BNC Text J3P

Shropshire County Council Social Services Committee: committee meeting. Sample containing about 21597 words speech recorded in public context

11 speakers recorded by respondent number C464

PS3MM X m (No name, age unknown) chairman
PS3MN X m (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS3MP X m (Mike, age unknown) unspecified
PS3MR X m (Malcolm, age unknown) unspecified
PS3MS X f (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS3MT X m (Tom, age unknown) unspecified
PS3MU X m (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS3MV X m (George, age unknown) unspecified
J3PPS000 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J3PPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
J3PPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 109801 recorded on 1994-01-11. LocationShropshire () Activity: committee meeting

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [1] Hope that was recorded.
[2] Erm, and this a rematch.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [laugh] [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [3] A rematch, I like that.
[4] I do trust we take [...] on this issue which is opening
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS3MM) [5] Okay if we can move then to the agenda then, er, first of all can I wish all members and officers a happy new year and trust you had a, a festive season.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [6] Thank you, Chairman, and you, [...]
(PS3MM) [7] Yes, good health.
[8] Erm, item one.
[9] Apologies.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [10] There are no apologies.
(PS3MM) [11] Any from the meeting?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [12] Everybody's here.
(PS3MM) [13] Yes, okay.
[14] Item two, minutes of the meeting held on the eleventh of October.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [15] No, no, those in favour.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [16] Yes, agreed with no dissentions, thank you.
(PS3MM) [17] We move then to item three, which is budgets ninety four, ninety five, and the capital programme marked B.
Mike (PS3MP) [18] That's my [...] .
[19] Well thank you Chair.
[20] Erm, I think although members aren't concerned about the proceedings being tape recorded, the officers may be, in terms of you being able to produce a recording at a later date of what we actually say, which may be at variance with the minutes.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [21] [laugh] Aha, hear, hear
Mike (PS3MP) [22] If we can start into the budget then, I think members will be fully aware of the wider context that the County Council finds itself in, and we're not proposing to rehearse that at any great length for you other than if you wish us to er, run through that again.
[23] Focusing in on social services, the points that I wanted to make to start er, to you were first of all the complexity of the community care situation, and you have a separate paper on that which Mr will be going through you, going through with you in detail.
[24] It is important that that's understood, and the sorts of issues arising from it are also understood.
[25] In essence we've been hit by something like a double whammy over the S S As.
[26] First of all the local authority's S S A as you know, has not been as we would have wished it to be, and that gives us less headroom for er, manoeuvring as it were er, with the various committees, and secondly the community care money is now solely distributed through the S S A whereas last year fifty percent of it came relating to usage.
[27] In other words the numbers of private beds that we have in the county and fifty percent was related to S S A for the elderly.
[28] It's not solely through S S A, and therefore, in line with your general er, problems over S S A, is you're now beginning to see one appear er, potentially in social services.
[29] Er, we believe that there is a shortfall, if I can put it that way, in quotes, of some seven hundred and fifty thousand in ninety four, ninety five, over what we would otherwise have expected to get if the previous method of distribution er, had been stuck with.
[30] So we er, we'll be highlighting that for you later, and er, we'll be discussing the issues.
[31] My main concern is that in fact, it may in itself produce the, er, a diverse incentive.
[32] Remember we're supposed to be moving from residential and institutional care to greater use of community and domiciliary care.
[33] My concern is that you may, in b fact find yourself in a situation where you're cementing yourself in to residential and institutional care at the expense of domiciliary care, and we'll explain that later to you, er, as we go in.
[34] The second point of concern is about children's services.
[35] We've still got the Children Act coming through, I know that may appear a bit odd, but that Act was in fact in nineteen eighty nine, but it's come through in a sense on an incremental basis, and it's accepted by the Department of Health and er, the S S I, that indeed, and the Audit Commission, that there are elements in the present settlement for the Children Act.
[36] We have got to face up to the Warner Report as well, which is to do with staffing in community homes, and again, that's an issue which we can pick up later, as we go into detailed reports.
[37] And finally, as you will know, there is a new Criminal Justice Act which will be coming through, there are new steps that are going to be taken about juvenile offenders.
[38] My view is, and it's been all along, that that will put pressure on your budget rather than decrease it, because it will tend to emphasise high cost residential er, solution.
[39] The final thing I want to say to you about children's services is, we have to, we have, having great trouble breaking into prevention.
[40] We are focusing most of our efforts er, on dealing with the legalistic situations in a sense, the situations in the courts, the situations of child protection, and we're having great difficulty breaking into prevention.
[41] Until we do, I would suggest, and it's not just about until we do, then, I don't think we're going to make really serious dint with the number of children that we now have in care.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [42] Hear, hear.
Mike (PS3MP) [43] When we talk about our reductions, we will get to a point where the reductions that are being proposed to you, actually conflict with a number of policy directions that you are wanting to go in, and we'll flag those up to you.
[44] If I could give you just two very quick examples of what I mean, there is a proposal to reduce boarding out payments.
[45] Now, in effect, that's moving directly against the direction that we want to go in, we want to make greater use of domiciliary er, initiatives for young people, you have another paper on your agenda about teen care, which is showing what can be achieved with the most difficult youngsters.
[46] The second one, I just wanted to draw your attention to, was, it had to do with the home help service.
[47] Possibly we're looking to reduce home help hours, but this is at a time when, at the same time I'm saying to you, we're having problems with our S T G, our special grant for care in the community.
[48] We're trying to maintain people in the, their own, their own homes.
[49] We know that's largely what they want, but we're having possibly to move away from that.
[50] So I think these are issues that you're going to have to consider very firmly.
[51] And the final thing before, from me, before Mr starts for you, I wanted to welcome the fact that for the first year, there is a recognition of demographic growth change for social services, and I think that is most important.
[52] Up till now you always had to bid er, for issues arising from changes of growth in the population, and that particularly begins to pick up the issue about the aging population in the county, so if I can welcome that.
[53] If I can also finally say to you that if what you are, what, what you are reading in front of you, if these yellow pin pricks, whatever sheets on the budget go through this morning, as they are, you will only then be still spending at S S A level, you are not spending above it.
[54] So I think that that's an important point, because I do believe that weight is placed by the government on S S A.
[55] I do believe that if you spend under it, you will be told that you had the money er, for the services and so there's no use coming back and er, and making representations.
[56] And finally, I think that there is a recognition er, from P and R about the community care issue, but it will be important that we obviously debate that in these papers and discuss it this morning.
[57] Now, may I stop there then, and if Mr can come in with the detail.
(PS3MN) [58] Thank you.
[59] Could I just start with the white paper on community care funding because I think, as he said in the introduction, it is a complex subject, erm, and it does involve a lengthy transition period, and therefore in terms of its understanding, I think it's important that members are aware both how the money is coming to us, broadly what we're doing with it, and, and how it is that we've reached the conclusion that there's a great under-funding in the, in the present proposals.
[60] Erm, it's important to remember that this is, in financial terms, a four year transition period, and you haven't yet completed the first twelve months.
[61] So there is a shortage of hard information in some areas, er, it is a changing situation, and it is one where the Committee is under very clear instruction to extend the alternative care options that it gives to clients, and therefore that again is a complexity in terms of your ability to ensure you've got adequate funding and are directing it in the right areas in, in order to meet, not only the needs of people out there, but the changing needs and what is, Mike has already referred to as being the preferred solutions erm, many of which have not been available to people in the past.
[62] Erm, the other important point I think, if by way of introduction, is in paragraph two, and that is, just to make it quite clear that this is a transfer of funding where people previously went to the Department of Social Security and claimed Income Support in order to assist them in accessing services that were provided by the voluntary and private sector.
[63] It's not therefore new money that's coming to us, it's, it's money that's already in the system, it's being used by an existing client route, and it's being used to buy a chair that is already there.
[64] So there's no element in this in terms of a developing additional service, it's simply channelling the funding of that service to the local authority, where previously it went to the D S S.
[65] Erm, paragraph four, I er, refers to the fact that this is very much a joint process.
[66] This is something where the local authority is the lead agency, but it does involve, increasingly involve very close joint working with other agencies, particularly in the health authority, and there were various conditions attaching the funds, which have a number of, of purposes, but one of the key ones in terms of where you must spend your money, or a proportion of it, was very much aimed at not destabilizing the existing [...] sector.
[67] There is a wish to see a move from residential care to home care and, and home help and community based care, but to see that it's done in an orderly fashion which doesn't destabilize the market that's out there, and doesn't put at risk the care of elderly people who are already using those existing homes.
[68] Erm, the financial elements I find complex, I'm sure from discussions with various members, they equally find it complex, but the position is, that in the current year, you have been given access to a specific grant.
[69] That grant is ring fenced, it can only be spent on community care defined elements, it includes the recognition that as well as buying care for people, you are for the first time, er, assessing people's needs.
[70] In the past, if somebody went to the Department of Social Security, they simply had to show that they didn't have the income to fund their place, and they then received Income Support.
[71] Nobody actually looked at them and said do you need the care that you're getting, or the care that you're accessing?
[72] So the new element of the system is very much that we, the local authority, the social services department, do now have to assess people's needs before we offer them any sort of care package to address those needs.
[73] So, I'm sure members of this Committee have heard this on several occasions as we've introduced the system, but we have had to put in a fairly complex and detailed system of assessing people's needs, producing care packages to meet those needs, offering choice to those people, and responding to that choice, then doing what the D S S used to do, I E, a financial assessment of their ability to meet the costs of that care, and settling our contribution, and we're involved therefore in contracting with the independent sector for purchase of that care, and with the collection of contributions from those individuals, with increasing numbers and increasing complexity.
[74] Er, the figures in paragraph five are shown there, but we had a recognition of that additional duty, and a variety of other minor changes which I won't go into this morning, that came through at the same time.
[75] Later in the paper I'll be explaining that, whilst there was also a recognition that there was a gradual build-up in the care requirements, there doesn't seem to have been the same explicit recognition that there's been a gradual build-up in the assessment and care management which has an increased ongoing cost in future years.
[76] Future commitments are referred to in paragraph six, and this is an, an important factor.
[77] When we take somebody, assess their needs and offer them a care package, in terms of the elderly, erm, and more importantly in terms of those with physical disability or learning disability, we have basically got to support that person for the rest of their life, and therefore, the commitment is not just for the current year, the commitment in, in the case of the elderly depending on what is being offered, whether it be nursing home care, or residential care is for several months or years.
[78] In terms of people with learning disability and physical disability we're talking about ten, twenty, thirty, forty years in, in many cases.
[79] So there is a long-term commitment in those cases.
[80] Mike 's referred to the change in grant distribution erm, the position on that is, is it's got a slide which may or not help people in terms of their ... somebody's standing on it ... I just love new technology, it's great
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [81] The screen, the screen's twisted.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [82] Yes
(PS3MN) [83] I, I don't know whether people can see
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [84] It's the screen, it's the screen is twisted
(PS3MN) [85] Yes, I don't think there's very much we can do about that [...] .
[86] Basically, can people see it, because I don't need to use it to any great extent,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [87] Lift that [...] you got let [...]
(PS3MN) [88] just emphasising the point that
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [89] [...] can you give George [...] ?
[90] No, not that, that's right, that's it
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [91] [...] probably be a little higher, if that helps.
(PS3MN) [92] The situation is that in the current year, we're saying we have a distribution of a specific grant which is ring fenced, roughly half of it came to us using er, S S A factors, standard standing assessment factors, and roughly, something of the order of half of it, came to us on the basis of one or two snapshots of what the D S S was spending in Shropshire in terms of supporting people in residential care.
[93] It was always the intention that there would be a gradual move from that distribution to one based entirely on S S A, but that's the current year position, where you're getting a specific grant, and it is distributed on those, broadly those two factors.
[94] For next year, that grant all moves across and comes to us, distributed through the normal S S A for social services and becomes part of the County Council's revenue support grant.
[95] In doing that, instead of being distributed on those two factors, it's all distributed using S S A.
[96] Now as a result of that, we always recognize there will be a loss to Shropshire County Council, because we've benefited from the previous distribution, and as far as we can see in real terms we've lost about a hundred and thirty thousand as a result of that move of a specific grant into distribution through your revenue support grant.
[97] For next year, we're also getting a further specific grant, which we're showing up here, but instead of continuing the distribution that we've got in the current year, the government have decided that that should be entirely distributed on S S A factors, and again that's been to the detriment of Sh Shropshire.
[98] I'm not saying that there wasn't an expectation that there would be a gradual move in there, and ultimately we would suffer and we would lose that level of grant.
[99] The difficulty I think that we're facing, is that it's happening in year two of a four year transition period, before we've really got to grips with what the long-term position is, what the overall demands are, and to what degree we are going to be able to model, change, control and, and influence those demands.
[100] Erm, so it is, how shall I put it, erm, unfortunate I think, in, in Shropshire's view, that they didn't continue along the distribution on the previous basis.
[101] Those two put together, I think we lost about three hundred thousand pounds as a result of the change in distribution.
[102] For the following year, the same thing will happen.
[103] The bid that to you as a specific grant next year will then itself be absorbed into the base for the following year, and there will be a new specific grant.
[104] But we've also been told this year, that there will be year four, beyond this slide, where the same thing could happen again.
[105] But ultimately, at that stage, the expectation is that they will say, well the bulk of the D S S monies have now been transferred to local authorities, and can safely be distributed through the normal standard spending assessment distribution, and the revenue support grant for local authorities, so at that stage you will cease to have any specific grant and one assumes that the conditions about where you spend it and how you spend it will also have been removed.
[106] But I'll touch on the reason why they don't need those condition in a few minutes.
[107] Just referring back to the paper then, we talk in paragraph eight of a grant shortfall.
[108] This is not directly related to the three hundred thousand that we've referred to, but obviously in part too.
[109] What has happened in the current year is we've started from no involvement with this particular group of clients, and building up where by the end of the year, our best estimate we're approaching six hundred clients so then we have a commitment of providing either residential care or some care package which keeps them out of residential care.
[110] Erm, I would have to say that's going to be in the range of five hundred to six hundred, and very much depends to some extent on what happens in the winter months, and I'm sorry to keep stressing this point, but we haven't yet got twelve months' experience of operating this particular change, and until we've got at least a year's experience, and I think one would have to say, that some of the figures need to be portioned, but equally, you can't afford to be too cavalier in terms of your assumptions about that demand might reduce to, and I'll touch a little later on how you control expenditure in those terms.
[111] We've therefore looked at experience to date, the best figures available from other agencies, we have close contact with the independent sectors in terms of their expectations of, of numbers, erm, and we have our own staff in the field, who have given us their best estimates of demand for the coming year.
[112] We've put those together, we've looked at the staff that we need to administer that particular level of activity, and we've come out with a figure that we think is a reasonable estimate, in fact I would go so far as saying, we think this is the lowest estimate that we can safely put forward, as to our needs for the coming year.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MN) [113] They are some seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds less than is explicitly coming to us, either through the grant that's coming into the S S A, the base, or the new specific grant.
[114] And if you turn over onto page four, ... and at last pick up both the graph and the figures that are shown there and ... if it helps members, I can also put up the figures on the ... I suspect not, I think there's, it becomes a little small for people.
[115] They, they're only replicating the figures within the papers anyway.
[116] ... The position is, looking at appendix one, and if you take the first triangle, which has got nineteen ninety three, ninety four below it, that's showing that we started off with no clients, and then by the end of the year we expect to have a number of people in our care, receiving services, to which we have a degree of commitment.
[117] Erm, we have managed that level of activity with assessments, er, care management staff, financial assessment staff, income staff, contracting staff, staff who are dealing with complaints, erm, and, and monitoring er, er, at a cost of four hundred and fifty thousand pounds estimated in the current year.
[118] There is no explicit provision in the specific grant for an increase in that.
[119] Now we've chosen to spend that amount of money, we didn't have all the staff in place on the first of April, we have recruited them during the year, as demand has risen.
[120] We therefore, by the end of the year, will have staff in place where the full year commitment to paying for those staff is in fact some six hundred and eighty six thousand pounds.
[121] Erm, and that's shown in the chart in appendix two below the diagram.
[122] We will be dealing with all of those existing clients in terms of reassessing both their care needs and their financial ability to contribute to whatever package of care they're getting, as well as taking on board all the new ones who present themselves for the first time in nineteen ninety four, five.
[123] So what I've tried to show diagrammatically is that, we start ninety four, ninety five with plans in place, shown by the vertical dotted line on the graph, a number of those will die or leave the system for other reasons during the year, and we've taken a fairly optimistic view I would say, erm, optimistic in the financial sense, that a significant number of those will leave the system during the year.
[124] It may not be optimistic in terms of the client's views of it, but ... that's the position we've taken.
[125] But we still are left managing those people in ninety four, ninety five, as well as taking on board the new triangles, the one with the horizontal lines, where we're going to get people presenting themselves for the first time, and requiring services.
[126] So we will need to manage the whole of that block to the right of the dotted line, and therefore I think, members will appreciate that we are not going to do that effect, or indeed do it at all, if we simply continue spending at the four hundred and fifty thousand pounds which is the [...] costs that we're incurring in the current year.
[127] Erm, our best estimate is that we need the six hundred and eighty six thousand that we're committed to, plus another two hundred and seventeen thousand in terms of additional staff to deal with the additional demand as it comes in.
[128] Erm, so that clearly is trying to get across the fact that this is a transitional and phased implementation, where costs are gradually increasing.
[129] The importance of having people in to deal with it, is a critical one.
[130] The process starts with a needs driven service of somebody being referred to us.
[131] Either a self-referral or referred by the G P, or by a consultant, or by the hospital, or one or two other sources.
[132] We are required to assess them.
[133] We can't turn round and say, sorry we can't afford to assess you, there is a requirement that if somebody presents themselves, we have to assess their needs.
[134] If we haven't got sufficient staff in place to do that, there will be delay.
[135] Quite clearly we can only do that with the resources available to you, and if the demand exceeds the ability of those resources, they will have to wait.
[136] The key area in terms of waiting, I've referred to later in the report, perhaps we can move on to that.
[137] It's been highlighted by the Audit Commission, you might pick that up in paragraph eleven, and that is hospital discharges.
[138] We are involved in supporting the funding of people who move into nursing homes.
[139] Nursing homes are still registered by the health authorities, so their ability to meet, and setting of standards that they're required to meet, are still set by the health authority, registered by the health authority, and monitored by the health authority.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [140] Can I ask, erm, where number eleven's gone?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [141] Page two
(PS3MN) [142] Page two of the white sheets.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [143] Page two
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [144] Bottom of page two
(PS3MN) [145] Bottom of page, page two and the top of page three okay,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [146] No, the other way
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [147] On the white sheets, that's it yes,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [148] Ah, I'm sorry for all that, I'm really sorry.
(PS3MN) [149] The position is that when we admit anyone to nursing home care, they can only be admitted if there is a joint assessment partly by a social worker from this department, partly by either the nurse or G P, or consultant, and the, the key element needless to say in that, in terms of need, is very much the health authority input.
[150] Erm, therefore we, to all intents and purposes, cannot actually control the demand at that level, demand will be set by the people committing themselves to the health service, where the health service are assessing their needs, and saying this patient needs nursing home care.
[151] Erm, so if we haven't got enough staff to deal with that process, then there will be deadlock in the hospitals.
[152] We've got an arrangement with the health authority about the maximum time we will take in assessing somebody for discharge from hospital.
[153] We have met that very well in the first nine months of the system.
[154] I won't say it's been perfect, it can never be perfect.
[155] That's well over ninety percent of the cases have been dealt with in the er, in the timescale that we've set out and agreed with the health authority.
[156] We do therefore need to consult with the health authority if we find ourselves in a position where we think we're no longer going to be able to achieve those targets.
[157] Erm, the Audit Commission has very much picked on the point that they see a key area of community care success, is in avoiding deadlocking, having adequate discharge arrangements, having agreements with health authorities, and meeting those agreements.
[158] So there's not a great deal we can do about that end of, of our responsibilities.
[159] And that is the high unit cost end, with the people who move into nursing homes, and obviously our highest cost, with the exception of certain very complex cases on physical disability, erm, where we, we do occasionally get higher cost packages keeping people out of the nursing home.
[160] The position therefore is you don't look at residential care, erm, yes, over a period of time we could raise the requirements or the need levels that allow people access to residential care.
[161] Erm, that cannot be done overnight, and it's one that clearly needs to be looked at and, and managed and the care needs as stated in that management.
[162] The easiest one, and the one undoubtedly is the one that will continue to be used to keep whatever needs that we have presented to us within reasonable financial budgets, will be on the home care, respite care, day care, er short-term emergency admissions, support in the home, and indeed our ability to develop those services.
[163] To develop them in a form that meets people's real wishes as opposed to the cheapest option or the easiest available option.
[164] So if we do under-fund, and I'm not suggesting in these proposals that there is any major under-funding in the proposals in front of you this morning, but the dangers of under-funding are that, inevitably they will first impact on the end that we are being asked to develop as alternatives.
[165] Erm, the final point on the shortfall of funding is as I'm, keep emphasising, forgive me for repeating this, this is going to be year two of a four year transition.
[166] If we get it wrong in year two, it will be even more wrong in year three, because the distribution isn't going to alter dramatically in our favour, so if there is under-funding in ninety four, ninety five that we manage, it will present itself as a larger problem in ninety five, six, and an even larger problem in ninety s six, seven, so that needs to be borne in mind [...] .
[167] The conditions attaching to grant [...] are that the D S S transfer, eighty five percent of it has to be spent on the independent sector, and there are monitoring mechanisms in place whereby the government is going to assure itself that has happened.
[168] Erm, we assume that there will be a similar condition for specific grants for next year.
[169] However, when we had the grant announcement, it also announced that the conditions attaching to that grant, would be announced separately.
[170] We were in touch with the Department of Health last week and were assured that that announcement was im imminent, that the Minister had not yet agreed what those conditions would be.
[171] This is somewhat unfortunate because by the fourteenth of January we are supposed to agree a purchase plan with the health authority, and it's a little difficult to do that in the absence of the knowledge of what conditions are attaching us to where and how you can spend the money.
[172] Our belief is that if there is any change it is likely to be a change requiring a certain proportion of the grant to be spent in the domiciliary day care area rather than the residential area to enforce this wish of developing those sort of services.
[173] But as yet we've not had an announcement on those, what those conditions are attaching to the use of the, of the grant.
[174] And finally Chairman, budget proposals which we've referred to in paragraph fourteen and fifteen are that in recognizing there's a potential estimated shortfall of some seven hundred and fifty thousand, that five hundred thousand pounds be put towards that.
[175] Erm, there is also in the Policy and Resources papers that were accepted by Policy and Resources on, on Friday, er, reference to reviewing that five hundred thousand and indeed other changes that I'll come on to later in the budget package.
[176] But, what we would say to you I think this morning, Chair, is that in your officers' view erm, yes, we think it is sensible to go forward and manage on the basis of five hundred thousand pounds addition towards that shortfall, we become increasingly nervous if that five hundred thousand pounds is reduced, and because of the uncertainty, again later in the papers you will see still have some contingencies that you could use from savings in previous years, and we will be strongly recommending to you that you retain some of those contingencies because of the uncertainty that still attaches to demands in the community care grants.
(PS3MM) [177] I mean if we just take a, a breather there maybe for, for some member comments, I mean I think there's some, some elements that members might want to comment on, particularly to do with settle settlement [clears throat] excuse me, the sort of policy direction, and some of the suggestions that, that are going against our policy direction and we have these taken over several years now, and also the issue about the aging population and the, the demographic, graphic growth, and our, our consistency of spending at government standing spending assessment.
[178] Er, Malcolm then Mrs .
Malcolm (PS3MR) [179] Yes, thank you Chair.
[180] Er, I'd, I'd like to refer to paragraph seven on page two, which describes how the S T G for this coming year is going to be distributed just by S S A rather than by the, the two previous formulae together.
[181] Erm, with, with a detrimental affect to Shropshire.
[182] Now presumably somebody in government or Whitehall has just taken a decision to, to go for it all in one year, I don't know why, I, I don't suppose we're told why, but the, the consequence of the decision is actually going to be that people in Shropshire, our clients and social services are going to pay for that decision, either through paying charges for services that they now get for nothing, or by getting less services, er, and this doesn't seem to be in line with the government's stated aim of, of targeting money where it's most needed.
[183] I mean the decision actually has made no difference to government spending in total, it's just the way the cake has been sliced.
[184] It seems quite arbitrary, and quite without, without logic.
[185] Erm, have representations been made about this?
[186] If not, then I propose that we do it.
[187] I don't know what good it does, but if enough people do it often enough, maybe they'll talk to us a bit sooner.
Mike (PS3MP) [188] On, on the point of representation, in fact, er, I think there have been representations made already be those authorities who felt they were disadvantaged in the first case, and so what you've seen with, using this method of distribution, is a switch actually, of expenditure to London boroughs, London boroughs felt that they had lost, er, in the first round of S T G, but now if you look at the overall spread they and the er, Mets have gained.
[189] The second point is that the A C C are, are, I think, the second point is that there was a deputation to the Minister yesterday, so if, in a sense it's a little late unless it was picked up by Mr yesterday, it may be a little late to do something for this year, er, I mean obviously next year is I think going to be the er, important issue, and the A C C has already circulated all Shire counties er, it's picked up that this has happened to the majority of counties, although again the south east er, has escaped from that, and it's asking for the sort of figures we're debating this morning.
[190] And I know it's their intention to discuss it and to make appropriate representations.
(PS3MM) [191] Shropshire always tends to lose out because of where we are, er, Mrs .
(PS3MS) [192] Now, erm, yes, I'd like to pick up a comment made by the Director, erm, he said quite rightly that the prevention factor is really out of the window as far as the budget is concerned, and pro as far as operations are concerned.
[193] Am I taking that correctly?
Mike (PS3MP) [194] I was talking about children's services, yes
(PS3MS) [195] Yes, yes, well I am too, and that we shall pay the penalty later on if we don't get [...] with us and I feel that erm, as difficult as the budget is, as tight as it is with reduction etcetera, I feel that we should make a positive funding for prevention or something, or er, because I think unless we do start somewhere, and quickly, we are going to pay the penalty at the end of the [...] and so we've got to make a date, you've got to make a year, and if you wait and say and well we haven't got it now, well next year we shall say we haven't got it now, and the next year we'll say we haven't got it now.
[196] And I think that somewhere along the line, erm, even if it's only a moderate sum, we should make definite erm, approaches to start the ball rolling in this preventative effect, because I think we're going, every, every budget head in the whole of the county or anythi or anybody else who's got a budget, is going to pay the penalty, so I would like that to see if there's any movement, any way we can address that particular problem, er, during our, our discussions.
[197] The other one that worried me a bit, is how are we recr recruiting?
[198] We seem to be erm, taking on an enormous number of staff, er, er, at what level are we doing it?
[199] How are we doing it?
[200] Are we just moving people around from where they were becoming redundant somewhere else?
[201] What, I mean, just, you know, what are we doing in the county?
[202] What is the format?
[203] What is the, er, methodology?
[204] What is the, erm, er, [...] , or scale, or whatever?
[205] We're just recruiting staff, it's the information about how, I'd like to know a bit more about that.
(PS3MM) [206] Presumably we recruit well qualified people to be able to do their job
(PS3MS) [207] Are they?
[208] We don't know.
(PS3MM) [209] at the right rate of pay.
(PS3MS) [210] Well there's training, isn't there, to give to them?
Mike (PS3MP) [211] Well, just generally, we haven't restricted recruiting of care staff, in other words, unless we know there's a decision been made about a residential establishment which there hasn't been at present.
[212] So obviously if a cook goes, a cook has to be replaced, if a care assistant goes, a care assistant has to be replaced, as long as the population is there.
[213] That's the basis
(PS3MS) [214] I'm talking about new staff
Mike (PS3MP) [215] the basis, well, that we're working on, on existing staff.
[216] New staff in the main, have been connected with care in community, and you've heard really Mr explain to you already what they're doing.
[217] We got specific money, in other words, the government flagged up that in the first year, there were going to be infrastructure costs, and so there was a specific allowance made for that, and we've been recruiting gradually, not all at once, over a period of time, as the numbers of people coming into the community care system rise, we've been recruiting new staff there.
[218] Now, they're of two sort, there are the administrative staff, the financial staff, in other words, that have to do the physical assessments er, financial assessments which by the way are more complicated now than they were previously, because there's all sorts of different elements and agreements having to be reached with individuals, or charitable institutions or whatever.
[219] And the other are the people doing the physical assessments, for example in the hospitals, er, at Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, I think, we had to, I can't remember the exact figure, but we certainly had to increase our staff there, our hospital social workers to secure the throughput that's er, being required.
[220] Yes, we do go for qualified staff, er, I'm talking about social work field staff now, er, wherever possible we would go for that.
[221] We have about a ninety, ninety five percent, I think, qualified staff, and that has improved over the last eight years from
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [222] Fifty odd
Mike (PS3MP) [223] fifty percent I think, er, when we first started.
[224] So that's the general direction.
[225] We have problems in residential care with particularly, with residential child care, with the numbers of qualified staff.
[226] Lack of them.
[227] And that was the reason that the government brought in a new initiative after the Warner Report, and there's a specific training grant that you now get to ensure that your training staff, your, your residential staff get trained.
[228] But I have to say for Shropshire, it means one I think, er, per year, and that's not going to make a big dent.
(PS3MS) [229] Any other [...]
Mike (PS3MP) [230] Sorry can you just repeat?
(PS3MS) [231] The preventative work. [...]
Mike (PS3MP) [232] The preventative work.
[233] Yes, well you are talking about children's services, but, I, I think if Mr 's going to talk later to this, if you want, but we are absolutely at the moment, we know that eighty nine percent of work at the child care centre is to do with child protection with ... to deal with it, and by that I mean abuse, physical and sexual abuse, er, concerns about that and a lot of that of course is, is tied up in procedural ways, and we're dealing with events almost after the situation has er, got going, er, and of course, with the courts, you know that we've got duties in relation to the courts, that we, we have to fulfil or else we are the subject of criticism from the er, courts, and we have been rapped at various er, times.
[234] So with what we need to break into, we, we
(PS3MS) [235] I'd like to get Mr
Mike (PS3MP) [236] as you know with dint of great effort, got er, the er, scheme off the ground, which has taken a lot of, all of us a lot of hard work, er, and we're proposing other schemes at Bexford House.
[237] We need to move more into that area of work, that sort of prevention, and we need if possible to move more in partnerships with voluntary organizations, but if we do that, er, then we will have to pay them.
[238] You know, they're not going to do it for nothing.
(PS3MM) [239] I think the problem with erm [clears throat] with prevention and, I mean, and I suspect that, that there is, er, unity of the board in relation to prevention, but we, we don't see the cost savings.
[240] The cost saving in the preventative work, er,fall falls later on in the system, and that might not even accrue back to local government, and that's the problem and I think if there was some specific erm, government grants that enabled local authorities to really get to grips with the preventative elements and could should that, that reduced overall government spending on the other end, on the impact end, I mean, I think we would be, we would be sort of making very much headway, but there doesn't seem to be that specific initiative at this particular stage.
(PS3MS) [241] Perhaps if we can arrive at some sort of specific amounts or some research in that direction, we might Mr Chairman, be able to take representations to government in a more positive way.
[242] I mean I think you know, to talk about it in, in terms such as you, I mean quite rightly, you've done so, erm, leaves us with no real impact er, argument.
(PS3MM) [243] Well, it, it might be that once we've dealt, [...] , once we have dealt and, and are dealing with the budget, it might be that we, we receive some, some papers erm, from the department for future social services reports.
[244] Er, we've already got some items on the agend agenda this morning, specifically to do with issue of teen care, but it might be that we look at, at, at a lot earlier
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MM) [245] maybe some joint reports with other colleagues in education, to look at some innovative work, erm, that if it was specifically ring fenced government grant, we can actually get our teeth into, that would provide a cost saving for governments in the future.
(PS3MS) [246] Chairman, Chairman, I think that's an excellent idea and I think one to erm, prove ways of cost saving is to involve erm, more nursery education, because one sum spent before five, it apparently costs six pounds or its equivalent [...] .
[247] It's probably tied up with education as well
(PS3MM) [248] But I mean, out of this lot maybe we can look at some
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [249] Chairman, if we take Mrs, Mrs 's point under the children's services plan which is later in your [...] .
(PS3MM) [250] Yes, last speaker then, then we'll move on with the budget document, Tom.
Tom (PS3MT) [251] Sorry, Chair I ju [clears throat] I just would like, a little concerned that er, we've accepted the five hundred pounds, er, the five hundred thousand pounds community care shortfall, where our own calculations originally were six hundred and ninety two thousand, have now gone up to seven hundred and fifty thousand.
[252] Er, I've seen other papers where there is a hint that we might be looking for a contribution, er, out of the general budget, er, of that difference, that two hundred and fifty thousand.
[253] We're talking a lot of money here and I wonder whether we're a little bit erm, over-optimistic that the five hundred thousand is going to be adequate.
(PS3MN) [254] Chair, I think have to make a point at this stage, although as I said earlier, we haven't got a complete picture yet.
[255] We are estimating as best we can, these figures will change, and indeed they are changing as we try to move towards a more detailed purchasing plan with the health authority, to take in the changes, they may go up, they may go down.
[256] That's certainly the best estimate at the moment.
[257] I'm happy with the five hundred thousand pounds suggestion, but my view when you come to the papers, if we are able to hold on to the two hundred thousand contingency we've got for community care for the elderly and, and the hundred thousand we've got for bad debts and other figures.
[258] I think it's very much linked with the safeguard being that we have got the one year cushion of, of carry forwards sums there to meet any immediate problems within the year, and give ourselves breathing space to, to address those in the longer term.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [259] You, you did promise me Mr Chairman, that I could just ask a quick question.
(PS3MM) [260] Oh, sorry.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [261] It was just on, on appendix one, was that, was that in total department part of the care in the community in general, or was it hospital discharge, I wasn't too clear on that?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [262] General, mm, general, yes
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [263] Is the, is the projected grant likely to go up at the same rate as in, as in nine ninety four, ninety five?
[264] There's a sort of fifty percent increase, it seems a, you know, a huge increase, but is that going to settle down?
(PS3MN) [265] It will settle down and reduce Chair, through you, that the, the, the national figure has been announced that the, for the future year, and it does recognize the fact that there is an assumption that the number of people who D S S continues to support directly will have fallen by thirty five percent by the end of this year, and there will be a further fall, and the amount that's transferred is very much related to here's the total available, how much does the D S S need to hold on to meet its commitments, and how much is left to distribute to the local authorities.
[266] So it will be a smaller figure in terms of the specific grants in ninety five, six.
[267] Okay?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [268] Thirty five percent of total?
(PS3MN) [269] Thirty five percent of people supported by the D S S, they are assuming will, will not be there at the end of the first year.
[270] I think they're optimistic in terms of that point.
(PS3MM) [271] If, if we can move on then.
(PS3MN) [272] Chair, if I could move on then to the budget proper, and I apologize for the numbering.
[273] As you'll appreciate it, we've put one or two papers together into one paper, and therefore the numbering tends to repeat itself, so we're on page one again, but under the heading of the budget for ninety four, ninety five.
[274] I would draw members' attention to the notes in block type at the head there, and that is you are working to guidelines which have been agreed by the Policy Panel and Policy and Resources.
[275] They are guidelines, there are no final decisions to be taken in terms of the implementation of a number of these, but this is the Committee's opportunity to view those in detail and make its recommendations through proposals to Policy and Resources Committee and on to Council.
[276] Final decisions as always on your budget will be taken at the Council meeting in February.
[277] The guidelines are set out in paragraph two, in terms of the, the strategy.
[278] This is within, as members will be aware, the overall financial position that the County Council finds itself in, of having to get its expenditure within the cap, and the fact that the increase in cap for the authority as a whole, does not in any way, mirror the increase in standard spending assessment for Social Services Committee, where we have been fortunate in terms the increase for this county, erm, and a variety of other factors which, which mean that it would be nice to think that where S S A increases for this Committee, it also increases for the County Council.
[279] I think if that were the case, you would have far fewer problems, but er, of course this isn't the position.
[280] Paragraph three looks at the guidelines in detail, and starts with the additions, and as Mr said earlier, we do welcome the fact that there is an explicit mechanism for the cost of client number increases in social services in the coming year.
[281] We have got a growing, ageing population, and that does put further demands on your services, and those are shown there in summary form for the client groups, and there are more details on those when we get to the additions and reductions lists on pages thirteen and fourteen, later.
[282] So I don't intend to go into the detail at this stage.
[283] Other variations shown there, again we will look at in more detail, but essentially these are loss of income, grant income, or additional expenditure, in terms of registration inspection in community care, er, to continue either existing services, or to meet unavoidable legislative change.
[284] The total there, therefore, for this Committee, is proposed guideline growth of one point five, five, five million.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [285] M I S G.
(PS3MN) [286] Yes, [...] to think, M I S G is mental illness specific grants, in case we pick that up later, and the E S F is the European Social Fund grant.
[287] Over the page,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [288] We'll definitely have an addition in there.
(PS3MN) [289] But they are recorded in full later, Chairman in the summary, I've used the abbreviation
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [290] Yes.
(PS3MS) [291] Chairman, if they are recorded all later, it took me quite a long time to discover them, could we have [...] , abbreviations just written out, it makes it very difficult for me to [...] , I'm not used, I mean, I'm
(PS3MN) [292] I take the point Chair
(PS3MM) [293] Just in brackets, sort of just in pencil or Euro or something.
(PS3MN) [294] I don't think education comes into it, Chairman, because they change them every other year anyway,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS3MS) [295] They make them up as they go along.
(PS3MM) [296] It'll confuse them
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [297] You're obviously
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MN) [298] The position on page two then shows the reductions targets, where we've got a, a target for efficiency savings of hundred and thirty five thousand, service reductions on income generation costing six hundred thousands, and a proposal that we use a hundred and eighty thousand of the Committee's carry forward savings in the first year, erm, that is obviously a one year only reduction, and indeed a Policy and Resources Committee and a report of treasurer to that committee, did make the point that committees will be aware that they must use the carry forwards in funding reductions in four, five, will have to matched by service reductions in future years.
[299] In terms of the papers in front of you this morning, Chair, the position is that, that is addressed over the three year period, and the figures do fluctuate between years, so there is a, as we'll see later in the paper, there is a, a net expenditure total in year one which increases in year two, but then is offset by a, a reduction in year three.
[300] Er, paragraph four Chairman, is the point that Policy and Resources when it was addressing the fact that all of the proposals from committees that's currently within the guidelines did still leave a shortfall between projected expenditure of the County Council and the capping limit.
[301] And the suggestion to this Committee was that it looked, that it looked further at the five hundred thousand pounds guideline that's been set to address the apparent shortfall on community care funding, and also that you should look at further service reductions and their implications erm, of reductions of a further two hundred and fifty thousand, and those are again picked up later in the paper.
[302] Erm, the salmon pages set out the proposed strategy to meet those guidelines, and as I say, we'll pick those up as we move through.
[303] Chair, paragraph seven, the guidelines on capital.
[304] Erm, we didn't have those when these papers were prepared, but the position is, that there is a guideline for new starts for this Committee, of some seven hundred and eighty six thousand pounds, with two hundred thousand being set aside to go towards architects and other fee costs associated with that programme, and the existing programme.
[305] Erm, Chair, I think when we come to the capital programme you will be proposing that the P A G advise you and the Director in terms of producing a package which meets those guidelines, erm, and given the opportunity to look at them in some detail.
[306] But there will be an opportunity for members to look at the present programme which will need pruning to get it down to those guidelines, and they can obviously make any comments they wish to, or any advice they wish to give the P A G in terms of individual schemes or the detail.
[307] Erm, the rest Chairman, is showing the erm, contents and the main [...] budgets I think.
[308] If you wish to er, spend time on those.
[309] Moving to page three, is the revised estimates for your Committee for the current year, and you'll see there, the format is somewhat to the one you've seen in future years, we have had
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [310] In the past
(PS3MN) [311] Sorry, in [laugh] I'm getting ahead of myself already.
[312] It's different to, to the way you've seen in the past.
[313] Erm, as well as introducing care in community we also have the joy of putting a new standard form of accounts for social services during the current year, and this is a national requirement that I think does make for logical presentation, and does differentiate between what is termed service strategy and regulation, before put management functions that you will be required to incur whether you are a direct provider of the services or not, and then the costs of actually providing or commissioning services for the various client groups.
[314] Erm, within that Chair, you will see that there are various variations, erm, totalling a net increase of four hundred and eighty thousand in the year.
[315] If I could refer you to the block beneath there on carry forwards, you started this year, bringing forward savings and under-spendings and various other contingencies of just over one and half million.
[316] You have during the year, er, both through this Committee, and through Resources and Management sub-committee, agreed expenditure of seven hundred and seventeen thousand from that contingency.
[317] Erm, the reason that that doesn't tie in with the four hundred and eighty thousand pound er, increase in spending is that offsetting that seven hundred and seventeen thousand that you've funded from your contingency, there is also a net reduction in spending by the Committee because of the changes in the devolution of central department charges and their allocation through committees, well less have been allocated to Social Services Committee in total.
[318] Erm, the position then on carry forwards, Chairman, is that you have a number of specific contingency provisions that we are holding, funded from these previous savings.
[319] As I've already said, I would wish the Committee to hold on to those specific ones relating to community care at this stage, until we have a more certain picture.
[320] I think from the County Council's point of view, the safeguard is there is no proposal to make those available for other spending within the committee and therefore, if hopefully we do not need to access them during the year, they are still available for Council in future years to, to meet other spending requirements.
[321] Erm, there are also provisions in there for the Children Act, where we are holding a contingency of eighty two thousand.
[322] I would draw members' attention to the spending on Children and Families Committee during this year, which in fact, is net some three hundred and nineteen thousand above the base budget.
[323] We have had considerable difficulty in the current year, in meeting the demand upon children's services, and we have met those difficulties, in no small part, from the use of carry forwards within the year, and before you come to looking at reductions in services on the salmon papers, the children's service is going to, and in fact is doing a redirection of its funding to ensure that it stays within its base budget in future years.
[324] That does mean that they have already had a very difficult exercise in terms of looking at an, an efficiency effectiveness distribution of funding and how they manage the service, and that's very much tied in with the children's services plan, which Mike referred to earlier on, and which is later on the agenda.
[325] Erm, so I would certainly be asking you to keep some contingency provision in that area, because we project some very expensive one-off demands on certain elements of children's services.
[326] Erm, disability and mental health has a specific contingency of fifty thousand, and again this is addressing the point that we have tried to reduce expensive out-county placement, erm, successfully.
[327] But it only needs one that you cannot avoid, and you'll be spending said fifty thousand pound plus per annum in respect to that one patient.
[328] Erm, and the other one is the registration and inspection, where in the current year we have access to the best part of sixty five thousand pounds from [...] to meet registration inspection, and you'll see in the additions list, that, that there is er, a bid in there for the ongoing costs of that.
[329] It's substantially to do with registration of inspection duties arising from the Children Act, the registration and inspection of childminders, erm, workplace creches, and [...] and Mike can go into detail on that if members wish.
[330] But er, it is an area where we are required to register and inspect, and unfortunately if we're not happy on one these inspections, we are also required to, to pursue those, and ensure that there is improvement or cessation of the service.
[331] Erm, that [...] on the carry forwards leaves a balance in hand of a hundred and eighty thousand not specifically earmarked, and, and I must say, it's up to you to decide what should be specifically earmarked.
[332] But that is the hundred and eighty thousand that was shown in the budget deductions of being a contribution towards the guideline in the first year.
[333] Over the page Chair, within er, those totals there are a number of proposals for reductions in c certain areas of spending and increases in others, which are in excess of the amount which has been delegated to, er, to the Director to agree, and which needs this Committee's approval erm, and would then go on to er, Resources Management for, for their agreement.
[334] There are net nowhere where we are using both one-off and fortuitous savings in certain budget heads to meet unavoidable expenditure we come on within the year, and therefore keep within the Committee's overall cash limit for the year.
[335] And I hope Chair, that those will meet with members' approval this morning, but we will need to take a resolution on those.
(PS3MM) [336] Right.
(PS3MN) [337] If members have any specific questions on the revised estimates and those details, I'd be happy with colleagues to, to [...] them.
(PS3MM) [338] Comments?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [339] One question, and that is that I noticed on page three, er, you've got your revised estimate with effect in ninety four, five, you've got nothing.
(PS3MN) [340] Correct, the position Chair, is that we are, as I said earlier, endeavouring to pull all those committees overspending back in line with the budget in ninety four, five.
[341] Therefore, we're not, other than the specific items that appear on your additions list, we're not looking for any growth in the base budget at this stage, over and above that that's already built into your budget base.
Tom (PS3MT) [342] Could we, could we have a comment on page four on the proposed two and three erm, I mean, section levels of staff sickness.
[343] Are we monitoring this?
[344] In one case in the community homes it says staff absence, and I'm not clear what there is for training purposes, but I would hope that we are checking, or was this simply [...] before Christmas, or what?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [345] This Chair, has er, been a particularly difficult year with a, with a higher than average level of er, sickness, er amongst staff.
[346] Erm, the result er, was that we had to bring in relief staff, and other staff have had to work overtime.
[347] Staff absences actually refer in the main, to er, unfortunate situation of a number of staff this year, who have er, been suspended, er, because of er, various matters, er, which have had to be worked through.
[348] For members' information, we have asked the Manpower Services er, Unit to undertake an exercise on the level of staffing in our homes, as much as anything, because of the frequent reference in visitor's reports to the situation on staffing levels in our children's homes.
[349] Er, this is er, drawing to a conclusion, and er, in time, the results of that exercise will be, be reported to committee.
Tom (PS3MT) [350] But you're having [...] because I think if we are going to carry on using them, these absences should be translated into suspensions, and if that there's any problem we do know that situation pertains.
[351] Erm, but what I'm really thinking, is somebody looking actually into the sickness and is this a question of long-term sickness or are we dealing with outbreaks of flu.
[352] I know at last erm, budget meeting we talked about doing so for the entire health survey, because really the amount of money spent on sickness is quite astronomical, and one does need to look at this when you're having to meet your budget.
[353] I fully accept that and we hope, but I hope some monitoring is taking place.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [354] That exercise Chair, I can assure Mrs , has been taken alongside the Manpower studies exercise.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [355] Number four issues.
(PS3MM) [356] Okay, and number four.
[357] Do you do this Paul?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [358] Two on page four
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [359] Sorry, we have some,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [360] I think is we, one of the concerns has been, I've been visiting has been the need to, feeling of security in many factors.
[361] If one person's on duty, you would a situation where really that was a bit of risk quite often, and er, it's not an acceptable thing but er, I totally agree we need to agree very carefully if one's wise to whether the initial staffing is adequate or whether it is case a of people not having [...]
(PS3MN) [362] The position, Chair, if I can just quickly through you, say in terms of this budget, we do make a provision for absences, because obviously we do get sickness absence.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [363] Of course,
(PS3MN) [364] In a number of cases, there is a minimum level of, of staffing that is required, and therefore it isn't a matter of managing until the person comes back, you do have to replace.
[365] We have had an exceptional level erm, probably the reasons such as stand-by and maternity absences and a variety of others which essentially are above the level that we normally budget for.
Tom (PS3MT) [366] What they were given to you?
[367] And if that work had been started, because as far as I'm concerned sickness does not cover maternity.
[368] So we need, it's simply a question of pulling in on the reasons for this, if it's maternity, it's suspension, it gives us much more understanding than simply globally assuming everybody who's away is sick.
(PS3MN) [369] I take the point Chairman, and, and suggest by the criticism we will try and get more explicit detail in the future.
[370] ... In salaries or joint finance funding, so where there are differences it is almost entirely down to those two factors.
[371] It does give members an indication of the level of expenditure on particular services, and for the first time, we are showing within these papers, in terms of the budget, the amounts that you're spending on the direct provision of services, and the amount you're spending in terms of services that you buy in, and don't provide directly, and this is shown on, on the service page.
[372] Needless to say in terms of elderly, learning disability and physical disability, there will be an increasing amount bought in, as the community care transition er, continues.
[373] Erm, nothing Chair that I would want to refer to other than the, on page eleven we're showing a figure there for management and support.
[374] This is both central management costs and those direct support costs within the divisions, and within the services, that is recharged over provisions of service, so that you're getting a true cost, in terms of your costs of running the elderly services, the children and family services, so they include both directly man management costs.
[375] In those, there are a number of staff who are, what we would call front line health based staff, who are there in supporting social workers and providing direct services to your client group.
[376] They, the vast majority of them are not Shire Hall based er, administrative staff or what I think is generally er, the view, er, the general view of, of management and support.
[377] Indeed, in looking at the structuring in a different guise, we have got erm, something less than seven percent of total costs, that relate to erm, indirect management and administrative costs.
[378] Er, and we are not in terms of any comparative statistics that are providing costs on management and support in any way a high spender vis a vis other local authorities, [...] .
[379] The only other element in there, Chair, is we, we've shown the specific grant coming in, er, in the figure that it's been announced.
(PS3MM) [380] Two people have indicated that.
[381] Mrs to establish.
(PS3MS) [382] Erm, yes, I'd like to, erm, ask a question and suggest that the change in the first paragraph, Service Strategy and Regulations.
[383] Erm, I feel that heading is including two different, what I believe is two different headings.
[384] For instance cost of meetings to the Committee, direct of preparation of the budget at strategic level, and jump to [reading] strategic information and research planning and liaison with other bodies for planning [] should be one heading.
[385] But there're quite definitely staff implications much more obvious and much more erm, identifiable in registration and inspections units, and the complaints procedure, and I feel that should be two, two sub- headings if you like, two, two elements.
(PS3MN) [386] Certainly when you get into the detailed budget, then these are clearly separated.
[387] This is a summary of the detailed budget.
[388] The reason it's in this format, is this is now the national standard form of accounts for social services, and the thinking behind it is, whether you were an authority that provided all of its services directly at one extreme, or at the other extreme, you were in a party that provided no direct services, and bought them all in from other providers, you would still need to meet, to meet those costs.
[389] The costs of running your committee, your requirement to have legislation inspections and arm's length service, and providing independently, er, to produce budgets erm, to monitor on a variety of other matters.
[390] So what is incorporated in there, is the minimum that you could ever survive on in terms of running a totally enabling authority.
[391] My own view is that it could, it be a great deal more than that, but this is within the, the erm, nationally prescribed requirements in terms of getting some consistency into local authority accounts.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [392] Erm, going on going on
(PS3MM) [393] Well I want to move on cos you know it's
(PS3MS) [394] Yes, I'll be very quick.
[395] The preventative, the word preventative comes in so frequently, and particularly in the children's services, I agree with the second one, it [...] but I would like to have a more detailed report er, on that second element which is on page seven, the last item before you get to elderly people.
[396] But erm, I would like to know a little bit more about both those preventative things, and in the light of what we've said previously.
(PS3MN) [397] Chairman, we can give Mrs a breakdown of the budget on those two.
(PS3MM) [398] Mr
(PS3MU) [399] I just want to ask Mr Chairman, and I don't want to start er, er, a political debate or anything, erm, the specialist placements erm, three forty six thousand, how many is that catering for, I presume that's the figure that we've all been talking about, in these three issues?
(PS3MN) [400] The whole
(PS3MU) [401] But it seems to be a lot less than it might have been last year, I mean I, do we know how many that's, we're talking about?
(PS3MN) [402] We've budgeted this year, er, for a maximum of six, but as Committee were informed at the last meeting, that number has exceeded during the year, erm, and that did create some financial difficulties, but that is the budget for specifically for six out-county placements, which not only do grown people in specialist er, accommodation such as secure accommodation, but also younger children with disabilities.
(PS3MU) [403] I understand.
[404] But if it, obviously that bill increases if more add to it.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [405] Yes
(PS3MU) [406] And, and there's residential care that the er, on page nine, the specialist residential places, can you just give me a sort of, what that is for?
[407] That is [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [408] People with physical and sensory disabilities,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [409] Cheshire Homes,
(PS3MN) [410] Right, erm, yes, it's for adults I think, and it's such things as Leonard Cheshire Homes, er, and I can't thing of any other,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [411] Star and Garter
(PS3MN) [412] Star and Garter I'm being told from the right here, those sort of very special places we don't provide them, we buy in from, from outside.
(PS3MU) [413] Thank you.
(PS3MM) [414] Okay.
[415] If we go over the questions then on, on that.
[416] If we can move on then to potential net variations.
[417] An interesting title
(PS3MN) [418] Chairman, the salmon sheets, if you're happy with the base that we start from.
[419] I would say on page twelve, it's perhaps interesting to look just at the summary there, where you'll see that your gross expenditure for next year, is now some fifty four million pounds.
[420] Erm, so, so the service is growing rapidly in financial terms, and will continue to grow in the coming two years, if only because it's new [...] .
[421] The salmon sheets Chair, we have shown our estimates of what ideally we would like for the continuing introduction of the Children Act and its requirements, the Criminal Justice Act, and the Warner Reports, but we do recognize, and I think this Committee recognizes, the difficult financial position the County Council finds itself in, and therefore the intention is to meet those unavoidable requirements from within the base budget, and there are no bids in these papers for funding towards those.
[422] Erm, I think Chair, it, there is a need obviously for all committees to be realistic, and erm, that certainly is our intention within those, but I would say again, it leads me to believe that you should keep a reasonable er, committee contingency in case certain difficulties present themselves in terms of those additional er, pressures and requirements.
[423] Items four to twelve Chairman, are some further detail on the provision for demographic growth, which is shown on items four to seven, erm, and that is spread between the major client groups.
[424] The elderly population is based on the estimated increase in population of the over seventy five year olds, and indeed that is the factor that is now used in S S A in terms of looking er, the need to spend on elderly people.
[425] Er, it used to be those over eighty, but it's been reduced to those over seventy five.
[426] Erm, the growth in demand for people with a known disability and again is explained briefly there, and essentially means that you've got more clients coming in than you've got leaving because of the greater life expectancy because more are surviving at birth, and one would have to say that they are presenting more difficult problems in a health demand.
[427] Erm, mental health referrals is partly demographic, partly social change, in that there is an expectation of dealing differently with people who have mental health problems, and there is also a very clear expectation of dealing differently with offenders who are leaving the, the prison system who have mental health problems, and there are pressures arising from both those areas, as well as the constant requirement for an enhanced provision on alcohol, substance abuse er, and, and similar factors.
[428] The item seven, Chair, increase in child population.
[429] It is true to say there isn't the same direct relation between child numbers and spending on children's services that you get in education.
[430] Erm, it's again recognized in the S S As that it is more social factors that impact on the need to spend on children's services, and therefore things like single parent families, the level of family income and these tend to have a greater impact, but it would be foolish to assume that with a higher child population you are not going to get more demands on children's services, and therefore we have provided a fifty thousand pounds' provision within that to take care of problems.
[431] So there's a proposal there of six hundred and fifty five thousand pounds in total to meet growth in client numbers broadly speaking.
[432] Other additions, we did [...] earlier Chair, and that is we have received a mental illness specific grant, erm, on a number of schemes but they have been time limited, and they are due to cease, some of them are due to cease in the coming year.
[433] They have been used to develop services jointly with health, and indeed a substantial part of the ones that we're losing are underpinning the local health team in South Telford at the moment.
[434] And your choice if you don't find money to [...] , I think not one of ceasing the service, but finding offsetting savings elsewhere, and I mean it's a matter of there is a required service, it is there, there is an agreement with the health authority that neither party would, will withdraw funding without detailed con consultation and determination of how needs would be met.
[435] So hence the inclusion of that one.
[436] A similar picture on European Social Fund which is falling out, erm, mainly relating to schemes for people with learning disability, and we have been very successful on that front in attracting European funding for learning disability, particularly those schemes which have an element of, of training for, for employment associated with them.
[437] I've already briefly referred to item ten, and that is we've had to increase the numbers in registration inspection during the current year, and that demand will continue, there is no provision in the base for the ongoing costs for staff who're appointed.
[438] And therefore there's a hundred and twenty thousand in for that.
[439] The five hundred thousand shortfall in community Chair, I think we've covered in some detail on the earlier paper, so there are other additions there of some nine hundred thousand.
[440] We've also included in there, on item twelve, a net bill item, but does need to be recognized as an addition to your total spending, and that is, you've been involved for many years with the health authority in arranging for the discharge of people from long-stay hospitals, and their absorption into the community, and each of these are a provider of many services, and daycare services to those particular individuals.
[441] In closing the hospitals the health authority has been purchasing care for those people that let you care for them in a variety of settings and support.
[442] They have asked that we take that on, there is a report later in the agenda with detail on that, but as far as these papers are concerned that's simply us taking over responsibility for the best part of two million pounds' worth of spending which the health authority will refund to us by way of a section twenty eight grant.
[443] So that's a straight inheritance, does increase your gross expenditure of the Committee, and indeed does involve you, quite sensibly involve you in the total care package for those particular individuals who're increasingly seen as your clients rather than health authority clients.
[444] Er, moving on Chair, to reductions, unless members wish to make any comments on, on the additions as a block at this stage?
(PS3MM) [445] Comments?
[446] No, carry on.
[447] Sorry?
(PS3MN) [448] Joe, I wonder, would it help members if, we, we as it were, almost moved the reductions, from our point of view, we say nothing further at this point, and the officers' point of view, and leave members who might like to pick up on them, and, and talk about individual ones as they go through.
[449] I would like to say something at some point about the point I made earlier about going, increasingly as you go down this list, you depart in directions which are, er, contrary to your policies, but
(PS3MM) [450] Right, erm, if we can let members get in.
[451] I, I, maybe before we start that, on the point of reductions, and I'll ask both er, George and, and er, Jean and Mike to, to speak for the different political groups, as part of the P A G, erm, when we did go through this process, I, I mean it was very difficult for us as a P A G.
[452] We did meet three times, and, and, and the, the steps erm, under reductions get er, er, gradually worse for want of a better phrase, in relation to how we're able to deliver the service.
[453] I think that was recognized by all members of the P A G.
[454] I think what is happening now that these papers have been published, er, is that we, we will be receiving er, erm, information, consultation from user groups about user groups and the pos possible implication that these reductions will have upon their services, er, but George is there anything you want to add?
George (PS3MV) [455] No, I, I, I think what you've said is, is what was agreed at the P A G, and erm, I don't think there's any point in adding to it.
(PS3MM) [456] Jean?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [457] Well, er, we're in an impossible situation aren't we?
[458] I think everyone's accepted that fact, er, at the end of the day, someone has got to make some very, very bad decisions.
[459] Erm, we can't just ignore the responsibilities that we've been given.
[460] We'll debate and [...] these instructions, but there's always this shortfall, and it's been going on for far too long, and we still have an increasing number of responsibilities, and I just find it extremely distressing to have to sit here time and time again, to go through doing things that we really know we shouldn't be.
[461] Instead of cutting, most should be increasing them.
[462] We are in that situation and all we can do is try and do the best we can to survive and keep some sort of service going to help people who desperately need it.
(PS3MM) [463] Mike?
(PS3MM) [464] Yes, well, I think the P A Gs have looked very carefully at all of these things, and while not being happy with er, a number of them, there really isn't er, much alternative er, ways to go.
[465] The rules and regulations are there, we have the money and we're actually told where we can spend it.
[466] If we don't we, we're, we're, [clears throat] we have no other way, and er, I think they're very carefully doing that in P A G meetings.
(PS3MM) [467] You'll accept, sorry to interrupt, Mrs ?
(PS3MS) [468] Erm, yes, I'd like that number fifteen on the reductions erm, I would like to know more detail of quite what that is, is all about, because erm, it's fairly hefty in terms of voluntary organizations, so it's a hefty erm, reduction.
[469] It may seem small in, in comparison to others, but from voluntary organizations' point of view, it's quite an horrendous problem.
(PS3MN) [470] Chairman, can we, you know, you recall we discussed at some length at the P A G.
[471] Within our provision for grants for voluntary organizations, we hold an unallocated figure, because we don't automatically erm, add inflation to grants to voluntary bodies, and in fact we wait for them to come forward and justify the increases of grants we're giving.
[472] A number of the grants, virtually all of the grants are to voluntary bodies who are providing services which are of considerable benefit to this Committee, and where we would be in some difficulty if they didn't give those [...] of voluntary support to it.
[473] But what we're proposing here essentially, is to say we've got a seventy thousand pound contingency not specifically allocated, we will reduce that down to thirty thousand, but within that thirty thousand we will have to deal with requests we get to increase grants to people who're already in receipt of grant support, and also we've also found it extremely helpful to have a small reserve so that when a body comes along and says I would do this for you, but I do need a small grant in order to do it, and you're effectively buying a hundred thousand pounds worth of service for ten thousand pounds, that you have actually got a ten thousand pounds to put it in, rather than funding everyone, so that's basically the policy behind it Chair.
(PS3MS) [474] So far as you see it
(PS3MN) [475] But none of these are any proposals to reduce existing cash grants to voluntary bodies.
(PS3MS) [476] No, but I mean, you've had several, presumably you've had what did you say, seventy five thousand last,
(PS3MN) [477] Seventy
(PS3MS) [478] seventy thousand last year, now you're saying that even within any, I know it's moderate inflation, but none the less it's inflation, er, you are only making available, did you get through the seventy, I mean, were they applied for?
[479] And did you find that that made a difference to your overall service?
[480] And when, did you use up your seventy thousand?
[481] Or was there a balance?
(PS3MN) [482] There has been a balance Chair, and, and hence the fact that we've knocked it off as an efficiency saving rather than as a reduction in service.
[483] Erm, our belief is that we can manage erm, in line with our, our practice, and give up that forty thousand pounds, but it is, it's reducing your flexibility as, as a number of these changes effectively do.
[484] But no, our belief is that we can manage.
[485] Increasingly with voluntary bodies, and I know that this was discussed at length in the P A G, but will be of interest to members, increasingly with voluntary bodies, we are moving towards er, jointly providing services with them, in a partnership arrangement where we are effectively purchasing and commissioning services from them, and that is the way we would wish the policy to go.
[486] That rather than making a block grant for somebody because we know they do a good job, that we do more directly relate that to services they're providing to us and output.
[487] Needless to say voluntary bodies are very nervous about that, because they have difficulty contracting to provide a service when they are totally dependent on unpaid volunteers, and therefore there is reluctance on their part to, to enter into contracts that bind them to provide something where they are uncertain about their ability to do it.
[488] So we do have to manage this with some care.
[489] But undoubtedly, the way we are moving with the major providers is one where increasingly they will be part of the mixed economy in the independent sector which is voluntaries, erm, quasi er, commercial bodies, and fortified with commercial bodies, trusts and others.
[490] And, and therefore, our relationship with them will be increasingly of a more contractual nature.
(PS3MM) [491] Councillor
(PS3MU) [492] Yes, can you on twenty four, what are we talking about here?
[493] Do we know where these, these are the proposals, I mean is it one, two?
[494] Or is that just the overview?
(PS3MM) [495] Sorry, what g page twenty four?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [496] No, no, number twenty four
Mike (PS3MP) [497] No, on bid four, Mr , 's focusing in on the closure of er,
(PS3MU) [498] Ellands
Mike (PS3MP) [499] elderly persons homes, I think, and we're looking at two sets in that, er, there's the proposal at twenty two, for a closure of one residential home for the elderly, in the east of the county.
[500] I must stress that we are looking primarily, or we propose to look primarily, er, at the east of the county.
[501] Er, and then the further closure depending where the line is drawn, the further potential closure of an additional home, which is the one that er, Mr made reference to.
[502] Erm, now we, we can explain to you in more detail, but the finan I think Mr 's already said to you that the financial savings er, from such moves are not as productive as they were, so in sense we're driven by strategy here, we're driven by the fact that there is a private and there is an independent sector that is there, there is alternative methods of supply.
[503] We believe as you know, that there is an over-supply of residential accommodation, not evenly distributed, I have to say that, that it varies, for example in Shrewsbury there's a very sizable er, independent sector, but that will vary, er, in other parts of the county.
[504] But we're primarily moving er, on that sort of basis.
[505] Now, can I just add one other comment to it?
[506] We believe that we would, we would find considerable difficulty too, in closing one plus in a single financial year, er, for all sorts of reasons which we can explain to you.
[507] So we would essentially be talking about a phased process the more we consider.
(PS3MU) [508] Are the homes that are under threat though at the moment?
[509] Are they concerned about this?
[510] Do they know?
[511] Or, or
Mike (PS3MP) [512] No, no as the Director has indicated, we are looking to the east of the county.
[513] No homes have been identified as such yet, the officers are looking at the homes in the east of the county.
(PS3MU) [514] Right, can you tell how you're intending to er, administer the hundred and fifty thousand pounds home care services?
[515] How's that going to be er, implemented?
[516] Are you going to, when you do your care packages say we can only award so much, we'll have to reduce it, arbitrarily?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [517] Yes, yes, yes
Mike (PS3MP) [518] Yes, I, I must say I'm particularly concerned about home care services.
[519] You'll have a later report er, from the social care enterprise agency, which we've set up to stimulate independent domiciliary care.
[520] Now it is doing that, but it's not doing it, doing it, sorry, at a rate which allows us er, a sort of concomitant withdrawal er, on our side.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [521] [laugh] Total [...]
Mike (PS3MP) [522] What it means is that we reduce our service, and we take, we can, we can, we can expect the independent sector to fill that gap for us.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [523] It's a military term
Mike (PS3MP) [524] To fill that gap for us immediately.
[525] And I have to say to you again that the home care service is the one that is most under pressure.
[526] I've said to you before, it's the one I receive most letters about, er, I know that it's drawn extremely finely at this present minute.
[527] So it, as I said to you in my opening remarks, here's a clear example of us having to move in a direction that we wouldn't be recommending to you in terms of policy, but we're driven by the financial considerations.
[528] Although I'm not totally certain it will save us in the longer term.
(PS3MM) [529] Er, Shirley
(PS3MN) [530] Could I ask a question please Mr Chairman?
[531] Item twenty as well as twenty six, you are suggesting that meals go up in day centres by fifteen percent, and then on twenty six, we introduce a two pound a week for daycare, for people with learning disabilities.
[532] But do these people at the moment receive a meal, in the course of their attendance at whichever day centre they attend?
[533] If so, could was that price, sorry the cost of two pound, include their meal?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [534] No
(PS3MN) [535] So you're really clobbering them both ways, aren't you?
[536] You're putting the meal up fifteen percent, and you're assuming that you're going to charge them two pounds [...] for the attendance to that centre.
[537] So it isn't really just two pounds that they're going to have find is it?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [538] No
(PS3MN) [539] Well as I indicated these forms are as unpalatable as they are
(PS3MN) [540] I understand
(PS3MN) [541] are, are out, are out now, in, in relation to consultation and user groups and their re or representative organizations, have been asked to comment in relation to the whole process before we go, we get to Panel and P and R er, so that we get, and then full Council, so we will get some indication, and twenty six particularly, so that, maybe those members in the last er, er, Council do realize they might have got, we might have got our fingers burnt in relation to this particular issue.
[542] But it, it, it is an issue that, that, that does seem to base itself on an as and where basis.
Mike (PS3MP) [543] We're spending five million, if you look, er, on services for people with learning disabilities.
[544] I don't believe you can ignore five million, when you're looking for reasons.
(PS3MN) [545] Oh, no, oh, no, I'm not suggesting you do, but it just seems unkind of erm, clobbering them sort of both ways.
(PS3MM) [546] Bill did you want to come in?
Mike (PS3MP) [547] Yes Chair, and I could just comment on the, on the consultation process particularly in relation to potential home closures and to the charges affecting people with learning disability.
[548] We, when the papers for this Committee were made public, we did alert people to them, the potential erm, effects of these proposals.
[549] We have not as yet got out any form of formal consultation process, erm, but obviously erm, if erm, if that's what members er, of this Committee wish, erm, then we would do so, and we would be advised as to whether that should be in advance of P and R, or whether members would wish to wait for the, the results of P and R Committee before formally embarking on, on consultation there.
[550] To be advised by you, Chair.
(PS3MM) [551] I think we wouldn't want consultation before, it might influence the decision of P and R, or there again [laughing] depends if we agree the, the arguments for consultation [] .
[552] I mean personally, I'm of the view that it's better to erm, agree a set of, of proposals for consultation, see what the outcome is of those consultations, er, to see whether or not we stick to what we're suggesting, to be frank.
[553] But that's my personal view.
Mike (PS3MP) [554] In that case Chair, I
(PS3MM) [555] I mean, well, I glean, sort of from the members of the Committee
Mike (PS3MP) [556] Perhaps I could just advise members, Chairman, that erm, that the timescale for that would be fairly tight, erm, and my recollection is that when we er, we went out to consultation previously in the sphere of learning disability on an issue that I well [...] you should know, erm, I think there were some thirteen plus consultation meetings required in, in order to, erm, to get a fair spread of, of, of opinion.
[557] So between now and Policy and Resources, it's a very tight timetable.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [558] The letter I saw which alerted er, users and their carers about these items on the agenda, seem to be an indication for them to, to express their opinions back through the Social Services Department, now if that's consultation, then the process has started.
[559] It may not have been called formal consultation process.
Mike (PS3MP) [560] That's right, Chairman, we did, we wanted to inform people of what was erm, and they would au obviously have a right to comment, but we didn't regard that a, a formal consultation basis.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [561] I think Chairman, in a sense, some of the items are sufficiently explicit for people to say well I know what's being proposed, I can comment on it.
[562] But when you come to something that says one or more closures of elderly persons' homes in the east of the county, I don't think it's quite fair for people saying we have a right to be told on that, but that it's insufficiently explicit for them to, to respond to consultation, and to bring their particularly cases forward.
(PS3MM) [563] Bill
Mike (PS3MP) [564] I presume Chair, we don't have a statutory obligation to consult on a matter such as item twenty six?
[565] Could we not call it sort of discussions and to try and put our point of view, our, our difficulties that we're in, rather than erm, er, er, the narrower thing?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [566] But erm, I, I'm concerned about number twenty three.
[567] Er, it's difficult enough with foster parents as it is, without erm, reducing further the er, the allowances.
[568] And erm, on the er, item twenty five, might there be an opportunity, with the agreement that we're going to deal with in item D aren't we, er, with the social serv with the er, health authority, are under suspicion that a lot of the er, personal care we offer through that system ought really to be offered by district nurses, erm, and I wonder whether that's erm, can we, perhaps we cannot establish that.
[569] Somebody's shaking their head.
Mike (PS3MP) [570] C we've, I mean we've, we are having discussions, er, with the health authority about the way in which they propose to deal with their good fortune this year.
[571] Er, and I have to say that we're obviously concerned, as they are, that there's money put in to their side of the community care infrastructure.
[572] So I think we would want to be pressing that sort of point er, on them.
[573] But over and above that, you can't be expecting nurses to, presuming you'd get more, to take over home care duties.
[574] You're talking about social care here.
(PS3MM) [575] Peter [...]
Malcolm (PS3MR) [576] Just wanted to point out, Phil, last year we, we had savings on erm, the teen care phase of a hundred and seventy thousand and this, on er, reference number seventeen it shows fifty thousand, er, what do you include the whole [...] of that to casualties together?
(PS3MN) [577] Mike can probably come in teen care, but essentially what we have done in the current year, is sell places on teen care where we have needed the income in order to balance our books, [...] .
[578] The children's plan when you come to it, very clearly shows a very sensible wish to move from expensive specialist placements, and expensive residential community home placements to more fostering, more teen care, more work with families in the community.
[579] This is only being put forward, not because it's a spare capacity, but because it's a choice between selling something and getting income, or cutting a service somewhere else.
[580] And the choice is actually for us to forego the use of those, a much needed use in some instances, in order to get a net income as an alternative to cutting services elsewhere.
(PS3MM) [581] Did you want some, some formal [...] in relation to the consultation?
Mike (PS3MP) [582] Well, at the end of the advice, whatever conclusion members reach, I'm very [...] , I think certainly on those areas erm, that they wish formal consultation or discussion erm, to take place, and the timescale we have to work to.
(PS3MM) [583] Any further views on that, and the reductions?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [584] Well I think the consultation should take place, I suppose as soon as possible, because I think it's going to create problems, er, to get the timescale through committee.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [585] I think, think it's best maybe we're into these sort of formal words of consultation and discussion, maybe if we invite comment on, on the service changes really, or the reductions or cuts or whatever you want to describe them as, er, in relation to how they affect user groups.
[586] Where we have the, the erm, responsibility for a formal consultation, er, then we need to set about that process as soon as possible to try and meet our deadline, Mr Chairman.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [587] Be advised by Mr .
(PS3MS) [588] The Chair is obviously referring to the fact recently in the courts, there was consideration of the closure of old persons' homes, and you know that you are under a legal requirement to consult in respect of those otherwise any decision, to close without consultation can held to be invalid, and that has impinged on some authorities who were going down that route, so there is a duty there.
[589] There is a specific statutory provision scattered about, children's services particularly, where children have to be consulted.
[590] Erm, so on that, on major services, it is incumbent upon you to consult, erm, and detailed advice is given by me to the Director in relation to each of the, of the er, proposals as to when and how consultation should take place.
[591] But, in some of the major ones, the children and the elderly, there are quite clearly on the statutes laid down, and case law, laid down saying you must go through a process of consultation.
[592] Which means, that at the end of the day, before reaching your final decision, you must hear what people are saying, and so you can't take a decision as it were, a final decision about a closure, and then go out to consultation.
[593] It's fairly obvious, but it sometimes needs emphasising, and the timing of your committees obviously this means that there can be a delay, in the realization of any er, savings that might arise.
(PS3MM) [594] Do we agree then that we proceed down that, that, that line, about those, those two elements?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [595] Yes, yes
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [596] Well Chairman, I'm assuming that er, the P A G, assuming you're accepting, will want to discuss with officers the issue id of identification of er, homes for the elderly?
(PS3MM) [597] Is that agreed?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [598] You want to be very careful er, Mr Chairman, how we put out erm, information, I mean, let's face it, you know, you start sort of raising a lot of hairs if you're not careful and if, if, even if it's totally irrelevant people will latch on to a particular com comment and make it their own.
[599] That's right, I'm sure you are, yes, that's right, that's right
(PS3MM) [600] Well we're already under pressure to give names, and we are reluctant to give pressure, cos n reluctant to give names because we haven't got them, at this stage, but we need, but at some stage we need to iden as we, as part of the process, this need, there's a need at least to identify one home within the east of the county.
[601] Er, maybe more than one home, particularly as part of the consultation process, I don't know.
[602] But it's whether, whether the officers do that and start the consultation or whether it's done by P A G, I'm getting a shaking of the head here, I think it needs a political decision as opposed to anything else.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [603] Can I just ask Mr Chairman?
[604] Are you saying that you will only close these homes if there are very few residents, in other words a shortfall?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [605] No
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [606] May I say something Chair?
(PS3MM) [607] We've got other pressures upon us
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [608] Well there's such a small saving in homes, that's why I'm, you know, I'm always very loathe to see them go.
(PS3MM) [609] But we've got other strategic pressures upon us, the issue of care in the community which is to provide respite and domiciliary care.
[610] And as you've seen with previous closures of our homes, the last three, is that we've been able to utilize some of those resources to provide that shift in policy which has been very successful, and has, er, a process that we've got [...] has allayed people's fears who've been used for those residential home agreements.
[611] Peter.
Malcolm (PS3MR) [612] What er, [clears throat] is this not out of true, [...] by my visits to various homes, and I've been very impressed with the, the er, general conditions, the care, er, of the residents and everything else.
[613] But regrettably, erm, it's, this is another example of the disadvantaged and those who can least afford it, to er, look after themselves who're having to suffer.
[614] Er, we, we, we, we don't want to, we have a go it's a definite government policy that we will, we will, we are forced into this corner, and as I say, it's the disadvantaged who suffer every time.
[615] And I would like to think that everybody in, on this committee erm, very much regrets having to do it, but we have no alternative whatsoever.
[616] Until there's a change of government policy, then we can do nothing about it.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [617] Chairman, I'll, I'm not wishing to make a political, a particular political point, but I totally disagree with that,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [618] So do I
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [619] I think it's very good policy, there's many people [...] policy, who are in our homes, who would give anything to have been able to have stayed in their own homes, or maybe stayed with relatives, but erm, they need the help and care in their homes.
[620] I know that's difficult to provide erm, and the money's got to be found for that, but it, it's a mixed blessing putting elderly people into, a lot are put into our homes, which I agree are very good the majority of them, they're very nice, but the people who're put into them, they give up their own homes, and then they get a bit better six months later, and they say, ooh, I just want to go back to my home now.
[621] Erm, you must know that as well as I do, so there's, it's six of one and half dozen of another.
[622] It isn't anything to do with government at all.
(PS3MM) [623] Order, order
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [624] Could, could I say, I must reply to that.
[625] I'm not against the principle as I said when I came, when I was on the Council previously, when this was first hanging about, that there's little doubt about it as, it's a good policy, but will we get the money to carry it out.
[626] We're due in ninety five a reduction in home care services
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [627] with, everything is being reduced, and everything is being squeezed, we're looking at the, the mentally er, handicapped people er, and their report, we're being pressurized to look after them as well.
[628] But the money isn't there to do the proper job, it's a, if the money was there to do the proper job, I'd say great let's go ahead and do it, but in policy or principle it's a wonder there's a lot good things in it, but there isn't the money to do it.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [629] That wasn't what you said, that wasn't what you said, and probably the first person to put your granny in a home.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [630] I don't think that's going to help
(PS3MM) [631] Mike [...] on this
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [632] Well whether we like it or not
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MM) [633] Order please, can I have one meeting please, one meeting
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [634] Whether we like it or not, we, we've got elderly people to look after, a lot of them, and whether we like it or not, there has been a change in attitude of the government.
[635] There's no doubt about that.
[636] We er, er, had all these homes, they sprung up, and what they've decided is, that isn't the way to go forward from here on in, what we're going to do, er, we're gonna have what's called care in the community.
[637] We get money for doing that, but we can't spend it in our homes we have to use it in the private sector, so, at the end of the day, er, whether we like it or not, we didn't like these decisions but that's the way we've got to go.
(PS3MM) [638] Okay, I think the suggestion is, is that, that we identify er, er, homes within the east of the county and that is done by the P A G, is there any dissent from that?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [639] Now, I, I, I don't, I don't look for trouble, you know me
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS3MM) [640] Is there any dissent from that?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [641] No
(PS3MM) [642] Okay.
[643] Right can we move to capital programme.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [644] Now show Europe please
(PS3MN) [645] Chairman, just before we leave things can I just remind members now that, that, the target set for this Committee was a net increase, and, have that in mind as we go through, and that increase is some six hundred and forty thousand pounds, which we could show within those papers as having arrived at it, in ninety four, five.
[646] Because I think, approves the use of a hundred and eighty thousand pounds of our carry forwards, contingency figure, which isn't receipted in five, six, and six, seven, that the variation in five, six, before the home closure savings come fully on-stream, is in fact an increase of seven hundred and fifty four thousand, but dropping in ninety six, seven some five hundred and fifty eight thousand.
[647] I don't know whether this will be acceptable to Policy and Resources Committee or the Council at the end of the day, but essentially what is showing there is something that, taken over the three years meets er, a figure equivalent to the annual [...] but it doesn't do it uniformly over the three years.
[648] And that's something I think members need to bear in mind.
[649] The only way of addressing that differently, if indeed the guideline is strictly applied, and you're required to identify no more than a net increase of six hundred and forty thousand in ninety five, six, the second year of this programme, then you would have to put in additional line of further savings as yet to be identified.
[650] I'm not proposing that to you at the moment Chairman, I'm just pointing it out to members so that there's no confusion on it.
[651] And then, on the bottom of page sixteen and through on to seventeen is addressing the point that, also within the guideline, we have been asked, we've been asked as a Committee, to look at the implications of finding up to a further two hundred and fifty thousand pounds' worth of reductions.
[652] I would have to say Chair, at this stage, that item twenty eight that we put in there, in terms of registration inspection now needs to be withdrawn.
[653] There is draft er, legislation, a draft circular has just come out, which makes quite clear beyond any doubt that we are required to treat the inspection of our facilities exactly the same way as the independent sector.
[654] Er, we had been at legislation inspection of becoming an, a costly service in terms of gross expenditure, and therefore we need to look for savings from those areas where we actually spend money, erm, and the belief was, the policy thought was that as our own homes were subject to our own direct management, to inspection by members, to both internal and external audits, erm, they were therefore better inspected than the independent sector, certainly more widely inspected, and therefore the least risk, in terms of any reduction on registration inspection would apply in that area.
[655] Unfortunately it would appear, or perhaps fortunately, depending on, on one's views, erm, the policy has always been quite clear, that we should treat them in exactly the same way as we treat the independent sector, and that there would be an arm's length independent inspection, that has now been made explicitly clear that that is the requirement, and therefore you would have to withdraw that and say that if there is a requirement to find a further two hundred and fifty thousand pounds' worth of savings, we will have to go and identify another area rather than that.
[656] But if I could just make one small correction, Chairman, at the, an error on my part.
[657] On item thirty on page seventeen, it refers to increased charges above those proposed in item twenty two, that should of course read item twenty six.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [658] Twenty six.
(PS3MM) [659] Mrs ?
(PS3MS) [660] Erm, just very quickly Mr Chairman.
[661] Erm, this inspection of homes, erm, etcetera by members.
[662] I just wonder erm, if this couldn't be helped if you like, by increasing them rather than decreasing them, taking over perhaps some of the, not absolutely statutory, but some of the extra use of staff, and I don't know if it's possible, but at the moment I worry because some of the homes are only being inspected and visited by members [...] anyway.
[663] So I wonder whether I can cut that out completely, or, or
(PS3MN) [664] The answer is no, you couldn't, er, in terms of registering and inspecting, and in fact your role is likely to be diminished further because the draft circular talks about bringing lay assessors, and lay assessors are defined as people who do not have any form of er, directional responsibility for providing a service.
[665] Now, I haven't totally had a chance to talk to Mr er, about that, but I would assume that means you er, and so it's moving in the other direction if anything Mrs .
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [666] Chair, it looks as though it includes not only c councillors, but certainly former officers.
(PS3MN) [667] Officers, former officers of the Council
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [668] So the net is cast very wide, as to who cannot sit on the [...]
(PS3MS) [669] Yes, well I mean, if the worst, yes, you might redu you might improve to worry about.
(PS3MN) [670] Okay, the final point on, on the salmon papers, erm, I have noted at the bottom there, that we have not yet settled bids on joint finance for ninety four, five.
[671] This is again money that the health authority provides, it is agreed within joint collaborative committee, consisting of health, er, the County Council, the District Councils, and voluntary bodies.
[672] And er, whilst we do know the total that's available, er, there's been no er, consideration in detail of the bids against that.
[673] I've noted there that, that if you were to bid for funds that had tapering attaching to them, and therefore you would be picking up increased costs in ninety five, six, and ninety six, seven, that they wouldn't exceed the figure shown at the bottom of the page.
[674] I would go further Chairman, in terms of the version we reach now, I would be very surprised if they do reach those figures, and, er, why I would expect them to be substantially less, because the policy which is being proposed at this stage is one of using joint finance monies as a one hundred percent grant, one-off grants for one or two years in support of schemes, rather than in, as a tapering item.
[675] Although there will be a small number of tapering items within there, erm, hopefully Chairman we'll have more detailed information before this report is considered by the Policy and Resources Committee in, in February.
(PS3MM) [676] Comments?
Mike (PS3MP) [677] Well Chairman, you, I think certainly the Po the P and R have asked you for your views, I mean there's no final er, agreements.
[678] I think I should say to you at this point, that if you're moving into these areas, you are moving into what I can, or, just totally contrary in fact to your policies, and directions, and er, not only that, I think we have difficulty sustaining.
[679] If I can just pick on community homes stamping reduction and we've talked about that already earlier.
[680] Er, we know that there's an O and M report coming through, we've got a pretty good idea what's in it.
[681] We know that there's a thing called the Warner Report, which is er, leaning all the way for more er, and yet we will reducing.
[682] So I have to say to you that whilst I'm putting these forward, it's absolutely clear that we would be having adverse comments and criticism er, from the S S I, and that you would be moving into areas that I can't recommend to you, but I, I put them forward as obviously illustrations.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [683] Chair, I, I think we have to reflect that view to the P and R Committee.
[684] I mean we all know it, and we all know there's a lot on this list which are most unpalatable, and they're only there because we've been set the task of reaching a particular sum of money, and er, if we had the choice we'd be going in the reverse direction, and, and adding.
[685] So while we have to discharge our responsibilities and, and, and show how these targets are achievable, we also are quite right to indicate our feelings about in, in, in the manner the Director's er, expressed.
(PS3MN) [686] Chair, if I might be allowed just thirty seconds comment on the budget from the point of view of some of the central services.
[687] There is no doubt at all that where there are reductions er, particularly at the edge of our statutory responsibilities, this inevitably we know, generates more demands for support from central services, particularly legal, where we are then brought into dispute, and there are complaint machinery, and other processes brought into play.
[688] I think it's perhaps a small consideration but it does impact on increased demand for those central services.
(PS3MU) [689] Mr Chairman, er, it's an important point, but I'm so fed up with hearing people using this as a political issue, erm, and, and, and I'm a high critic of the government er, for many other reasons, but I would like to know where these people think the money would come from.
[690] Perhaps they would tell us, if they were allowed to spend more, where do they think the funds come from, and who do they think's going to pay?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [691] Well, what do
(PS3MU) [692] Can you tell us what you think it would, what you think would happen?
[693] Let's have it in black and white, are you saying that the Council Tax should go up by many, many pounds?
[694] Hundreds of pounds? [...] it's such an important issue, we ought to have it out in the open, and let's tell the taxpayers what these people say [...]
(PS3MM) [695] I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm sorry, I'm sorry Councillor , but you obviously haven't been listening to debate this morning, the issue is about the settlement that we have received.
[696] It relates to lots of policy areas
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MM) [697] and the way in which the, the whole settlement is skewed against Shropshire, we hear it on every budget debate
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [698] It's not fair, that's right
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [699] So you're just arguing about Shropshire's allocation, it's got nothing to do with government policy affairs, about holding Cou local government spending er, within limits, you're not saying that.
(PS3MU) [700] Oh, yes, well that's part of the issue as well and it has to be part of the strategy
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [701] Alright, where's the money?
(PS3MU) [702] Where does the money come from?
[703] It doesn't jus I'd like to know, I'd like you to tell the rate payers of Shropshire what you expect them to do.
[704] Are you going to put Council Tax up two hundred pounds, because to, to, to meet all the demands of Council, well that's the sort of thing you're asking me to do.
[705] And, and you know how [...] to blame,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [706] Well I mean, another point is
(PS3MU) [707] you've only got to see any tax that goes up and everyone's up in arms about it.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [708] if we can't find it where do we go?
(PS3MU) [709] Well, well, well when this lot,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [710] when this lot goes out to consultation you come back and te to me that other people aren't putting their arms up in air, about the reduction in services, or what are preceiv or what are perceived, no hang on,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [711] You tell them
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [712] I'm a very patient Chair, or what are perceived as cuts, not reductions in services, total decimation of services, if we actually go down these particular lines,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [713] That's because of overspending in previous years.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [714] Well that is bunkum, bunkum
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [715] That's rubbish, that's rubbish John, absolute rubbish.
(PS3MM) [716] Peter ?
Malcolm (PS3MR) [717] No, no, no, I say [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...] [laugh]
(PS3MM) [718] Good, George next.
Tom (PS3MT) [719] I was only going to say, Chair, that before my time in local government, that I've mine as an observer each side, er, there was no problem for local authorities to raise a rate, er, there was no restrictions on this, and if they thought they could get away with it politically, they did, and they provided the services, that, that they believed people wanted.
[720] There was no problem all that long time ago, I don't know why we haven't
(PS3MU) [721] Well that's the great point of being honest, that's a great point,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MU) [722] and let's tell the rate payers what we expect them to do
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [723] Could we move on Mr Chairman please?
(PS3MM) [724] Yes, we need to agree this, unpalatable as it is, to go forwards to P and R, to expose what the five percent reduction is, and to indicate as well to P and R other points that we, we want to say about these specific services.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [725] I think it's been said.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [726] I think you've said Chairman, that you would find this final tranche very difficult to achieve.
(PS3MM) [727] Maybe this, the minutes need to reflect that.
[728] [laughing] If we can play them over there.
[729] Is that agreed then?
(PS3MN) [730] So the capital programme is er, erm, as I said earlier, the capital programme is not within the guidelines set by Policy and Resources Committee.
[731] Erm, the proposals there do, in fact, exceed the capital spend on new starts, and it will therefore need pruning erm, and the proposals that we suggested earlier was that, subject to any comments members may have on individual schemes that are here, and their views on them, we would propose looking at the programme in detail, and bringing it within the guideline figures that have been set, erm, and doing that with the advice of P A G before it goes on to Policy Panel and, and Policy and Resources Committee.
(PS3MM) [732] Er, I think there are certain papers well further down er, the agenda that, that might be taken to P A G as well, in relation to capital programmes, so if, if we can possibly speak about the generality of the capital programme because I think the idea is that it goes to P A G for refinements.
[733] Mrs .
(PS3MS) [734] Erm, very briefly, I think that erm, from my knowledge, as opposed to bureaucracy, other people in charge would know more about it, er, item two, item three, erm, I think could be certainly reduced in expenditure.
[735] This seems erm, over the top, I erm, I don't honestly think the provision of garages is absolutely essential in the light of the things that we've been cutting up which are essential, erm, and in number two.
[736] And I don't really see that erm, number three is of vital importance either.
[737] Er, going to number twenty, and twenty two, erm, I would like to know quite what this, these large figures are about, and quite er, what we intend.
[738] There's no detail on it, it's just very broad sweep, various properties, continuing programme of improving.
[739] Number twenty two, capital effects to allow for the acquisition of various properties.
[740] What do we want them for?
[741] How essential are they?
[742] You know, I mean, these sorts of rather broad brush suggestions, er, a total of, I'm not very good at arithmetic, something of two hundred and forty thousand pounds, those two, plus I think, an actual reduction in certainly two and three if not erm,remo removal.
[743] I think you've got quite a significant amount of money which you could offset what we've been saying just grieves me.
(PS3MM) [744] Yes, as I said previously, I didn't particularly want to go into the detail, because obviously as a member of P A G, Mrs , you'll get an opportunity to see that particular detail.
[745] The other point is as well, if you don't know the, what the outcome of your capital programme's going to be, you don't do a lot of work in working up specific projects, otherwise it's going to be abortive work.
[746] You put in general points, but specifically pick your point up on item three to do with Homeward Church Stretton, the reports that I read, er, from the visitors like yourself, to go to that children's home, identify this as an issue every time.
[747] So you, so I, I, I don't agree with you on that point but anyway the point of refining, the point of refining the capital programme is there is an im implication of, of, of debt repayment er, which is part of revenue, which could have an implication er, upon how we reach our reductions.
[748] That's the main reason for the P A G to refine the, the capital programme, to reflect that before it goes to the Policy Panel, and then to P and R and Council.
[749] To Peter .
Malcolm (PS3MR) [750] Could, could I just say that Homeward, I mean there the, the parking is obviously a problem, that that is something that could go by, but I mean, I went to, the last time I went to Homeward, and walked out, and it's before we had all this rain, my shoes were under water.
[751] In the whole garden, and not just, and plus a river running through to, to the, to the north side, and it is difficult, and it is quite a problem and to, to, to say that this is not necessary, is undoubtedly ridiculous.
(PS3MM) [752] Good boating holiday!
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MM) [753] Councillor ?
(PS3MU) [754] That's alright Mr Chairman, I think it's been cleared, thank you.
(PS3MM) [755] Okay, sorry Mrs .
(J3PPS000) [756] I'd just like to make a point about Robert House, and Roseberry.
[757] I'd have thought [...] and it's [...] in support.
[758] Erm, I don't know whether it's anything in the budget for de redecoration, [...] I think, Robert House.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [759] What's the implication?
(J3PPS000) [760] Yes, I could use, could have a little [...] attention.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [761] Again Chairman, it's reflected in the children's services plan up to possible future proposals for Robert Home.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [762] I shouldn't waste too much money on it, it needs replacing.
(PS3MM) [763] That's my feeling entirely.
[764] Anyway, is, is, is there agreement that there's, that this er, capital programme and associated papers after our deliberations on are referred to the P A G, is that agreed?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MM) [765] Is that agreed?
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [766] Yes.
(PS3MM) [767] I'm, I'm under pressure for two decisions, Paul is here to speak to his paper and has to be in Sandwell at two o'clock, and I'm told that the canteen closes at one thirty.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [768] Are those alternative, [...]
(PS3MM) [769] Is, is it your agreement that we take Paul 's paper now, before we look,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [...]
(PS3MM) [770] can I suggest that we take Paul 's paper next.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [771] Which one?
[772] Where do I turn to, next page, page one.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [773] Paper I,
(PS3MM) [774] I,
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [775] I
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [776] All those happy say aye.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [777] Aye.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [778] That's carried.
(PS3MM) [779] Item eight.
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [780] Oh, yes.
(PS3MU) [781] Chair, do you want me to speak?
(PS3MM) [782] I should start
(PS3MU) [783] Yes, right.
[784] Er, thank you Chair, for the opportunity to introduce the paper which I do briefly bearing in mind what I, I see are all the pressures on you which will go on into the afternoon.
[785] Erm, just to remind you, or to draw to your attention, erm, ladies and gentlemen, the fact that the report erm, was considered in the first instance, by your community care advisory sub-committee in September, and subsequently by the joint consultative committee in November.
[786] Er, the recommendation to those committees was that they should treat the paper as a basis for consultation, it was on that basis that they approved it, it was my impression that they support it in general terms.
[787] The principles of what was proposed.
[788] The consultation er, that the document was sent out very, very widely to District Councils, to voluntary organizations, and throughout the county, the consultation process was extended until the end of December, er, replies are now in, and I believe there's, there's around a dozen of them.
[789] The next stage I understand Chair, is that a report on the consultation process and what's come out of it will be, will be brought in er, in the first instance, to the J C C and the community care advisory committee, and, and thence with substantive recommendations to this Committee, and to the health authority etcetera, in relation to the substance of the report.
[790] Very ...
Unknown speaker (J3PPSUNK) [791] No, I'm trying to catch the Chairman's eye.
[792] He's now talking, and I shall want to speak [...] , carry on.
(PS3MU) [793] Very, very quickly, can I just say, that in the er,consultat in the, in the work I did in the, which led to the production of the report, and the many, many people I talked to, some of whom I, I see around the table, I found on the one hand, ample evidence throughout the county authorities, the health authority, the district councils, and the voluntary sector, of much evidence of recognition of improved collaboration between agencies in delivery of community care in Shropshire.
[794] Especially as compared with those somewhat dark days in terms of specially the relationship between the County Council and the health authority.
[795] And at the same time, and slightly in contradiction to that, I found it increasing erm, er, perception and indication of dissatisfaction with the way in which the joint er, collaborative structures were actually working, if I may say, especially at the top level in terms of the political erm ... erm, so I say to you colleagues, that you are required as er, by statute to, to have in place collaborative structures, er, under a statute that goes back to the nineteen seventies, and I should also say to you that up and down the country that authorities like your own are at this stage doing what you're doing, and that is reviewing the effectiveness of the operation of those structures, and probably coming to much the same conclusions.
[796] Erm, why is that there er, that review process is going up and down the country and why is that people are dissatisfied?
[797] I would suggest to you colleagues, it's because the, your expectations and those of the, er, the other erm, stake holders involved in the other agencies about joint planning depends on what you expect the joint structures to carry.
[798] A few years ago, er, the joint planning structures, and this is before the introduction of care in the community, dealt or came to be seen politically, dealing very much with joint finance and although, important though it, that is, it's what's sometimes called funny money, it's money at the side, it didn't deal with mainstream policies, and mainstream budgets.
[799] And, following the reconstruction of the new health authorities, some distance was created between those structures and local authorities, and so in the early seventies, there was a tendency to move apart, and not to expect very much from the joint collaborative structures.
[800] The introduction, the build up to the introduction of care in the community with its formal launch in, in April erm, of last year, has in fact increased very significantly the expectations of joint collaboration because there you're actually talking about major budgets, major planning agreements, erm, erm, and so a need for a review.
[801] However, in terms of the recommendations, and I shall very, very quickly come to those, and deal with those very quickly, Chair, erm, I should just say to you that the, be, beware of structuralism.
[802] Any review of the structures is not likely to stand for any number of years, it's not likely to get absolutely right, erm, and so be flexible about your approach.
[803] In relation to the recommendations Chair, I just pick on four points, the first one is, that at the political level, the proposal in the paper, and I should say, erm, and this is a matter of judgment, but it was widely supported by people I spoke to, there was considerable uncertainty and ambiguity in people's minds about, about the present structure, in terms of the responsibilities of the J C C, vis a vis the community care advisory sub-committee.
[804] There was a feeling there had been a time when you needed both, but for the future it would help in general, and offer much better leadership if you were to create one body, and since you're statutorily obliged to have a J C C, why not make it, actually make it work, so it meets more often, and it actually actively involves erm, er, er, er, at the political level, players at the political level.
[805] There was a strong feeling in some quarters, especially the voluntary sector, but also the District Council, that questions the degree of representation of all the different interests needed to be looked at, hence the proposal that there should be