Agenda item

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Adult Social Care

Minutes:

Councillor Little Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services and Adult Social Care, stated it was a delight to be presenting her fourth portfolio holder report and updated Members on the following Adult Social Care items:

 

           For residents to live a healthy life and have good experiences for as long as possible and not feel unsafe or vulnerable. The Council offered a safe and supportive environment with aspirations and goals and to also ensure carers would not feel isolated. The Council’s Adult Social Care offered a large number of services which had been admired across the country.

 

           In January 2016 Cabinet approved for a new residential care facility to be built on the Whiteacre/Dilkes Wood site in South Ockendon with facilities providing social care and nursing care in a specialised setting.  There would be 45 self-contained dwellings for single people and couples with additionally 30 ensuite bedrooms for intermediate care.

 

           Focused on the strengths and assets held by communities in helping to transform Health and Social Care as part of the Better Care Together programme.

 

           The roll-out of Community Led Support Social Work Teams to all areas of the Borough and recently launched a second team to cover South Ockendon, Aveley and Purfleet.

 

           A pilot project using an app call Brain in Hand had made a significant impact on young people’s lives. Helping young people between 17-25 years old to gain confidence in navigating day to day activities.

 

           That Fran Leddra, principal social worker for Adult Social Care, had been asked to chair the National Principal Social Worker Forum and had now become Chief Social Worker for England.

 

           Ofsted Inspections was “good” across the board with some services bordering on excellent.

 

           Praise was given to Directors and Officers and to Rory Patterson who had retired early this year.

 

           Thanks were given to all those that helped with the evacuation of Collins House in December following an electrical incident.

 

Councillor Okunade thanked the Portfolio Holder for her report and congratulated the Council, Social Care Teams on the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection. Councillor Okunade stated she hoped the Council could continue to be ambitious corporate parents to ensure the best outcomes for Thurrock children were achieved as the council were collectively responsible for them. Councillor Okunade asked the portfolio holder what where the three areas to be improved following the Ofsted inspection and asked for a brief update and how priority would be given on those areas for improvement. Councillor Little stated the area had been recognised as improvement needed was the transition between childhood and adulthood. Although recognised by Ofsted it was agreed more time was required for this to be embedded. That Ofsted had recognised that Thurrock heard the “Voice of the Child” which was the most important focus which had been worked on.

 

Councillor Spillman questioned whether Thurrock had the full complement of social workers and raised concerns on how the Government Strategy would invest in social worker training. Councillor Little stated that outside investments had been made with the Ofsted rating good in the recent inspection. That social workers want to come to work for Thurrock but she would not be complacent and would keep striving until excellent across the board had been achieved. Ofsted staff reported social workers in Thurrock were positive, supported, happy and enjoyed working for Thurrock.

 

Councillor Holloway questioned the half a million pound overspend on the adult social care budget. Councillor Little stated that the £16 million budget was less than 1% overspent. That there was an aging population and would not stand by and see any resident suffer so with the agreement from Cabinet the money was spent. There was also an increased spend on some complex cases.

 

Councillor Redsell questioned what was being undertaken to achieve best standards of social care in Thurrock. Councillor Little stated it was basically listening to children, the voice of the child. To undertake robust training and encourage staff to attend. The Development Board had been created as well as monthly meetings. To identify amongst the different directorates what had gone wrong and scrutinise to ensure children in Thurrock were safe.

 

Councillor Collins congratulated Councillor Little and the Adult and Children’s Social Care teams for achieving the continued and improved service as rated by Ofsted. That Councillor Little had made the portfolio her own and worked well and above her duty as portfolio holder.

 

Councillor Little asked whether Councillor J Kent had reconsidered his action in resigning from the position of Chair on the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor J Kent responded by stating he had resigned as Chair as two reports requested for committee had not been delivered as requested, with no apology as to the reasons why. Councillor J Kent felt he had no option but to resign as Chair.

 

Councillor Little summed by thanking the Adult and Children Social Care Services, Foster Carers, Directors, Assistant Directors and past Director Rory Patterson.

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