Agenda and minutes

Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 20th March, 2024 10.30 am

Members of the public are welcome to attend our meetings to watch them in person at any of the venues across the County. Publicly accessible meetings held in County Hall will be webcast, which means they are available to be watched live or recorded on our website. Please see our webcasting notice here. The Committee may, in certain circumstances, resolve to hold part of the meeting in private. If this is the case, you will be required to leave the meeting.

Venue: Committee Room 'C' - The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston

Contact: Samantha Parker 


No. Item




Apologies were received from County Councillors Erica Lewis and Usman Arif and District Councillors Barbara Ashworth, Martin Gawith, Lou Jackson and Julie Robinson.


Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda.


A non-pecuniary interest was declared by Councillor Fiona Wild, Burnley Council, as an employee for East Lancashire Hospital Trust.



Minutes of the Meeting Held on 22 January 2024 pdf icon PDF 194 KB


Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2024 be confirmed as an accurate record.



Workforce Strategy and New Ways of Working Opportunities pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Report updates on the continued development of workforce priorities and opportunities across Lancashire from Adult Services, Public Health and NHS, as agreed at the Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 22 March 2023.

Additional documents:


County Councillor Graham Gooch, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Mark Howe, Director of Quality Improvement and Principle Social Worker, Joanne Reed, Head of Business Development, Katie Grant, Adult Social Care Strategic Workforce Lead, Andrea Smith, Public Health Specialist, Lucy Thompson, Director of People and Andrea Anderson, Director of People – Place and Programmes attended the meeting to partake in discussion regarding the report from the county council on the social care workforce in Lancashire.


The reports circulated in the agenda pack provided an overview on the workforce strategy for Adult Social Care (ASC) and the NHS. The reports included information on the Adult Social Care Academy, the ICB 'One Workforce' strategy and integrated care within the NHS, as well as information on vacancies, sickness, Employee Support Services and career development framework.


The Chair invited questions from committee members and a summary is outlined below:


·  The committee raised concern over the average number of sick days taken by employees in Adult Social Care (17.5 days per annum). It was confirmed to the committee that sickness rates were a national challenge for authorities. Members were informed that the workforce strategy focused on provisions to improve sickness rates including communication with the employee and the implementation of a re-entry interview. It was further confirmed to the committee that figures could be provided on the overall 5-year trend regarding sickness rates, and a target figure for sick days in relation to other authorities could be provided to the committee and reviewed at scrutiny level.


·  In regard to vacancies within the workforce, members raised concern over 90% of Occupational Therapist positions being vacant and queried the steps being taken to fill these positions, as well as the impact on Disabled Facilities Grants. It was noted to members that the figure of 90% referred to one specific area within the directorate and faced significant recruitment challenges due to national skills shortages across all frontline services. The committee were informed that the directorate were focused on strategic workforce planning, utilising data, and identifying gaps within data to understand skills challenges within the workforce, vacancy and agency gaps, and this information fed into Lancashire County Council's 'attraction strategy' to recruit and retain the frontline workforce. It was noted that utilising this data to inform the adult social care workforce strategy was in its early stages, and progress could be reported back to the committee at a future meeting.


·  Further to the information regarding return-to-work interviews, it was queried if these were standardised across ASC, and if the cause of sickness had been identified from these interviews. It was confirmed that return to work interviews were standard management action across every directorate, and their purpose was to understand the reason for absence and how to further support an employee. The committee were informed there were a multitude of reasons for sickness, and effective planning took place for any potential planned absence to reduce the pressure on other employees. It was also confirmed that one off sickness was monitored.


·  Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Report of the Health Scrutiny Steering Group pdf icon PDF 158 KB


County Councillor Lizzi Collinge presented a report on the Health Scrutiny Steering Group meeting which took place on 21 February 2024.


There was an update provided on the NHS Community Mental Health Transformation Programme.


The report contained information on inpatient bed capacity across Lancashire, it was noted that the capacity was steadily increasing however the service did face challenges surrounding the length of stay. It was reported that out of area placements had decreased, as well as a decrease in spending and an improvement in staff turnover.


Resolved: That the report of the Health Scrutiny Steering Group be received.



Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee and Steering Group Work Programme 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:


The committee received a report which provided information on the work programme of the Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee and Health Scrutiny Steering Group.


Resolved: That Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee and Health Scrutiny Steering Group work programme be noted.



Urgent Business

An item of urgent business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the chair of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the chief executive should be given advance warning of any member's intention to raise a matter under this heading.


There were no items of Urgent Business.


Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Health and Adult Services Scrutiny Committee will be held on 8 May 2024 at 10:30am in Committee Room C – The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston.