Agenda and minutes

People and Health Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 31st January, 2022 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.


An apology for absence was received from Daryl Turner.


Declarations of Interest

To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable 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 pecuniary interests were made at the meeting.


However, Cllr Ireland advised that he was a partner governor at Dorset Healthcare Trust, his wife worked at a Yeovil hospital and they had a daughter working at Dorset County Hospital (DCH).  Cllr Ireland confirmed this was not a pecuniary interest.

Cllr Penfold advised members that she had a disabled son not living at home, this was also not classed as a pecuniary interest.


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 agenda.

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 questions or statements is 8.30am on Wednesday 26 January 2022.

Please refer to the guide to public participation at committee meetings for more information about speaking at meetings.


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


Councillor Questions

To receive any questions from members in accordance with procedure rule 13. The deadline for the receipt of questions is 8.30am on Wednesday 26 January 2022.


There were no written questions received from councillors.


Home First and an update on Adult Care Market Sufficiency pdf icon PDF 636 KB

To receive an update on the effectiveness and progress of Home First and the Adult Care Market Sufficiency.

Additional documents:


Members received a report from Dorset Healthcare which provided an update on the Dorset Home First Programme, which was established in response to the national mandate to mobilise a system-wide discharge to assess pathway for all individuals requiring additional support on leaving hospital.


Areas of discussion/questions

There would be an update on this area for March meeting, including further information on Prevention.

The report mentioned investment in the short term and bedded care, was this just within the Health Authority or elsewhere as well? Officers advised this was both in acute and non-acute areas and also within the capacity of independent provider markets.

Discussion on ASC reforms with members and officers. Reference was made to the new guidance which was also mentioned in the care market sufficiency report. There was a small Task and Finish Group currently looking at the reforms.  Officers were working with colleagues in the south west to see what work could be carried out jointly. There were pilot groups running around the country to look at staffing levels.  The housing element was also being reviewed. It was noted that the digital aspect of reforms was moving at pace.

Reference was made to the overall rate of discharge in decline.

A table of acronyms would be helpful for future reports.

Part of initial presentations on Home First was around Prevent but there was not much mention in this one. 


Members also received a report which focussed on the sufficiency of a number of areas including Reablement and short term services; Home care services (domiciliary care); Supported living and supported housing services (including support to individuals in transitions) and Care homes. It builds on the report presented at the November 2021 Committee meeting. It also confirmed the continued shortage of home care and therapy provision in the Dorset area and also highlighted the significant impact the Omicron Covid-19 variant was having on the care home market. A presentation was also given which is attached as an annexure to these minutes.


Areas of discussion/questions


Was there scope for further care hotels? Yes, there was more scope but there was not the care workforce to facilitate it. System partners via the Home First Board are considering the best use of any additional staffing capacity.

Consideration to be given to approach job centres and look at skills of unemployed people. Consideration also to be given to communication messages to see how members could help with recruitment and also look at re-engaging with neighbourhood contact teams.

Mention was made of empty wards in Portland and whether they could be used. Details of volunteering to be circulated.

All resources across the health and care system were being reviewed constantly.

In terms of the cost of beds, officers were undertaking two cost of care exercises to give an open and transparent account of what the costs actually are. Cost of care models would be presented to members at their March meeting.

Reference made that this is not just a Dorset issue but a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Ofsted Feedback pdf icon PDF 267 KB

To receive the feedback from the recent Ofsted visit which was also considered by the Cabinet at their meeting on 7 December 2021.

Additional documents:


Members considered a report which followed an Inspection of Dorset Local Authority Children’s Services as part of Ofsted’s framework for inspecting services for children. The Cabinet had considered the report at their meeting on 7 December 2021.


The next steps in the report were highlighted to members.


Areas of discussion/questions

Members offered their congratulations on the report and felt it was gratifying to see all the good work that had been achieved being recognised.

There had been great improvements made in the care of children during the past couple of years.

What extent did the blueprint for change and reorganisation help achieve this outcome? Any reorganisation was challenging especially when new ways of working were required. Locality models all had their own individual characteristics. The locality approach worked well for families and Ofsted had underlined this.  Colleagues across the country were now asking questions about the Blueprint.

Pleased to note foster training mentioned in the report. Highlighted the need to recruit more foster carers and information like this encouraged people to come forward. There would be a update on the Fostering Service on the agenda for the march meeting.

In respect of corporate parenting, what would Ofsted and the council expect to achieve an Excellent grading across the Board? The serious responsibility of being a corporate parent was highlighted and members were advised that the Council currently was Corporate Parent to 431 children. The Corporate Parenting Board and Care Leaver Delivery Group were not resting on their laurels and were actively working towards achieving the next steps. Officers in Housing were working closely with Children’s Services with focused work around care leavers and accommodation. The situation was improving but not where we needed to be yet. Officers were broadening options as wide as possible for all our young people, care leavers and families.

With reference to whether any progress was being made in respect of options for care leavers being limited and how far had this been taken forward.   There was now in place a real council approach to ensure there was the right provision in place for care leavers and action being taken to have good oversight of care leavers in accommodation.

Alternative visiting arrangements highlighted.

There was a supported living premises in Sherborne a number of years ago, now the subject of planning permission for private flats. The concern about losing accommodation of this kind was highlighted. Officers advised they were in discussions with registered providers and Homes England around accommodation.

In the action plan, all the recommendation had closure dates which were fairly short, was that an Ofsted requirement?  Yes, an action plan had to be submitted by 2 March.  The annual conversation with Ofsted would take place in March also. Plans were in place to maintain standard and improve in respect of corporate parenting.

The future of the strengthening services Board? This had been a good partnership mechanism and officers wanted to keep it in place but with a different title. The Board informed the Children’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.


Complaints Annual Report pdf icon PDF 4 MB

To consider the Complaints Team’s Annual Report.


Members considered a report which provided an update on the numbers, types and outcomes of complaints made against services at Dorset Council across the Directorate. There were also appendices to the report that met the statutory reporting requirements of Children’s Services.


It was proposed by the Chairman seconded by the Vice-Chairman that the meeting continue beyond the 3-hour limit as set out in the Constitution.


Areas of discussion/questions

Important area of work for the Council.

There was concern about the lack of learning in some areas. In respect of learning initially there was a resource challenge earlier but quality and learning was now being fed back to the quality assurance teams.

Do we benchmark against other councils? The Ombudsman provided a good oversight of how well the Council was doing and their lack of findings against Dorset Council was highlighted.

Reference was made to councillor roles in somehow fielding off complaints and enabling people to find routes to get what they wanted. It would be helpful to have a webinar for councillors to help them have a wider understanding of the work being done in complaints.



That the committee have scrutinised and noted the Annual Complaints Report for 200/21.


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. 


The following link is for the dashboard for this committee:


People and Health Scrutiny Committee Dashboard




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 ‘2021/22 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.


Areas of discussion/questions

Adults and Housing performance, no targets in some, this would be useful to have.

69% of freedom of information (FOIs) requests were answered on time, but the direction of travel was showing as negative. The Chairman asked for a briefing note on what was being done for members on this.

There was a discussion on subject access requests in Children’s Services and it was noted that there were now actions aligned to this which would hopefully ease the backlog. Members were advised that the Information Compliance Team processed these requests. In respect of these requests in Children’s Services and the amount of redaction work that needed to take place officers were looking at internal and outsourcing for this area of work.

Reference was made to the number of families in B&B accommodation for more than 6 months.

Number of days lost to long term sickness within Children’s Services had shown consistently red, and short-term sickness was showing red at times.  There was concern that if a ‘good’ rating with Ofsted was to be sustained this could be a concern. A real focus on health and wellbeing was now in place, as a result of the pandemic and lockdown specifically which had been challenging. Officers are also currently looking for any specific patterns.

The number of foster carers was low and this would be picked up in March’s paper on fostering.

HR performance charts – high staff turnover in Public Health was highlighted and members felt it might be useful to have some comment back on that.  Officers advised that Public Health had a very small staff compliment, so 1 or 2 leaving in a year could make it look possibly worse than it actually was.

Members felt it would be helpful to have some matrix on care sufficiency and carers.


Scrutiny Requests

For members to review any recent scrutiny requests that had been received.


The Chairman updated members on requests for a scrutiny review that had been received. The request was from a member of the public in relation to the cost of care.  Officers were awaiting more information on benchmarking and the cost of care in this regard.


Committee and Cabinet's Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 292 KB

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

Additional documents:


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


The Chairman gave members an update on the working groups that were currently in place.


With reference to the new Integrated Care Board (ICB), the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care advised members that he had spoken with the new Chief Executive about a potential overlap with responsibilities and this would be one of the first things she would look at.


Cabinet Forward Plan

The Vice-Chairman made reference a ‘Pause’ project that had been debated at Cabinet which did not appear to have been discussed anywhere else.  She had since had a conversation with Cllr Andrew Parry about setting up a working group via the Overview Committee with the aim of reducing the number of children coming into care. This work was partially funded through health.


Cllr Ireland made reference to a number of changes at Senior Officer level with local NHS providers.


Urgent Items

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.


There were no urgent items.


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.