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)



West Glamorgan Safeguarding Annual Report


Officers provided a brief outline to the report. The West Glamorgan Safeguarding Board is a regional board. It bring organisations together to look at safeguard and also brings organisations to account. They do both children and adult practice reviews. The report outlines the first part of the safeguarding plan. The prime objective of the Board is to protect children and adults, and the second objective is to prevent harm in relation to children and adults.


The report sets out the structure of the group and each organisation involved with take on elements of the work. The board ensures a consistent approach and response across the region.


Members noted that the report outlines a high number of male overdoses and suspected suicides. Members queried if a reason for this could be identified. Officers advised that it reflects the trends identified in the 2008 financial crisis. All suicides and significant attempts at suicides are referred to the service. Data is being gathered, working the Public Health Wales, to identify the services that the individuals and their families access and see if anything can be done differently to prevent those suicides.


Following scrutiny, members noted the report for information.



Housing Support Grant Annual Report 2022


Officers provided a brief overview to the report circulated. The grant is the main source of funding for homelessness services, including the Council’s own Housing Options Team and Community Independence Service. It also funds a full range of commissioned services, for example domestic violence refuges.  Officers noted that the amount of funding awarded has been the same for the financial year 21-22, 22-23 ad 23-24. Members were asked to note the pressures on the services with increased demand and costs over those years.


The grant is key to delivering the Rapid Rehousing Plan and preventing homelessness by offering a range of targeted support to people in their homes and also building based support services. Officers advised that a key piece of work will be carried out over the next couple of years to optimise the grant to ensure that it supports the Rapid Rehousing Plan.


Members noted the report. 



Quarter 3 Performance Indicators


Officers suggested that the scrutiny committee may wish to focus their attention on indicators that they consider key. Officers could carry out a piece of work to focus the indicators on what the scrutiny committee requires.


Member queried, in terms of the average delay to delivering disabled grants, what is the average waiting time for the service user? Officers confirmed that there has been some substantial delays during the pandemic due to the demands in the private market with construction works. Generally shower works have been carried out quite quickly, but the extension work was taking between 6-9 months. However, it is starting to improve as the private market slows down.


Members queried the partially upheld complaint against a social worker that is outlined in the report and the lessons learned from this. Members queried if the lessons learned were forwarded to the social worker’s new employer so that the same mistakes were not repeated. Officers advised that they would take advice from HR as appropriate. Generally system wide errors would be considered and the wider lessons learned from the complaint and how this can be improved upon.


Members noted that the number of looked after children and those on the child protection register has fallen over the last 10 years. However, since the first quarter of 2021, the numbers are quite significantly declining. Member queried if there was a specific reason for this rapid decline. In terms of looked after children, members advised that children and families have been worked with to allow children to return home safely. During the pandemic, this process slowed down and youngsters stayed within foster care longer. However, these numbers will now continue to go in a downward trajectory. Officers advised that there are no target numbers for looked after children and children on the child protection register. It was also noted that from time to time large sibling groups come off the child protection register which can sometimes explain the rapid decline in figures.


It was noted that sometimes targets appear to be in the red, however this does not always correctly reflect the position. At this current time there is a central corporate system which asks that targets and objectives are set. However sometimes this is counter-productive as the figures need a much more nuanced explanation around the outcome.


Members queried the rise in care home admissions and the concerns about the availability of beds. Officers outlined that although there are vacant beds, the care homes can’t get the care staff to look after those beds. More often than not people are admitted into a care home on discharge from hospital when awaiting care in the community or when there is no care available in the community to look after people so they are admitted to the care home.


Following scrutiny, members noted the report.



Substance Misuse Action Fund: Grant Agreements


Officers provided an overview of the report circulated with the agenda. The increase in funding will support the objectives to prevent drug related deaths, reduce drug related harm and ensure that those that require support can get timely access to the services they require when they need it.


It was acknowledged that whilst drug related deaths across the region are increasing, the number of death in Neath Port Talbot has decreased during the last year.


Following scrutiny, members were supportive of the recommendation to be considered by Cabinet Board.



Participation in Welsh Governments Empty Homes Scheme


Officers provided an overview of the report circulated with the agenda.


Members queried the reasoning for signing a service agreement with RCT and the benefits that this would bring. Officers confirmed that the scheme outlined copies the Valleys Task Force scheme that was administered by RCT Council.  RCT are the Welsh Government’s appointed lead authority for the scheme going forward. RCT will deal with the legal and financial side of the scheme. The local authorities will deal with the surveys.


Following scrutiny, members were supportive of the recommendation to be considered Cabinet Board.