Sadly, we had to say farewell to the current Chair of Healthwatch Sandwell John Clothier. John attended whenever he could at both the board and Executive meetings and his contribution was valued. The board also welcomed the new appointment of Chief Supt. Richard Youds, who replaced Richard Baker as the local police representative.
The first item was the Sandwell Safeguarding Adult’s Board annual report for 2017-2018, which the board manager, Deb Ward presented. The report is written a year behind so that we can understand what activity went on. Key highlights included the development of a safeguarding self-audit tool for all partners, subsequently adopted on a regional basis and a successful conference, focusing on Prevention.
Next we had an update from Dr Alison Knight, Exec Director for Neighbourhoods Inclusive Growth in Sandwell. Inclusive Growth is a term used to describe economic growth that is distributed fairly across society. Following a council peer review in 2018, it was recommended that Sandwell develop a regeneration and inclusive growth deal. It will address issues of poverty and create a flexible borough that builds a stronger more resilient community network that can shift away from a benefits society to an actively employed and engaged labour force that is agile and willing. The board was pleased to receive this update and a sub-group will be created that will report future progress at regular intervals.
The next item on our packed agenda was from Sharon Liggins, Chief Officer for Strategic Commissioning and Redesign of Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG who updated us on the future of health commissioning and provision in Sandwell. A single outcomes framework has been jointly developed with colleagues from the CCG and council public health team. This means that in future; the Board will have oversight of 1 plan which will be aligned to the borough Vision for 2030 that will contain detail on how local health services will run and be paid for. The board noted the first draft of the plan and I look forward to receiving updates on progress in the future.
Lesley Hagger, Exec Director for Children’s Services spoke to the board about how Children’s Services have responded to recommendations made in the most recent Ofsted inspection. One of the recommendations was to develop and implement a children and young people’s strategic commissioning partnership across Sandwell. The partnership environment for children’s services includes SMBC, health, police, schools, fire service, and the voluntary/community sector.
The partnership will be accountable to the Health and Wellbeing board and we look forward to monitoring progress to ensure improved outcomes for children and young people in Sandwell.
We then heard again from Sharon Liggins, who shared detail about proposals to change the current CCG footprint following publication of the NHS long term plan. The NHS are challenging the CCG to ensure that management and administration functions are delivered in as efficient a way as possible and take into account the process that the Black Country commissioners are working on to progress to a single commissioning voice.
A comprehensive consultation plan has been developed and the board is keen to be assured that health care for local people is not affected as the footprints alter. I will ensure we receive an update in the near future.
Moving to my chair’s correspondence and I was happy to hear more about a feasibility study for a West Midlands Safe Centre, which Lesley Hagger told us more about. Currently, there is no centre for children who are at high risk of entering secure care and custody settings in the West Midlands, which means that children often have to travel long distances away from family members. A study is taking place currently to understand need and evidence of ‘what works’. I hope to hear more about this study in the near future.
News that a Joint dementia strategy is in development has been shared with me. Led by adult social care and the CCG, the plan will consist of 9 promises covering:
- Dementia awareness, information and advice
- Diagnosis and assessment
- Living well in the community
- Supporting carers
- Reducing the risk of crisis
- Living well in long-term care
- End of life
- A knowledgeable and skilled workforce
This strategy is a draft and it is key that the finer details of the plan are co-produced with local people. We will approve the final strategy and accompanying delivery plan in September.
Future meeting: Our next meeting will be held on 6 June 2019. Venue to be confirmed, at 4.30pm. Meetings are open to the public and papers can be found on the council CMIS page.
As I mentioned earlier, if you have any ideas of where we can hold the meetings, please get in touch with the board project officer Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163 or tweet us @SandwellHWBB. (This blog does not replace the formal minute of the board meeting).