Agenda and minutes

Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday 10th November, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Chris Lunn 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.


Minutes - Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel - 13 October 2021 pdf icon PDF 221 KB


The minutes of the Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 13 October 2021 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


Integration of Health and Social Care - Verbal Update

The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration will provide the panel with a verbal update regarding the integration of health and social care.


The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration provided Members with an update regarding the integration of Health and Social Care.  With specific focus on the current reorganisation of the NHS, the following points were made:


  • Locally, Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) would be dissolved and a new Integrated Care System (ICS) implemented next year.  Middlesbrough would fall under North East and Cumbria, a much larger geographical footprint than at present. 
  • The Director, along with the Director of Public Health, had attended meetings with Tees Valley partners in relation to the structure of the ICS.  It was indicated that there would be a single local area board responsible for decisions on a Tees footprint, and a higher level single board responsible for the whole of the geographical area.
  • The higher level board would be a board of the NHS, with constituent members determined by the Secretary of State.  The Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) would feed into that board.  The ICP would provide a committee structure to allow for other partner agencies, such as local authorities, fire services, voluntary sector, etc., to contribute to discussions around long-term health needs.  The structure of the ICP was currently being considered; it had initially been proposed that one single ICP be established to represent all 13 local authorities within the North East and Cumbria.  However, in order to provide more workability for smaller local authorities, it was possible that a separate ICP would be established for Teesside.  It was felt that, rather than be concerned about the prospect of the ICP, it was more likely to offer opportunity for greater representation locally.
  • Reference was made to the importance of preventative work and the opportunity that these changes would allow for increased focus in the future.


During discussion that followed, Members asked a number of queries of the Director.  In response, the following information was provided:


  • With regards to a timescale for implementation of the ICS, it was explained that a draft constitution was expected to be produced this month in preparation for going live at the start of the next business year.  Reference was made to the impact of the pandemic and national recognition that some of the structures associated with the ICS may require further work post-implementation.  The importance of ensuring a continued stable structure as the NHS entered the winter period was key at present.  It was indicated that the draft constitution would be an internal NHS document and therefore unlikely to be released into the public domain.
  • In relation to scrutiny, further details regarding the position of the Tees Valley Health Scrutiny Joint Committee in relation to the NHS changes were awaited.  However, it was indicated that information had been conveyed through the Health and Wellbeing Board.
  • Regarding the large footprint of the North East and Cumbria ICS and ensuring sufficient resource allocation for Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley, Members heard that, at present, CCGs were provided with the financial resource to make commissioning decisions for health services within  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/25


Introduction - The Recruitment and Retention of Staff within Adult Social Care

The panel will receive an introduction to matters pertaining to the recruitment and retention of Assessment and Care Management staff (Social Workers and Social Care Workers) within Adult Social Care.


Item for discussion.


The Chair explained that this was an additional topic that had been placed into the panel’s work programme for this year, which was agreed in July 2021.  In the interim period, issues around the recruitment and retention of staff within Adult Social Care had emerged, particularly in relation to ‘fieldwork teams’, i.e. Social Workers and Social Care Workers. 


In addition to matters arising from COVID-19 and developments in the current workforce, details in respect of the Health and Care Bill 2021 had been gradually emerging.  Further information regarding the bill was currently awaited, but what had become clear from those details released to date was that there would be significant implications for local authorities.  With this in mind, the panel felt it important but this matter be looked into with some urgency. 


An informal briefing note / background paper had been circulated to Members detailing for their information.  The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration was in attendance to provide further information to Members.  Through discussion and response to questions from panel members, the panel was appraised of the issues surrounding the topic.


The panel heard that, for a number of years, Adult Social Care had been particularly fortunate in that its workforce had been established and remained particularly stable.  However, with a substantial number either at retirement or approaching retirement age, with some taking early retirement owing to the profession becoming more challenging, there had been increased turnover in recent years.


It was explained to Members that when a newly qualified social worker completed their degree programme, which was now mandatory for the profession, this needed to be followed by an Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), which aimed to develop their knowledge, skills and professional confidence.  In terms of recruitment, competition for qualified social workers was incredibly strong.  It was indicated that during recent recruitment attempts, there had been either very few or no applicants for qualified social worker positions; it had been easier to recruit ASYE social workers and this had been supported, but increased time and investment from supervisors was required during that probationary year.  It had become clear during recent months that recruitment to these ASYE positions had also become increasingly difficult, which had therefore made this topic a critical issue for the service.


A Member made reference to neighbouring and other regional local authorities and queried salary differences for qualified social workers.  In response, the panel heard that it was difficult to ascertain exact details pertaining to remuneration because local authorities set their own salary rates, which owing to the competitiveness of recruitment were not easily obtainable.  However, it was indicated that one neighbouring local authority did commence their social workers on a salary that was approximately £3,000 higher than Middlesbrough.  It was noted that, over time, the salary scales did even out, but it commented that this was an issue because recent graduates may find this particularly appealing. 


Members heard that exploratory work was currently taking place with Human Resources  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/26


Overview and Scrutiny Board Update

The Chair will provide a verbal update on matters considered at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 20 October 2021.


Overview and Scrutiny Board - Update


The Chair provided a verbal update on the matters that were considered at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting on 20 October 2021.





Date of Next Meeting - 8 December 2021


Date of Next Meeting – 8 DECEMBER 2021


The next meeting of the Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel had been scheduled for 8 December 2021.




Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.