Agenda and minutes

Venue: Online meeting

Contact: Ben Baugh, Democratic Services 

Link: Watch this meeting on the Herefordshire Council YouTube Channel

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence had been received from committee member Councillor Sebastian Bowen.  Apologies had also been received from Councillor Yolande Watson, cabinet support member - adults and communities, and Ian Stead, Chair of Healthwatch Herefordshire.


Named substitutes (if any)

To receive details of any member nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.


There were no substitutes.


Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of interests in respect of schedule 1, schedule 2 or other interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.


No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 255 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2020.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2020 be approved as a correct record and be signed by the chairperson.


Questions from members of the public

To receive any written questions from members of the public.


No questions had been received from members of the public.


Questions from councillors

To receive any written questions from councillors.


No questions had been received from councillors.


2021/22 budget setting pdf icon PDF 231 KB

To seek the views of the adults and wellbeing scrutiny committee on the budget proposals for 2021/22 as they relate to the remit of the committee.

Additional documents:


The chairperson explained that the three scrutiny committees were reviewing the budget proposals in sequence and this agenda item sought views on the budget proposals for 2021/22 as they related to the remit of this committee.


The cabinet member - health and wellbeing reported that, due to a recent High Court judgement regarding the treatment of benefit income in social care charging policies and its impact for severely disabled people, £330k of the £520k proposed savings for ‘Implementing changes to client charging policy and income disregards’ was at risk.  As a consequence, the proposed policy changes would be put on hold and a further review of charging policy for 2021/22 would be undertaken once the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) position on the judgement was known.  The committee was advised that the adults and communities directorate was working on alternative savings proposals.


An updated appendix to the report, Appendix A ‘savings proposals’, had been circulated before the meeting and this was displayed.


The chief finance officer drew attention to: the proposed council tax increase of 4.99%, inclusive of a 3% adult social care precept; the lower council tax base, largely due to pressures that were coming through from the Covid-19 pandemic; and made reference to a supplementary paper on Covid-19 related grants to be received by the general scrutiny committee on 15 January 2021.


The director for adults and communities provided an update on existing capital investment schemes, including Hillside, super hubs, and technology enabled communities.  The savings proposals for 2021/22, as shown in Appendix A, were summarised:


·           Modernising assessment, commissioning and services delivery for learning disability clients (£1.5m)

The assistant director all ages commissioning added that strengths based and technology driven approaches would be utilised to deliver better outcomes and reduce expenditure.

·           Targeted review of complex cases followed by system challenge (£1.25m)

The assistant director for adult social care operations added that a key driver was developing Herefordshire services, thereby minimising out of area placements.

·           Implementing changes to client charging policy and income disregards

It was reiterated that £330k of the £520k proposed savings was at risk and alternative savings proposals were being prepared.

The director for adults and communities said that the proposals had been developed in the context of the principles of equity and fairness, the need for culture and practice change, and would build upon the strengths based model.

The chairperson acknowledged the extraordinary times, pressures and unknowns which made forecasting difficult in both financial and service delivery terms.  It was noted that the strengths based approach was about working smarter and doing more with less.  In response to questions, the head of corporate finance provided an overview of the ‘adult social care precept explanation’ slide, as included in the updated appendix, and the chief finance officer commented on the impact of the precept on the overall financial position of the council.  The chairperson recommended that a plain English narrative on the precept be prepared in order to aid public understanding.  In response to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To consider the committee’s work programme.

Additional documents:


The chairperson invited the committee to review the work programme and suggested that, in view of ongoing developments and to explore thematic elements in detail, that an informal briefing for committee members be arranged on the Covid-19 response in due course.

A committee member suggested that there was a need for a task group on mental health given that this was an increasingly significant and urgent issue in local communities.  Committee members and officers discussed the best approach, noting that there were other inter-agency groups with workstreams on mental health and scrutiny activity had to be deliverable within existing resources.  A committee member suggested that the agenda item in the work programme on mental health be brought forward from the May 2021 in order to inform the approach to be taken.  This was supported by the committee and there was a brief discussion about the rearrangement of the work programme.

The vice-chairperson welcomed the inclusion of an extract of the council’s forward plan for decisions relating to the adults and communities directorate and suggested that the Hillside Care Centre could be a future item for the work programme; the director for adults and communities provided a brief overview of the current use of Hillside as a discharge to assess facility and plans for its development in terms of an assessment and demonstration centre, and technology enabled offer.

The chairperson proposed that an informal briefing for committee members be arranged on mental health; a committee member added that post-traumatic stress in relation to people’s experiences of Covid-19 was of particular concern.


That the committee work programme be confirmed, subject to following:

i.        informal briefings for committee members on the Covid-19 response and on mental health be arranged to inform scoping documents for potential scrutiny activity;

ii.       the agenda item on mental health be brought forward and the agenda item on emergency and urgent care be moved to a subsequent meeting;

iii.      the presentation of the forward plan in relation to adults and communities directorate be maintained in the work programme item; and

iv.      that potential scrutiny activity in relation to Hillside Care Centre be considered in future work programming.


Date of next meeting

The next scheduled meeting is Monday 29 March 2021, 2.30 pm.


Monday 29 March 2021 at 2.30 pm *


[* note: additional meetings of the committee were arranged subsequently for Tuesday 26 January 2021 at 2.30 pm and Wednesday 24 March 2021 at 9.30 am]