The Committee considered a joint report of the Chief Executive and Director of Adults and Communities, the purpose of which was to present an update on the Adults and Communities Department’s performance during the first quarter of 2023/24, namely April to June 2023. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 8’ is filed with these minutes.
Arising from discussion the following points were made:
i. A Member queried when looking at figures and statistics, with reports referencing pre-covid levels that were not currently being reached, if the current levels were the new norm and that targets should be amended. Officers commented that looking at data year on year during and since the pandemic had been challenging. Officers would continue to look at target levels but highlighted that it was still appropriate to reference pre-covid levels in some instances. For example, in adult education, there were just under a quarter of a million fewer people in adult education post pandemic which affected performance metrics and the achievement of criteria that funders required. It was therefore important to maintain such targets in order to gain that funding. However, there was the ability to think about targets set locally.
ii. A Member drew attention to the number of people waiting for social care assessment, and whilst the number had reduced by over 500 over six months, there were still 1,059 waiting. Also, as the Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund was only available for one year, the Member questioned what the plans would be going forward to get to a more acceptable level of people waiting. The Director commented that the reduction of 30% in people waiting in six months was very encouraging, and that there was an expected continued reduction. He added that there would never be a point where no one was waiting as for a County the size of Leicestershire there would always be people being referred to the service.
iii. Members noted that the Care Act did not give a target for when an assessment should be completed. The local target for an assessment was within 28 days, which was appropriate for the majority of standard assessments. However, this was not necessarily possible for those with complex needs or, for example, when reports from partners such as the police or health had to be obtained. The Director reassured the Committee that he considered the current position to be encouraging. He added that with regards to the Market Sustainability Fund, the first tranche was recurrent, the second tranche had not been publicised as being recurrent, but it was expected that the reduction in those awaiting assessment would reach an acceptable figure before this ceased. The Member commented that he was reassured that the Department was meeting targets but requested more detailed information in future reports to gain a better understanding on the types of cases which did and did not meet the target.
iv. A Member asked if the library service was able to determine why there might be a reduction in junior lends in libraries and if there was concern that children were sourcing information online. It was noted that, internally, there were performance statistics regularly looked at against a libraries roadmap (a programme of activities which helped identify priority audiences, one of them being children). Officers reported that the 4,000 figure on its own did not identify if it was a significant drop in lending amongst children, and that further reports would be worked on to improve narrative behind the figures.
That the report on the Adults and Communities Department’s performance during the first quarter of 2023/24, namely April to June 2023, be noted.