Home In focus What was agreed at Cabinet on 26 July

What was agreed at Cabinet on 26 July

by Gemma Melling

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet met on Wednesday 26 July 2017 at 5pm. Here’s a guide to what was discussed and agreed – you can read all the papers in full on the council’s website.

Review of dementia services

Cabinet agreed a series of recommendations aimed at helping Knowsley become a dementia-friendly council by 2020.

The recommendations, which follow a review of current and future service provision, include encouraging councillors to act as community champions for dementia, providing dementia awareness training for all council front line staff, encouraging the creation of a dementia alliance of local and regional organisations, offering dementia care and support which follows national guidelines, and supporting community-based services to enable people with dementia to stay in their own homes for longer.

It is estimated that the number of people in Knowsley with dementia will increase by 23% between 2012 and 2020.

Adult Social Care Transformation Plan 2017 – 2020

Members approved the Adult Social Care Transformation Plan for 2017–2020.

The plan outlines the aims and key principles for the future of Adult Social Care in Knowsley and features a new, more cost-effective approach to delivering Adult Social Care which includes working with Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group to deliver more joined-up health and social care services, investing in and promoting prevention and early intervention.

The plan also identifies the priorities for transformation across five key areas over the next three years. These areas are: safeguarding, pathways to independence, service development and commissioning, the transformation of the council’s in-house services, and prevention and early intervention.

Housing Land Disposal Programme Phase 3

Cabinet members also agreed plans to embark on phase 3 of its housing land disposal programme.  Since 2009, the council has rationalized property and investment to ensure that its property assets are efficient, fit for purpose and sustainable which has reduced the number of property assets by 65%, removed £14m of maintenance liabilities, and reduced annual premises related expenditure by £1m.

A number of these brownfield sites have subsequently been used for housing developments, supporting the council’s commitment to increase the quality and quantity of new homes in the borough, as well as creating jobs during their construction.

Phase 3 comprises of four sites located in Huyton, Kirkby and two in Stockbridge Village, together comprising approximately 50 acres.  The proposal is to release the sites in phases as follows – September 2017 – Astley Road/Knowsley Lane, Huyton, December 2017 – Whitefield Drive, Kirkby, and April 2018 – Little Moss Hey and Hollow Croft, Stockbridge Village.

In addition, a number of extra care locations are being considered to meet demand.  These are Halewood – within the Oakford housing development site, Huyton – within Huyton Village, Kirkby – site of former All Saints School, Cherryfield Drive and Prescot, Whiston, Cronton and Knowsley Village – site within the Halsnead Garden Village development.

Knowsley Better Together

The introduction of ‘Knowsley Better Together’ – a different way of working in a co-operative way with stakeholders, partner agencies and residents – was endorsed by members.

Knowsley Better Together is a citizenship deal aimed at provide a way to reduce demand and deliver behaviour change by working together.   Knowsley’s improvement and growth plans are very ambitious – the launch of “Knowsley Better Together” is a clear response to this challenge and a way to co-ordinate activities so that effort is not duplicated and any gaps in service are covered.

Council policy on academisation of schools

This report considered the impact on the local authority of an increasing number of Knowsley schools which are considering converting to Academy status. Until now, Knowsley Council’s policy has been a neutral one – neither to encourage nor discourage Academy conversion. But as the number of local schools considering conversion rises, the report looks at the possible implications for the borough, and what pressures it might put on the local education system and the council’s resources.

Cabinet agreed that the council take a more proactive approach, working with local community schools to help them determine whether each would benefit from becoming an academy or remaining as a maintained school. Schools wanting to convert would be assisted by the council and the regional schools commissioner to join a high-quality Multi Academy Trust or establish a local Multi Academy Trust, in order to ensure high standards are maintained and to avoid the local education system becoming fragmented with academy trusts competing for control over the borough’s schools.

Members also agreed with the recommendation that a charging policy should be introduced to cover the council’s costs when assisting with an academy conversion, something which is already happening in other local authority areas. This would ensure that council resources are not diverted away from those schools who choose to remain maintained.