Agenda and minutes

People and Health Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 8th June, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: A link to the meeting can be found on the front page of the agenda.. View directions

Contact: Fiona King  01305 224186 - Email:


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interest

To disclose any pecuniary, other registerable or personal interest as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct. In making their disclosure councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.


If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.


No declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests were made at the meeting. 


In respect of Minute 3, Cllr Ireland advised that he was a Governor at Dorset Healthcare.


Urgent Items pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4)b) of the Local Government Act 1972.  The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.

Additional documents:


The following item of business were considered by the Chairman as urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The item was considered to be urgent in the interest of the public. 


Item: Rapid Response Vehicle - Purbeck/Swanage Car


The Chairman outlined what the committee could and could not do in relation to this agenda item. Her statement is attached as an annexure to these minutes.


The Programme Director for Urgent and Emergency Care and the County Commander, South West Ambulance Trust gave a presentation which is attached as an annexure to these minutes.


The Chairman read a statement that had been received from Cllr Debby Monkhouse from Swanage Town Council, which is also attached to these minutes for ease of reference.



Cllr William Trite, ward member for Swanage, outlined the level of concern within the community of Swanage. Swanage had the largest population in the district and the time to A&E was one of the longest in the county. The severe road congestion was highlighted especially in the summer months.  Swanage had the highest population of elderly and retired people in the county. Asked for confirmation that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would come back to committee before any decision was made.


The Chairman advised that she had agreed to put this item on late as she was taking a pragmatic approach.  It was still very early on in the consultation and wanted to get as much information out to elected members and members of the public as soon as possible. 


Cllr Gary Suttle, ward member for Swanage, highlighted that the retention of Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) to Swanage was hugely important. There was a campaign ongoing in Swanage. He was unsure what engagement would be carried out for the community. The ‘listening event’ referred to was not open to members of the public. Reference was made to the commitment made by the previous Dorset County Council (DCC) and noted that Dorset Council had taken on all the roles and commitments from the county council. He asked members of the committee to ensure there was a wider public meeting in order to let members of the public give their points of view.


The Chairman reminded the councillor that this committee was not the appropriate committee to look at this before any decisions were made.


The Programme Director advised that engagement plans were still being finalised as this was really early stages.  It was confirmed there were no proposals and no options worked up as yet.  The Chairman asked that the Plan be shared with the Council to ensure members were aware.


Cllr Cherry Brooks, ward member for South East Purbeck.  Understood the concerns from residents.  Asked if the call centre assesses whether to follow up with an ambulance or was that something for the paramedic. The County Commander advised that calls were prioritised in the call centre, there were categories that would trigger certain vehicles but decisions were also taken by paramedics.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Public Participation

To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.


Public speaking has been suspended for virtual committee meetings during the Covid-19 crisis and public participation will be dealt with through written submissions only.


Members of the public who live, work or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area, may submit up to two questions or a statement of up to a maximum of 450 words. All submissions must be sent electronically to  by the deadline set out below. When submitting a question please indicate who the question is for and include your name, address and contact details. Questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the



Questions will be read out by an officer of the council and a response given by the appropriate Portfolio Holder or officer at the meeting. All questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting.


The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or statement is 8.30am on Thursday 3 June 2021.


There were no submissions from town or parish councils or from members of the public.


The Chairman took the opportunity to update members on the Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) in that they were due to reopen on 21 June 2021.  Further information was available on the Dorset Healthcare website.


Following a request from members for a workshop on Continuing Healthcare and Home First, the Chairman advised this had been scheduled for 1 July 2021.


Questions from Members

To receive any questions from members in accordance with procedure rule 13. The deadline for the receipt of questions is Thursday 3 June 2021.


There were no written questions received from Councillors.


Fostering and Adoption Services Annual Reports pdf icon PDF 278 KB

To consider two reports from the Executive Director for People, Children.

Additional documents:


Members considered the Annual reports for the Fostering and Adoption services.


Both reports provided an overview of the areas of strength and areas for development and modernisation within the fostering and adoption services.


The Portfolio Holder for Education Skills and Early Help advised members these were 2 very distinct reports. Fostering within the Dorset Council area and Aspire Adoption offered a service Pan Dorset. He offered a huge thanks to all foster carers and adopters during the pandemic.


Areas of discussion/questions


Reference to enquiries and approvals and an underspend.  In respect of the underspend officers would continue to set the budget to the level of need.  The attrition rate was no worse than anywhere else.  A lot of people applied but were not fully aware of what was involved and the questions that were asked at an early stage. Generally, 1 in 10 people who enquired about foster caring go on to be foster carers.


Highlighted a national article about young people in their 20s applying to be foster carers. Anyone who was an adult could apply to be a foster carer. Most agencies had a policy for over 21 years old only. Average age of Dorset Council foster carers was 57, with a number below the age of 40.


Ongoing struggle of recruiting foster carers.


Capacity in respect of staffing as a result of bring the service ‘in-house’.


Officers advised there was a statutory requirement to review staffing on a yearly basis.


Feedback from foster carers and the Fostering Panel. The Executive Director advised there had not been as much feedback as previously and officers were reviewing the entire Fostering Panel and would be recruiting to the Chair post shortly.  Part of the improvement plan was to ensure feedback was strong.

Levels of support to younger carers. There was a peer mentoring system in place and reference made to the fostering training programme.


Was there any particular drive to church communities to recruit foster carers. There was no one particular area of the community that was targeted it was important to get a broad range of foster carers.


Additional support for children during the pandemic.


That a number of people’s spare rooms had now become ‘offices’ as a result of the pandemic which could be a drawback to future recruitment drives.

Improvement in the assessment of foster carers. The average was around 20 weeks for Dorset.


The Chairman noted the huge amount of change that had happened within the service which was still ongoing and felt that a short Working Group would be helpful. The Executive Director whilst content to spend time reviewing processes with members would not like to see any delays.  Towards autumn would be appropriate to look at the business case and the changes proposed and how that would work going forward.


Members of the proposed working group: Nick Ireland, Gill Taylor, Molly Rennie, Bill Pipe, Stella Jones, Kate Wheller, Jane Somper and Beryl Ezzard. 

The Chairman asked that the Executive Director for People, Children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


How has Covid-19 affected children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and their families? pdf icon PDF 533 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director for People, Children.


Members considered a report from the Executive Director for People, Children which set out the experiences of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic and how Dorset Council Children’s Services responded alongside its partners.


Areas of discussion/questions

The time taken for Education and HealthCare Plans (EHCPs) in respect of school transport appeals for children. The Executive Director undertook to follow this up outside of the meeting to find out what the issues were.


The number of acronyms used in the report and a request for further clarification in future.


The balance on the need to keep a child in mainstream school against putting a child in a special school.  There was a graduated approach regarding the type of support children received from their mainstream setting which was dependent on the budget and size of the school.


The expectation of more children needing more specialist support as a result of the pandemic.  Department for Education (DfE) projections around the needs of children had been quite alarming but as a result of current working practices demand had not increased as much as in other areas.


Performance Scrutiny

A review of the relevant Dorset Council performance dashboard to inform the Scrutiny Committee’s Forward Plan and identify items for deep dives.


Members reviewed the Performance Dashboard.  


The link to the dashboard is shown below and members were advised that on the home page of the tool there was a button/box called ‘2020/21 Dashboard’, this would  provide access to performance from the last financial year and would open in a new window:-


People & Health Scrutiny Performance


This information was also accessible for members of the public.


Members were advised that these links would be updated with new performance information once a month following the monthly performance meeting with Cabinet.


The Chairman highlighted adult safeguarding concerns in that the number remained relatively high.  Feedback was less than 60% of people who felt they were being listened to. 


The Corporate Director for Operations, Adult Care was able to provide members with an update in that during the Covid period it had been really hard to get feedback.  Normally this was carried out face to face but understandably people were reluctant to do this during the Covid period.  There were now a number of measures in place to address getting more and better feedback from individuals.


The Chairman asked that once the dashboards were updated officers to let members know this was the case.


Draft Joint Health Scrutiny Protocol pdf icon PDF 49 KB

For Members to receive an update on the development of the BCP and Dorset Joint Health Scrutiny Protocol. A draft of the protocol is attached to this agenda including comments received to date, any further updates will be reported to the Committee.


Members considered the draft Joint Health Scrutiny Protocol between Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Councils.


Members were advised that this had been a joint piece of work with BCP with the aim of getting a more streamlined process in place.


BCP members had considered and agreed the draft Joint Health Scrutiny protocol recently. They had requested a review of the protocol in 2 years which the Chairman thought it was really helpful.  The use of the casting vote was also discussed at the BCP meeting.


Cllr Ireland expressed concern about the veto aspect and made reference to a previous issue encountered in Dorset County Council days.  The Corporate Director for Operations, Adult Care drew members’ attention to the exceptions process highlighted in point 10 of the draft protocol.


Following a vote, members were minded to approve the Joint Health Scrutiny Protocol.  The Corporate Director for Operations, Adult Care had the delegated authority to approve the Protocol following members ‘minded to’ motion.



That the Joint Health Scrutiny Protocol between Dorset Council and BCP be approved, with the addition of a review in 2 years.


Committee and Cabinet Forward Plans pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To consider the Committee’s Forward Plan and the Cabinet’s Forward


Additional documents:


The Committee considered its Forward Plan and that of the Cabinet.


The Chairman advised that a Quality Accounts Working Group had been arranged for 15 June 2021 in order to provide feedback on the 2020/21 Quality Account for Dorset HealthCare.


Actions for the Committee’s Forward Plan:-

The Chairman was talking with officers about scheduling inequalities onto the Forward Plan

An item on the Dorset Centre for Excellence (St Mary’s) would be added early in 2022

The Scrutiny of Dorset’s Whole Life Offer still needed to be scheduled.


Members were asked to consider any areas they felt should be looked at by the Committee.


Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 3 of schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).


The public and press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.


There was no exempt business.