Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 6th June, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone

Contact: Anna Taylor  03000 416478


No. Item


Declarations of Interests by Members in items on the Agenda for this Meeting

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The following declarations were received:


Mr Collor declared on item C2 that he was a member of the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee.

Dr Sullivan declared on item C1 that she was a Cabinet Member on Gravesham Borough Council.

Mr Lehmann declared on item C1 that he was a member of Swale borough council.



Minutes of the meetings held on 23 February and 20 April 2023 pdf icon PDF 215 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 23 February & 20 April 2023 were an accurate record and that they be signed by the Chairman.



Kent Homeless Connect: Transition Update pdf icon PDF 174 KB

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Mrs Clair Bell (Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health), Mr Richard Smith (Corporate Director Adult Social Care & Health), Mr Simon Mitchell (Interim Head of Adults Commissioning) and Mr Max Guest (Strategic Commissioning Officer) were in attendance for this item. 



1.    Mrs Bell introduced the item. She discussed the decision set out in the 2022/23 budget not to continue the contract for the Kent Homeless Connect service. Part of this decision was the establishment of an 18-month transition period with up to £4.5 million of funding which would be split into three stages. Mrs Bell explained that KCC had been working with district councils during the transition to ensure that aspects of the service could continue to be delivered by them as the responsible housing authorities.


2.    Members asked the following questions and made comments to Mrs Bell, Mr Smith, Mr Mitchell and Mr Guest:

a)    A Member asked several questions on what the implications of the decision to end the Homeless Connect service had been, how the decision had impacted other KCC services and what intelligence mapping had taken place. Mr Guest told Members that care-package assessments were underway for all those deemed eligible for support from Adult Social Care but said it was too early to identify the impact of these assessments. He said the assessments would mitigate the impact of the decision by providing alternative sources of support and accommodation to existing service users. On whether the decision would impact other services, Mr Guest said all service commissioners had been made aware of the decision in 2022 and regular updates had been provided to them. Mr Smith added that KCC’s 24 community teams would be working with partners including the district councils to support vulnerable individuals. He told Members that Kent’s mental health services had seen a greater demand recently but noted that the cost-of-living crisis and other national factors had contributed to this. Mr Smith reminded Members of KCC’s support for vulnerable people including the Live Well Kent Service which provided support, information and advice to those with mental health support needs. He also told Members that he had tasked his Assistant Directors with screening users of the Homeless Connect to see if they were eligible for Care Act services. 

b)    The Chairman added his concerns over the number of rough sleepers on highstreets in Kent. He asked whether the Xantura system, established by Maidstone Borough Council, had been proactive and preventative. Mrs Bell told Members that it was her understanding that the Xantura system had been working well. Whilst agreeing with the Chairman’s concerns about rough sleeping, she reminded Members that housing was the responsibility of district councils, and that the Government had made additional funding available to them in recent years. Mr Guest gave a brief overview of the Xantura system. He explained that it mapped risk indicators of homelessness and identified an appropriate route for those individuals. The Chairman noted that this may be a topic of interest for future meetings.

c)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Kent Adult Carers' Strategy One Year On pdf icon PDF 348 KB

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Mrs Clair Bell (Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health), Mr Richard Smith (Corporate Director Adult Social Care & Health) and Mr Simon Mitchell (Interim Head of Adults Commissioning) were in attendance for this item.


1.    Mrs Bell introduced the item, explaining that the delivery plan had been co-developed with stakeholders and a key aspect of this was the establishment of the Kent Carers Forum.  The Kent Adult Carers’ Strategy was closely aligned with the overarching Marking a Difference Every Day Strategy for Adult Social Care.  


2.    Members discussed the report and asked questions to Mrs Bell, Mr Smith & Mr Mitchell, these included:

a)    A Member praised the ‘telling your story once’ initiative and highlighted the importance of effective and efficient communication.

b)    A Member asked if KCC liaised with health trusts on technology to ensure there was joined up working with compatible systems, particularly where areas of responsibility overlapped. Mrs Bell commented on the importance of a joined-up approach to technology. Mr Smith told Members that KCC worked closely with the digital lead at the NHS and that whilst services weren’t jointly commissioned steps were being taken to co-operate with the NHS on technology.

c)    A Member commended carers and raised National Carers Week.

d)    A Member asked what was prioritised in the Kent Carers Strategy and how this was decided. Mrs Bell told Members that the priorities were based on feedback from service users. The Member asked if there was data to demonstrate the progress of delivery on key priorities. Mrs Bell told Members that the strategy set out the desired outcomes, and the delivery plan explored the best ways to reach those outcomes. Mrs Bell confirmed that progress on those targets could be reported on in future.

e)    A Member highlighted the importance of carers receiving cover to allow them to take breaks and asked whether respite rates had increased recently. Mrs Bell told Members that KCC did have a contract in place which allowed carers to take short breaks. Mr Mitchell elaborated that carers could receive direct payments or get cover via the contract. A Member asked if the contract was sufficient for demand. Mr Mitchell responded that they provided this service to the carers who came forward but as not all eligible carers were known to KCC, it was not possible to assist all carers.

f)      A Member raised concerns about burnout within the carer community and asked what the impact on KCC was when a carer was no longer able to provide care. Mr Mitchell responded that when carers were unable to provide support for any reason, the person in need of care would fall under KCC’s statutory responsibility. The Member then asked if there had been an increase in this and asked for any evidence. Mr Mitchell said that it would be difficult to assess as individuals’ circumstances varied greatly. Mr Smith told Members of the importance of early investment in carers and ensuring that they were aware of the options available to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 261 KB

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RESOLVED that the Scrutiny Committee note the Work Programme.