To consider a report of the Cabinet Members for Adult Social Care and Health.
The Cabinet has previously set out its approach to responding to the opportunities, challenges and uncertainty outlined within the review of the medium-term financial plan at its meeting on 21st September 2021. This was shared for further discussion and comment with scrutiny committees in October 2021.
Following these discussions further development of proposals have been undertaken and these are now being shared again with Scrutiny for comment and consideration.
The Scrutiny Committee is requested to comment on the proposals within the four business cases alongside feedback from consultation and equalities analysis.
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The Director of Place Management submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing an update on the Cabinet’s proposed approach to responding to the opportunities, challenges and uncertainty outlined within the review of the medium-term financial plan presented at the Cabinet meeting on the 21 September 2021. The Scrutiny Committee was provided with an opportunity to make initial comments on the proposals at its meeting in October 2021. Following these discussions further development of proposals have been undertaken and these are now being shared again with the committee for comment and consideration.
The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health (Councillor Jude Wells) also attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.
The following comments were made/ issues raised:-
· Recognised the challenges and uncertainty that the council were facing in relation to the Adult Social Care budget.
· Concerns were expressed in relation to the levels of Government funding for future years and the impact that this had on service delivery.
· Members sought clarification in relation to All Age approach demand management savings proposal and the diverse needs of children and adults were noted.
· In response, it was stated that the All Age programme was broken down into three distinct areas which included the Front Door, Drug and Alcohol Service and Transition. Members were informed that a Programme Board has been established across Children and Adult Services to focus on how the services could work collectively to deliver improved outcomes for residents. Within this, three test for change groups had been utilised to consider where services and support was best placed to provide collaborative, wrap around support which was focused on early intervention. It was advised that the legislation and statutory requirements under CQC had been updated which required services delivery changes to improve transition that were incorporated under the All Age approach.
· Welcomed the proposals to explore service improvement for residents and opportunities that this provided, however raised concerns in relation to available resources and funding that were required to deliver these services.
· In response to concerns relating to terminology and jargon contained within the report, it was agreed that future reports would contain a glossary to improve accessibility.
· Members sought assurances that residents would not suffer as a result of the proposals.
· In response, it was stated that there had always been finite budgets within Adult Social Care which posed challenges for allocating funds and resources in the best way. Members were advised that budget allocation was based on protecting residents and prioritising need and it was a credit to the team that people were being supported in light of the climate that they were working in. Members were assured that Equality Impact Assessments had been considered to understand the impact of the proposals on different communities. The challenges to deliver services with limited budgets and increased demand were acknowledged and as a result services were considering proposals to work creatively and with partner organisations to deliver to a co-ordinated, multidisciplinary approach.
· In response to concerns relating to further funding cuts and efficiency demands given the transformation work the council had untaken in recent years, it was stated that the Integrated Care Systems presented opportunities to co-ordinate services with the NHS using the asset-based approach and align contracts across health and social care to deliver savings.
· Members sought assurance that children under child protection would be prioritised by the council. In response it was stated that in the exploration for an All Age delivery model, the council were adopting a carefully considered approach to understand the best way forward for joined up services and offered reassurance that there would not be a dilution in quality relating child protection and safeguarding.
The Chair queried whether the Medium-Term Financial Plan proposals would be considered at a future meeting of the Committee. In response, it was stated that the final business cases including the comments from Scrutiny would be presented to Cabinet as part of the Budget papers for consideration on the 1 February 2022.
RESOLVED – That the report be noted.