Agenda item

Pre-Decision Scrutiny

To select appropriate items from the Cabinet Board agenda for Pre-Decision Scrutiny (Cabinet Board reports included for Scrutiny Members)


The committee chose to scrutinise the following cabinet board items:


Remodelling and Relocation of Complex Needs Day Services


The committee received an overview of the proposal to remodel and relocate the current Complex Needs Day Services based at Abbeyview, Brynamlwg and Trem Y Mor as detailed in the circulated report.


Members were reassured that the proposal was not a cost cutting exercise as the costs were neutral.  It was to strengthen the current provision.


Concern was expressed by members on the additional time service users would spend travelling to the new premises.  It was explained that in liaison with our transport colleagues no additional time would be spent on buses.  If necessary the pickup routes would be reconfigured to ensure this.  Each bus where necessary would have less pick up routes.  A report containing a breakdown of times and locations would be brought for members consideration to a future meeting.


Consideration would be given to assisting service users with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to cope with the changes that this proposal would bring.  Friendship between service users, which was previously raised by parents during the consultation would also form part of the planning.


Officers confirmed that there would be additional costs incurred due to training staff as agency staff would have to cover those staff being trained.  Discussions were on-going with care providers.


Discussion took place on the process for supporting family and parents who were unhappy with the proposal.  Officers explained that meetings had taken place on an individual basis to mitigate any issues and assist people to understand why the changes had been put in place.  It was also recognised that change could be difficult for many people.  Also, when reflecting on the consultation any lessons learnt from that process would be used to inform future consultations.


Following scrutiny, the committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by cabinet board.



Direct Payments Policy


At this point Councillor C. Galsworthy re-affirmed her interest in this item and left the meeting.


Members received information on the Direct Payments Policy as detailed in the circulated report.


In answer to members queries, the Direct Payments Policy was not subject to external consultation because it was an explanation of the Direct Payments system, rather than being a policy which sets out and explains the approach that the Council had chosen to adopt within a legal framework.  An Integrated Impact Assessment was undertaken as part of the council discharging its legislative duties under the Equality Act 2010, the Welsh Language Standards (No.1) Regulations 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.


In addition, members asked why there was no impact on the valleys.  There were a number of cases where service users could not recruit to personal assistant roles.  Officers explained that this section of the report referred to the legislative duties under the relevant equality acts.  Also, no person would be forced to use direct payments.  If there was no availability of personal assistants, then the council would provide the service based on the persons needs.  Recipients could also stop direct payments at any time.


Members asked what a reasonable cost was as stated in the policy.  Officers explained that the cost was dependant on the person’s assessed need and what a reasonable cost was for the service.  If a recipient chose to secure a more expensive service, the individual would have to pay the difference in cost.


In response to members’ queries, officers confirmed that the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks were checked by the social worker.  If no social worker was involved the direct payments team undertook checks and where necessary referred to the safeguarding team.


Following scrutiny, the committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by cabinet board.


Adult Services Respite Allocation Policy


(At this point Councillor C.Galsworthy returned to participate in the meeting.)


Members received information on the outcome of the public consultation on the revised Adult Services Respite Allocation Policy as detailed in the circulated report.


Concern was expressed at the new tick box form which determined the individuals’ and carers eligible care and support needs for respite.  Officers explained that the form was developed from a request from social workers for assistance when assessing need.  The scoring system forms part of the assessment.  The form would then be part of the considerations undertaken by the Resource Panel who allocate respite.


The committee asked what the waiting times were for assessment and it was explained that the waiting times had reduced but that if a request was identified as urgent a response would be immediate.


The policy was developed to introduce a more flexible approach to enable service users and carers to choose a care package that suited their needs.  Some service users did not wish to go into a respite establishment but preferred to remain at home and had the support in place.  Direct payments could also be utilised.


The direct payments team had a register of personal assistants and approached existing PA’s if service users/carers were looking for respite support and were unable to find a Personal Assistant.


Following scrutiny, the committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by cabinet board.


Adult, Children and Young People Services – 2nd Quarter


The committee received information on the Performance Information and Complaints and Compliments for both Adult and Children and Young People Services for the Quarter 2 as detailed in the circulated report.


Members were concerned at the 100 people who were not prevented from becoming homeless.  Officers explained that an update report would be prepared which would contain the variety of reasons why homelessness was not prevented and would also include the numbers of people who refused help.  Officers  highlighted that there was a variety of reasons why homelessness was not prevented. Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council did not have any housing stock.  There were issues with the bed and breakfast accommodation in Swansea. Discussions were taking place with the Welsh Government and Tai Tarian Housing Association to assist with supporting these vulnerable people.


Discussion took place on a model to prevent homelessness which was being used in Scotland and which has proved to be very effective.  Officers would look into this model and provide a report if appropriate.


Following scrutiny, it was agreed that the report be noted.