Agenda and minutes

Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel - Tuesday, 16th March, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams Meeting

Contact: Earl Piggott Smith  01902 551251 email:


No. Item


Welcome and Introductions

[The Chair to welcome everyone to the meeting. The Scrutiny Officer will then read out a list of those invited to the meeting to confirm who is in attendance.]



Cllr Val Evans, Chair, welcomed everyone to the virtual meeting and advised it was being live streamed to the press and public. Cllr Evans advised that she was not expecting any exempt or restricted items on the agenda. A recording of the meeting would be available for viewing on the Council’s website at a future date.


Meeting procedures to be followed

[The Chair will explain how the meeting will proceed, how questions are to be asked and any matters of meeting etiquette.]


Cllr Evans explained the protocol to be followed during the meeting for asking questions and reminded everyone that microphones should be muted and cameras off, unless they have been invited to speak. Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, invited all attendees to introduce themselves to confirm they were present at the meeting.


Please note that the following officers and presenters were also in attendance at the meeting


Emma Bennett

Becky Wilkinson

Jennifer Rogers

Courtney Abbott

Martin Stevens

Earl Piggott Smith

Julia Cleary

Cllr Linda Leach - Cabinet Member for Adults




Apologies were received from the following members of the panel:


·         Councillor Rupinderjit Kaur 

·         Councillor Simon Bennett


Apologies were also received for Emma Bennett-Director of Children's and Adult Services



Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest recorded.


Minutes of previous meeting (19.1.2021) pdf icon PDF 463 KB

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



The panel members voted and approved the minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2021 as being a correct record.


Matters arising


There were no matters arising from the minutes.


Adult Social Work Health Check 2020 pdf icon PDF 315 KB

[Courtney Abbott,Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner for Children and Adults, to present the report]


Additional documents:


The Chair invited Cllr Linda Leach, Cabinet Member for Adults, to introduce the agenda items 7 and 8. The Cabinet Member wanted to formally record her thanks to all social workers and social care staff on the World Social Work Day who worked so hard during the pandemic. The Cabinet Member praised their dedication and efforts to support families.


The Chair invited Courtney Abbott, Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner for Children and Adults, and Jenny Rogers, Principal Social Worker Adult Services, to present their presentation and report to the panel for pre-decision scrutiny.


The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner gave an overview of the background to the findings of the Social Work Health Check survey annual report 2020. The health check survey is done annually as part of Wolverhampton Council’s ongoing self-assessment. The survey is completed online.


The findings from the heath check will  inform Workforce Development Planning and also support the continuous improvement of Adult Social Work in Wolverhampton. The survey allows social workers to have their say on different aspects of what it is like to work for Wolverhampton Council. The presentation would focus on findings from three key areas – workload manageability, staff wellbeing, an equality and diversity and panel would be invited to comment on these areas.


The panel were advised that the survey took place between 2 November and the 14 December 2020, which coincided with the start of the second national lockdown which may have affected the response rate. The survey was open to all registered social workers and social work students working in a social work capacity with an adult services include agency workers as well. In total 65 responses were received, which is a 52% response rate. The response rate was slightly lower compared to the previous year when the rate was 65%.


The panel were advised that deadline for submitting responses was extended and employees were encouraged to take the opportunity to complete the survey form if they wished.


The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner advised the panel that in terms of workload manageability it was reported that overall case workloads decreased slightly since last year and according to local information the average casework is 20. The number of session workers who said their workload is unmanageable has slightly increased by 3% when compared to the previous year survey findings  The increase was considered to be due to the impact of Covid 19 and the challenges that this has posed to the workforce.


The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner advised the panel that there had been a considerable increase in the number of social workers who reported having regular supervision sessions. The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner commented that a concern highlighted about the quality of supervision related to the career development.

The issue will be addressed through the introduction of professional conversations and the new supervision policy, which was introduced in February 2021.The updated policy details the issues managers need to consider within supervision sessions, such as workload manageability.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Adult Social Care Workforce Health Check 2020 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

[Courtney Abbott,Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner for Children and Adults, to present report]


Additional documents:


Courtney Abbott, Quality, and Improvement Advanced Practitioner presented the findings from the survey of adult social care workforce.  The panel were advised that the survey is done annually looking at different areas of practice, how improvements can be made and also what is being done well in regard to social work practice in Wolverhampton.


The survey was extended this year to include the wider workforce of non-Social Work qualified workers as part of efforts to support the continuous improvement of Adult Social Care in Wolverhampton.


The panel were advised that they would be asked to comment and ask questions on three specific areas from the survey findings – workload management, staff wellbeing and equality and diversity. The survey was undertaken between 2 November and 14 December 2020 and all grade five and grade six non-Social Work qualified staff, working directly with people with care and support needs, were invited to take part.


The Advanced Practitioner advised the panel that there was a 33% response rate to the survey, which was slightly lower than last year. In total 100 responses were received. The Advanced Practitioner gave a brief summary of the findings from each of the three areas to the panel and added that information has given a much more rounded picture of adult services as a whole.


A decision was made last year to continue doing a separate survey in recognition of the different roles, but many of the actions and findings are similar to the previous report.


The panel thanked the presenter for the report.


The panel queried the details about workforce retention figures for the service and if there was a view of what good in this situation would look like. The panel also queried if there was a target set to measure progress of the service that would provide a ‘barometer’ about what was working well.  The panel suggested a target would be helpful in understanding this issue better and assessing progress over time.


The Advanced Practitioner accepted of the value in having a better understanding of what a good service looks like and discussed of useful benchmarks for the service that would show this.  The Advanced Practitioner gave the example when thinking about supervision and wishing to see 100 % of people getting regular good quality supervision. This would be a challenge to achieve as the nature of social work practice may mean the planned supervision sessions may have to be cancelled or rearranged to meet the needs of the service or in response to a crisis.  A figure of 90% would be perhaps a more realistic target. The Advanced Practitioner agreed to discuss this further with neighbouring authorities to see if there was any consensus about the issue and how it could be quantified.


The Principal Social Worker added that there are regular meetings with other principal social workers in the region, which provide opportunities to share good practice across the region and also to create resources, such as health checks. The benefits of comparing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.