part 4 of
Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC
Councillor Merfyn Parry provided members
with the reasoning behind calling-in the Cabinet’s decision for detailed
The Lead Member Councillor Elen Heaton
stressed the next stage of the procedure, to consult with providers, had not
yet begun due to the Cabinet decision being called-in for scrutiny. She also emphasised that whilst this year
Cabinet had agreed to accept all the recommendations of the Regional Fee
Setting Group, in previous years and under a different administration this
annual decision had been taken via the Lead Members Delegated Decision
process. She stressed the data used by
the Fees Group in formulating the recommendations had been the most up to date
information which had been provided to the Group by those providers who were
willing to supply data to them. In
addition to using the data available the Fees Group had followed a robust
methodology in order to calculate the recommended fee levels.
The Chair allowed all signatories present at
the meeting to put forward their reasoning for calling-in the decision with
officers and the Lead Member also given time to respond. During the course of
stressed the need to commit to a plan that as an authority was affordable
and could be maintained.
- it was
explained that the Fees Group’s role was to establish the actual cost of
care in North Wales based on the data available to them. However, in formulating the 2023/24
recommended fee levels the Fees Group had also applied a robust
methodology which took into account the implications of paying staff the
Real Living Wage as well as the high inflation rate prevailing at the time
when the proposed fees levels were being calculated.
- outlined the
various methods used to engage with care providers for collecting data on
the actual costs of providing care.
However, despite the various options available to providers to
enable them to submit the required information, a number of them were
unwilling to engage with the process.
- it was
stressed that the Authority’s door was always open to providers to come
and discuss any barriers or pressures they encountered in delivering care
procured by the Authority for Denbighshire residents. The Authority would not permit any
provider to suffer if they engaged with the Council and were able to justify
why an uplift in fees was required as long as they could demonstrate
effective and efficient use of public funds.
- each local
authority area had its own unique demographic profile therefore supply and
demand differed between various geographical areas.
- it was
confirmed that all six local authorities in North Wales along with the
Health Board were members of the Regional Fees Group and had contributed
to the work in calculating the proposed recommended fee levels. This included Gwynedd and Ynys Môn. The intention now was to consult with
care providers on these fee levels as part of the local fee setting
process for 2023/24.
recommended fees were an indicative figure that assisted with the budget
setting process. However, the fees
paid to care providers for each individual differed, as this was based on
each person’s needs assessment. It
was stressed that Social Care was a demand led service.
- it was
confirmed that the Council had a good working relationship with its care
providers and that the proposed increase for 2023/24 was one of the most
generous in monetary value for a number of years.
Members were pleased to note that the six
local authorities and the Health Board had worked together and communicated
with each other in relation to this matter.
They requested that every effort continued to be made to encourage care
providers to regularly and effectively engage with local authorities and the
Regional Fees Group in future, in order that the Group would be provided with
relevant up to date data as this would aid the setting of realistic and
affordable fee levels going forward.
Members also noted the requirement to meet
the need for each individual to do what is best for each person.
Both sides to the
debate were given an opportunity to summarise the reasons and rationale behind
their viewpoints. At the conclusion of the summaries Councillor Merfyn
Parry proposed the following:
“That the Committee
asks Cabinet to reconsider their decision made on 13th December 2022
and in doing so that there be further consultation with providers and Care
Forum Wales as a representative body to ensure that the fees are appropriate
and sustainable, and also to use the new up to date data to re-address the
Prior to seeking
the Committee to vote upon the above proposal the Chair asked the Monitoring
Officer to clarify to Committee members what their options were in relation to
the decision which had been called-in. The Monitoring Officer explained
that the Committee when voting on the proposed recommendation could ask Cabinet
its original decision on the basis of the grounds stated
the original decision as taken by Cabinet; or
to Cabinet that its original decision be upheld but in upholding the decision
that Cabinet should explore further the aspects outlined in the recommendation
proposed by Councillor Merfyn Parry, seconded by Councillor Pauline Edwards was
then put to the vote. The Committee voted as follows:
4 members voted in
favour of the recommendation
5 members voted
against the recommendation
1 member abstained
recommendation was lost.
Officer then asked the Committee to clarify whether it wished to recommend to
Cabinet that it explore any of the aspects outlined in the proposed
recommendation when implementing its original decision. Committee members
indicated that they would not be seeking Cabinet to follow that course of
Therefore, at the conclusion
of an in-depth discussion, the Committee by a majority vote:
Resolved: - not to refer the ‘Recommendation of the
Regional Fee Setting Group’ decision, taken by Cabinet on 13th
December 2022, back to Cabinet for further consideration.
Officer confirmed that on the basis of the Committee’s decision Cabinet would
now be in a position to proceed to implement its original decision.
At this juncture
the Committee adjourned for a break.
- Call-in Cover Report 190123, item 5. PDF 219 KB
- Call-in Report 190123 Annex A, item 5. PDF 289 KB
- Restricted enclosure View the reasons why document 5./3 is restricted