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Paper 11 -  28 January 2000 Meeting


28 January 2000


Report by Councillor Maureen Robinson (New Forest District Council)

1. Much of the work on the Executive is done outside of meetings, with a steady stream of draft papers to comment on. I tend to confine my comments to those issues which I know something about, and over the past few weeks these have included documents on the reform of the Mental Health Act, and a briefing for District Councils on their role in substance misuse issues.

2. I am also becoming increasingly interested in the Quality Protects programme and recently attended a conference to examine ways of improving the health outcomes for children looked after by local authorities.

3. 'Think Child', a Councillors' guide to Quality Protects has recently been published obtainable (free of charge) from the Department of Health.

4. The most recent meeting of the Social Affairs and Health Executive took place on 7 December and covered:-

Performance Assessment

The most controversial issue concerning members at this time was the recent publication of performance indicators under the Performance Assessment Framework and the anger felt at the Minister for giving publicity to the 17 authorities in special measures.

Apparently the LGA had been informed on 22 November that the performance indicators would be published on 24 November. The Minister had given an assurance that no individual authorities would be identified, although all the raw information would be published on the Internet and would thus be in the public domain. However, at a press conference in advance of the publication of the data, the Secretary of State decided to publish a list of 17 social services in special measures.

The Chairman, Rita Stringfellow has consequently written to the Minister and senior members of the Executive have also met with him, where I understand a pretty 'robust' view of events was expressed!

Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR)

The next round of the CSR, which will cover the period up to 2003/04, will be announced in July. The Executive has agreed a number of issues to be included in the Personal and Social Services submission based in the broad areas of:

Royal Commission Implementation
Interface with the National Health Service
Social Inclusion
Elderly Housebound and Semi-Housebound
Transition costs of New Deal
Quality Protects
Access and Fair Access
Quality Standards

Listening to Young People

The Executive wants to raise the profile of listening to young people generally, but in particular, emphasising the importance of the organisation called 'A National Voice'. This is especially relevant to the 'Quality Protects' programme and developing new responsibilities for young people leaving care, not to mention Best Value.

A National Voice is emerging as one of the key organisations in this field and is benefiting from strong support from the Executive and staff at the LGA. It is felt that it is important to raise their profile with social services authorities and local government generally. (Briefing paper attached).

The LGA is also involved with other initiatives to raise the profile of listening to children and children's participation, such as working with the Children's Rights office on guidance on implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is also represented on a Department of Health Quality Protects project group on children's participation, and is in contact with the organisation called 'Voice for the Child'. A training pack is being developed on children's participation and the LGA is involved with this as well.

Other Items

Also featured on the agenda were papers on:

Modernising Social Care workforce
Reform of the Mental Health Act
A proposal for a Social Care Institute for Excellence
Involvement with the European Agenda

New Forest District Council

Date: 7 January 2000
Annex: 1
Contact: Councillor Maureen Robinson - 023 8028 5478

NOTE: Copy of Annex available on request

Last update: 25/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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