To present the report of the Director of Social Services.
The report of the Director of Social Services setting out progress and developments to date in Children and Families’ Services and in Adults’ Services was presented for the Committee’s consideration. The report also provided an outline of the business undertaken by the Social Services Scrutiny Panel over the course of Quarter 1 2022/23 including a summary of the issues considered at its meetings held on 18 July and 12 September, 2022.
The Director of Social Services in presenting the report said that the work of developing services continues in tandem with fulfilling day to day statutory responsibilities. He referred to some of the initiatives currently in development and progressing as follows -
· Successful recruitment to the new post of Service Manager – LAC Education, Youth Services and Children and Young People’s Wellbeing which straddles Children and Families’ Services and the Learning Service. The role will also include realising the vision of becoming a Trauma Informed Island across schools, Early Years, Youth Services, Fostering Services and the Social Work Teams.
· Working to implement an integrated approach – the Virtual Schools Model – to improving educational outcomes for looked after children in line with the recommendations of Sir Alasdair Macdonald’s review of ways to improve the educational outcomes of looked after children through implementing an integrated approach across Wales.
· Extension of the Welsh Government’s Flying Start Early Years Programme to include an additional 49 children in Anglesey during 2022/23 as the first phase. Social Services will be working closely with childcare providers and parents/carers in the new Flying Start area.
· Achieving Maethu Cymru Môn’s target for recruiting foster households in 2021/22 whilst also focusing efforts on retention which is seen to be improving meaning that the number of Fostering Households approved and registered to the Council is on a steady increase.
The Head of Adults’ Services provided an overview of activities in Adults’ Services in the period since the last update including –
· The appointment of a Transformation and Development Manager to work on a number of projects including the Learning Disability Programme.
· The completion of a positive Internal Audit review of Direct Payments
· Development of a range of community activities in Holyhead working alongside Boston Centre Stage.
· Implementation of pooled funding arrangement with BCUHB to support care packages for people with learning disabilities.
· Establishment of a Dementia Centre offering bespoke dementia services for individuals and carers
· Merger of Adults’ Services’ Single Point of Contact and Teulu Môn into one integrated front door access point.
· Stepping up the recruitment effort for home care and care home workers with an advertising campaign on Council vehicles, promoting a career in Social Care.
The Committee welcomed the report as testimony of progress made and highlighted a number of aspects for special praise specifically the success of the Foster Carers recruitment drive, the pooled funding initiative with the Health Board and the creative and resourceful approach to addressing issues and overcoming difficulties. The Chair emphasised that all schemes/changes need to be fully costed and cost efficient and improve quality and effectiveness.
The Director of Social Services advised that whilst finance is always a factor, the Service takes a prudent approach to expenditure utilising resources within the community where it can. Although many of its responsibilities are statutory meaning that only Social Services can undertake them, it does endeavour to seek creative solutions to the challenges it faces including being winter prepared but knowing also that issues can arise unexpectedly such as a severe flu season with its potential implications for staff absence. The Service is collaborating with the Health Board to ensure that measures are in place and to provide assurance that the services it plans for can be delivered. Social Services also work closely with the Finance Service with regular meetings between the respective Officers.
Councillor Gary Pritchard, Portfolio Member for Children and Youth Services highlighted that the Council has often been in the vanguard of developing new ideas and initiatives in Children and Families’ Services many of which are focused on prevention and as such are cost saving in reducing the need for children to enter the care system in the first place.
Councillor Alun Roberts, Portfolio Member for Adults’ Services said that a political solution is needed for the issues in health and social care and that more emphasis needs to be placed on social care in terms of political attention and investment especially given the challenges ahead.
Having considered the report, it was resolved –
· To confirm that the Corporate Scrutiny is satisfied with the pace of progress and improvement made to date in Social Services, and that
· The Committee recommends to the Executive that progress and pace of improvements in Social Services are adequate.