Venue: Hybrid - Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron / remotely via video conference
No apologies were received.
Disclosures of personal interest (including whipping declarations) Members are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000, the Council's Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct. In addition, Members must declare any prohibited party whip which the Member has been given in relation to the meeting as per the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.
There were no disclosures of Personal and Prejudicial Interests (including whipping declarations) from Committee Members.
Councillor Matthew Vaux (Cabinet Member for Partnerships, Housing, Legal and Governance and Public Protection) explained that the purpose of the report was to provide an update on the Trace and Protect service for Ceredigion. In July 2022, a new but temporary service delivery model for the Trace and Protect Service was established, within the Hywel Dda Region. The new service was set up in response to the objectives outlined in “Together for a Safer Future: Wales’ Long-term Covid-19 Transition from Pandemic to Endemic” and the expectations from Welsh Government (WG) regarding the use of the significantly reduced contact tracing funding for 2022-23 i.e., 40% of 2021/22 budget. To account for the reduced budget and reduction in staff numbers (15-20% of the 2021/22 staff complement), Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion TTP services combined to achieve economies of scale and build resilience across both local authorities. The combined team works alongside the Carmarthenshire TTP service.
Carwen Evans explained that Ceredigion had a very effective track and trace team during and since the pandemic as reflected in the report.
Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by officers. The main points raised were as follows:
· Following the directive given by WG, the focus of the track and trace team was now on the most vulnerable in the community. Funding had been provided by WG for a further year to continue with this service.
· As community testing was ceased in 2022, concerns were raised that fewer people were prepared to test as home testing kits were expensive to purchase.
· In December, the Covid-19 case rate had increased slightly which was not surprising, however, figures had reduced again by January.
· Two Specialist Environmental Health Officers who were redeployed as a matter of priority during the pandemic to support the Covid team had returned partly to their role within the Public Protection Team.
Following questions by the Committee Members, it was agreed to note the content and accept the report for information.
Councillor Alun Williams (Cabinet Member for Through Age and Wellbeing) presented the Independent Reviewing Service Report Quarter 1 and 2 2022/2023. Quarterly reports were taken to the Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee as part of an ongoing examination of the topic to ensure that the Local Authority fulfils its duties as the Corporate Parent. The report includes national and local standards and targets used to measure outcomes for looked-after children (LAC) and care leavers at the time of their review meeting and includes WG Performance Indicators. Based on the information available and the views expressed during the review meeting, the IRO makes a professional judgement about the effectiveness of a child/young person’s care plan in meeting their needs and may recommend changes to the care plan. During the review meeting, the IRO considers whether the child/young person requires assistance to identify relevant other people to obtain legal advice/take proceedings on their behalf. This action was deemed necessary for 4 young people by the IRO (2 in Quarter 1 and 2 in Quarter 2 2022/23). In addition, the IRO has regard as to whether the child/young person’s human rights are being breached in any way and, if so, might make a referral to CAFCASS Cymru. This action was not required at any of the review meetings in the period.
These reports are considered within Multi Agency LAC Quality Assurance Meetings which meet quarterly; these meetings provide an opportunity to identify and act upon performance and other issues with this area of work. The reports are also circulated and reviewed by the Local Authority’s Corporate Parenting Group, which takes place quarterly. Councillor Alun Williams proceeded to present a Summary of the Key Points noted on page 2 of both reports.
Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Elizabeth Upcott and Councillor Alun Williams. The main points raised were as follows:
· The significant increase in the number of LAC since Covid-19 was a trend nationally. No specific explanation was available at present for this, but reporting increased once children were seen again by professionals.
· No issues were reported with the attendance of professionals nor with foster carers in LAC reviews. Meetings were usually out of timescales due to problems arranging a suitable date for all involved.
· In terms of the children’s health needs, the authority worked closely with Hywel Dda UHB. A LAC nurse attended monitoring and review meetings, therefore any issues such as dental appointments could be raised. In cases where children were not registered with a dentist within 20 days, the delay was usually due to the logistics of attending the practice.
· Many placements were out of county due to the complex needs of the children and the lack of placements within Ceredigion, which proved challenging in an emergency. A residential provision in 3 different locations across the county would be available hopefully by the Summer, which would ensure that children remain as close as possible to the community.
· Early intervention and prevention ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Learning Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee were invited to observe this agenda item.
Councillor Catrin M S. Davies (Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Customer Services) explained that the purpose of the report was to inform members of the main Ceredigion headline findings from the 2022 Sport Wales School Sport Survey. The Survey gives insight to local authorities regarding participation levels, behaviours and attitudes of young people in Wales. The opinion of young people was considered important when planning for the future.
Carwyn Young stated that the Survey undertaken for the fourth time was key to understanding the activity levels and the well-being of young people on a county and regional level. In terms of Ceredigion, 2,762 young people responded to the survey (1,288 Primary and 1,474 Secondary). Reference was given to the background included in the report, to the headline findings split into 4 main sections (Active Nation, Everyone, Lifelong and Enjoyment), to the conclusions and to the current situation.
Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Officers. The main points raised were as follows:
· Given the importance of sport, the balance between success and ensuring every child and young person was given an opportunity was vital.
· Members felt that involving inspirational figures would be beneficial to encourage young people to engage in sports. It was noted that individuals who represented Wales in sports were eligible for the Gold Card Scheme, which provided free use of leisure facilities. More cards had been distributed in the past year than in previous years and everyone involved with the Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2022 Commonwealth Games was part of the scheme. In addition, reintroducing the Awards Ceremony held annually before Covid-19 to recognise the achievements of individuals who had represented Wales was being looked into.
· It was acknowledged that due to the distance from national training facilities, Ceredigion’s young people were potentially at a disadvantage, so governing bodies had to consider how they were supporting individuals from rural areas. The local authority would be more than willing to collaborate with the governing bodies to ensure the provision to enable people to become active and train locally was available. This included the provision made possible by community trusts and community sports clubs. It was also emphasised that the operating and maintenance costs had to be considered when developing any new facilities.
Following questions by the Committee Members, it was agreed to receive the report for information.
The Chair welcomed and thanked Angela Lodwick for attending and for her readiness to speak to the Committee Members. The Learning Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee were invited to observe this agenda item.
Angela Lodwick provided members with a presentation, outlining the following:
· Hywel Dda UHB
· NHS SCAMHS (Role & Function, Referral Pathway & School in-Reach)
· Primary Mental Health Service (P-CAMHS)
· Emotional Well-being/ Schools
· NHS Wales S-CAMHS Service Framework & Specialist Services
· Referrals received & accepted (data on Hywel Dda UHB & Ceredigion)
· SCAMHS Workforce in Hywel Dda UHB & Ceredigion
· Impact & positive outcomes due to Covid-19
· Coproduction: Future Minds, KOOTH Digital Online Counselling Service including presenting issues & Arts Boost
· Safe Hwb CYP (Children and young people) in mental health distress & outcomes
· Interventions to promote mental wellbeing
Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Angela Lodwick. The main points raised were as follows:
· Concerns raised with GPs were not referring CYP and with waiting times; all GPs were aware of the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) referral pathway. Most referrals were done by schools, possibly as staff and school nurses were more familiar with the CYP. The target by WG was for all assessments to be carried out within 28 days of referral, but during Covid-19, P-CAMHS had a delay due to a significant increase in referrals.
· It was suggested that there needed to raise public awareness of ways to access services. The website was in the process of being updated.
· KOOTH employed trained counsellors, but it was not developed as a substitute for CAMHS services. There was a system in place to alert CAMHS if a CYP was deemed at high risk. In terms of KOOTH, most users were between 14-17 years old. A breakdown of the gender of users was not available during the meeting.
· It was acknowledged that CAMHS had developed significantly over the past decade along with conversations around mental health. The focus of P-CAMHS was on early intervention and School in Reach Services have been active in Ceredigion for 3 years which has raised teachers’ confidence in child and adolescent mental health.
· CAMHS provided services for young people up to 18 years old; there was a transition lead in place to aid with the transition to adult mental health services.
· Work was ongoing to obtain a more suitable premise for CAMHS in Aberystwyth as Tŷ Helyg was not considered fit for purpose.
· In instances where CAMHS did not accept a referral, the CYP was signposted/ given advice or referred to a different service.
· In terms of Welsh language provision which was deemed key, CAMHS were expected to adhere to the Welsh Language Act. Welsh-speaking staff from the service were drafted in to undertake assessments and treatment for CYP when required.
· Anxiety/Stress had increased significantly since the Covid-19 pandemic and currently, was the highest presenting issue in CYP. A pathway for staff to identify and provide intervention had been developed.
· Although there was an eating disorder team in Bridgend, concerns were raised as there was ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Councillor Alun Williams presented the report on the achievements of the Ceredigion Carers and Community Support Team and progress against their agreed targets and objectives during the year 2021-22. As part of the transformation towards the Through-Age and Wellbeing model, two teams (Carers Unit and Porth y Gymuned) merged to become the Carers and Community Support Team. An overview of the Carers Unit Business Objectives was provided.
Iwan Davies explained that the first area of the report focused on unpaid carers who cared for people in the community. Figures relating to what the Carers Unit had achieved in 2021-22 during Covid-19 were provided, which included £98528 from the Ceredigion Carers Fund being awarded directly to carers to improve their health and well-being and the delivery of 1600 Welsh afternoon teas ‘Break in a Box’. In addition, a Carer Card that provided free access to all Council-owned leisure facilities or carers had been developed.
The second part of the report focused on Community Connectors, who provided information to communities and promoted Dewis Cymru. Reference was given to a Community Connector’s involvement with Penparcau Community Forum ‘HUBGRUB’. A summary of the next steps was provided along with the Business Objectives for 2022-23. Recently, in-person events had been organised for carers and work was ongoing with the Family Information Service and Dewis Cymru. Developing sustainable breaks for carers would continue as a priority for the foreseeable future.
Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Iwan Davies. The main points raised were as follows:
· Questions were raised as to why Ceredigion had not joined the directory of Care and Support Enterprise based in Narberth, as both Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire local authorities had done so. Ceredigion had recently commissioned a scoping exercise to ensure they had the best fit for the communities of Ceredigion. Work would be done to develop micro and social enterprises in the future.
· Recruitment across the care sector in Wales continued to be an issue; suggestion for a report to be presented to the Committee in due course.
· The importance of identifying carers in the community was key. It was acknowledged that Councillors had a role to ensure that the residents of Ceredigion were aware of the support available.
· The Carers Unit Staff were thanked for the excellent work undertaken especially during a difficult period with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Members praised Susan Kidd, Carers Development Officer for producing a professional and readable report. Sara Humphreys, Team Manager and other officers from the Carers and Community Support Team were also praised for their valuable contribution to the report.
Following questions by Committee Members, it agreed to note the
Councillor Alun Williams explained that the report has been produced for the WG to outline the progress that has been delivered to meet the WG Carer priorities by the West Wales Care Partnership Regional Carers Development Group. The background and the current situation as noted in the report were provided.
Iwan Davies highlighted that the Young Carer ID card developed in Ceredigion had since been introduced in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. In addition, Ceredigion Carers Unit had worked with the Youth Service, Action for Children and Arad Goch to produce a film to promote young carers to self-identify, which would be shown in schools and youth clubs. Reference was given to the work undertaken to support small and medium-sized enterprises in raising awareness of Carers from both the employee and client perspectives. The report not only reflected what was happening in Ceredigion but regionally, and the influence Ceredigion had on a regional level.
Councillor Alun Williams explained that although Ceredigion had the lowest number of carers on the database compared to Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, it also had the lowest population. The number of self-identifying carers in Ceredigion had increased by 53%, from 1575 in 2019-20 to 2419 in 2021-22. Acknowledgement was given to the department for their hard work in achieving this.
Members agreed to note the West Wales Care Partnership Regional Carers Group Annual Report 2021-22.
It was agreed to confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 27 October 2022.
Matters arising: None.