Agenda and minutes

People Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 18th November, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Lewes. View directions

Contact: Rachel Sweeney Senior Policy and Scrutiny Adviser  07561267461


No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 16th September 2021 pdf icon PDF 237 KB

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17.1     The Committee RESOLVED to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 16 September 2021 as a correct record and agree the recommendations made at the meeting.



Apologies for absence

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18.1     Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Wendy Maples, Trevor Cristin (Diocese of Chichester Representative) and Simon Parr (Roman Catholic Diocese Representative).



Disclosures of interests

Disclosures by all members present of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.


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19.1     There were no disclosures of interests.



Urgent items

Notification of items which the Chair considers to be urgent and proposes to take at the appropriate part of the agenda. Any members who wish to raise urgent items are asked, wherever possible, to notify the Chair before the start of the meeting. In so doing, they must state the special circumstances which they consider justify the matter being considered urgent.


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20.1     There were no urgent items.



Activemob update pdf icon PDF 457 KB

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21.1     The report was introduced by the Assistant Director for Planning, Performance and Engagement Division. The Assistant Director explained that the report outlined the findings of research undertaken in response to a recommendation of a previous People Scrutiny Committee review of Adult Social Care (ASC) Information and Signposting, which had recommended the Department undertake additional engagement with an independent organisation to gain better insight into how well-informed people in East Sussex felt about social care support and funding arrangements. Activmob Community Interest Company (CIC) were asked to undertake the engagement exercise and the original objectives of the research were adapted in the COVID-19 pandemic so that a first phase looked at ASC clients’ and staff experience of the first lockdown in 2020; how ASC had communicated with clients; and whether there was any learning to improve communication in anticipated future lockdowns. The second phase focussed on residents’ and partner Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations’ understanding of ASC. The key findings from the research were outlined in section 2 of the report. Actions the Department had taken following the research findings and recommendations were outlined in section 3 of the report.


21.2     The Committee welcomed the update from the Department and discussed the report. This covered:


·         Timing and content of communication on ASC services – the Committee welcomed steps being taken to improve communication and suggested the Department consider whether information on ASC services was always provided at the most optimal time. For example, the Committee suggested the Department could review whether it was optimal to provide lots of information about ASC services to people when they were in hospital and potentially coming to terms with a significant change to their health or lifestyle. The Committee also suggested information on ASC services could, in some circumstances, more helpfully be provided to people before they were admitted to hospital if they were expected to require support from ASC services afterwards. The Committee also emphasised the importance of the information provided being as simple as possible. The Assistant Director agreed that timing of provision of information was an important consideration and committed to incorporate the Committee’s feedback into the Department’s future work on ASC communications. Leaflets were provided in hospital in response to feedback that people wanted to know about the options available to them at the time they needed to start considering their future care needs and once received, they could be read and digested at a suitable future time. The Director of Adult Social Care also noted that one of the benefits of the Discharge to Assess model was that it assisted people to process information and make decisions about their future care arrangements outside of hospital.


·         Health inequalities – the Committee noted that the previous People Scrutiny Committee had looked at the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community; and sought assurance that the work taking place to improve communication and engagement was building on improved understanding and awareness  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Reconciling Policy, Performance and Resources (RPPR) pdf icon PDF 394 KB

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22.1     The Chair introduced the item, setting out that the report was the next stage of the Committee’s engagement in the annual RPPR process and noting that the Committee was asked to consider if any further work or information was required to aid the Committee’s December RPPR Board. The Director of Adult Social Care and Chief Finance Officer then introduced the report which set out the Council’s latest policy and financial position in planning for the 2022/23 financial year.


22.2     Further guidance on the national ASC reforms announced in September (introducing a lifetime cap on personal care costs and more generous means-test for local authority financial support) had been published. The Director of Adult Social Care gave a verbal update to the Committee on the further detail provided, which covered:


·         Social care allowances - from April 2022, the Minimum Income Guarantee for those receiving care in their own homes and the Personal Expenses Allowance for care home residents would be un-frozen and rise in line with inflation. Effectively, this would mean that people would need to contribute slightly less to the cost of their care.


·         Daily Living Costs – the lifetime cap on personal care costs would not cover Daily Living Costs for people in care homes. For simplicity, Daily Living Costs would be set at a national, notional £200 per week. The ASC Department had some concerns this rate did not truly reflect living costs (a national proposal in 2015 had suggested this figure should be £230 per week) and could, as a result, increase the proportion of care home fees local authorities would need to resource.


·         Cap implementation –

o   from October 2023, anyone assessed by a local authority as having eligible care needs would begin to progress towards the £86,000 lifetime care cap. For each person with eligible needs, the local authority must provide either a personal budget, where the local authority would meet the person’s needs, or an independent personal budget (IPB), where the individual would arrange their own care. The personal budget would set out the cost to the local authority of the care they had arranged, whereas the IPB would set out what it would have cost the local authority to meet the person’s needs. In order to do this, every local authority would need to determine affordable care rates for their area. This also meant that, in practice, people being assessed for care in an area with high care rates would reach the care cap much faster than areas with lower rates.


o   Local authorities would be required to set up care accounts to track individuals’ progress towards the care cap, with guidance placing the legal responsibility on local authorities to tell people when they had reached the cap. This made it vital for ESCC to ensure that there was a robust system in place for tracking personal care costs and informing people when they reached the cap.


22.3     The Director and Chief Finance Officer concluded that, on initial assessment, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 395 KB

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23.1     The Chair introduced the Committee’s Work Programme which had been fully refreshed following a recent work planning awayday where new priority areas of work for the Committee had been collectively identified. The Chair confirmed that since the work programme had been circulated, meeting dates had been set for the next meeting of the Loneliness and Resilience Reference Group, for a presentation to the Committee on ESCC’s work on Domestic Abuse and Violence and Against Women and Girls, and for the People Scrutiny RPPR Board. As a number of meetings and range of scrutiny work was planned in December, the Chair proposed that the next meeting of the Health and Social Care Integration Programme (HASCIP) Reference Group take place in the new year, rather than December.  


23.2     The Committee RESOLVED to:


·         agree the Committee’s refreshed work programme;

·         hold the next meeting of the HASCIP reference group in early 2022;

·         progress scrutiny reviews on School Attendance and Adult Social Care Workforce Challenges to the scoping stage;

·         appoint Cllrs Ungar, Webb and Geary to the Scoping Board of the Review of Adult Social Care Workforce challenges; and

·         appoint Nicola Boulter, Parent Governor Representative and Cllr Sam Adeniji to the Scoping Board of the Review of School Attendance. (Post-Committee note: Cllrs Howell, di Cara and Field were also appointed to the Scoping Board of the Review of School Attendance).


East Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership (ESSCP) Annual Report pdf icon PDF 134 KB

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24.1     Reg Hooke (Independent Chair of the East Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership) introduced the report, which was the first report of a full year of the new safeguarding partnership arrangements and the Chair’s eighth and final report to the Committee before standing down. In introducing the report, the Independent Chair highlighted:


·         The report had been formatted using a new template which was being adopted nationally and focussed on the impact of partnership activity across its four priority areas (education safeguarding, child exploitation, embedding a learning culture and safeguarding under 5s); use of evidence; assurance undertaken by the partnership; and learning.


·         COVID impact – the COVID pandemic had created challenges for safeguarding children; through lockdowns and school closures reducing child visibility, a shortage of health visitors, and safeguarding visits having to be made remotely. The ESSCP was now seeing these challenges factor into cases being referred for case review.


·         Particularly positive and innovative work the ESSCP had undertaken in the past year, included:

o   establishing a pathway for information sharing between A&E and secondary schools when children attended A&E due to self-harm, so that schools were informed and could provide additional support;

o   establishing a task and finish group on Elective Home Education to ensure multi-agency processes were working as effectively as possible to identify children most at risk and potential intervention methods; and

o   undertaking work, under the partnership’s education safeguarding priority, on peer-on-peer sexual abuse.


·         The ESSCP had conducted a review of its partnership arrangements which had been largely positive in its findings, but identified some areas for development. These were to continue to develop the partnership’s relationship with adult services; to continue to expand opportunities for the partnership to hear the voice of children in all its work; and to expand representation on the partnership Board to include all relevant partners.


·         The partnership had particular concerns about the risks faced by very young children; children in families with domestic violence; and vulnerable children being drawn into criminal and sexual exploitation. These would continue to be areas of focus for the ESSCP’s future work.


24.2     The Committee welcomed the report and the new format. In discussion, the following points were raised:


·         Elective Home Education (EHE) – the Committee welcomed the partnership’s work on safeguarding of EHE children, as it had been identified as an area of concern for the Committee; and would welcome further information on this work and its impacts in the next update to the Committee.


·         Child Mental Health – the Committee noted the concerning number of children attending A&E due to self-harm and the number of referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS); and asked whether the new integrated working arrangements to share incidences of self-harm between A&E and schools was expected to reduce these figures in future years. The Independent Chair did not expect that these numbers would reduce in the very short term, as the considerable challenges facing children and young people, from COVID and other societal pressures,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.