Agenda and minutes

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 6th March, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Madeleine Shopland  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors Clive Jones and Bill Soane.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 January 2019.



The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 January 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Public Question Time

To answer any public questions


A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.


The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.


Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting.  For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to


There were no public questions.


Member Question Time

To answer any member questions


There were no Member questions.


Preparing for Brexit - health

To receive a briefing on preparing for Brexit – health.

(30 mins)


Rhosyn Harris, Public Health and Rebecca Clegg, Chief Finance Officer, NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), provided an update on preparing for Brexit – health.


During the discussion of this item the following points were made:


·         Rhosyn Harris reminded Members that with regards to local authorities it was government policy that specific plans for a possible no deal situation were not shared publicly.

·         Under the Civil Contingency Act 2004 local authorities were Category 1 responders and as such they were required to assess the risk of emergencies occurring and use this to inform contingency planning, put in place emergency plans and to put in place business continuity management arrangements.

·         Nationally there was approximately 1.6million jobs in the social care sector, the majority of which were with independent providers.  Approximately 7% were with local authorities.  Nationally, approximately 104,000 social care posts were held by EU nationals and 71% of these either held British citizenship or were eligible for settled status.  Members were informed that the estimated proportion of the adult social care workforce with an EU nationality had not seen a big decrease.

·         In the South East there were 3,450 organisations providing care at over 6,900 locations and 181,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs of which 12% of post holders were EU Nationals.  In the Borough there was 3,700 full time equivalent social care jobs; 3% of these were within the local authority, 89% were in the independent sector and 8% were direct payment recipients.  444 posts (12%) were held by EU Nationals.

·         Members were advised that overall it was considered that there was a low risk of disruption to local social care delivery in the short term.

·         Mitigations included the EU Settlement Scheme and wider work to address recruitment and retention of the Adult Social Care workforce.

·         Rebecca Clegg indicated that she was the nominated lead for Brexit for the CCG.  The NHS had been asked to prepare in the context of the possibility of a no deal situation.  Preparations could be adapted should other outcomes occur.

·         The Committee was informed that the NHS was used to managing risk and system pressures and that Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) processes and procedures were in place.  Existing command and control protocols and systems that were familiar for information-gathering, assurance, direction and advice, would be used.  Additional capacity would be added at both regional and national levels.

·         It was noted that NHS Berkshire West CCG was a Category 2 responder (a supporting agency).

·         The Department of Health and Social Care had issued EU Exit Operational Guidance in December 2018, which outlined what actions providers and commissioners of health and social care services should take to prepare for, and manage, the risks of a no deal exit scenario.  Rebecca Clegg highlighted what action the CCG was required to take including preparing business continuity plans for a no deal EU exit, by the end of January 2019; and carrying out a no deal EU exit exercise to test business continuity plans by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.


Wokingham Borough Council and Optalis response to a recent Healthwatch report

To receive the Wokingham Borough Council and Optalis response to a recent Healthwatch report. (30 mins)


At the previous Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting Members had viewed a video interview between Healthwatch Wokingham Borough and a member of the public regarding their experience with the START team.  Angela Morris, Director Adult Services and Helen Woodland, Assistant Director Provider Services, Optalis provided an update on the case.  Officers had met with the family.


Angela Morris explained the assessment process.  In the first instance a social worker undertook an assessment of the customer’s needs.  In the particular case a referral had been made to the START team and an assessment made on how a particular identified need could be met.  Helen Woodland indicated that the role of Optalis was to help the customer to become more independent.




1)         the update be noted.


2)         Angela Morris and Helen Woodland be thanked for their update.


Impact of funding cut on Healthwatch Wokingham pdf icon PDF 178 KB

To receive a report regarding the impact of funding cuts on Healthwatch Wokingham. (30 mins)


The Committee received a report regarding the impact of funding cuts on Healthwatch Wokingham Borough.


During the discussion of this item the following points were made:


·         Jim Stockley commented that the report had been prepared in response to questions from the Committee regarding the impact of a cut in the Healthwatch budget.

·         Healthwatch Wokingham Borough had been established in April 2013 as a Community Interest Company to deliver the Healthwatch remit.  At that time the budget had been £107,000.  The budget had remained the same until competitive rebidding of contract in September 2018, when this was reduced to £98,000, although the true budget was less once inflation was factored in.  It was acknowledged that the Council had maintained the funding for a number of years and not reduced it until the 2019 Financial Year.

·         Much of Healthwatch Wokingham’s Borough’s costs were operational. 

·         It was noted that there was no longer a volunteer co-ordinator. 

·         Angela Morris commented that officers valued the service provided by Healthwatch Wokingham Borough and the contribution that they made.  She highlighted the national picture for the funding of Healthwatches.

·         In 2018 in Wokingham Borough, funding had been reduced by approximately 7%. The new contract had been advertised at £100,000 and Healthwatch Wokingham Borough had bid £98,000.  The tender bid had been assessed at that price.  Councillor Miall asked how it had been decided that the contract would be £100,000.

·         Contract review meetings between Healthwatch Wokingham Borough and Officers were held every 3 months.

·         Councillor Richards asked what Healthwatch Wokingham Borough could not provide following the reduction in its funding.  Jim Stockley confirmed that Healthwatch Wokingham Borough were able to meet the contract but were now less able to undertake specific additional projects on matters of concern to residents. 

·         Members questioned whether additional funding could be identified to fund Healthwatch Wokingham Borough to undertake specific projects in the public interest, if required.  Officers agreed to follow this up.

·         Councillor Croy thanked Healthwatch Wokingham Borough for the work it and its volunteers carried out.  He expressed concern that historically inflation had not been applied to the contract. 

·         In response to a question from Councillor Croy regarding the impact of focusing only on adult mental health as a priority, Angela Morris commented that there was no expectation for Healthwatch Wokingham Borough to deliver over the contract.

·         The Committee was invited to an event on 25 March at Wokingham Town Hall 6.30pm at which groups would be presenting on small projects funded by Healthwatch Wokingham Borough to further engagement with hard to reach groups.

·         Councillor Kate Haines emphasised that the Committee wanted to see the continuation of conversations between Officers and Healthwatch Wokingham Borough.




1)        the report on the impact of funding cuts on Healthwatch Wokingham Borough be noted;


2)         Healthwatch Wokingham Borough be thanked for their report.