Agenda and draft minutes

Select Committee - Loneliness and Social Isolation - Monday, 17th September, 2018 2.00 pm

Venue: Swale 1, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Gaetano Romagnuolo  03000 416624

Note No. Item

14:00 - 14:45


Mr Graham Gibbens (Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health), Ms Diane Marsh and Mrs Clair Bell (Deputy Cabinet Members for Adult Social Care and Public Health) pdf icon PDF 67 KB


The Chairman welcomed the guests to the Committee and reminded the Committee of the Terms of Reference. A short introduction was given by Members and officers.

Q – Please introduce yourself and provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities that your post involves.

Mr Gibbens introduced himself as the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health. He said that the purpose of Adult Social Care was to support people (adults, young people and carers) who needed help with daily living to enable them to live as independently as possible in a place of their choice. He discussed the four key areas of Adult Social Care which were Older People and Physical Disability, Mental Health, Learning Disability and Disabled Children. Adult Social Care and Health provided social work, personal care, protection or social support services to children or adults in need or at risk or adults with needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty. He said that approximately £400m out of the £958m overall budget for Kent County Council each year was spent on Adult Social Care and was the largest individual budget within Kent County Council.

Q – Is there a mechanism in place within the Adult Social Care and Public Health services which locate individuals who have become unwell through loneliness and are failing to obtain services that they need because of social isolation?

Mr Gibbens said that one of the challenges that Adult Social Care and Health experienced was around exploring ways in which an increasing older population could be supported. He said that individuals aged 55+ contributed to the majority of Kent’s population, although many individuals that used Kent’s Adult Social Care and Health services were aged 80+ which meant that people were able to live independently for longer, this was with the help of Kent County Council’s services and many other supportive voluntary organisations. He said that he had always sought to support voluntary organisations such as Age UK and said there were many similar organisations which existed around Kent which carried out work for older people. He said that many voluntary organisations also supported carers who were caring for an individual with a long-term illness such as dementia who felt very isolated and lonely, the work that Kent undertook in supporting carers was direct work with the NHS and Clinical Commissioning Groups. He said that supporting carers during times of need was a very important part of Adult Social Care and Public Health’s activities. He said that organisations such as Age UK and The Over 60’s Community Service in Canterbury had been very effective in providing support to people and many of these organisations provided meals too, to reduce social isolation and loneliness which gave individuals the chance to sit with other people to eat and interact with them. He said that the spectrum of Age UK organisations around Kent undertook lots of work to ensure that older people were connected to their local community to prevent loneliness and social isolation.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

15:00 - 15:45


Katie Stewart (Director of Environment, Planning and Enforcement) & Stephanie Holt-Castle (Head of Countryside, Leisure and Sport) pdf icon PDF 68 KB


(1)        Katie Stewart (Director of Environment, Planning and Enforcement (EPE)) explained that the EPE Division had a net budget of £14m and was responsible for the provision of 19 services including Strategic Planning, Flood Risk, Ecology, Environment, the Energy and Low Emissions Strategy, Planning Applications, Public Protection (i.e. Trading Standards Community Safety, etc) and Green Infrastructure such as Country Parks and Public Rights of Way. 


(2)       Katie Stewart continued by saying that a vital component of the Division’s and Directorate’s work was the goal of creating a place which provided access for all to Kent’s Landscapes and Environments.  When asked what from GET’s perspective were the main causes of social isolation and/or loneliness in the elderly, Katie Stewart described how poor health was a major contributor leading to social isolation where people missed out on the County’s social networks and physical activity opportunities and also prevented them accessing community assets such as Libraries, Public Footpaths and Country Parks.  More more widely across GET, it was also through the planning of GET services such as Libraries, Trading Standards, Sport, and Planning.


(3)       Stephanie Holt-Castle (Head of Countryside, Leisure and Sport) explained that a crucial part of her role as GET’s public health subject matter expert was to ensure that community assets were available, physically accessible and welcoming to a range of demographics, including older residents and those less physically able.  This was achieved by practical measures such as the provision of a sufficient number of toilets, shelters, seating and signage to supplement the creation of health walks and ranger-led walks.  The latter included the creation of easy, half-mile walks and trails.


(4)       Katie Stewart then explained that Community Wardens also played a key role in connecting people, particularly those who were socially isolated to such green spaces as well as social networks.  Meanwhile, the Countryside Partnerships ran community volunteering conservation projects that connected communities to the parks and green spaces across the county.  


(5)       In response to a question from Mr Balfour as to whether there was empirical evidence of the work in the Division in supporting wellbeing and overcoming social isolation, Stephanie Holt-Castle said that the Kent Wildlife Trust calculated that each pound spent on green space reaped £3.75 in health benefits.  There was a range of Social Return on Investment data that the Directorate captured, as well as some clinical data, but the challenge for the GET Directorate was to gather sufficient clinical data to demonstrate to public health, health and social care providers that the rewards of its endeavours were significant in preventing ill health.  This could only be achieved by working hand-in-hand with health commissioners. Stephanie Holt-Castle emphasised the evidence paradox that a lack of good data about the benefits of prevention became a reason not to invest in capturing the data that could demonstrate this. Many ‘place based’ services were wholly or largely discretionary in nature, and did not have sufficient budget to capture clinical evidence of impact, whether short or long term.


(6)       The Officers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

16:00 - 16:45


Multi-Disciplinary Group pdf icon PDF 70 KB


Richard Munn (North Kent and Swale Service Manager – KCC), Jenny Walsh, CED – Red Zebra),  Fiona Keyte – Social Prescribing Manager – Red Zebra), Melinda May, Newly Qualified Social Worker – KCC),  Debbie Williams (Case  officer Adult Social care – KCC), Kerrie Lane (Senior Occupational Therapist – KCHFT), Cathy Bellman (Local Care Lead – K&M STP) and James Shaw- Cotterill (Project Manager – K&M STP) attended for this item.


(1)                          The Chairman welcomed members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team to the meeting and invited them to introduce themselves, explain their role and answer questions from Members.  


(2)                          Richard Munn explained that his areas of responsibility included managing and promoting the supporting independence teams which included Occupational Therapists and other staff who carried out assessments to promote independence.  They also carried out supporting independence reviews and responded to urgent changes in need.


(3)                          Jenny Walsh stated that Red Zebra received referrals from GPs and also self-referrals – they saw 50 new clients a month.  The Red Zebra team visited people in their home and, rather than focusing on what was wrong they discussed with the client – “what was strong” – a large percentage of referrals related to loneliness.


(4)                          Fiona Keyte informed the Committee that the Red Zebra social prescribing team consisted of 3 part time and 1 full time worker.  Their aim was to help people to help themselves.  They promoted a database called “Connect Well Kent” – which listed local services and activities which could be matched to the individual’s interests.  This database could be accessed by individuals as well as the prescribing team.


(5)                          In relation to a question on referrals, it was explained that there was a weekly Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting, which considered referrals from GPs, health professionals, self-referrals and referrals from neighbours or other members of the community.   Red Zebra’s services were promoted by GPs and various other methods including talks to community groups.  People requiring support were visited in their own homes or in a community setting, wherever the referred person preferred.  They might be lonely and want to get out into the community, so they would help them to access the database and see what there was that they were interested in.  Most people wanted social activities but there was also a need to provide assistance with housing or welfare needs, including referring them to services for advice/support.   It was about the community assisting in providing support and signposting to what was available in people’s local area.   An example was given of a client who had been widowed and was socially isolated.   He was referred to Red Zebra and visited in his home, he wanted to meet people in the community and enjoyed reading and chatting, he went along to Talk Time events and made friends, this gave him the confidence to try other activities.


(6)                           Another example given was a lady who lived in Kent but worked in London and had no family or friends in her local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.