Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Election of Vice Chairman

To elect a Vice Chairman for the remainder of the 2020/21 municipal year.


Cllr da Costa nominated herself for the role of Vice Chairman, this was seconded by Cllr Tisi. A named vote was carried out; two members voted in favour of the motion and three members voted against.


Cllr Hunt nominated Cllr Story for the role of Vice Chairman, this was seconded by Cllr Muir. A named vote was carried out; three members voted in favour of the motion and two members voted against.


RESOLVED: The Cllr Story by appointed Vice Chairman for the remainder of the 2020/21 municipal year.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Appoint Cllr da Costa as vice chairman Motion Rejected
Appoint Cllr Story as vice chairman Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 45.

    Apologies for Absence

    To receive any apologies for absence.


    Apologies were received from Cllr Bateson. Cllr Muir was attending as a substitute.


    Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 217 KB

    To receive any declarations of interest.


    There were no declarations of interest.


    Minutes pdf icon PDF 85 KB

    To approve the minutes of the meeting held on June 11th 2020.


    RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on June 11 2020 be approved as an accurate record.


    Heatherwood Hospital Update

    To receive an update on the redevelopment of Heatherwood Hospital from Janet King, Director of HR & Corporate Services/Deputy CEO at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.


    The Panel was reminded that a presentation had been given on the progress of the new Heatherwood Hospital last year and that Members had asked for an update. Janet King, Director of HR and Corporate Services and Deputy CEO of the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, introduced herself and began by giving an overview of what was on each level of the hospital. Level four was the plant room, and level three was the inpatient ward containing private beds and external terraces for patients to use. Level two contained the theatres, which were laminar flow to ensure the maximum levels of flexibility in terms of what surgeries could be performed. Janet King explained that level two had been the most problematic to arrange and construct, as it was discovered during the building that the windows that had been designed would not afford patients with sufficient levels of privacy. Level one contained outpatient services and consulting rooms, along with a large radiology department. Janet King said consideration was being given to having further specialist departments on this level.


    Janet King said the project was due to be delivered on time and on budget. This was despite the social distancing rules needing to be observed by the contractors, which could have slowed down the construction work. Janet King said credit needed to be given to the contractor in ensuring the project was still on track to be delivered on time.


    The Panel was shown a short video detailing the work that had been carried out.


    Janet King said she was due to be given the keys to the hospital in July 2021. A period of five to six months had been set aside to complete the commissioning work, with a view to starting to open the hospital for some services in the winter. Construction work at the main roundabout was due to start in November 2020. Janet King acknowledged there had been delays due to technical problems during work at a smaller roundabout by the hospital. New infrastructure at the hospital included parking/charging for electric cars, a cycle rack and a bus stop.


    Janet King said it was planned to have a longer working day, in order to allow for evening appointments and for theatres to be open for ten hours a day across a six hour and four hour shift. She explained this would allow for more efficient use of resources. This change was being implemented now so the new ways of working would already be established and in place before the hospital opened. Further changes may be implemented following a simulation study, although these would be established prior to opening.


    The Forum was told the Trust had engaged with neighbouring residents to keep them updated on what was happening, and Janet King said she had received a letter from a resident thanking the Trust for being proactive in their communications. Consideration was now being given to green space surrounding the hospital and how this would look.


    Cllr Story said this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


    Annual Compliments and Complaints Report pdf icon PDF 195 KB

    To review and comment on the contents of the report.

    Additional documents:


    Nikki Craig, Head of HR, Corporate Projects and IT, introduced the item and outlined what was in the report. Members were told that a total of 400 complaints had been received by the Council in the 2019/20 municipal year. Of those 27 related to adult services and 54 related to children’s services; of the children’s services complaints 35 were corporate and the remaining 19 were statutory, which were complaints made by or on behalf of a child in care or a child in need. Nikki Craig said the most common complaints theme overall was over a lack of action. However for adult services the most common complaint related to not received the required help or intervention, and for children’s services it was a failure to follow policy and failing to take enough information into account.


    The Panel was told that 56 per cent of all adult and children’s services complaints were responded to within the correct timescales. The overall figure across the Council was 59 per cent, compared to 64 per cent in 2018/19. Nikki Craig said 61 per cent of all complaints were either wholly or partially upheld; however this figure was 52 per cent for adult services and 63 per cent for children’s services. Members were reminded that complainants could escalate their concerns to the Social Care Ombudsman and this had been done a total of 49 times. Of those, nine related to adult services; four were upheld, two were closed as they were incomplete and three were closed after initial enquiries. There were ten Ombudsman referrals relating to children’s services; two were upheld, one was closed as it was incomplete, one was closed after initial enquiries and the remaining six were referred back to the Council for local resolution.


    The Panel was told there had been 440 compliments received by the Compliments and Complaints team, of which 21 related to adult services and 63 related to children’s services.


    Cllr Story asked for further information on the reasons given for the complaints concerning a lack of response, after noting the report referred to the complexity of the complaint and officer resource pressure. The Panel was told this was partly attributable to the use of agency staff, whereas there was now less resource pressure and greater ability to meet capacity. Staff were now being challenged to gather as much information at the initial point of contact with a service user to understand the root issues and concerns, and in order to prevent any complaints being made in future. Michael Murphy, Director of Strategy Services and Deputy DASS, said the quality assurance process for adult services had been improved to ensure the right information was given at the right time, and if there was conflict then it could be resolved earlier. He said the benefits were already starting to be shown. Kevin McDaniel, Director of Children’s Services, said there was a similar situation with children’s services, particularly relating to the SEND team. Last year there had been 76 agency staff  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.


    2020/21 Q1 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 125 KB

    To note the report and approve the recommendations.

    Additional documents:


    Kevin McDaniel, Director of Children’s Services, explained that this would be the last report referring to the performance indicators, as a new interim outbreak control plan had been introduced in July as a result of new ways of working brought in due to the Covid19 pandemic. The outbreak control plan was developed partially to enable services relating to family safeguarding to continue. The Panel was told that of the 14 old performance indicators referred to in the report, eight had met or exceeded targets, three had fallen just short but were within tolerance, and three were outside of tolerance and required improvement.


    Cllr Story asked how people receiving care in their homes was being kept under review. He stated that keeping people in their own homes, while desirable, could lead to their needs becoming more complex and this could impact negatively on their wellbeing. Hilary Hall, Director of Adults, Health and Commissioning, said frequent reviews to ensure the right package of care was being delivered were taking place. A decision had to be made based on all the issues involved and there was no one size fits all approach. Feedback would be provided to the Council by either a social worker or domiciliary care worker. If it was felt a person’s needs were changing then a more frequent review would be prompted.


    Cllr Story asked about the status of family network meetings. Kevin McDaniel explained there was a requirement for the Council to bring extended families together to find solutions to young peoples’ needs and support. Family group conferencing had been used for a number of years but these required a suitably qualified person and over time it had become increasingly difficult to find qualified people. The network meetings now made it possible to respond in a more timely manner.


    Cllr Tisi noted that health visitors were able to continue with 6-8 week reviews in spite of Covid19, and asked for clarification on whether these were carried out to a suitable standard. Kevin McDaniel said reviews were undertaken using video calls; if any concerns were raised at that stage then arrangements would be made for a Covid secure visit to be made. For example as the weather was usually good it was possible for reviews to be done outside. Kevin McDaniel said there was a higher than usual level of engagement from families wanted to use the video calls. The majority of reviews were now able to be taken face to face again.


    Regarding the measure of completing Education Health and Care Plans within 20 weeks, Kevin McDaniel explained this was a national measure. It was noted that 90 per cent of assessments in the Royal Borough were being completed within this timeframe. If there were delays it was often at the parents’ request, to ensure the right information was collected. Kevin McDaniel told the Panel that across the 19 areas in the South East Group of Directors of Children’s Services, which he chaired, performance in terms of meeting the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.


    Response to the Ombudsman Public Interest Report pdf icon PDF 263 KB

    To discuss the report and to make any recommendations for action by Cabinet.

    Additional documents:


    Hilary Hall, Director of Adults, Health and Commissioning, introduced the item and explained this was a public interest report regarding an adult social care case that was published by the Ombudsman on September 3. Hilary Hall stated that what had happened in this case had been unacceptable and she offered sincere, unreserved and heartfelt apologies to the family concerned.


    Since this case, new methodologies and practices had been introduced to ensure members of the same family were assessed in the same way. These included new methods of monitoring, mandatory guidance to ensure managers had full oversight of performance, and the introduction of a quality assurance panel to provide oversight of packages of care. This panel was chaired by Michael Murphy, Director of Statutory Services and Deputy DASS. Hilary Hall explained the panel required suitable evidence on the recommendations that were proposed by the relevant practitioner or manager before any care package was approved.


    Regarding domiciliary care, Hilary Hall told the Panel that an officer had been assigned to ensure the quality of provision and monitor performance. Part of this role entailed contacting families of those in domiciliary care to ensure their expectations were being met. Any complaints would be responded to by this officer.


    In respect of the case that was reviewed by the Ombudsman, the Panel was told that there was no one point of contact who had retained overall management of the various strands of the complaint for the couple involved. The complexities of the case had also made it difficult to resolve. Practice had now changed to ensure one senior manager would oversee each complaint, particularly if there were multiple agencies involved.


    It was confirmed the report, and the minutes of this Panel, would be considered at October’s Cabinet meeting, where it was expected that the list of recommendations listed in the report would be agreed and actioned. Responding to a question from Cllr Story, Hilary Hall confirmed that one of the five care agencies the Council had a contract with was rated as requires improvement, and this agency had been involved in the case that was reviewed by the Ombudsman. Lynne Lidster, Head of Commissioning – People, told the Panel that at the time the complaints were first raised the agency was under a different ownership and management structure. The manager had not been able to recruit sufficient numbers of permanent members of staff and there had been a reliance on agency staff, which had led to inconsistencies in the levels of support provided and increased complaints. The Panel was told the company was under new management, the number of temporary agency staff used was now zero, and the quality assurance team at Optalis had been working closely with the agency about the level of care provided. The agency had been due an inspection in the spring but it was not possible for this to be undertaken due to Covid19. The CQC had said a re-inspection would not be possible this year. However the quality assurance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.


    Work Programme pdf icon PDF 71 KB

    To review the ongoing work programme.


    Cllr da Costa asked if a report could be produced regarding post-16 education, as it had been hard for youngsters to get places this year due to the Covid19 pandemic. Cllr Tisi suggested a report providing an update on high needs funding for children with special educational needs should be brought to Panel. Members agreed to add these two items to the work programme, in addition to receiving an update at the next meeting on the Ombudsman report discussed as the previous item.