The Head of Democratic Services presented a report to approve the alternative working arrangements of the Older Persons Partnership Board.
Prior to the presentation of the report, Erik Scollay, Assistant Director, Social Care outlined that since his appointment in July 2014 it was clear that there were huge challenges within Social Care, which could be out into three categories:
1) Council's moral responsibilities and statutory duties - 1st April 2015, New Care Act
2) Financial Pressure
3) Individual expectations are increasing
Erik explained that the Council needs an effective way of delivering services and ways to engage. The Council is currently reviewing the engagement process and how we ensure views of the community, especially older people are feed into the process.
Nigel Sayer, Head of Democratic Services went on to present the report to the Board. He explained that the Council was going through significant change both in response to the Governments austerity measures and the need to modernise the Council in the way in which it delivers its services.
With the increasing elderly population, the Council is faced with an increasing demand on its services.
Older Peoples views are therefore a fundamental part to delivering Council Services and with this in mind, the Chair of the Partnership Board asked officers to look at the Boards existing arrangements and, in the light of these challenges, assess whether a new approach was now required.
Emerging issues and partnerships (see below), such as, the Health and Wellbeing Board and the Ageing Better Partnership are key drivers to change and present a real opportunity for better partnership working.
Nigel explained that the Partnership was set up as an advisory body to the Executive and whilst it has no formal Executive decision making powers, its main functions are to:
provide, in partnership with key stakeholders, a focus for meeting the social, health and cultural needs of older people;
recommend changes to policy and practice and inform service development;
continue the modernisation and development of services;
ensure that information about the responsibilities associated with the older persons agenda is disseminated;
be responsible for a collaborative work programme linked to targets leading to demonstrable improvements; and
engage older and young people in intergenerational matters and concerns.
The membership of the Board consists of Councillors and representatives from the following organisations:
Age UK Teesside;
Department for Work and Pensions;
Independent Living for Older People/ WRVS - North East Region;
Middlesbrough Senior Citizens Forum;
Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust;
South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Following its establishment, a key element of the work undertaken by the Board was the development of the Older Persons Strategy which covers a ten-year period stretching from 2007 to 2017.
The Board were aware that in 2011,Nigel reviewed the Older Persons' Partnership Board arrangements, instigated in part by the fact that although the Partnership was a sub-body of the Councils Executive. The Partnership seemed to have no formal reporting relationship with the Executive and any other bodies. Some of the findings of the report concluded that generally attendance was poor, there were few written reports and mostly verbal and there was little input from partners and roles were unclear.
Following on from the review a number of recommendations were introduced.
It was further outlined that the Partnership Board has been working under the revised arrangements for nearly three years. However since that review some concerns have been expressed that the Board was no longer operating the way in which it had been envisaged and regrettably the Board is not having a meaningful impact on the Council.
This, in conjunction with other emerging issues and current challenges facing the Council, lead the Chair to conclude that a further review was required.
The review looked at three areas:
1. Impact of Board
2. Attendance and Engagement
It was outlined that in addition to the Councils response to current challenges, there are also two key emerging drivers for change: the Ageing Better Partnership and the Health and Wellbeing Board. Details of these were highlighted in the report.
The evidence obtained following the implementation of revised arrangements showed that a wider engagement with partners had not improved and that the Board was not having a meaningful impact on the older persons agenda. This, coupled with a reduction in available capacity to support the Board and the challenges facing the Council through the Change Programme, means that a new way forward was required.
It was therefore proposed that the Older Persons Partnership Board discontinue and the following alternative arrangements be put in place, details of which were outlined in the report:
Older Persons Strategy Forum
Champion for Older People
Senior Citizens Forum
Health and Wellbeing Board
Ageing Better Partnership
On consideration of the report, the Board supported the recommendations and alternative working arrangements.
Councillor Hubbard asked whether all 48 Councillors were invited to attend the Older Persons' Startgey Forum. Nigel expressed that although not all councillors were invited to sit on the forum, they would be given the opportunity to feed any views into the forum through the advocate.
A Board member indicated in reference to the proposed alternative arrangements that it would be helpful if some clarity could be sought in respect of the terms of reference and decision making processes associated with those alternative arrangements. It was confirmed at the meeting that this would be taken on board as part of the reports proposals.
That the Board is asked to recommend to the Executive that the proposed way forward be that as set out on paragraphs 36 to 38 of the report.
The decision was supported by the following reason:
The changes are proposed due to the challenges facing the Council and the opportunities to address issues relating to older people through other means