The Scrutiny Support Officer submitted a report to provide information in respect of the scheduled attendance of Members of the Executive at the Overview and Scrutiny Board (OSB). It was intended for Executive Members to provide updates on their respective work in terms of their aims, aspirations, objectives, priorities and any emerging issues.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Rostron, the Executive Member for Adult Health and Social Care, to the meeting.
Councillor Rostron provided the following information in respect of the work of her portfolio:
The Care Act 2014 -The Board was advised that the Social Care department had previously worked under the remit of the NHS Community Care Act 1990 and service users were assessed in accordance with the FACS national criteria; this meant that previously Social Care had intervened at the point that an individual was in crisis. It was highlighted that the introduction of the Care Act 2014 had significant financial implications for the Council as well as a huge impact on the working practices of the authority. The Act created a new focus on prevention and building on the strengths of the community to delay the need for commissioned care and support, rather than intervening at crisis point. The local authority would be required to work more closely with the voluntary sector in terms of commissioning work or working alongside them. The Assistant Director for Social Care and the Chief Executive of MVDA were holding regular meetings to discuss how the voluntary sector and the Council could work better together.
Ageing Better Programme - Ageing Better is a Big Lottery funded programme aimed at reducing isolation and loneliness for people aged fifty and over that live in Middlesbrough. A copy of the organisation's quarterly magazine outlining the work of the organisation was circulated at the meeting.
The Social Care department faced further budget reductions in 2017/18; however it was anticipated that if the department continued working in a more preventative way and worked better with the voluntary sector, the budget reductions could be made without affecting service users.
Reablement was aimed at assisting people to live independently in their own home and as a consequence facilitate early discharges from hospital and residential care homes. £250k may be saved as a result of providing improved reablement services.
The Better Care Fund was aimed at providing better integration between health and social care. The Board was advised that as part of the Better Care Fund, a South Tees Single Point of Access (SPA) was being developed for adult health and social care which would be the access point for social care for the two local authorities (Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland) and for elements of JCUHs work - particularly in respect of admission avoidance and support for effective hospital discharge. There had been initial issues with regard to data protection and information sharing but good progress was being made in developing the project.
In terms of Planning of Overnight Care, the Council had commissioned a provider who would provide a short term overnight care service in an individual's home rather than hospital or residential care.
Initial discussions had taken place, as part of the prevention agenda, in respect of introducing 6 community-based Community Link Workers to provide additional support for individuals with non-clinical needs to connect to the appropriate organisations, with the emphasis on voluntary sector services and community-based activities.
The Board was advised that a court case had taken place the previous year in respect of the issue of the Deprivation of Liberty and the court had found in the service user's favour. As a result, the authority was required to assess any individual with a mental impairment in hospital or residential care. This had resulted in an increase of assessments from 70, before the court case to around 1000. This meant that more staff had needed to be trained to cope with the increase in assessments. The Law Society was currently trying to stream-line the process.
Transforming Care Agenda - The Board was advised that the Social Care department also had responsibility for integrating people with disabilities into the communities including those with a Forensic Disability e.g. offenders ending up in hospital as a result of a Mental Health or Learning Disability. As part of the assessment it was important to consider the risks to the individual and the community.
Residential Care - Middlesbrough still had a high number of people in residential care compared to other parts of the country, although the number had been reduced by 73. It was more cost effective and according to national research, beneficial, to assist individuals to live independently in their own homes rather than admit them to a residential care home.
The Council still had issues with people selling illegal tobacco and counterfeit goods. The Council had hired specialised sniffer dogs and over 22,000 cigarettes had been confiscated together with tobacco and shisha. There had been 8 convictions in the past year.
The Executive Member chaired the Smoke Free Alliance - a multi-agency partnership that sought to encourage people to stop smoking. Work had been carried out with the maternity unit at JCUH as part of the Baby Clear Programme, to encourage pregnant women not to smoke during pregnancy and to educate them on the effects of smoking on their unborn babies.
The responsible authorities were carrying out work in relation to the sale of illicit alcohol. Four alcohol licences had been revoked for selling alcohol to children or illicit alcohol and, when the Council's decision to revoke the licence had been appealed to the Magistrates Court, the Council's decision to revoke the licence had been upheld.
In respect of food hygiene, 85% of premises had achieved a 5 star rating, which was the highest rating. 12 of the premises inspected did not achieve a 0, 1 or 2, and, as a consequence, emergency measures were put in place to assist the premises in achieving the required rating.
Reference was made to the Estates Excellence & Extra Life initiative. 48 companies had signed up to the initiative which involved helping businesses in Middlesbrough to improve workplace safety, prevent accidents, enhance employee health and wellbeing and reduce sickness absenteeism. 24 of the companies had staff trained to work in health and safety.
In terms of Trading Standards, the team had taken action against a builder who had taken payment for a job but had not built anything; a pyramid seller and a person selling a car which listed it as only one owner, when the owner was a hire company. The team also carried out mystery shopping to identify counterfeit goods.
A report had been taken to Executive with regard to the micro chipping of dogs. There had been a government initiative which required all dogs to be micro chipped. The Dogs Trust was providing the micro chips for free and the facility to have the dogs micro chipped was available at North Ormesby Hub.
The Board was advised that Middlesbrough had a very good record in terms of Air Quality. The European Courts were taking action against the UK because of the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The level in Middlesbrough was currently below the national levels. The nitrogen dioxide monitors were situated in Albert Park and the town centre.
The Selective Licensing Scheme in North Ormesby, where private sector landlords were required to obtain a licence from the Council for every property they rented out was working well. Of the 155 properties inspected, only 37 were up to the required standard. 800 properties were currently privately let and legal notices had been served on 89 properties with 4 being required to close down. The Selective Landlord Scheme provided protection for tenants against rogue landlords.
The Executive Member chaired Middlesbrough Environment City. A summary of the work of the organisation, which included the provision of a cycle centre facility in the bus station, operation of the shop mobility service, an Asian ladies cycle club, the Hearty Beats programme; working with the Wildlife Trust to create apprenticeships with lottery funding, facilitating Diabetes 2 and heart checks and the Affordable Warmth programme where MEC were working with British Gas to provide gas boilers for free.
In summary, the main challenge in both areas; adult health and social care - was to continue to provide services to the same standards as they were currently, with less money and staff.
The Chair thanked the Executive Member for her contribution to the meeting.