Agenda and minutes

Joint Corporate Review and Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee
Monday, 13th June, 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Nick Pountney 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Councillor Atkins declared that she was a Trustee of the Leek Citizens Advice Bureau.



Public Health Ring Fenced Grant pdf icon PDF 195 KB

Additional documents:


The Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Care presented his report. He advised members that Staffordshire County Council (SCC) had responsibility for public health and with the responsibility came a ring fenced grant for the provision of services. He explained that over time the demographic makeup of the County had changed: more people were living into old age with long term conditions and disability. There was significant rise in avoidable diseases attributable to life style choices, smoking, inactivity, alcohol and unhealthy food.


He explained that the Council was now confronted with a reduction in the ring fenced grant and a large group of people who despite the best endeavours of the Council to influence them had not chosen a healthier lifestyle.


He explained that the Council had the opportunity to use its leadership role and knowledge of the local population to influence the underlying determinants of health for example by leading multi-agency partnerships, supporting healthy policy making, providing information to help people to make healthy choices, and enabling and encouraging communities to look after their own health and wellbeing. In addition to this he informed members that two years ago part of the budget had been handed to districts and boroughs. He explained that unfortunately due to the reduction of their ring-fenced grant there had been no choice but to stop this and that they were not able to achieve public health outcomes in that way any longer.


The Chairman advised that the proposals were at Appendix A: it was the purpose of the Committee to consider the Cabinet Members Report and to make comment for the benefit of the Cabinet.


A member asked for clarification on how much money was actually available as the report referred to budget 2015-16 of £33.3m a further £5.1m followed by an in year reduction of 2.4m. Concern was expressed concern that in year reduction was detrimental to the planning of the budget overall and asked for further information in relation to the anticipated public health funding as it brought uncertainty to the whole process and could jeopardise the investment pledged and programmed for the provision and delivery of future service. Particularly if it led to the expenditure of funds that the Council did not have.


The Cabinet Member replied that there had been no warning and there hadn’t been any indication at the time. He accepted that an in year reduction was unsettling and could cause uncertainty. He explained that they had to plan on the basis of the numbers given and they had lobbied that in year reductions are not a useful way of planning public health investment. The Council had to enter into contracts for public health services and changes to budgets did not help.


The Director for Health and Care explained that the funding anticipated was set out in the report. He advised of an approximate 15% reduction over 5 years, 6.2% last year with a 2.2% each year 2016-20. Members were informed that the funding for 2016-17 and 2017/18  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Better Care Fund Update pdf icon PDF 195 KB

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The Chairman addressed the Committee and gave a brief overview of the Better Care Fund (BCF). He explained that the government had made available £3.8bn in pooled budgets for Health and Social Care to address the issue of an ageing population and the number of people with living longer with one or more long term conditions. He explained the expectation that bringing together some social care and NHS services would result in an increase in care in the community, would release beds and reduce demand on acute services by 15%. The problem had been that the government had not provided new money but had relied on the bringing together existing budgets with an assumption that this would enable savings in acute hospital services.


The Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing provided a brief overview and outlined the challenges that lay ahead for the County Council. He informed Members of a 5 year Forward View introduced by the NHS in 2015 focussed on prevention and early intervention and work with local authorities and social services to reduce acute and primary care. He informed members of the £160m deficit in the NHS and the problems and challenges from diverse financial directives and mutually exclusive guidance to the agencies concerned. The difficulties experienced when trying to move the funding for community care from the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to the Council to fund the Better Care Fund were explained and the issue was inadequate finance available.


The Cabinet Member felt that there was scope for savings by vacating acute hospital beds as a homecare support package could deliver sufficient support at a lower cost. Members were informed that it had not been possible to agree finance for the BCF and that as a result he was not able to sign off the finances and together with Leader of the County Council and the Accountable Officer of North Staffs CCG had been summoned to Whitehall to explain the reasons for failing to do so. In consequence, the Department and Health and the Department of Communities and Local Government had sent people to Staffordshire to verify the figures. He advised that difficult decisions had to be made, but that the duty to care for the citizens of Staffordshire would always be to the fore.


A Member expressed disappointment that for the last 3 years, and in spite of warnings of risk, the money continued to be invested in Plan that was failing and that Staffordshire was now in a situation that could have been avoided.  The view was expressed that NHS England was partly to blame as funding arrangements had been unworkable from the outset.


Discussion followed in relation to the challenges around the delivery of the BCF and overall how the Council compared with other authorities nationally. Members were advised that the minimum financial contribution made by the CCGs towards the funding of the BCF. It was approximately £50m, £17m of which was for the protection of Adult Social Care and of this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Exclusion of the Public

The Chairman to move:-


“That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Schedule 12A (as amended) of Local Government Act 1972 indicated below”.




(All reports in this section are exempt)


The Chairman moved that the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Schedule 12A(as amended) of Local Government Act 1972 indicated below.



Better Care Fund Update - Confidential