To provide the Committee with an update on the Audit Wales work programme for Quarter 3 and reports published recently
· To accept the reports.
Four reports had been submitted by Audit Wales updating the Committee on the Audit Wales work programme for Quarter 3 and reports published recently.
Jeremy Evans (Wales Audit) was welcomed to present the reports.
1. Quarterly Update - Quarter 3 (up to 31 December 2021)
The quarterly report was now part of the Committee's arrangements for receiving information about the work undertaken locally, regionally and nationally.
The information was accepted.
2. Commissioning Placements in Care Homes for Older People
It was noted that the report noted the findings of the Auditor General's review of arrangements for commissioning placements in care homes across North Wales. The work was part of the statutory programme of local audit work in each of the local authorities in North Wales and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. The findings were presented, and also recommendations for strengthening the method of commissioning placements in care homes and associated arrangements for working in partnership across North Wales.
On the whole, it was found that partners were working individually and jointly to provide suitable placements, but were also carrying significant risks. One of the highlighted risks was the structure of the Regional Partnership Board (RPB) - although it brought partners together to ‘think regionally’, its structures, largely set out by the Welsh Government, were extensive and complex, and lines of accountability needed to be strengthened.
In response, an observation was made that the report highlighted the weakness of the Cardiff Government's policy that forced regional working, creating a structure that prevented the Council from working effectively. Reference was made to work by the council, in collaboration with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, to establish a new domiciliary care model in Gwynedd that would assist people to live their lives as fully as possible within their communities. The new model would improve the way that domiciliary care was organised and provided in Gwynedd, by keeping the arrangements as local as possible. Should these arrangements be adopted across North Wales?
In response to a question regarding how the North Wales Strategy for Commissioning Placements could be scrutinised, and whether it was the responsibility of the Audit and Governance Committee within each individual council or more widely, it was noted that a robust structure and clear accountability was needed - it was suggested that the structure of the Economic Ambition Board or other good examples could be examined and recommended to the RPB.
Morwena Edwards (Corporate Director) expressed thanks for the report and noted that this field was not easy to analyse, with a number of discussions having been held about implementing Welsh Government policy. She highlighted the importance of providing nursing and residential places as locally as possible, so that family and friends were supportive of the provision, while accepting the need to collaborate regionally to provide specialist care. It was added that this was not one solution by one region. It would be necessary to work with neighbouring councils e.g. Ceredigion, Conwy and Anglesey to ensure good quality and financial viability, whether internally or externally. Agreement should be reached, and the right relationship established.
The information was accepted.
3. Review of the Council's Performance Management
It was reported that the Council's performance management framework was developing well, although implementation was varied under the current circumstances, and some departments had considerable work to be done. Attention was drawn to the findings and the recommendations.
During the ensuing discussion, the following observations were made by members:
· Everyone should be eager to ensure the best performance - need to secure accurate information and data to make decisions
· A need to ensure that managers had used robust and appropriate information as the basis for decision-making, e.g. that there was value for money
In response to an observation about the functions and responsibilities of those who managed performance, it was noted that performance management was the responsibility of all - officers under the supervision of the Chief Executive should ensure that there was high quality information available so that councillors could make prudent decisions, scrutinise performance and note areas for improvement.
4. A summary of the work of Audit Wales 2021
Submitted - an annual summary of Audit Wales' work completed since the last Annual Audit in January 2021. It was noted that the report referred to the local, regional and national work that had been completed, as well as the summary of the main messages.
To accept the reports