The Committee received a progress update on Carmarthenshire County Council’s action plan developed following the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) inspection.
Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) undertook a two-week inspection of older people services in Carmarthenshire in May 2019 under the theme “Prevention and Promoting Independence”. The report published, in August 2019, confirmed a number of strengths and areas of good practice demonstrated by the Authority. The report also highlighted some areas for improvement. As a result, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Integrated Services developed an action plan, which commenced in July 2019 to address areas where it could make improvements. The Committee approved the plan at its meeting on the 21st November, 2019.
The Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care advised the Committee that despite the pandemic actions continued to be implemented and that good progress had been made against the plan. The use of Eclipse (a new software application) had seen improvement in case monitoring. The introduction of Eclipse in March 2021 (a new software application) would also help improve case monitoring.
It was stated that Care Inspectorate Wales would be undertaking an assurance check early in 2021 to formally review progress against the plan.
The following questions / observations were raised:
· Concern was raised that due to the use of IT system for recording cases, the Authority may not be hearing the full client story.
The Head of Integrated Services advised that what really mattered was that staff were having ‘what matters’ conversations and that some staff could extract the story better than others. Supervisors were working with staff ensuring that information was captured and articulated correctly in the systems.
The Head of Integrated Services advised that many of the vacancies had been filled and that a number of applications were being received when posts were advertised.
· It was noted that 80% of staff had said that the workload was manageable.
The Committee was advised that caseloads were challenging. At the start of the pandemic a lot of work had been put on hold but since the end of Summer there had been an influx of referrals which had increased caseloads. Cases were being prioritised to avoid overloading staff. All assessments were signed off by Senior Managers who would ensure that the correct level of support was being provided and where necessary work re-distributed.
· In response to a query it was clarified that Eclipse was the replacement system for the Care First management system. The implementation date of 1st March 2021 was considered to be realistic with adult case records implemented first followed by children case records a few months later.
· It was stated that it was often difficult to secure care packages in the more rural areas and that the report had highlighted the need for an equity of services across the entire County.
The Head of Integrated Services advised that the situation had been different over the last nine months as many clients had reduced their packages of care due to the pandemic. It was stated that there were still pressure points in the North of the County and also West of the County near the Pembrokeshire border. There was a longer-term plan to tender for a new domiciliary care framework agreement and it was hoped that this would address some of the capacity issues in the more rural areas.
· Clients receiving care through direct payments but left without support due to carers self-isolating were advised to contact Delta where an emergency team would investigate the issue.
The Committee was advised that the action plan was aimed at both managerial and front-line staff. Whilst there was a need for a management response, front line staff had been involved in the development of the plan. It was noted that the inspection report was useful and that some weaknesses had already been recognised by the Authority prior to the audit.
· With regard to staff retention, the Head of Integrated Services advised that staff tended to stay with the Authority and that many were promoted leaving vacancies elsewhere in the organisation.
RESOLVED that the Care Inspectorate Wales Inspection of Integrated Services progress update on recommendations arising from inspection be noted.