Full Cabinet – 8 November 2011

PRESENT:  Councillor Mrs Redfern in the chair. 

Councillors Briggs (vice chairman), Poole, C Sherwood, N Sherwood and Waltham. 

Councillors Barker, Bunyan, Clark, Collinson, England, L Foster, T Foster, Glover, Gosling, Kirk, Marper, O’Sullivan, Ogg, Rowson, Swift, P Vickers, Wells, Whiteley and Wilson also attended the meeting. 

Simon Driver, Will Bell, Mike Briggs, Frances Cunning, Keith Ford, Denise Hyde, Lisa Kershaw, Neil Laminman, Matt Nundy, Julie Poole, Chris Skinner, John Spicer, Susan Twemlow, Mike Wedgewood, Peter Williams and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting. 

Also in attendance were Kal Alcock-Murtagh, Leah Boote, Lawrence Rayner and Vanessa Justice who were attending as part of National Takeover Week. 

The meeting was held at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe. 

943  DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests. 

944  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 27 September 2011, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman. 

945  (15)  OUTSTANDING ACTION FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report which contained a schedule of outstanding issues on which cabinet had requested reports to future meetings. 

Resolved – That the report be noted. 

946  (16)  REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT, 2000 (RIPA) – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report informing cabinet of the latest developments relating to RIPA and amendments made to the RIPA policy. 

RIPA creates a regulatory framework to govern the way public authorities handle and conduct covert investigations.  This includes covert surveillance directed at a person(s), the use of a covert human intelligence source (CHIS), which involves the establishing of a relationship for the covert purpose of obtaining information and access to communications data such as telephone subscriber details and itemised phone logs.  RIPA also provides for a system of authorisation so as to secure the lawfulness of surveillance activities and ensure that they are consistent with obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998.  

The statutory codes of practice issued pursuant to RIPA provide that councillors must set the RIPA police once a year and that a senior responsible officer is appointed to oversee the integrity of the RIPA process.  In addition, the council is inspected by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners on its use of RIPA and an inspection report is produced and recommendations made. 

The most recent inspection was conducted by HH Norman Jones QC on 20 January 2011.  His report described this council as “one of the better performing local authorities.”  The report also stated that officers impressed with their knowledge of RIPA, that authorisations were of a high standard and that the council had taken its RIPA responsibilities very seriously and had greatly improved its RIPA performance.  The inspection report described the council’s RIPA policy as “a sound and succinct document”.  It did suggest some amendments.  These amendments had been made and the amended policy was attached as an appendix to the report. 

Resolved – (a) That the amendments to the RIPA policy be noted and endorsed; (b) that it be noted that the Director of Corporate and Community Service had been designated as the “senior responsible officer”, and (c) that the result of the inspection which had taken place on 20 January 2011 be noted. 

947  (17)  QUALITY ASSURING, RAISING STANDARDS AND SAFEGUARDING VULNERABLE ADULTS – A report was submitted by the Director of Adult Social Services which gave cabinet an overview of how Adult Social Services ensured that individuals are safeguarded from abuse whilst raising the standards of quality and performance across all providers. Cabinet endorsement for the publication of performance reports on the council website was also sought. 

Adult Social Services supports over 8,000 vulnerable people within North Lincolnshire and provides support to over 1,200 of the carers who play a vital role in their lives.  95 per cent of services are delivered by external organisations and there are currently over 200 providers in this area and with the development of personalisation this number is growing.  These services range from support with household management, care in the home, help to recover from a stay in hospital, specialist services for people with complex care needs and support through residential long term care.  There are over 3,000 people (over 600 of which are employed by the council) working in the field of Adult Social Care in North Lincolnshire and the Director of Adult Social Services is responsible for their training and development. 

People who receive services traditionally receive home support, day care and care home services but many are now choosing to take control of their care through personal budgets and to purchase a much wider range of solutions to meet their needs.  Safeguarding vulnerable adults from abuse begins with assessment and support planning for every individual.  The Director of Adult Social Services had a duty to make sure all those involved with vulnerable people work to protect them from abuse.  The local authority, through a Safeguarding Adults Board, leads a multi agency partnership with the police, fire, health and/or other organisations.  The purpose of this board is to ensure that abuse is investigated appropriately, lessons are learned and steps are taken to reduce the risk of abuse across North Lincolnshire. 

Adult Social Services contracts with care providers to make sure that everyone involved in assessment and delivery of services has a full understanding of the outcomes to be achieved and the standard of service required.  These agreements are formed through a full dialogue with the users of the services to make sure the end product reflects their hopes and aspirations and also includes a rigorous assessment of the company’s ability to deliver to high standards and return an investment.  The quality of service delivered is assessed through the life of a contract using a number of sources of information details of which were contained in paragraph 2.11 of the report.  The performance of each contract is monitored at least annually (unless the quality data suggests a shorter time is needed).  The planning of the performance assessment uses the quality data to identify any apparent weaknesses and the providers’ systems, processes, competencies and delivery are checked against the specification using a combination of officer visits and discussions with staff and service users.  The providers are also monitored for systems that hopefully the service user will not be aware of, for example severe weather business continuity, IT systems failure, insurance liability etc. 

Following the performance assessment a report is prepared and a contract review held during which any improvement plans are agreed with timescales and monitoring arrangements.  The contract review also reviews a final report for publication.  It is intended to publish reports as soon as they are completed. 

The report contained further information in relation to this matter and also indicated that the providers had agreed to the publication of the report through their trade forums and welcomed the opportunity to highlight the good work they undertake.  Individual companies would be able to choose to withhold the publication of their report but their request would be publicly noted on the website. 

Resolved – (a) That cabinet endorses the publication of performance reports, and (b) that, where the performance assessment does not give the council confidence in the ability of a provider to deliver a safe service and triggers an incremental series of sanctions, providers must respond within 14 days indicating the improvements they will make in relation to the sanctions. 

948  (18)  PERSONAL SOCIAL SERVICES SURVEY – The Director of Adult Social Services submitted a report informing cabinet of the excellent results from the Personal Social Services Survey undertaken in 2011 and demonstrating the links between quality of life, good practice and high reported performance.  The report also sought to seek cabinet endorsement to sustain developments to enhance vulnerable people’s quality of life and continue the council’s exceptionally high national performance rating. 

The Personal Social Services (PSS) Survey is undertaken annually as directed by the Department of Health (DOH).  The survey is utilised by the DOH to make comparisons of the services delivered across the country. 

The results of the survey are used to calculate a key Adult Social Services Performance Indicator (NI127 Experience of Social Care).  The national results, published on 30 September 2011 showed that North Lincolnshire Council achieved a result of 19.6, the second highest score of the 157 Social Services Departments across England.  The survey had historically targeted particular groups of service users and this year that sample group was widened to the service users across a wide range of community and care home services.  In North Lincolnshire 703 people were surveyed.  The council cannot remove any of the set questions but does have the opportunity to add additional questions to the survey and more were added to assist with local future service planning.  The data collection process included screening for people who were at risk or had outstanding requirements in which case the council was alerted and took relevant action.  The council publishes a summary report on the council’s website. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC, the Regulator of Health and Social Care) uses the results as a major element of their assessment of how Adult Social Services in North Lincolnshire are performing and in addition, the results are incorporated into the council’s performance management and create a significant positive influence on the overall standing of the council.  The National Indicator (NI127) combines many elements of the survey results and the key elements that had contributed were shown in paragraph 2.10 of the report.  The results show that good social contact, control over daily life, satisfaction with services and help from family and friends whilst feeling safe creates a good quality of life. 

The report then referred to the Adult Social Services commitment to drive up standards, which were commented on in paragraph 2.11 and in addition referred to the five year strategy called “Your Life – Your Choice”. This strategy placed vulnerable people at its centre and committed Adult Social Services to provide good outcomes in seven key aspects of life as detailed in paragraph 2.12 of the report. The strategy had created the focus on vulnerable people that had steered Adult Social Services to the excellent performance it now delivered. 

Resolved – (a) That all staff involved be thanked for their excellent work in relation to this matter, and (b) that cabinet continues to endorse the approaches that Adult Social Services were taking to improve the quality of life for vulnerable adults.

949  (19)  PROPOSALS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A YOUNG MAYOR – The Director of Children and Young People’s Service and the Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a joint report proposing the principle of establishing an elected Young Mayor in North Lincolnshire and seeking agreement for a Young Mayor to be elected alongside a UK Youth Parliament member and in line with the inauguration of the North Lincolnshire Council Mayor in May 2012. 

Nationally there were eleven Young Mayor’s representing young people in their local area and the scheme had been pioneered in Middlesborough in 2002 with the most established Young Mayor programme running in Lewisham for eight years.  A Young Mayor is a young person aged between 11 and 18-years-old who is appointed by local young people to represent them locally.  Details about the role of a Young Mayor were contained in paragraph 2.2 of the report.

North Lincolnshire currently had a UK Youth Parliament member and this was someone who had been appointed by local young people to represent their views at a regional and national level.   Both the Young Mayor and the UK Youth Parliament member would be affiliated to the Youth Council and were mutually supportive ensuring that local young voice is represented locally, regionally and nationally.

As with the UK Youth Parliament member, as part of the Young Mayor programme, there would be an underpinning plan to co-ordinate the election process.  This would involve cross council working to steer the programme, designing candidate packs and promotional materials, raising awareness through schools and other established routes, launching candidate packs, delivering candidate training, organising and preparing young people for a manifesto event, organising ballot boxes for young people to vote and co-ordinating the election event and inauguration.  Candidates for the UK Youth Parliament member and the Young Mayor would be supported through a comprehensive training programme including the nationally funded Parliamentary Outreach.  Other training would also be available. 

Members commented on the contents of the report and Kal Alcock-Murtagh a young person attending the meeting as part of takeover day also commented on the proposals which he fully supported. 

Resolved – (a) That cabinet agrees to the principle of establishing a Young Mayor in North Lincolnshire alongside a UK Youth Parliament member, to be elected a the same time as the inauguration of the North Lincolnshire Mayor in May 2012, and (b) that cabinet agrees that the further details required to establish a Young Mayor be developed in collaboration with the Youth Council. 

950  (20)  NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE TOBACCO CONTROL STRATEGY 2012/2105 – The Director of Neighbourhood and Environmental Services and the Director of Public Health submitted a joint report seeking approval to an updated Tobacco Control Strategy 2012/2015 for North Lincolnshire.  The Strategy had been revised and updated in line with the latest central government policy and advice, relevant guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the recommendations of the Department of Health National Support Team. 

The updated strategy was attached as an appendix to the report and it took account of the national planning process for the next three years to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in North Lincolnshire through a co-ordinated approach including action to support smokers who quit, reduce the uptake of smoking by children and young people, reduce the availability of illicit tobacco and protect people from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.  The document also incorporated key priorities and actions that had arisen directly from the National Tobacco Control Strategy: “Healthy People, Healthy Lives” and NICE guidance since 2009. 

Resolved – That the Strategy and Action Plan attached as an appendix to the report be approved and adopted. 

951  (21)  PLACES SCRUTINY PANEL REPORT – THE DECLARATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE COUNT FOLLOWING THE DISTRICT ELECTION AND NATIONAL REFERENDUM ON THURSDAY 5 MAY 2011 – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report enclosing a report of the Places Scrutiny Panel. Under the revised overview and scrutiny procedure rules agreed at the annual meeting of the council on 25 May 2011, scrutiny reports had to be considered by cabinet.  The Places Scrutiny Panel had recently completed the review into the declaration and administration of the count and had made 19 detailed recommendations as contained in the report. 

The chairman of the Places Scrutiny Panel presented the report from the Panel entitled “The Declaration and Administration of the Count following the District Election and National Referendum on Thursday 5 May 2011”. He outlined the contents of the report which was aimed at learning from the issues raised about the count which would enable improvements to be made to future election counts. 

Resolved – (a) That the report be received, and (b) that the Chief Executive/Returning Officer consider the contents of the report and prepare an action plan in response to the recommendations for submission to a future meeting of cabinet. 

952  (22)  CORPORATE SCRUTINY PANEL REPORT – REVIEW OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – The Director of Corporate and Community Services submitted a report enclosing a report of the Corporate Scrutiny Panel. Under the revised overview and scrutiny procedure rules agreed at the annual meeting of the council on 25 May 2011, scrutiny reports had to be considered by cabinet.  The Corporate Scrutiny Panel had recently completed its review of social media in North Lincolnshire and had made five detailed recommendations. 

The chairman of the Corporate Scrutiny Panel, presented the report from the panel entitled “Review of Social Media in North Lincolnshire”.  He outlined the contents of the report which was aimed at improving the use of social media by the council in engaging with the community at large in a more resourceful and efficient way. 

Resolved – (a) That the report be received, and (b) that the Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services and the Director of Corporate and Community Services prepare an action plan in response to the recommendations of the report for submission to a future meeting of cabinet.