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The Chair welcomed all those present to this extraordinary meeting of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declaration of interest by any Member or Officer in respect of any item of business.
No declaration of interest was made.
To present the report of the Interim Director of Social Services.
The draft Annual Report of the Interim Director of Social Services on the effectiveness of Social Services in 2019/20 was presented for the Committee’s consideration. The purpose of the report the publication of which is a statutory requirement is to promote awareness and accountability for the performance and progress made over the past year in delivering Social Services within Anglesey County Council as well as outlining improvement priorities.
The Chair introduced the item by referring to the democratic channels through which the Annual Report would be reported culminating in its presentation for Full Council approval prior to 31 October, 2020 and he invited the Interim Director of Social Services to present the report.
The Interim Director of Social Services reported that much of the credit for the report and for Social Services activity during the 2019/20 financial year is owing to Mr Alwyn Rhys Jones who led the work mentioned in the report as the Statutory Director of Social Services and who has since been appointed to the Statutory Director’s role with Wrexham County Borough Council. The report has been prepared under the requirements of the Social Services and Wellbeing Wales Act 2014 and the Regulation and Inspection for Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 and as such it follows a prescribed format with performance documented under six Quality Standards for well-being outcomes with supporting evidence of progress and achievement under each standard. The report carries a wealth of information and this has been set out in as accessible and reader friendly way as possible and provides service users, elected members, the Council’s partners, regulators and the general public with an insight into the achievements and progress made by Anglesey’s Social Services during the past year.
Some of the key highlights include –
• The establishment of a project in collaboration with Voices from Care Cymru which is developing a participation group for looked after children and young people on Anglesey. The group will support Anglesey Council in the development of its Looked After Children and Care Leavers Strategy and provide a platform that supports relationship building between looked after children, young people and their corporate parents in Ynys Môn.
• Work in Adults’ Services on developing the Môn Community Link service in collaboration with Medrwn Môn as the overarching voluntary body.
• Increased emphasis during the past year on listening to the voice of service users as a basis for developing and shaping services.
The Leader and Portfolio Member for Social Services thanked both Mr Alwyn Jones for leading the Service as Director of Social Services during 2019/20 and Mr Fôn Roberts his successor for taking up the reins as Interim Director of Social Services. She highlighted the many functions of Social Services as reflected by the annual report and referred to its reach into many people’s lives in delivering help and support at times when they are vulnerable and in responding to a range of care, welfare, and safeguarding needs.
The Committee welcomed the report as providing a positive ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
To present the report of the Interim Director of Social Services.
The report of the Interim Director of Social Services updating the Committee on progress in the Social Services was presented for consideration. The report summarised recent developments within Children’s and Adults’ Services with reference also to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and the response of Social Services during the lockdown period.
The Leader and Portfolio Member for Social Services provided an overview of recent activity; the Interim Director of Social Services and the Interim Head of Adults’ Services reported in greater detail on delivery in Children and Families’ Services and Adults’ Services respectively under the following headlines –
• Increasing the number of Local Authority Foster Carers
• Opening the first Cartef Clyd which will enable looked after children from Anglesey to receive care on the Island
• Opening a training flat for young people leaving care to support them to live independently for the first time
• Continuation of planning work for a new extra care housing provision in the south of the Island
• Developing the Shared Lives Programme to support people living with dementia and their carers as well as design a Dementia Strategy in line with Welsh Government’s Dementia Plan
• Developing opportunities for people with mental health needs to participate in community based group activities
• Increasing participation levels in the community hub models by promoting and developing the hubs across the Island; working to establish 3 community resources teams in Amlwch, Ysbyty Penrhos Stanley and Llanfairpwll
• Engaging and consulting with users on the Adult Learning Disability Day Opportunity Strategy to create a greater range of high quality day opportunities for individuals in their communities.
• Delivering on all statutory duties during the Covid-19 lockdown period
Councillor Richard Griffiths, the Committee’s representative on the Social Services Improvement Panel gave an update on the deliberations of the Panel from its meeting on 10 September (section 2 of the report refers) drawing attention to the Panel’s recommendation that the Corporate Scrutiny Committee could refer specific areas of work to the Panel for in-depth scrutiny within the broader context of the parent committee’s work programme on the Council’s response to Covid-19. Councillor Griffiths further referred to the Fostering Panel which had also met recently. The Committee noted the information and thanked Councillor Richard Griffiths for it.
The Committee considered the update and discussed the following matters –
• The Service’s plans for the medium and longer term taking into account the impact of Covid 19. The Interim Director of Social Services advised that planning ahead in any meaningful way is difficult because of the uncertainty around both how the Covid-19 crisis will continue to evolve and what its consequences will be for local government funding next year and beyond. The Leader clarified that the focus recently for local Authority Leaders in Wales has been on ensuring that pressure points are identified sooner rather than later so that Welsh Government can be lobbied promptly and also on achieving parity of treatment for Social Services ... view the full minutes text for item 3.