To submit the North Wales Population Needs Assessment Consultation Survey Report.
To accept the report, noting the observations made during the meeting.
The report on the North Wales Population Needs Assessment was submitted, noting that the needs assessment was drawn up as required in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
The Projects Team Manager, Adults, Health and Well-being reported that a request had been made to defer this work; it was believed that it was untimely to complete this during the busy pandemic period; however, the Government was eager for the work to proceed. It was added that it had been challenging to complete the work within the timetable. It was noted that the Unit had committed to undertake more detailed work on the needs of the people of Gwynedd as this report was a general report across north Wales; it was believed that the local assessment would be very valuable.
It was added that the full report would be submitted to the Cabinet on 15 February and then to a meeting of the Full Council on 3 March after receiving Cabinet approval. Here we find the basis to the report which shows what the public had noted about their needs, as well as the views of professional officers and third sector organisations. The assessment was based on a number of consultation exercises across north Wales over the past three years, and on a questionnaire that was open for individuals and partners to complete.
The Adults Projects Team Manager wished to obtain the views of the Committee on which elements to focus on in the Gwynedd assessment; it was expected that the Gwynedd Population Needs Assessment Report would be ready in September 2022. It was added that Members were also welcome to present any feedback after the meeting. Members were given an opportunity to ask questions and offer observations.
During the discussion, the following observations were submitted by members:
· Gratitude was expressed for a comprehensive and honest report.
· It was asked how it was intended to work with the third sector.
· It was expressed that there were many negative findings in the assessment which showed discontent; it was questioned whether it provided a realistic depiction.
· A comment was made that the assessment referred to what needed to be improved, but that there was no reference to a timetable or to when the improvements would be delivered.
· More details were sought on mental health, particularly amongst children, and a question was asked about the length of waiting lists. It was asked whether the Council could do more to help with the mental health situation by sharing pamphlets or by promoting where assistance could be sought.
· Enquiries were made about the extent of collaboration between Local Authorities, the Care Sector and the Health Board. It was added that the report referred to a lack of collaboration and coordination, a question was asked about how much attention this was given by the Authority.
· An observation was made that the pandemic had underlined the shortcomings in the relationship between the Health Board and Care. A question was asked about how this assessment could be used to increase the political pressure on the Government to address the impact of a lack of Local Government resources on the Health Board.
· Reference was made to the Gwynedd Older People Committee that came to an end over the pandemic period. It was felt that the contact with the elderly and supporting organisations had been lost. It was believed that consultation was essential in order to know what the concerns of individuals were.
In response to the above observations and questions from members, it was noted:
· That there was a need to collaborate better with the third sector; there was a need to identify the best way to achieve that by discussing with the organisations. It was expressed that there was a need to agree on different ways to provide services that were more specific in order to address needs and support people.
· That there was a need to check matters locally within the County in order to obtain the full and relevant depiction of Gwynedd. This can show different responses. It was emphasised that there was a need to look at the core matters, which could mean that the service needed to be transformed; it was added that this already happened with some elements of service within the Department.
· That this assessment would feed into the Area Plan for North Wales after it had been approved by the north Wales Councils. Then, work would commence on how to address the needs and matters raised.
· That collaboration happened in the mental health field; a presentation would be given at the next meeting of this committee held on 17 March, to provide more details on the developments. In addition, it was noted that work had commenced to look in detail at some of the services being provided; and that there would be a commitment to review. In the meantime, the suggestions of Members were appreciated on how to improve the situation in the short-term. It was added that there was a need to look in detail at the mental health field and for it to be re-shaped to meet the needs of the future.
· That very good collaboration took place with the Health Board in general, and that good examples of this collaboration could be seen; it was noted that the development in Penrhos was an example. It was noted that a change in systems and culture was difficult in an organisation such as the Council, but that seeking to coordinate changes jointly with the Health Board was very challenging. It was believed that it would take time to implement changes, particularly when processes and arrangements had existed for quite a while. It was reported that every effort was being made and that plans that made a difference would be considered; it was acknowledged that work was to be done here. It was added that creating a joint needs assessment gave an opportunity to identify problems jointly and an opportunity to collaborate on the answers.
· That there was a need to target and focus on specific fields. It was noted that today's Committee had mentioned problematic issues such as long waiting lists for mental health assessments for children and the problem of releasing beds in the Hospitals. More detailed work would need to be done on these matters and then report back to the Government through the Regional Partnership Board in order to show what the situation is in Gwynedd.
· That it was important to identify minor problems before they increased. This meant that it was essential to receive information; another element that was as important was the use made of existing information. It was suggested that Members had access to useful information and that there was a need to share this information as well as improve the contact with service providers. It was suggested that there was no need to carry out further engagement exercises, but rather draw in and use the information and evidence that already existed. It was noted that the regeneration team would speak with Community Councils and take the opportunity to attend meetings in order to receive essential input.
In response to an observation about the principles of consulting and equality, it was reported that consideration needed to be given to the socio-economic duty when completing detailed work on Gwynedd. It was reported that more attention would be given in the Gwynedd report to these elements and the importance of addressing the needs of this group was acknowledged.
In response to a question as to whether there was a record of public gratitude or appreciation when they were happy with the service received, it was explained that this information existed. It was added that there was a need to look at how to advertise these successes.
It was added that the sample from Gwynedd was relatively small; 50 of the responses came from Gwynedd. This equated to 14% of the contact made within the assessment. It was reiterated that this was a piece of general work and therefore, there would be a need to consider what use would be made of findings locally, which will be subject to an awareness of the area. To close, it was noted that assessment on an individual level was essential, and to consider whether what mattered to the individual was being achieved, and if not, why?