To consider a report from the Head of Democratic Services presenting background papers to an Executive Board decision which has been called in in accordance with the Council’s Constitution. This relates to the Adults & Health Service Review 6 – Care Delivery: Care Homes, Post Consultation Recommendations.
(Please note that Appendix 7 of the Executive Board report that has been attached as background information is designated as being exempt from publication under the provisions of Access to Information Procedure Rule 10.4 (3))
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that presented background papers to an Executive Board decision which had been called in in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
The decision had been called in for review by Councillors Caroline Anderson, Amanda Carter, Simon Seary, Trish Smith and Dawn Seary.
The Scrutiny Board considered the following written information:
- Copy of the completed Call In request form
- Report of the Director of Adults and Health presented to Executive Board at its meeting on 23rd June 2021
- Extract from the draft minutes of the Executive Board meeting held on 23rd June 2021
The following were in attendance:
- Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Adult and Children's Social Care and Health Partnerships
- Councillor Caroline Anderson
- Councillor Amanda Carter
- Cath Roff, Director of Adults and Health
- Shona McFarlane, Deputy Director of Adults and Health
- Sarah Buncall, Programme Manager, Service Transformation, Adults and Health
- Richard Des Forges, Legal Adviser to the Scrutiny Board
As the Nominated Lead Signatory to the Call In, Councillor Anderson addressed the Board. Councillor Anderson acknowledged the financial challenge faced by the Council, but perceived the decision to close Richmond House and Home Lea House care homes to have placed budgetary concerns above the personal impact on vulnerable older people who use the facilities for both long-term and respite care. Councillor Anderson questioned the meaningfulness of the consultation when the responses received to both the consultation and three petitions clearly demonstrate the opposition to the decision. Councillor Anderson also highlighted that occupancy rates of care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic are not reflective of usual occupancy, and therefore should not be used to inform decisions of this nature.
Councillor Amanda Carter, also signatory to the Call In, was also given an opportunity to address the Board. Councillor Carter advised the Board of several conversations with local residents with caring responsibilities who rely on Richmond House and Home Lea House care homes for respite care, some of whom had not been aware of the consultation, and the distress they have experienced following the decision to close the homes.
· Meeting the needs of service users. Members discussed the needs of service users and acknowledged how the pandemic had particularly influenced the way people with care and support needs are choosing to receive care, with more opting for community-based care whilst remaining in their own homes. Members particularly emphasised the importance of choice. Linked to this, reference was made to the Leeds Left Shift Blueprint model that aims to give families the autonomy to decide on their own care and that this would also include more options for long term health and social care needs than traditional care homes.
· Viability of Richmond House and Home Lea House care homes. Members discussed a range of factors surrounding the long-term viability of the two homes, including occupancy levels both during and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic; financial challenges; and the availability of alternative provisions.
The Executive Member for Adult and Children's Social Care and Health Partnerships addressed the Board to respond to the issues that had been raised and in doing so had advised Members that the decision to close the two homes was not taken lightly. Moving forward, Members were also assured that transfer of residents will be carefully planned and carried out professionally, sensitively, and safely, in accordance with the Council’s Care Guarantee and in consultation with families. In addition, those who use the homes for planned respite will be supported to ensure this provision can be continued in a new location suitable to meet the individual’s needs. Members were also advised that the programme will continue to work closely with all affected staff and Trade Unions with a view to redeploying staff into other council services, so that their good practice is retained.
Members were given the opportunity to ask questions / provide comment at this stage. In doing so, Members sought assurance that families would be engaged with, not only throughout the decision making for rehoming residents, but also during and after residents move to a new home. Particular reference was also made to the importance of friends and family visits during the rehoming process. Members were advised that some Covid-19 restrictions for visitation have been lifted, and that programme support workers and care home staff will work with families through the transition process with compassion, recognising the need for flexibility around visits for families.
In conclusion to the Board’s discussions, the Chair invited both the Executive Member and the Nominated Lead Signatory to provide a final summing up before moving to the decision of the Board.
RESOLVED – That the contents of the report, along with comments from Members, be noted.