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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Online Meeting

Contact: Henry Powell  Scrutiny Manager


No. Item



To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


No apologies for absence were received.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2021.

Supporting documents:


It was noted that the previous minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2021 would be amended to record Diane Gooch as an attendee.




To approve and sign the minutes of the public meeting held on 12 January 2021.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.


There were no declarations of interest from members of the Committee.


Chairman's Announcements

To note any announcements through the Chairman, including:


The Chairman provided the following announcement in relation to the announced closure of the Furlong Close facility in Rowde by the Home Farm Trust. The chairman stated that at the meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 23 February, it was noted that the Leader of the council had asked Overview and Scrutiny to undertake a rapid scrutiny exercise in response to the announced closure of the Furlong Close facility in Rowde. This facility provides day-care and residential provision for adults with learning disabilities and is run by Home Farm Trust. The Chairman raised this as a matter for discussion under Urgent Items, which was brought forward to be the first substantive agenda item.


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public. During the ongoing Covid-19 situation the Council is operating revised procedures and the public are able participate in meetings online after registering with the officer named on this agenda, and in accordance with the deadlines below.

Guidance on how to participate in this meeting online.


Members of the public who wish to submit a statement in relation to an item on this agenda should submit this is electronically to the officer named on this agenda no later than 5pm on Friday 26 February 2021.

State whom the statement is from (including if representing another person or organisation), state points clearly and be readable aloud in approximately 3 minutes. Up to three speakers are allowed for each item on the agenda.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions electronically to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on 23 February 2021 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on 25 February 2021.

Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent. Details of any questions received will be circulated to members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website; they will be taken as read at the meeting.


There were no questions or statements raised by members of the Public to be answered at this meeting.


COVID-19 Update

Updates from the council and the Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG) on activity to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus in Wiltshire will be provided at the meeting.


The most recent COVID-19 update report to the council’s Cabinet is attached. This was considered on 2 February 2021 so verbal updates on more recent developments will be provided.


All four of the council’s select committees are monitoring COVID-19 and to avoid duplication members are invited to focus their questions and debate within thisselect committees’ remit.

Supporting documents:


a)    Emma Legg, Director for Access and Reablement, provided an update regarding the current position for adult social care.


Work has continued to take place closely with system partners in order to support discharge and flow. There has been an increase of people returning home from hospital, with referrals into the Home First Pathway having significantly increased since last year. Additionally, an increased number of beds in local care homes have been commissioned to meet demand over the past months. The focus is now on de-escalation following some challenges in January and February to get into a stable position.


A new service has launched with Carer Support Wiltshire, which is a hospital liaison service, working with hospital staff and others to support carers through and after discharge. This has the aim of reducing stress for carers and is available at all three of the local hospitals.


There has been an increased demand in front door services for adult social care, with contact numbers higher than previous years; these increases are being monitored to determine longer term impacts. Mental health services continue to support people and Wiltshire Health Space is accommodating individuals from both BaNES and Swindon, in order to reduce pressure across the wider mental health system. However, the number of Mental Capacity Act assessments that are being completed remains significant.


Residential and nursing care homes in Wiltshire have seen an improved picture with staff and patient numbers falling, for example there was a 66% reduction in cases for the week ending 21February. However there has sadly been an increase in deaths in care homes with 30 new deaths reported in 7 days in the period up to the 16 February.


The Chairman invited comments and questions which included the percentage completion for care home vaccinations and where case rate breakdowns could be found for Wiltshire. In response to questions, it was noted that numbers and percentages are information which can’t be provided as it is NHS data which is careful released. Additionally, it was clarified that case rate breakdowns can be located on gov.uk website.


b)    Elizabeth Disney, Wiltshire Chief Operating Officer at the Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG, provided a presentation from the CCG on COVID-19.


The presentation outlined the current context of the pandemic for both Adult and Children’s services; with admissions for Covid reducing for adults, whilst still seeing internal infection issues and being aware of the risk surrounding future variants. Additionally, during January, commissioned capacity was increased across Wiltshire to support the Covid surge seen in hospitals. The Health services have not seen significant numbers of children requiring medical treatment for Covid related symptoms and the focus of the response has been to minimise the impact of restrictions rather than of Covid itself.


Data was provided for the Salisbury Foundation Trust Hospital, Great Western Hospital and Royal United Hospital from 19 February 2021. This data was used to monitor hospital capacity and to prepare for best, middle and worst-case scenario projections. The data suggested  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Review of the work of the Health Select Committee 2017-2021

A report will follow highlighting key aspects of the work undertaken by the Select Committee during the 2017-21 council and recommending topics to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee for possible inclusion in a new overview and scrutiny work programme after the elections in May.


Supporting documents:


The Chairman referred to a report, available in Agenda Supplement 2, which highlights key aspects of the work undertaken by this Committee during the 2017-21 council and recommending topics to the Management Committee for possible inclusion in a new overview and scrutiny work programme after the elections in May.


The Chairman stated that the list of suggested future work priorities within the report was formed by Cllr Gordon King, the vice-chairman and himself, having also discussed it with Executive members and senior officers from Wiltshire Council, as well as Elizabeth Disney and Clare O’Farrell from the CCG. Written input was also invited from all committee members.


The Chairman acknowledged that after the elections in May, there would be further opportunities for the new committee to shape its work programme. Cllr Berry suggested it engages again with the Executive officers and the CCG to discuss the most effective approach to Health scrutiny in light of the direction of increasing integration. It will vital that the committee understands the structure of health and care in Wiltshire, current health and wellbeing outcomes, and helps to drive real improvements for residents.


In conclusion, it was;




1.     To agree that the topics listed in the report be recommended to the Management Committee as requiring further work in the new Council.

2. To note the next steps described in paragraph 7.


Urgent Items

To consider any other items of business that the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.


The Chairman stated that Overview and Scrutiny has received a request from the Leader of the Council for a rapid scrutiny exercise regarding the Furlong Close facility in Rowde, the closure of which has been announced by its owner, Home Farm Trust (HFT).


Cllr Berry provided an overview to the Committee that Furlong Close provides day and residential support for adults with learning disabilities. The Leader’s request for a rapid scrutiny was noted at a meeting of Full Council on 23rd February, as was a petition with over 42,000 signatures titled “Stop the Closure of HFT in Rowde.” A request was made in February for Full Council to debate this petition. However, at the time, an application was in process to judicially review HFT’s decision to close Furlong Close. The Council was identified as an interested party in these proceedings (not a defendant) and it had not been appropriate for Full Council to debate the petition. Following the Court’s refusal of permission to apply for judicial review, the Council made the lead petitioner aware that it could debate the petition, but the petitioner asked the council not to do so at this time.


The matter of Furlong Close was the subject of briefing notes to councillors dated 10 and 19 February 2021 and the committee may be aware of some media coverage of the situation.


The Chairman invited comments and questions which included the importance of Overview and Scrutiny seeking legal advice in order to not to conflict with any ongoing legal process involving the council as an interested party.


An explanation of the current legal situation was provided, noting the importance of appropriate confidentiality being maintained throughout the review. Additionally, the contractual arrangements in place were clarified, with an overarching GLA contract, plus spot purchase contracts also purchased for each individual.


It was clarified that part 1 of the process would be a rapid scrutiny exercise, followed by part 2 which would be a task group, reviewing the work conducted by the exercise in part 1 and potentially reviewing the wider Wiltshire market for residential and supported living. A concern regarding the officer resources required for this latter piece of work was discussed.


It was clarified that task review groups and scrutiny exercises can co-opt members on to their memberships. The following members of the Health Select Committee expressed an interest in being involved in the rapid scrutiny exercise; Cllr Chuck Berry, Cllr Gordon King and Cllr Pip Ridout, as well as the stakeholders, Irene Kohler and Diane Gooch.


In conclusion, it was;


Agreed to establish a rapid scrutiny exercise, having taken appropriate legal advice on process, to review and make constructive recommendations regarding:


  1. The actions taken by the council in regard to the Furlong Close facility, which the owner, Home Farm Trust, has announced its intention to close, covering:

a)      The timetable of events;

b)      Contract arrangements;

c)      Lessons learned and;

d)      A way forward.


  1. The remit of a potential task group under the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next meeting as 8 June 2021.


The date of the next meeting was to be 8 June 2021.




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