Councillor Jane Gebbie - Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help
Claire Marchant - Corporate Director - Social Services and Wellbeing
Jacqueline Davies - Head of Adult Social Care
Mark Wilkinson – Group Manager – Learning Disability, Mental Health & Substance Misuse
Adam Kurowski Wakeford – Operational Manager – People First Bridgend
The Head of Adult Social Care presented the report, the purpose of which was to describe the learning disability services operating in the County Borough and to report on developments in the way learning disability services were provided and the key factors that affect it.
The Operational Manager for People First Bridgend advised that People First is a charity giving people with learning disabilities a voice and helping them have more choice through self-advocacy and independent advocacy. He also highlighted a number of other areas the charity assists people including providing training and translating documents into easy read formats.
The Service User Invitees to the meeting advised that they appreciated how advocacy had made them feel that they were being treated with respect and highlighted how People First had helped them with important life skills such as dealing with police, fire service and medical staff and managing their own financial affairs.
The Chair thanked the Head of Adult Social Care and the Invitees and Members discussed the following:
· That the Service Users were generally happy with the services they receive such as help with chores, budgeting and travel but highlighted issues with staff punctuality and late notification of staff sickness.
· The number of people with learning disabilities known to the Bridgend Community Learning Disability Team, timely identification of people with learning disabilities in need of support, importance of prevention and wellbeing services and expansion of local community coordination.
· The external expert review of the model of day activities including the impact of the pandemic.
· Funding of the service and investment to implement the remodelling and the creativeness and dedication of staff to delivering services.
· Transportation in Day Services and efforts to make it more coordinated and cost efficient, including development of a new app and the challenges and barriers to use of public transport.
· Increased work due to implementation of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
· The ways in which the pandemic impacted on the Service Users, particularly their social lives and, as services are returning, they are feeling more positive.
The Chairperson advised that Members of the Committee who wanted to ask questions had all spoken, so as there were no further questions for the Invitees, thanked them for their attendance and advised that they may leave the meeting.
RESOLVED: Following detailed consideration and discussions with Officers and Cabinet Members, the Committee made the following Recommendations:
1. That consideration be given to how staff lateness and short notice of staff sickness can be managed to avoid delaying or postponing a day out that Service Users described as having a disruptive and unsettling impact upon them.
The Committee expressed concern about the impact that the WG Policy modal shift from use of cars to public transport could have, by disenfranchising people with learning disabilities and neurodiverse conditions, who can face fear and distress when accessing and using public transport, and recommended that the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Wellbeing write to the Welsh Government to highlight this as a potential area of concern.