Questions to CM Adult Social Services & Housing

Member question: D Fouweather, received 4 November 2016

Subject: Home care

Newport is one of the authorities at the bottom end when it comes to paying home care funding for the elderly.

Can the cabinet member explain why Newport pays just £13.58 compared to other authorities some of which pay £17.37?

Does the cabinet member believe that home care users in Newport are getting a good deal from this council?

Can he tell me who set the fee at £13.58?

Response: Newport does not have a set rate for domiciliary care, as individual rates are submitted and negotiated through an annual procurement process. This allows providers to take into account their costs and other market factors which vary each year.  

For 2016/17, Newport has set a minimum rate of £13 per hour and a maximum rate of £14.50 per hour and providers can submit prices on an annual basis anywhere between these rates. This banding was set based on consultations with providers and allows us as a commissioner to have some control over the local market, whilst ensuring that providers do not charge exceptionally low, or high rates. It is adjusted on an  annual basis to reflect external pressures such as the National Living Wage.  

The graph that UKHCA has produced is slightly misleading as it is based on a previous price structure within Newport (prior to 2016/17). The average rate that Newport pays for domiciliary care is currently £14.00 per hour, not £13.58 per hour. The UKHCA minimum price of £16.70 takes into account prices paid to providers in London, and we are confident that the average rate of £14 per hour in Newport is a fair and sustainable hourly rate. 

During the last procurement exercise in January 2016, we asked providers to breakdown how they calculated their hourly rate, which helped us identify whether we were getting value for money. On average, 50% of the hourly rate is spent on paying carers, 30% is spent on travel and overheads, 10% on training and 10% profit. These % can vary from provider to provider and we are currently looking at different commissioning approaches in line with Unisons Ethical Care Charter.  

One of the advantages of our current approach, is that we ensure a sustainable and diverse market made up of small local providers operating solely in Newport and larger Ltd. companies. Our approach also gives security for our providers as they are not having to “bid” on each individual package of care.  

Citizens of Newport are getting a good deal through our commissioning approach as we have developed optimum rates for each provider to not only ensure they are sustainable, but also offer value for money. Issued 16 November 2016

Member question: D Fouweather 

Subject: Review of carers/adults needs

The percentage of carers and adults who were offered an assessment or review of their needs in their own right during the year remains poor and we are third from bottom. Can you explain why this has happened?

Response: This indicator measures the percentage of carers who were offered an assessment or review rather than those that received one. The local authorities that score 100% are those that have sent an offer letter to everyone on their books, rather than a face to face offer at the time of the assessment or review of the cared for person. Newport achieved 73% through targeting people we know are active carers which was the approach endorsed by our Carers Forum.

It is also worth noting that this measure changed from April 2016 following the implementation of the SSWB Act to 'the number of assessments of need for support for carers undertaken during the year'. Issued 13 September 2016

Member question: D Fouweather, received 7 September 2016

Subject: Fairer charging policy

Your fairer charging policy was designed to reduce costs and make savings. How has this now created a £30k overspend? 

Response: This relates to a loss of income circa £30k as a result of a new cap on charges for respite care implemented as part of the Social Servuices and Wellbeing Act (Wales) from April 2016. This is not an internal fairer charging policy. Issued 13 September 2016

Member question: D Fouweather, received 7 September 2016

Subject: Supporting people grant

The budget monitoring position for July 2016 shows that a reduction in the supporting people grant has resulted in a deficit of £328k. How has this been allowed to happen and how do you plan to reduce this deficit?

Response: The reduction in the supporting people grant is the outcome of a review undertaken by Welsh Government in April 2015 which identified that the costs of some supported living schemes in Newport were high when compared with the Welsh average. This means that a review had to be undertaken to ensure that the supporting people grant was being used correctly, which may result in a greater proportion of the costs of care and support packages falling to the social service budget. The estimated budget pressure is £328k 2016/2017 but it is anticipated that we can further mitigate this by reviewing individuals care and support plans to make sure that the split of costs is accurate. Issued 13 September 2016

Member question: C Evans, received 1 July 2016

Subject: Alzheimers funding cut

Are you aware that the Alzheimers Society is writing to residents informing them that, due to a cut in funding from your department, they will not be able to continue the same level of service in Newport for residents that use their vital service?

Further, can you tell me what alternatives are in place to help these vulnerable residents and what other options are being explored?

Response: We were not told in advance by Alzheimers Society that they were intending to send letters out to inform people currently in receipt of a service in Newport that they had lost their contract with Newport City Council.The Alzheimers Society contract to deliver community support and befriending was part of the third sector re-tendering process. These services will continue to be available but from September they will be delivered by the new consortium led by Reach.

Unfortunately the Alzheimers Society did not consult with us before they sent our the letters and they failed to say that each of their service users would be contacted by the new consortium to explain the changes and to undertake a review of their needs. Social services contract and commissioning team were informed of the letter and the team manager contacted the operations manager of the Alzheimers Society who responded as follows:

"This was a generic letter sent to all service users to inform them of the potential changes in light of the loss of funding and following feedback that they had had communication from other providers and therefore wanted to know what was happening with Alzheimers Society services. I will arrange another mail out for mid July to update service users that we will be working with the new providers to determine who will move over and that going forward everyone will be entitled to 3 free months before having to pay at £18 per hour. Hopefully this will coincide with the council's press release and perhaps we could incorporate some key messages from the council too?"

In the meantime I will inform staff to let any service users know that the new consortium will organise reviews of all existing users, involving families, carers and professionals to ensure that the type and level of support being offered is appropriate to individual needs. We anticipate that people will ask what happens if they don't want another provider and are now in the position to inform them that we can offer 3 months free but anything further will be charged. Issued 8 July 2016

Member question: Councillor Kellaway, received 13 June 2016

Subject: Gypsy and traveller development costs and land protection

a) It is all very well hiding behind officers but who authorised the spending of circa £70k and what looks like a big chunk of the likely £1.5 million development costs when existing residents' concerns regarding proposed access is being ignored or even worse not sought.

b) Having found evidence of what is likely to be Newport's oldest dairy farm building and including human remains, how will you be protecting the area, or even better using the find to enrich the area's history situated next to Newport's newest high school.


a) In February 2015 the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 introduced a statutory duty for local authorities to produce a Gypsy and Traveller accommodation assessment (GTAA), with councils having to have delivered, or commenced delivery of proposals to address the needs identified by the assessment by March 2016. The Newport GTAA identified a need for provisional provision.

In preparation for the new legislation and in line with the findings of the the GTAA, Newport City Council worked to identify a site which was formally agreed by the council and as part of the council's Local Development Plan.

The submission of the funding application to Welsh Government requires planning approval. To obtain planning approval investment is required to complete a range of surveys and site investigations. This work accounts for the costs incurred to date which have been funded through the council's approved capital programme.

Residents' concerns regarding access arrangements are not being ignored and have been considered by officers but the alternative proposals received to date are currently not deemed to be feasible within the context of the scheme.

b) All previous and ongoing archaeological site investigations are undertaken with the full approval of the statutory agency Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust (GGAT). A written scheme of investigation has been drawn up and approved by GGAT which details the archaeological excavation required, the mechanism for preservation of artefacts and the historical recording of all evidence, with all artefacts to be held at Newport Museum.

School children will visit the site and a public open day will be arranged during the period of the archaeological dig. The results of the excavation will be made publicly available and disseminated widely. Issued 22 June 2016