The Committee considered a joint report of the Director of Adults and Communities and the Director of Corporate Resources which provided information on the proposed 2020/21 to 2023/24 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) as it related to the Adults and Communities Department. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item ‘8’ is filed with these minutes.
The Committee also noted a question that had been received from Dr Eynon relating to the acquisition of the Thomas Cook archive by the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Records Office, and the response provided by the Director. A copy of the question and response is filed with these minutes.
The Chairman welcomed Mr R Blunt CC, Cabinet Lead Member, to the meeting for this item.
Arising from the comments and questions raised, the Committee was advised as follows:
The Service Transformation details were noted.
Proposed Revenue Budget
i) The revenue budget took demographic growth and known budget pressures into account. Cost and price pressures for 2020/22 onwards had not been factored in but would be provided for centrally.
ii) Whilst the Adult Social Care Precept monies helped with financial pressures in the short-term, it was felt this was not a sustainable solution for the long-term.
iii) Some disappointment was expressed that more growth was not provided to support communities. However, the details reported related only to the work the Adults and Communities Department held responsibility for. The Director advised that work was also being carried out in other departments such as Public Health and the Chief Executive’s Department and suggested a joint report could be presented to the Commission at a future meeting to provide an overview of the work the Council had been undertaking with respect of Communities, as a whole.
Adult Social Care – Savings
AC4 – Place to Live – The forecasted
social care saving of £50,000 per annum associated with the “Place to Live”
Brookfield development project was included in the Adults and Communities MTFS.
The estimated net rental income of £150,000 pa which the project was also
expected to deliver would form part of the savings for the Corporate Resources
v) AC5 Implementation of revised Target Operating Model (TOM) – The Programme was currently in the early stages of implementation and was on track to achieve the savings predicted. It was not yet possible to assess whether the Programme would over-achieve against the savings target. The Committee praised the work of all involved, noted the significant positive impact the TOM was expected to make and asked to receive regular updates on progress.
Communities and Wellbeing – Savings
vi) Restructure of Communities and Wellbeing Service – Approximately £410,000 savings had been identified, which was nearly 10% of the total budget for the service. It was confirmed that the level of restructure required would be significant and a reduction in the number of posts was to be expected. A Human Resources action plan was in the process of being finalised which would confirm the detail.
vii) Collections Hub – Timescales for the development of the Collections Hub (Phase 2) on the County Hall campus were dependent on the success and completion of (Phase 1) the relocation of the Record Office.
Savings Under Development
viii) Social Care Investment Plan (SCIP) – Although the overall strategic aim was to reduce the number of people placed in residential care and increase the number supported in community settings, it was acknowledged there would always be a need for residential and nursing care provision, particularly where night time needs were concerned. In recognition of this, the Department had identified several specialised services as part of its upcoming Home Care Services procurement, which included a service that specifically focussed on providing night time support.
ix) Digital Technology – With consideration to the review of the use of assistive technology and the Department’s digital offer to local residents, a range of initiatives were being tried and tested. In response to comments raised, the Director provided assurance that not all equipment being considered relied on an individual having to operate it. For example, monitoring equipment was available which could work in the background to provide updates on a service user’s condition. It would be key to strike a balance to ensure that personalisation of service was not replaced with technology as this would increase levels of social isolation.
Health and Social Care Integration
x) Better Care Fund (BCF) – The current BCF was expected to rollover for another 12 months. Work would be taking place at a national level over the next few months to review outcomes and governance arrangements. It was anticipated that there would be a further three-year programme, but this had not yet been confirmed.
Other External Influences and Other Funding Sources
xi) In terms of Government funding for the Department in the long-term, it was confirmed that, whilst funding up to March 2021 was certain, there was a lack of clarity regarding funding arrangements for future years.
xii) Care Act 2014 - Changes in Social Care Legislation – Changes that were originally set take effect in April 2016 had been postponed to 2020. Concern was raised around the proposals to cap the costs of care and accommodation and the impact this could have on the Department and the local care market. The Director confirmed that the Department had previously (in 2015) undertaken an analysis of the care market and the level of provision required to manage the changes. The analysis at that time concluded that the changes would significantly increase costs for local authorities and reduce costs for self-funders. The changes would also be resource intensive as they would result in triple the number of assessments currently carried out. If the changes were implemented, a further analysis would need to be undertaken to reflect current market prices.
xiii) It was noted that the increases to the Living Wage would have a significant impact on the Adults and Communities Department. It would be important to ensure that the budget for central items contained sufficient contingency to be able to respond to the increase. This point would be drawn to the attention of the Scrutiny Commission.
xiv) The Trees Refurbishment was currently in the development phase. Residents had been moved into alternative accommodation to allow for the building works to commence. It was anticipated that the refurbishment would be complete towards the end of the summer 2020.
a) That the Scrutiny Commission be recommended to consider a report on how the Council supports communities at a future meeting;
b) That the report and information now provided be noted;
c) That the Committee’s comments be submitted to the Scrutiny Commission for consideration at its meeting on 27 January 2020.