Social Care & Health Scrutiny Committee


Monday, 17 December 2018


PRESENT: Councillor G. Thomas (Chair)



S.M. Allen, K.V. Broom, I.W. Davies, K.Davies, W.T. Evans, M.J.A. Lewis, K. Lloyd, E. Morgan, B.A.L. Roberts and E.M.J.G. Schiavone


Also in attendance:

Councillor J. Tremlett, Executive Board Member for Social Care and Health


The following Officers were in attendance:

A. Bracey, Head of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities

R. Hemingway, Head of Financial Services

R. Page, Senior Business Support Manager

S. Sauro, Performance, Analysis & Systems Manager

M. Evans Thomas, Principal Democratic Services Officer

E. Bryer, Democratic Services Officer


Chamber, - County Hall, Carmarthen. SA31 1JP. - 2.00  - 3.10 pm





Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R. Evans, G. Jones and D. Williams.







Minute No(s)

Nature of Interest

Councillor K. Lloyd

Minute No 5 – Communities Department Draft Business Plan.

Niece works in Social Care – respite carer.


There were no declarations of prohibited party whips.






The Chair advised that no public questions had been received.




4.            REVENUE BUDGET STRATEGY CONSULTATION 2019/20 to 2021/22.


The Committee considered the Revenue Budget Strategy 2018/20 to 2021/22 which had been considered by the Executive Board as its meeting on the 19th November, 2018.  It was also noted that members of the Committee had recently attended consultation events on the budget which had provided them with an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification on various aspects of the budget.


The report provided Members with the current view of the Revenue Budget for 2019/20 together with indicative figures for the 2021/22 financial years. The impact on departmental spending will be dependent upon the final settlement from Welsh Government and the resultant final Budget adopted by County Council.


The Committee considered the following detailed budget information appended to the Strategy relevant to its remit.


·         Appendix A – Corporate Budget Strategy 2019/20 to 2021/22

·         Appendix A(i) – Efficiency summary for the Social Care & Health Service

·         Appendix A(ii) – Growth Pressures summary for the Social Care & Health Service

·         Appendix B – Budget extracts for the Social Care & Health Service

·         Appendix C – Charging Digest for the Social Care & Health Service


The Head of Financial Services provided an overview of the report.   Key points covered included:


·         The provisional settlement was announced on Tuesday 9th October 2018. Indicative figures for individual Local Authorities were provided for one financial year only, 2019/20, with no further information about future years’ settlements.

·         The main points of the Provisional Settlement 2019/2020 on an all Wales basis are as follows:

o   Local government revenue funding for 2019-20 set at £4.214 billion, a reduction of 0.3% (£12.3 million) compared to 2018-19

o   Welsh Government stated £13.7 million has been included towards the cost of the September 2018 Teachers pay award, yet only £8.1 million has been provided.

o   There was reference to £7m of additional funding to meet Local Authorities costs arising from WG’s approach to free school meals. On this, it is clear that only £4m has been provided

·         After adjustments for Welsh Government identified transfers, the reduction in the provisional settlement is 0.5% (£1.343m). The Aggregate External Finance (AEF) therefore reduces to £258,831k in 2019/20.

·         Taking into account new responsibilities and transfers in, the reduction for Carmarthenshire is 0.7% (£1.873m).

·         There is a new social services grant of £30m across Wales but the details of this grant is not yet known.

·         There is significant pressure on the Council’s pay bill due to the teachers’ pay award 2018 and the implementation of the nationally agreed pay spine. The draft budget also considers the effect of the increase in Teachers Pensions Employer contributions c£4.5m full year effect.

·         The “Earmarked Reserves” held by the Authority is declining due to the reduction of capital programme support as agreed by Council.

·         The Authority is proposing a council tax increase of 4.89% for the next 3 years.


The Head of Financial Services provided an update and advised the Committee that since the despatch of the agenda the Cabinet Secretary for Finance had announced an additional funding package of £13m for the Revenue Support Grant across Wales and an additional £7.5m for Teachers’ Pay.  It was estimated that this would provide the Authority with an additional £1.3m. The final settlement figure was expected on Wednesday of this week.


The following questions/issues were raised on the report:


·         Reference was made to the efficiency proposals and concern was expressed that managerial efficiencies may affect the quality of service provided.  Officers were asked what services will be impacted?


The Head of Financial Services advised that customer services should not be impacted as it was mainly administrative functions that efficiencies would impact upon.  He added that he did not have all the information with him and would provide a full response via e-mail following the meeting.


·         Concerns were raised regarding the monies that Welsh Government announced the Authority would be receiving, but then the funding did not materialise. An example of this was the £20m that was allegedly earmarked specifically for social care.


The Head of Financial Services explained that there was a formal consultation process via WLGA and a collective response had been submitted to Welsh Government.  . The figure is to do with the standard spending assessment and the 0.5% reduction in spending.  If there is any reduction then it is contained in that 0.5% and is not over and above.  He added that there is a new social services specific grant.


·         Asked if there was any way the Committee could relay its concerns to the WG regarding the money which was promised but not delivered,


The Committee was advised that in terms of the consultation process, comments have been fed into that by the Authority, the Leader has written to them and the Director of Social Services has also responded to the consultation in this regard;


·         A question was asked regarding how the Authority is doing with regards to re-enablement.


It was stated that good progress is being made.  A review of intermediate care is currently being undertaken which includes re-enablement, following the conclusion of which a report could be presented to Committee for consideration.


·         An update was requested on the progress on Continuing Health Care.


The Head of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities stated that this area continues to be challenging but progress is being made.  A Summit with the NHS is being scheduled in the New Year.  The outcome of this Summit will be fed back to the Committee.


·         Clarification was asked regarding Appendix C of the report.  It states that Respite Care Charge to Clients for 2019/20 is for the full cost of placement. 


It was confirmed that the client contribution will not change as this is capped by Welsh Government currently at £80 per week with an expected increase to £90 per week next year.


·         Clarification was asked about the spend on IT and what it included.


The Committee was advised that this relates to department use and includes the purchase of new kit including phones for care workers.  There is also cost attributed to the introduction of CM2000 software which will provide savings efficiencies through improved rostering planning.


·         Clarification was sought on what “Other” referred to in the earmarked reserves table.


The Head of Financial Services advised that he did not have the information to hand but would be able to provide the details following the meeting.





The 2019/20 – 2021/22 Revenue Budget Strategy Consultation be received;


The Charging Digest for the Social Care & Health Service, as detailed in Appendix C to the report, be endorsed.






[note:  councillor K. Lloyd had earlier declared an interest in this item.]


The Committee considered the Communities Departmental Draft Business Plan 2019/20 – 2022 in relation to those services falling within its remit:


·         Care and Support Services

·         Mental Health, Learning and Disability & Safeguarding

·         Integrated Services

·         Commissioning Services.


It was noted that further work would be undertaken on the draft following comments and engagement by the Committee and Executive Board Members. Additionally, feedback from staff groups to date had indicated greater emphasis would be welcomed on integrated wellbeing actions through divisional plans together with ensuring the sustainability of services through different methods in the face of growing demand.


The following issues/questions were raised on the report:-


·         Clarification was sought on why the transition of Allied Health Care Services into our in house Domiciliary Care is detailed under Service Priorities with a date of March 2020.  It was assumed that the transition had been completed.


The Committee were advised that Allied Health Care will not be fully integrated until April 2019 hence the inclusion in the Service Priorities.


·         Clarification was sought on the dates for the development of the new Wellness Village in Llanelli.  Currently detailed as March 2022.


As the leisure aspect of the report falls under the remit of the Head of Leisure, the Head of Mental Health & Learning Disabilities agreed to take this question back to him with a request that he provide the Committee with a response.


·         Concerns were expressed regarding the shortage of homes in the County for older people and that the current plan for affordable housing appears to be based on historical data from a housing needs survey conducted in 2008.


The Committee was advised that the Affordable Housing Plan does address the need for homes for older people and the use of adaptations and technology.  The Head of Mental Health & Learning Disabilities also advised that West Wales Care Partnership had recently undertaken an audit and the data will be published soon.


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Communities Departmental Business Plan 2019/20 – 2022 be received.






The Committee considered the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014 – Policy and Procedures Revisions for Charging Adults for Services report.


The report sets out the revised policy, bringing together the previous policies and the interim policy agreed in 2016.


Summary of points from the policy.

·         Personal Allowance has been renamed as Minimum Income Amount and will increase annually in line with Welsh Government announcements. 2018-19 is set at £28.50 per week (This is revised annually by Welsh Government)

·         Non-residential Charges are applicable from first day of service.

·         Persons with Care and Support needs who have confirmed diagnosis of CJD will not be charged for Residential or Non-residential services.

·         The local authority can now charge interest of deferred payments from the date of the Agreement.

·         Short Term residents in a care home are now charged as if they were receiving non-residential services.

·         Choice of accommodation rules will apply to “Temporary / Permanent” placements in a care home, but this is not applicable to placements made under “Short Term” rules.

·         AVC are renamed to “Additional Costs” and will continue to apply, but will now be calculated from the highest cost of the 2 available homes, and not the mid-point as per the Interim Policy 2016.


The following issues/questions were raised on the report:-


·         Clarification was sought on the charging for respite care.


The Senior Business Manger advised that appropriate arrangements are made following an assessment by the Social Worker.  Where a person is considered to need a placement for less than 8 weeks, then the placement will be considered under the non-residential rules.  A person can have multiple stays in any period which are classed as short term which cumulatively add up to more than 8 weeks.


The charge per night for short term placements is based on the full cost of the placement.


·         Question was asked if the cost for respite care is means tested.


The Senior Business Manger advised that when a person is means tested the amount charged is capped – currently £80 per week.


·         Further information was requested regarding deferred payments.


The Senior Business Manger confirmed that where a deferred payment is agreed then it will enable the person to defer or delay paying some or all of the care costs so that they don’t have to sell their property when entering a care home.  The Authority will seek to take a priority charge over the property, however in some circumstances it will be a 2nd charge.  The Authority has the right to withdraw services if a person has not paid their charges.  It was advised that Carmarthen has yet to withdraw a service.  Instead, the Authority would seek payment from the estate.



RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO THE EXECUTIVE BOARD that the Policy and Procedures Revisions for Charging Adults for Services be endorsed.






The Committee considered the update report detailing progress in relation to actions, requests and referrals emerging from previous meetings.


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report be received.






The Committee received an explanation for the non-submission of the following scrutiny report which was scheduled to be considered at today’s meeting:-


·         Regional & Partnership Working Update


RESOLVED that the explanation for the non-submission be noted.




9.            FORTHCOMING ITEMS.


The Committee considered the list of forthcoming items and agreed that the items should be presented to the next meeting.


RESOLVED that the list of forthcoming items to be considered at the next meeting of the Committee to be held on Wednesday 23rd January, 2019 be agreed.






RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on the 22nd November, 2018 be signed as a correct record.







































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CHAIR                                                                                   DATE