(NOTE: At the commencement of this item the Council’s attention was drawn to Corporate Procedure Rule 9.1 “Duration of Meeting” and having noted that the meeting had been underway for three hours it was:
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Council’s Corporate Procedure Rules be suspended to enable the Council to complete the remaining items on the Agenda.
The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 31st July, 2017 (Minute 13 refers) had received the Draft Annual report of the Statutory Director of Social Services on the performance of Social Care Services in Carmarthenshire for 2016/17. The report also detailed progress made on areas identified for improvement in the previous year’s report whilst also highlighting areas to be developed in the current year,
Reference was made to the importance of persons in receipt of care being able to communicate with carers in the Welsh Language. Council was assured that it was the intention to have a Welsh speaking carer on duty on every shift and in care homes and that measures were in place to train and encourage staff to learn Welsh. However, it had to be recognised that it may not always be possible to achieve that aim.
In response to a statement on the need to ensure care providers were properly trained and remunerated the Director of Community Services advised that in relation to the provision of care, Council’s Commissioning procedures were flexible and allowed users to bank unused hours. For example, if a service user was contracted to receive three 15 minute visits per day and only used a portion of that time, the unused time could be banked to provide extra care when needed. That was a unique system in which the Council were market leaders and were sharing its experiences with other local authorities. With regard to recruitment and retention of staff, he advised that with an ageing workforce the authority was endeavouring to attract young providers to the service.
Several references were made to page 258 within the report and the department was commended for its action in ending, last year, the further outsourcing of domiciliary care by adopting a preference to invest in the in-house service.
Reference was made to the recent closure of the Gower Lodge Care home and clarification sought on what measures the Council was taking to ensure any contracts it had would avoid a similar situation arising within Carmarthenshire. The Director of Community Services, advised that one of the key issues in that regard was the regular monitoring of contracts. The Council had consistently improved its monitoring regime and he received monthly reports on the services’ operation. He further advised that one of the main issues facing the department on residential care provision was the lack of in-county provision, and the department was actively examining that aspect.
In response to a statement on the perceived need for more nursing and less care beds in the Llanelli area, the Director of Community Services advised that the difficulty in that regard was in achieving the right balance. Whilst the Council had a duty to ensure a sufficient supply of residential care provision, it also needed to ensure an over-supply situation did not arise which could affect a care homes’ viability. He assured that whilst there was sufficient supply to meet existing demand for the next two years that would not necessarily mean recipients would have a choice of care home.
The Director advised that whilst the supply of level of residential care was deemed sufficient to meet demand, there was a need to increase nursing care in the east of Carmarthenshire and consideration was being given to that aspect as part of the Delta Lakes development. Whilst that was a local health board function, the Council was liaising closely with the Health Board on that provision.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendation of the Executive Board be adopted:
“to receive and accept the content of the Draft Annual Report of the Statutory Director of Social Services on the performance of Social Care Services in Carmarthenshire 2016/17”.