Agenda item

Directors Update - Director of Adults and Health

To receive a verbal update from the Director of Adults and Health.


The Director of Adults and Health, Caroline Baria, provided the Committee with a verbal update and presentation on the work of the five service areas covered by the Directorate.


Social Work and Social Care Services -

In-house services are reviewed and refurbished regularly, with buildings being fitted with energy efficient adaptions including air source heat pumps, solar photovoltaic panels to roofs and LED lighting.

The Community Equipment Service fleet includes Electric Vehicles (EVs) to deliver equipment to service users at home, and the service recycles equipment which is no longer needed to provide to new users.

The Telecare Service is now 100% digital and old telecare equipment is recycled for use in Care Homes.

The Directorate seeks to reduce travel by encouraging staff to undertake service user reviews/assessments by phone where it is appropriate to do so.

Social Work teams are based in and serve geographical patches which has reduced the need to travel. The Service employs a rostering system to ensure routes are efficient and walking routes are built in so that staff can travel to an area and walk between scheduled visits.

The Directorate has reduced its footprint from 4 buildings to 2 and 13 operational teams are co-located with Leeds Community Heath.


Commissioning –

The Team is working with City Development to develop new provision for adults with complex needs, to be located in Leeds, so that service users and their carers/families remain in the city and have less far to travel.

Care providers are actively encouraged to be carbon neutral and the Directorate offers training/support on measures to achieve it.

Care provision contracts include a carbon neutral requirement. The Directorate seeks a small number of providers to fulfil the contracts to operate in a specific geographical area which enables care workers to walk between appointments.

The Home Plus team receive carbon literacy training and the Green Doctors are trained energy efficient experts within that Team.


Resources -

There was increased use of e-communications and the Finance team had ceased doing home visits as the default offer for financial assessments. The billing process includes collection of email addresses and direct debit payments were encouraged.

Staff primarily worked from home since the Coronavirus pandemic and were office based for team work/meetings – this had assisted the Directorate to reduce its office space requirements.

The workforce development team introduced on-line training during the pandemic and this approach had been retained. 

Providers were encouraged to do local leaflet drops in the localities where they have vacancies as this helps to encourage a local workforce who can walk to work.


Service Transformation –

The team is working on the use of digital, AI and assistive technology to support the assessment and review processes and is developing on-line tools to enable service users to self-assess.


Health Partnerships –

The team supports the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board and looks at how to work effectively across the Integrated Care Board, NHS and Third Sector partnership.

The Team facilitates a focus on climate change adaptations and actions and ensures zero carbon is at the forefront of partners’ strategies and plans.

The use of hybrid meetings for partners/organisations reduces the costs and carbon footprint and also increases efficiencies.


Climate Adaptation –

The Directorate maintains a UK Health Security Agency Adverse Weather and Health Plan which ensures preparedness for incidents of extreme heat and cold for those in receipt of care services and living in Care Homes.

The available research and advice on climate emergency is reviewed and shared with partners and made available in one place for easy access.

The Business Continuity team work to ensure the in-house team is prepared and consider the impact of extreme weather on staff wellbeing, transport etc.

The Commissioning Team also works with external providers to provide adaptation advice on their individual plans


Corporate Travel Plan

Social Work teams are based in geographical patches which reduces need for travel across the city. Staff are hybrid working with training on line, both of which bring carbon and financial benefits.

Financial assessments increasingly use digital/telephone assessments where appropriate, rather than home visits.

Staff car usage – car allowance claims have reduced by 23% since 2021/22

Public transport usage – bus use travel claims have increased by 51% since 2021/22


During discussions, the following matters were considered:

On-line self-referrals – The Committee received assurance that digital is only used when it is appropriate to do so. The family or carers are first consulted for their view on whether it is appropriate. “Talking Points” located at Hubs are also used and service users are offered the option of meeting there to discuss their needs.


Staff travel – A reduction of 23% since 2021/22 in car mileage claims and the increase in bus usage claims revealed a shift in staff travel modes. The Director undertook to report back on how the Directorate sought active travel, whether the reduction in car usage was related to the increased use of on-line assessments or greater use of bus/public transport and on the take up of the LCC lease scheme for the purchase of electric or hybrid vehicles by staff.

In relation to the grey fleet (Business or staff travel) further consideration would be given on how to provide departmental data to the Committee prior to a Director providing an Update report.


Heating in Care Homes – Work was being done to include Care Homes on the LCC Building Management System – staff in the Home will still be able to manage heating on site, but the BMS would be able to identify any issues such as using too much/too little energy. The installation of thermostatic radiator valves on corridor radiators could address energy use in those areas whilst still maintaining warmth in residents personal rooms and communal rooms.


Lower Carbon foods – The Directorate did pose questions to the Independent Sector providers on whether they serve low carbon impact meals, but it was acknowledged that provision will be low cost lead. The Director agreed to review the approach and also seek to identify any Homes with a best practice approach that could be learned from and shared.


Home visits and geographical working – The Committee received assurance that if a service user requested a home visit or face to face appointment, that would be accommodated.

It was reported that Carers Leeds had expressed a preference for on-line assessments.

In terms of recruitment and retention of staff, contracted providers had welcomed the geographical team work patches. Requiring staff to have a car reduces peoples ability to apply for vacancies, and the organisations had shown better retention of staff when they have smaller geographical areas to cover.


RECOMMENDED – That the update, along with Members comments, be noted.