Agenda and minutes

Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel - Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 3 - 3rd Floor - Civic Centre

Contact: Earl Piggott Smith  01902 551251 email:

No. Item




The Portfolio Holder, Cllr Linda Leach sent her apologies. 


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of previous meetings (26 March 2019) pdf icon PDF 456 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]


The minutes of the meeting held on the 26 March 2019 were approved as a correct record, subject to the inclusion of Cllr Sohail Khan, declaration of a non-pecuniary interest as a Blue Badge Holder. 


Matters arising


A Member of the Panel requested that the Scrutiny Officers ensure that a report be added to the Work Programme for the September meeting detailing progress in responding to the issues highlighted in the report received at the last meeting on blue badges and specifically on changes to the eligibility criteria and delays in the assessment process.


Update on File Audits: 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 320 KB

[Jennifer Rogers, Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner, to present report]

Additional documents:


The Director of Adult Services in his opening remarks commented that not all local authorities in adult social care services carried out file audits. The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner stated that in 2018-2019 there had been over 120 file audits in City of Wolverhampton Council’s Adult Social Services Department.  In addition to these there had also been two audit the Auditor checks, to check the quality and consistency of the bi-monthly file audits.  Dip sampling audits had been carried out to measure quality or address specific issues as part of the implementation of the 3 Conversations approach.  More than 50 dip samples had been carried out in 2018/19.  There had also been two thematic audits completed during the year.


The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner stated that file audits in adult social care in Wolverhampton took place every other month.  The auditors ranged from front line managers all the way up to Director level.  They measured files in terms of CQC ratings.  There had been some fluctuation in the current year in quarter 2 and quarter 3.  A new way of working had been introduced in July and they thought this may have helped to explain the dip in the results.  However, they now believed it was down to overly optimistic previous ratings.  In November work was undertaken with managers to discuss the findings of an audit the auditor audit carried out in July 2018, which may have led to a more critical approach being taken in November’s audit in response to the feedback that some auditors wererating files as “good” when a lower rating would have been more appropriate.    


The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner commented that there had been some high performance in a number of areas.  These areas included, Making Safeguarding Personal, Demonstrating Dignity and Respect, Timelessness and Responsiveness and Continuity of Support.  Additional areas which had become strengths from quarter one in the current year included, effective multi-agency working, clear and detailed eligibility and involvement of family members/carers.  She was particularly pleased that there had been a significant improvement in care assessments in quarter 4.   


The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner remarked that an area which required further improvement was in reflective and analytical thinking.  Practitioners were not always recording their reflective discussions or thinking on people’s files.  A revised recording policy was disseminated to teams in January 2019 which contained a section on reflectiverecording to support practice and improve worker confidence.  Another action to address the need for better recording of reflective practice included the introduction of a monthly manager support programme from April 2019 which would cover areas identified by audits. The aim was to support frontline managers improve quality and practice in their teams. Reflective recording would be the focus of the session in June 2019. They were keen to ensure the voice of the person was captured within files. 


A Member of the Panel stated that he was aware of a very complicated case approximately two years ago where  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel Draft Work Programme 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 348 KB

[Martin Stevens,Scrutiny Officer, to present report]


Members requested that the Principal Social Worker Annual Report be added to the Work Plan for the meeting in September.  They expressed concern that it was not being received at the current meeting as had been previously advised. The Director for Adults Services stated that the Labour Group had raised some issues about the report not containing much information on outcomes and individuals.  A Member of the Panel added that they were concerned the report did not contain enough information about matters relating to equalities.  They wanted the report to show which groups they had been working with on these issues and for the report to show comparative progress from previous years.  The Director for Adults Services agreed to bring the Principal Social Worker Annual Report to the next meeting of the Panel, along with a covering note listing the changes which would be incorporated in future Principal Social Worker Annual Reports. 


Transforming Care - Annual Report 2019 (report to follow)

[Wendy Ewins,Commissioning Officer, to present report.]


The item on, Transforming Care Annual Report, was reported as having been deferred.


Safer Wolverhampton Partnership Annual Report - Draft pdf icon PDF 302 KB

The Panel is asked to note the following:


This item is being considered as pre-decision scrutiny and will therefore not be available to call-in once a decision is made by the Executive.


[John Denley, Director for Public Health, to present report]

Additional documents:


The Director for Public Health introduced the draft Safer Wolverhampton Partnership Annual Report 2018-2019.  He said it was a statutory requirement to produce an Annual Report, which had to reflect the activities of the partnership and how it’s grant money had been spent.  The strategy focussed on three core areas.  These were reducing reoffending, reducing victimisation and violence prevention.  He described the main highlights of the work the partnership had done in these areas as detailed within the report.  The rough sleeper count within the City as of last week was only seven.  He was particularly pleased with the work the Partnership had undertaken to reduce the number.  There had been a 31% increase in hate crime reporting, which in many ways could be seen as a positive as it was important that the crime did not go unreported.  He believed sustained funding was critical to ensuring the success of the partnership. 


A Member of the Panel commented that he had visited Glasgow recently in his capacity as the Vice-Chair of the Council’s Scrutiny Review Group into Violent Crime.  He agreed that sustained funding was critical to crime prevention work and this was clear from the Glasgow model.  Their VRU (Violence Reduction Unit) had drastically decreased violent crime in Glasgow.  He asked how effective the Safer Wolverhampton Partnership were at working collectively in the current format.  The Director for Public Health responded that he did believe the Partnership were working effectively in relation to its established goals.  No one was disengaging from the Partnership which showed that all the organisations felt it was worthwhile to work collectively. 


A Member of the Panel commented that multi-agency working at its best was the gold standard.  She felt it was important to distinguish between rough sleeping and aggressive begging.  She had a general concern about new drugs emerging on the streets which she felt treatment providers struggled to know how best to address.  She suggested that there should be more focus on the perpetrators of domestic violence and how best to get them into treatment programmes.  The Director for Public Health agreed that it was important to distinguish between aggressive begging and rough sleeping.   They would be launching a Substance Misuse Partnership in a few weeks’ time, so there could be a collective approach on enforcement, communication, and vulnerability as opposed to just drug treatment.  On the matter of domestic violence perpetrators, he agreed that the Public Health Team could do some additional work and provide a briefing back to the Panel at a future meeting. 


A Panel Member asked who the intended audience was for the Safer Wolverhampton Partnership Annual Report.  She commented that any inward investors considering Wolverhampton would be reviewing the report, to asses whether they wished to invest in the City.  She thought the report should highlight more strongly the positives.  She said that the report was strong on the qualitative effects but could be enhanced on the quantitative effects of the strategies.  More quantitative evidence in the report  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Appointeeship Charging pdf icon PDF 277 KB

The Panel is asked to note the following:


1.    This item is being considered as pre-decision scrutiny and will therefore not be available to call-in once a decision is made by the Executive.


2.    The Panel’s comments on the proposed changes will be included as an appendix in the report to Cabinet (Resources) Panel meeting on 23 July 2019.


[Helen Winfield, Head of Community Financial Support, will present the report]



The Director of Adults Services introduced a report on Appointeeship charging.  He explained that the item was being considered as pre-decision scrutiny as the report had not yet been received by the Cabinet.  The financial challenges in Local Government had meant Officers had been tasked to review non-statutory services, to find ways to generate new income or to stop providing the service all together.  Appointeeship was one of the areas identified which the Cabinet had agreed that the Council should explore the prospect of introducing a charge for providing the service.  He was acutely aware that the issue would be contentious and that it would affect vulnerable people throughout the City.  Members of his team over the last few months had been gathering information on how other Local Authorities managed the Appointeeship service, including the charging rates. 


The Head of Community Financial Support stated that the Appointeeship service was offered to people in receipt of social security benefits who were unable to manage their own finances and had not got support from family and friends to appropriately manage their financial affairs.  The proposals had the aim of the Appointeeship service working towards becoming a self-financing administrative system.  There were a number of reasons that people would be referred under the Care Act Assessment 2014 for the Appointeeship service.  An area of growing concern was from people suffering financial abuse from family or friends.  Sometimes the family member or friend who had been given Appointeeship status, had been forced to relinquish the Appointeeship status when they had abused their position. 


The Head of Community Financial Support commented that the Appointeeship service offered by the Council provided financial sustainability to the users of the service by maximising benefit claims, providing relevant information to the benefit authorities, paying bills, managing outgoings and budgeting for unforeseen expenditure.  Some people had quite substantial savings, an important part of the service was to maximise expenditure appropriately to ensure a greater quality of life and independence.  If a person died when the Council was providing an Appointeeship service, the Council were required to find the next of kin and relatives to dispense with the person’s estate, sometimes these could be the very people who had abused the person financially, which had led to the original Appointeeship. 


The Head of Community Financial Support stated that the proposal was to introduce an Appointeeship charge for individuals who had a balance of more than £1,000 in their account following the deduction of their usual monthly expenditure.  The charge would be £5.00 per week for a person living in the community and £3.00 per week for a person living in a care home. The rate was less for a person living in a care home because the administrative processes were simpler.  There were currently approximately 200 people in the community who had an Appointeeship with the Council and approximately 300 people in care homes.  Out of the 500 people there were currently 27 people who had savings of less than £1,000  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.