Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board, Chairs blog, November 2018

Hello there,

This month we held the Health and Wellbeing board meeting at Tipton Muslim Community Centre.

We heard the news that Dr Basil Andreou, GP and Vice Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board will be stepping down.  The board thanked him for his dedication and support to our board over the last five years.

This time around we had a number of really interesting topics to discuss. First we heard from the Transforming Care Partnership.  Our local partnership is made up of Black Country health reps and was set up in response to the Winterbourne View scandal in 2012. They are working to support people who have learning disabilities or complex mental health problems who need to be admitted to hospital.

We heard about the engagement work taking place and asked the partnership to ensure that key work-streams are linked up including Children and Adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) programme.

The partnership also told us about the money it costs to do this work and the board asked that it reaches an agreement with its partners on how the costs will be met by early next year.

We then heard from Lesley Hagger, the new Executive Director of Children’s Services here at the council who updated the board on the Children and Adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) transformation plan. The plan was first developed in October 2015 following publication of the Future in Mind report in 2015 that identified the current challenges to children and young people’s mental health provision. Issues included long waiting lists and poor access to services.

The plans for next year include improving access so that people can get the help they need, supporting the wider children’s workforce, shaping the ACEs work streams and joining up engagement opportunities with key partners including the Children’s Trust and the local clinical commissioning group.

The board approved the interim plan and asked that a delivery plan be created and bought back to board in early 2019; I’ll update you on this in the future.

The final main discussion item focused on the Better Care Fund presented by Andy Williams, Accountable Officer from Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This work supports the reducing delayed transfers of care focus theme.

Andy asked the board to consider options for the future of social care-led bed-based intermediate care provision in Sandwell. The board approved option2 – the building of a specialist 80-bed integrated Social Care and Health Centre at the Knowle site, Harvest Road, Rowley Regis, with the Centre to be managed and staffed by the Council. This is an exciting piece of partnership work and we will hear more about developments next year.

I had a number of items on my chair’s correspondence list this time around.  Firstly, Cllr Syeda Khatun, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Communities updated the board on the improving end of life care focus theme of which she is Board sponsor.

Since the last update, engagement work has taken place including consulting on localising a national palliative care framework here in Sandwell. We asked council, CCG and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust colleagues for their views on what was important and we will be asking local people what they think on 4 December at the CAP Centre in Smethwick between 12.30 and 3.00pm. If you want to come along, click here to register

Secondly, we had a good news story from our SHAPE team here at the council who won a BAPA (Black and Asian Police Association) Police & Community Inspirational Award for the work they do in inspiring young people through the programme to fulfil their potential – well done Neesha and team!

We then heard from Andy Williams, Accountable Officer for the CCG who confirmed that their GP leadership structure had changed and as of 2019, the health and wellbeing board will have new membership. I will share more about this in the next blog.

Finally, Chief Supt. Richard Baker updated the board on the work of the other 3 statutory boards, the Safer Sandwell Partnership Police and Crime Board (SSP), the Sandwell Safeguarding Children’s Board (SSCB) and the Sandwell Safeguarding Adult’s Board (SSAB).

The SSP have agreed new priorities and have aligned new sub-groups in support of the prevention of violence and exploitation (PoVE) work.  New programme managers for PoVE and Modern Slavery will be starting in the New Year.

The SSAB have appointed their new Chair, Sue Redmond and new priority areas have been identified including:

  • Voice of the service user
  • Data performance
  • Safeguarding pathways

The SSCB is making plans to transition to new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements (MASA) in 2019. Priorities for their approval are:

  • Improving SSCB performance
  • Improving services for Sandwell children
  • Improving response to exploitation

Work is currently being undertaken to consolidate a number of plans to strengthen SSCB governance in readiness for MASA.

Cllr Simon Hackett, cabinet member for Children’s Services updated the board on a recent inspection of the Youth Offending Service (YOS). The inspection is part of a new programme of Inspections led by HM Inspectorate of Probation. The board was pleased to note that the service received a ‘good’ rating. Read the rest of the inspection report by clicking on the above link.

Future meetings: Our next meeting will be held on 17 January 2019 at 4.30pm. Venue to be confirmed. Meetings are open to the public.

As I mentioned earlier, if you have any ideas of where we can hold the meeting please get in touch with the board project officer Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163 or tweet us @SandwellHWBB


Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board Chair’s Blog – 13 September 2018

Hello there,

September’s Health and Wellbeing Board was very different to the norm.

The Board was ‘taken over’ by SHAPE; Sandwell Councils initiative led by Neesha Patel to listen to the voice of children and young people.  The programme focuses on 5 outcomes; Staying Safe, Being Healthy, Enjoying and Achieving, Making a Positive Contribution and Economic Wellbeing.

We then heard from the People’s Parliament, a strategic body led by MPs with recent lived experience of mental health difficulties. They hold decision makers to account for improving services and support people to have greater control over their own mental health and wellbeing.

SHAPE co-designed their workshop with 10 young people, some who had lived experience of mental health and wellbeing issues. It focused on case-studies which prompted board members to really consider whether the services they are currently commissioning are really making a difference to local young people.  After each case-study young people got up and spoke to the Board, giving a summary and recommendations for change.

The young people think that mental health issues among their age group are getting worse and they provided the following reasons as a possible cause:

  • Too much pressure on young people during exam season, they are expected to do well and some end up being scared to sit exams as a result.
  • Being overweight/obese can affect your mental health.
  • Being focused on your image can adversely affect your mental health.
  • Young People aren’t educated enough on how to look after their own mental health.
  • Social media is a heavy influence on young people

Some of the young people had lived experience of being in the mental health ‘system’ and made the following observations about Children and Adolescent mental health service or CAMHS:

  • Long waits, at least 3 to 4 months on a list
  • They are reactive, should be more proactive
  • Poor follow ups

Young people Recommendations

  • The board should prioritise mental health
  • Current priorities of the board are too vague and aren’t measureable.
  • They think that mental health services could be improved by focusing on mental health in school and by offering more 1 to 1 sessions within the services.
  • Improve awareness of services for young people
  • Section of A&E for people struggling with their mental health with trained staff (a place of safety)
  • A separate area for children to feel safe and supported
  • Awareness that young people find it difficult to navigate the mental health system – some clarity of governance of current mental health strategy and leadership is required
  • Knowledge of current services is low and could be better coordinated
  • Bereavement and grief should also be tackled as a mental health issue and young people need more support to deal with this.

We then heard from a lady who is an MP with the People’s Parliament. The lady suffered from mental health difficulties and did a really good job of telling the board about their approach which includes:

  • The need for greater parity between mental and physical health.
  • We must find innovative and creative ways to challenge stigma.
  • Recovery informs all of our work.
  • Mental Health Rights are Human Rights Prevention can be naturally created within communities; local people are the catalyst for change

Board members and visitors who attended to be a part of the take-over told me what a valuable and needed meeting this was and we have a number of discussion points that were raised by both the young people and the Parliament that I will be taking forward with the Board next year; these include further considering how we can better connect various mental health strands so that everyone understands who does what and how different partners can support local people.

Of course, co-production will help develop this work, ensuring that local people, the voluntary sector and our partners are involved in shaping this important work.

Below is the graphic art that shows the outcomes of the take-over – thanks to Jane Thakoordin from Changing our Lives for her art skills!

HWB takeover graphic art - Sept 18

Health and Wellbeing Board Chair’s blog – 19 July 2018

Hello there,

You may be aware that we discussed progress with the Midland Met Hospital at last month’s meeting. One of my actions was to write to Stephen Barclay MP outlining the Boards concerns at the delays. I am pleased to report that a response has been received back (read my letter and the response here) – The board is keen to continue to push central government to support Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust and we will be contacting them again soon for an update.


The first agenda item at this month’s board was a presentation from Cllr Steve Trow cabinet member for Culture and Core Council Services and Darren Carter, Executive Director of Resources giving an update on the Vision for 2030.  The council is developing a journey tracker to make sure we realise our ambitions locally. We are looking at inclusive growth as a way of measuring progress and the Health and Wellbeing Board is doing what it can to support this work.

Alison Knight, Executive Director for Neighbourhoods then spoke to us about local housing regeneration and some of our successes.

We are also working in partnership with housing developers and have facilitated some award winning spaces including the Lyng redevelopment and energy projects focusing on renewable technologies and heat networks. The board is keen to support this work further and will be pulling together a health and regeneration steering group to focus on some key outcomes that will really support local regeneration.

We then had an update from Chris Guest, a Service Manager in Adult Social Care on local health and social care integration.  The council and local clinical commissioning group are doing really well with targets to make sure people who are ready to leave hospital do so in a timely manner. We are number 1 in the West Midlands which is great news.

We also want to make sure people in care homes that need to visit hospital are looked after by rolling out the Red Bag Scheme

The bags will be given to care home residents when they leave for hospital. Patients will be able to keep personal items, key medication and paperwork inside them so that important items aren’t lost and patients feel secure and will also improve communications between care home staff and hospital staff.

We then heard from the Interim Director of Public Health Ansaf Azhar, who spoke to us about public health’s new priorities that will support the joint health and wellbeing strategy – they are:

  • Our children will get the best possible start in life
  • People will have better physical and mental health
  • Vulnerable people will be given the right support

The board wants to ensure that these priorities are supported across the partnership so we will be thinking more about how we can do this together at a future meeting.

We then received a presentation from Valerie Unsworth, Nurse Consultant for Health Protection. Valerie deals with infectious diseases, environmental threats and responding to health protection related emergencies. We learnt that Sandwell has high rates of TB and late diagnosis of HIV which we are working on as a partnership through the health protection board.

I will ensure that the Health and Wellbeing Board is kept up to date with progress, to be assured that local systems are in place to protect local residents.

John Clothier, Chair of Healthwatch Sandwell then briefed the Board on some recent engagement work with patient participation groups or PPGs. PPGs were created to act as a ‘critical friend’ to practices, be the patient advising forum and encourage and develop patient engagement and communications with the practice population.  We know that some surgeries in Sandwell have really effective groups that are making a positive difference for their patients and we want to share this good practice with other surgeries, who may be earlier on in their PPG journeys.

Finally, Rich Baker updated us on the on-going work of our other statutory boards; the Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB), the Sandwell Safeguarding Children’s Board (SSCB) and the Safer Sandwell Partnership, Police and Crime Board (SSP).

Amongst other key work, the SSAB has developed a new performance framework to reflect quantitative and qualitative data and are planning their annual conference planned for September 2018.

The SSCB published ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’ on 4 July 2018 and there has been 1 serious case review and 1 local learning review.

The SSP has restructured following identification of their new priorities, and the Prevention of Violence and Exploitation sub group will have their first meeting on 26th July. The Youth Justice plan has been finalised and the Combined Offer to schools was launched on 4th July.

Cllr Hackett then confirmed that the Children’s Trust had received a monitoring visit from Ofsted and had made a positive start to their journey. The Health and Wellbeing Board is keen to support this work and I am delighted to announce that a motion was passed at full council on the 17th July, approving that the CEO of the Children’s Trust, Frances Craven be invited to become a member of the board.

Thank you to everyone for their valued contributions to the agenda; the discussion was valuable and has created some tangible outcomes to be taken forward. The next meeting will be held 13 September, 4.30-6.30pm.Venue to be confirmed.

Want to find out more? Email, call Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163 or tweet us @SandwellHWBB

HWB Chairs Blog – 7 June 2018

Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board Chair’s Blog – 7 June 2018

Hello there,

First on the agenda this month was a topic high on everyone’s radar; progress with the Midland Met Hospital. Toby Lewis the Chief Executive of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust spoke to the Board about future challenges facing the build and how we get it open to the public. He also spoke about plans to ensure service disruption is kept to a minimum.  The Board is keen to support Toby and his team wherever possible and I will ensure that local people are kept updated on this important work.

Next we heard from Andy Williams, Accountable Officer at Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The CCG are working alongside the council and the hospital Trust to develop a partnership approach to agreeing how they will spend their budget between 2019 and 2021. They said they will work with partners, providers and patients to help shape health outcomes for local people prioritising amongst other things the first 1,000 days and last 1,000 days of life.

Valerie De Souza, our Consultant in Public Health then spoke to us about our 0-19s action plan. The plan contains a clear set of actions that will help to improve outcomes of children and young people aged between 0 and 19 years of age.  Cllr Simon Hackett is keen to ensure that strong links are made between the Health and Wellbeing Board and the Children’s Trust and has agreed to champion the plan. I will work alongside Cllr Hackett and the other board partners to ensure that the plan is supported and implemented.

We then had a discussion about the pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA) that has been recently updated. A PNA is a document that shows us whether we have enough pharmacies in Sandwell and whether they offer local people the right services they need. The assessment demonstrated that here in Sandwell we have great service with plenty of pharmacy access for local people.

Steve Phillips, Divisional Director for the Black Country Partnership Foundation Trust presented the next item. He told the Board about the work that our mental health steering group is developing including raising awareness and rolling out a programme of mental health first aid training across Sandwell.

Finally, the board project officer updated us on the on-going work of two of our other statutory boards; the Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) and the Sandwell Safeguarding Children’s Board (SSCB).

Amongst other key work, the SSAB continue to develop their awareness campaigns, with a key focus on improving awareness of Safeguarding and what ‘to do’ if you ‘see something’ with a considered focus on prevention of violence and exploitation.

The SSCB are continuing to develop their new priorities which include making sure safeguarding concerns are recognised and responded to in a timely manner and raising the profile of neglect  so that it is understood and comprehensively responded to by the partnership

Thank you to everyone involved in this very well attended HWB. The next meeting will be held in Smethwick, we don’t have a venue yet, so get in touch if you have a suggestion.

Want to find out more? Email, call Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163 or tweet us @SandwellHWBB


HWB Chairs Blog – 29 March 2018

Chair’s Blog – 29 March 2018

This month the health and wellbeing board (HWB) was held at Langley Lodge Community centre, which backs onto the Oldbury Rep, Sandwell’s only purpose built theatre. Check what’s on here.

First on the agenda was the very important topic of Health and Social care Integration. This means that the board is making sure the Council, the N.H.S. and our other partners are doing their best to bring our health and social care services together. The board heard more about the idea of building 2 health and social care centres which would support local people who are ready to leave hospital and could include people suffering from mental health issues.

Next we heard from the Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith who is the new Chair of Sandwell’s Children’s Trust. The Trust is tasked with improving the lives of the most vulnerable young people in the Borough. HWB members agreed to support the Trust in any way possible. A good example is the setting up of a reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences steering group and we have invited the Trust to be involved.

We then heard about the innovative ‘steps to work’ programme, a Charity which helps disabled people, the long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged groups to find and stay in work.

Following an introduction by Cllr Khatun, Dr Anna Lock updated us on our ‘End of Life’ focus theme. A Borough wide conversation is needed on this subject and a steering group has been set up to facilitate this. Awareness raising sessions will be held locally, probably on a town basis. The first will be held in Jack Judge House (Library) on May 16th, 11a.m. to 12 (noon)

We then heard an update on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – a steering group will take this agenda forward. It will be led by David Stevens with support from our colleague Chief Supt. Richard Baker.

Eddie Clarke presented the Safeguarding Adults Board Annual Report. It is good to know that the recent Peer Challenge on Safeguarding recognised that Adults are safe in Sandwell and Eddie was identified as giving strong clear leadership. We thank Eddie for his work in Sandwell and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.

I recently attended a conference on Homelessness which placed an emphasis on the health and wellbeing of people affected by this issue. I have tasked the board with thinking more about how it can support this work.

Finally, Chief Supt. Richard Baker informed us that the Chairs of the 4 statutory boards continue to meet quarterly to identify where most value can be added to our priorities and includes the prevention of Violence and Exploitation (POVE) with an emphasis on improving communication, engagement and training opportunities for colleagues. It is hoped that we recruit a project manager to take this agenda forward.

Thank you to everyone involved in this very well attended HWB.

Any suggestions for a future venue! If so, please ring Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163 or tweet us @sandwellHWBB


Chair’s Blog – 9 November 2017

Hello there,

This month we held the Health and Wellbeing board meeting at Tipton Muslim Community Centre. We received fantastic hospitality and it was great to visit Tipton, it’s a really friendly town. If you have a suggestion of where to hold a future meeting, please get in touch.

This time around we had a number of really interesting topics to discuss. First we heard from Claire Parker, Senior Returning Officer of the Transforming Care Partnership. Our local partnership is made up of Black Country health reps and was set up in response to the Winterbourne View scandal in 2012. They are working to support people who have learning disabilities or complex mental health problems who need to be admitted to hospital.

They told us that they are doing well at discharging patients quickly once they are well and are working on reducing the numbers of children and young people with mental health issues by developing ways of improving things using the community to help. They really value the opinion of local people who have learning disabilities and will be asking for help to develop their service ideas.

We then heard from Sharon Liggins, Chief Officer of Strategic Commissioning at our local clinical commissioning group (CCG). The CCG provide your local GPs and most of the hospital and community services in Sandwell.

They told us about what they plan to spend their money on in the next 2 years. Important areas are cancer and how we improve detecting and treating it earlier, how we offer an excellent start to life and how we better plan for people who need urgent care and planned care (conditions like diabetes and tuberculosis)

Another important area of work is something called a CAMHS plan. CAMHS stands for children and young people’s mental health service and we have a plan that will transform how we help people. Key areas include developing an eating disorder service and an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) pathway for all age groups.

We then heard from David Stevens, Exec Director for Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing who updated us on how things are progressing with improving timely discharge from hospital.

I am pleased to report that we are fairly good at discharging people once they are well. To improve things further, the council and the CCG is developing a ‘hospital to home’ team. This team will bring together a number of colleagues to better support local people who need packages of care.

One of the most important phases of this work is to agree how we are going to pay for the services we develop that help local people. This thinking has already begun and we are working towards commissioning (developing and paying for services) collaboratively by 2019.


The next item was presented by Valerie De Souza, a consultant in our public health team. We want to change the process we use for developing our joint strategic needs assessments or JSNAs. JSNAs look at the current and future health and care needs of Sandwell to inform and guide the planning and commissioning (buying) of health, well-being and social care services locally.

Currently, we have lots of different JSNAs on various topics that sit on our Sandwell Trends webpage. We want to publish a single JSNA that supports the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Councils 2030 Vision presenting population need across a range of online chapters. The facility will become easier to find and easier to use and will be developed with the help of our partners.  I will update you about this exciting work in a future blog.

Next, John Clothier, the Chair of Healthwatch Sandwell spoke to us about the organisation and how it helps local people. Healthwatch is the independent voice of people using health and social care services in Sandwell. They work with individuals, groups and local organisations with help, support and signposting to GP services, hospital services, adult social care and much more.

John told us about the work they have been doing in the last 12 months including a number of enter and view visits. These take place so that they can understand more about how health and social care services are run and how users, patients, carers, family members and members of staff believe those services are working for them. Healthwatch also produced some investigation reports into important topics such as how local cancer services are changing.

Healthwatch lead on our board priority, ‘We will work with people, partners and providers of services’ and we value their place, as voting members on our board. We will be looking at how Healthwatch can support our focus theme work in more depth in 2018.

We then heard from Audrey Williamson, who is the independent chair of Sandwell’s Safeguarding children’s board (SSCB). The SSCB is a group of people who ensure organisations work together for young people’s safety. Audrey told is about all of the achievements her board had made in the last 12 months. These included improved communications with schools, developing a designated safeguarding practitioner forum and an array of safeguarding training and development opportunities. We also heard about their worries; which included the rise in numbers of children needing help and a rise in children suffering neglect.

If you want to find out more about the safeguarding children’s board, click here.

I had some news for board members in my chair’s correspondence this time. I had met with Ofsted a few hours earlier, who were conducting an inspection of our children’s services.

I am passionate about making sure that our board priorities support the work of children’s services wherever possible. This spans across to the work I am involved with the other statutory boards, (the safeguarding children’s boards being one of them along with the Safer Sandwell Partnership and the Safeguarding Adults board.) We are working together as a collective to ensure that amongst other things, safeguarding becomes everyone’s business.

I will support the 4 board’s chair Chief Superintendent Richard Baker to ensure that together, we develop and support out joint priorities which include prevention of violence and exploitation and improving and joining up the communications, engagement and training opportunities across all 4 statutory boards. Together, we can do more than we can apart.

Future meetings: Our next meeting will be held on 1 February 2018 at Wednesbury Town Hall in the council chambers at 4.30pm. Meetings are open to the public.

As I mentioned earlier, if you have any ideas of where we can hold the meeting please get in touch with the board project officer Rachel Allchurch on 0121 569 5163 or tweet us @SandwellHWBB