The Financial Audit Manager from Audit Wales presented the report, the purpose of which was to submit to the Committee reports from Audit Wales, to include an update on the financial and performance work already and due to be undertaken by Audit Wales.
Her colleague, a senior auditor from Audit Wales, advised that the purpose of the Baseline Governance Review Of Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Partnership Board had been to gain assurance that the Health Board and three Local Councils are working effectively through the Transformation Leadership Board to support regional integrated working across the Cwm Taf Morgannwg region. This included building on the work undertaken in the last 18 months, as well as looking at more long-term thinking moving forward and ways to better resource the region. It was considered that more effective strategic planning was required in the future.
Paragraph 4.1 of the report gave information on the reports that Audit Wales had produced for the Committee to consider, namely:
The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing provided a response to the elements of the Audit carried out which related to Appendix B above, and had responded in full at the report at Appendix C.
The Audit Wales representative also made reference to the 7 recommendations as detailed in the Audit Wales report (at page 6 of Appendix B) and briefly gave an overview of these for the benefit of members.
A member queried the reason for the delay in setting up the board for the Governance Cross Cutting programme which was expected in July 2022. The Senior Auditor with Audit Wales stated that the purpose of the study was to gain assurance that the Health Board and the three councils work together through the Transformation Leadership Partnership Board (TLPB). He stated that the fieldwork was undertaken from November 2021 to January 2022 after which their findings were presented in March 2022.
The conclusion was, as depicted in the report, building on the productive working relationships over the past 18 months, which had also encompassed the challenges of COVID, the TLPB was well placed to develop a strong regional working approach and there needed to be more long term thinking strengthening aspects of governance arrangements and improving regional and innovative use of resources.
Seven recommendations were made at that time and subsequently presented back to the new Integrated Leadership board on the 1st of December 2022.The Corporate Director, Social Services and Wellbeing added since the field work was undertaken and the report was published, a review of governance had been undertaken.
A new integrated leadership board chaired by the Chief Executive of the Health Board and attended by very senior officers across organisations has been established to ensure cross cutting work around finance, workforce, capital and buildings. She stated that the workforce is an area still in need of further work. The arrangements were in place in terms of performance management.
The priorities within it were translated into a refreshed area plan and the performance dashboards across all of the supporting infrastructures. She stated that the results were in varying levels of maturity. However, whilst there was a time scale of completion of September, there has been work completed.
The Corporate Director for Social Services stated that there was further work to be done in that area and the same in terms of risk management which is focused on the risk around funding, particularly because the RPB is responsible for short term grant funding with tapering requirements. The ambition of the Regional Partnership Board is very clear in that it is not just to be about the Regional Integration Fund, but the use of core budgets and the opportunity to explore further pooled funds across the region. As part of that vision around integration, more work by the end of the financial year is to be undertaken.
A member stated that since becoming a Councillor in 2022 he had observed good progress on the collaboration around the whole area of governance arrangements and improving regional resources. He welcomed the focus on the five years plus planning linking in between the Council's Local Development Plan and the Plans of the Health Board.
He stated he had observed that Health was an end-to-end provision and the problems that emergency departments faced were caused potentially by a lack of workforce in the field of social care, especially since the pandemic.
He was assured however by the Corporate Director - Social Services and Wellbeing with the Department’s plans for progress, as referred to in her report.
The Chairperson stated that it would be useful to know what arrangements had been put in place in terms of governance and queried if it was known who would deal with the performance management and any related delays on the traffic light system of alerts. He suggested that there was core budget based work undertaken to address issues faced with resources within the local authority and in particular, the area of Children’s and Social Services.
The Corporate Director - Social Services and Wellbeing, agreed that an action plan which would reflect more within the regulatory tracker, as well as working towards progressing a national specification for what integrated Community services needed to be shaped like going forward.
RESOLVED : That Members noted the Audit Wales Governance and Audit Committee reports including the Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing report, and the attachments at Appendix A, B and C.