Agenda and minutes

Special, Adults Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 14th July, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Paul Dalton 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest reported at the meeting.


Response of Adult Services and Commissioning to COVID-19 pdf icon PDF 363 KB

Report of the Director of Children and Adults Services


The Director of Children and Adults Services submitted a report (previously circulated) to provide Members with an update on the response of Adult Services and Strategic Commissioning to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The submitted report stated that Adult Social Care (ASC) had responded proactively to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic since its emergence in early March 2020, that the service had ensured that service users and their families had been supported to remain as safe as possible, and continued to have their care needs met, during a fast moving and complex environment. The submitted report also highlighted that care providers had received the support needed to enable them to continue to provide care in extremely challenging circumstances.


The submitted report informed Members that service delivery had been developed, adapted or extended to anticipate and respond to demand, and that ASC had worked closely with key partners including the NHS, police and the voluntary sector to mobilise staff and resources to ensure that core service functions were maintained and individuals safeguarded, with those changes to working practices outlined within the report.


Members sought clarification on both the number of COVID-related deaths in Care Home settings, and the staff absence figures in the Home Care Sector, in comparison with those Home Care staff who had tested positive for COVID-19. It was noted that 70% of Care Home settings had experienced COVID-19, and Members were interested to discover whether lessons had been learned from the 30% of Care Home settings that had not experienced COVID-19, and requested further information on the support provided to the Care Home Sector.    


Members were keen to explore plans to re-open day services, and learn how these could operate in a different way, and were pleased to discover that contact had been maintained with service users and their families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and that these would continue to be engaged with as service provision was reintroduced. 


In terms of Care Homes, Members wanted to establish whether there were any outliers as regard the homes impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and were interested to know whether there were any shortages in terms of the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Care Homes. Members heard that in the early stages of the pandemic PPE was distributed evenly across the sector, with some larger providers experiencing low stocks at times, but at no point ran out of PPE. It was asked why PPE was not distributed proportionately to service providers, and it was explained that mechanism for distribution was determined at a different point in the supply chain.  


Discussion ensued on recruitment in the Care Sector, and Members enquired whether the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent opening of a large retail employer in the town, had impacted on the recruitment of care staff. Members heard that the pandemic had generated a raised value and importance to those working in the Care Sector, and that a reduction in the care workforce had not been experienced in Darlington. Members raised  ...  view the full minutes text for item AD8