Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  Email: 01225 394458


No. Item



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The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.


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The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.




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Councillor Paul May, Councillor Mark Roper, Chris Batten (Co-opted Member) and Gill Stobart (Co-opted Member) had sent apologies to the Panel.


Apologies were also received from Councillor Dine Romero (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture) and Dr Bryn Bird (B&NES Locality Clinical Chair, BSW CCG).



At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer or a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

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Councillor Gerry Curran declared an other interest as he is employed by Virgin Care.



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There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.


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There were none.


MINUTES: 13th July 2021 pdf icon PDF 248 KB

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Kevin Burnett asked if there was an update on the Escalation Protocol.


The Director of Children's Services & Education replied that sign off had been delayed slightly and was hopeful that it would be ready by the next meeting of the Panel.


Kevin Burnett asked to be updated on whether the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) had agreed to attend a future Panel meeting to explain the procedure regarding public accountability for how MATs (Multi Academy Trusts) are run.


The Director of Education & Safeguarding replied that following his request the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) had agreed to attend the November 9th Panel meeting.


Councillor Andy Wait reminded the Chairman of his proposal that a Corporate Parenting report should be received by a future meeting of Full Council.


The Chairman apologised and said that he would enquire as to whether this would be possible for the 18th November 2021 meeting.


The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.


Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member(s) will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update provided.


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Councillor Alison Born, Cabinet Member for Adults and Council House Building addressed the Panel. A copy of the update can be found as an online appendix to these minutes, a summary of the update is set out below.


The health and social care system remains under pressure across B&NES, as it is across the country, with increased demand for services and staff shortages. This is continuing to have a significant impact on our Reablement Service provided by Virgin Care and on mental health services provided by AWP and Oxford Health.


Social Care Plan

The Prime Minister has announced the Government’s reform package for social care, and increased funding for the NHS from 2022-23:

National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for employees and employers will increase by 1.25%.  This new “Health and Social Care Levy” will be “hypothecated in law” and will have to be spent on frontline services.  The increase in employer’s national insurance will cost B&NES £750k next year.

Changes will be introduced from October 2023 and will have an impact on the income that local authorities receive from social care clients.  Lost income is estimated by the Government at £5.4bn and local government will receive funding for these losses.  However, the methodology for distributing the funding will need to be determined.  The White Paper says that, “The Government will consult on its proposals for funding distribution and keep this distribution under review”.  Clearly there is a risk for local authorities that the funding is insufficient to offset the lost income. 

Additional funding raised from the tax increases will be used for the NHS (£25bn over 3 years in England) and to fund the costs of social care reform (£5.4bn over 3 years).  Although the Prime Minister said, “you can’t fix the NHS without fixing social care”, there will be very little additional funding for social care to either close the funding gap or to improve care standards.  Within the £5.4bn for social care, there will be £500m over 3 years to support the social care workforce.

Virgin Care Contract

B&NES, Swindon & Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSWCCG) Governing Body and B&NESCouncil, as joint commissioners, have requested a report setting out an options appraisal to help decide whether or not to extend the Virgin Care contract. 

This is a seven-year contract from 2017/18 to 2023/2024 with the option to extend the contract term by three years, taking its term to 2026/2027. The option to extend the contract in this way can only be taken once. Virgin Care will need to be notified of the decision to extend or not by no later than the end of March 2022.

Initial dialogue with Virgin Care has identified their commitment to securing the 3-year extension term and their intention (at this stage) not to renegotiate the financial terms of the funding from BSWCCG and B&NES Council for the 3-year term.

The next Virgin Care commissioning report is due to this panel in October and will concentrate on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

Cabinet Member Briefing (Cllr Born) Sept 2021 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

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The Panel will receive an update from the B&NES, Swindon & Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG) on current issues.

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The Chairman stated that in the absence of a representative from the CCG any questions regarding the update should be held over until the next Panel meeting on 15th October.


Complaints and Feedback Annual Report for Children’s Services 2020 - 21 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

This report informs the Panel about the number and type of complaints and representations, including compliments, received between April 2020 and March 2021 by Children’s Services and Education.  It demonstrates how they have been managed and how the Service has used the learning from the complaints and representations to inform service improvement.

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The Complaints and Data Protection Team Manager introduced the report to the Panel.


She informed them that the total number of complaints received across Children’s Services was higher than the previous year; however, the number is broadly in line with the numbers received in the past 5 years. She added that this is despite all services being under pressure throughout 2020 – 21 and particularly during the first lockdown. She said that it was anticipated this would have a significant impact on the number of complaints received but this did not materialise.


She explained that the most significant change was in the number of complainants who were dissatisfied with the initial response to their complaint and escalated their complaint to Stage 2. This resulted in 13 requests for a Stage 2 investigation compared to 5 in the previous year. Although 6 of these complaints did not progress to a full investigation either because the complainant withdrew the complaint (4 complaints) or because the Stage 1 review under the Corporate Procedure found further investigation was not required.


She said that an exercise has been carried out to compare the number of complaints received by Bath and North East Somerset with the 10 comparator authorities to establish whether the number of complaints is in line with these authorities. Unfortunately, insufficient data has been published by other authorities and the information provided the Ombudsman no longer gives sufficient detail to make a comparison.


She informed the Panel that the number of complaints in most service areas remains consistent except for the statutory SEN service. The complaints covered issues such as lack of special school places, the content of the EHC Plan and delivery of provision by the school. She said that the rise in SEND complaints had coincided with the national Covid 19 pandemic. During this time, the requests for new assessment had grown significantly, both locally and nationally. She explained that in this calendar year, there have been 77 more requests for assessment (260) than at this time in the previous year (183) and this has had a significant impact on the team's ability to process work and adhere to timescales.


She stated that additional support has now been provided to the service, capacity has improved, and demand is being managed. She added that while the increase in complaints is a concern, each complaint has been carefully responded to and no requests for a stage 2 complaint have been received.


She said that colleagues in Children’s Services and Education welcome complaints and will always strive to use all types of feedback to improve practice and service delivery.


She said that they plan to review the information available to the public to ensure it is accurate and accessible for children, young people, their parents and carers.


The Chairman referred to section 4.11 of the report and asked how a complaint is deemed ‘out of time’.


The Complaints and Data Protection Team Manager replied that they normally have to be received within 12 months  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


Adverse effects of the impact of COVID-19 on women pdf icon PDF 403 KB

This report is being published and circulated as a ‘For Information’ document at this stage. Officers associated with the report are not able to be present at the meeting, but comments and questions from the Panel can be made and will be passed on in due course.

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The Chairman introduced the report and asked the Panel to consider what should be the next steps in the process having received this information.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if the report will inform the way in which the Council provides services and on the way in which it acts as an employer.


Councillor Michelle O’Doherty recommended that report is picked up and looked at in more detail by the Members Women’s Working Group who can then report back to the Panel before any recommendations are made to Cabinet.


The Panel RESOLVED to approve the recommendation made by Councillor O’Doherty.





The Panel will receive an update on this item from the Directors of Adult Social Care & Children & Young People.

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The Director of Adult Social Care addressed the Panel, a summary of her briefing is set out below and will be attached as an online appendix to these minutes.


Health and Social Care pressures


The Health and Social Care system remain under significant pressure. South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) declared a critical incident on Tuesday 7th September due to the high volume of calls. The Royal United Hospital Trust Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH) continues to see increased demand in A&E. Both the Wiltshire and Swindon systems are in a similar position.


The number of Covid patients in RUH remains low but is increasing and this is putting even greater pressure on a system that is already challenged.


Mental Health Services have seen an increase in the referral rates, and this, combined by an inability to recruit into key positions such as, social workers and health staff, is leading to a system that is severely under strain. This is a picture that is being reported across the whole of BSW and indeed nationally.


The Council and Virgin Care continue to work to support RUH and Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) and where appropriate, diverting people to the community who do not require an admission and discharging people from hospital in a timely way.  Staff in hospitals and the community are continuing to work hard to meet increased demand.


Internal Care Homes and Extra Care Service Consultation


The consultation of Care Homes and Extra Care (CRE) staff pay has now closed. The agreement is that all staff who transferred from Sirona will go onto council pay and conditions. They will retain their enhancement, plus an additional increment for staff with 5 years plus service. The new salaries will be paid to staff in the September payroll.


Safeguarding Activity


During 20/21 the Council received 1,115 safeguarding concerns, relating to 838 adults considered to be at risk of abuse or neglect. Despite national concerns at the start of the year that the reporting of safeguarding issues would decrease due to the lack of access to care settings or visits by family or friends to people’s homes, the B&NES referral level only decreased by 27 in comparison with last year.


There has however been a significant increase in the number of referrals received from General Practitioners and other Primary Care staff. Of those who were supported through the safeguarding enquiry process, 67% said that their identified outcome had been fully met, 30% said they were partly met and 2% said their outcomes were not met. The outcomes that remained unmet mostly related to wanting the alleged person sacked or prosecuted, but the employer or police did not feel this was warranted following an investigation.


Councillor Andy Wait asked if the transfer of staff from Sirona had resulted in a financial hit to the Council.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that the process was carried out within the budget of Adult Social Care.


Councillor Liz  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

Adult Social Care Director Update Report Sept 2021 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 157 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.


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The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel. He asked for any proposals for the workplan.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if the Panel could hear about the work of the School Standards Board.