IJB performance considered during Council-wide Best Value Audit
An external Best Value audit of Falkirk Council, conducted by Audit Scotland, has recognised the strong progress made during the pandemic to change the way health and social care services are delivered.
However, reviewing the performance of Falkirk Council as a whole, the report also states we are not yet achieving best value and notes leadership needs to do much more.
The audit report contains a set of key messages which are not directed at specific parts of the Council, but tell us that, as a collective, we need to do more to demonstrate best value.
Falkirk Council’s Best Value Assurance Report is available to read as part of the Accounts Commission’s meeting agenda on 9 December. The report is not complete, and therefore won’t be officially published, until the Accounts Commission has determined what action it would like to take – this may include publishing its own findings on top of the conclusions made by the audit team.
If the Commission agree to accept the conclusions made by the audit team, the report will be published in January.
The Integration Joint Board and Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership has a significant role to play in addressing the identified areas for improvement. To do this, we will work with Falkirk Council to produce and deliver an improvement plan.
The report provides two pages of recommendations that the Council must take forward if it is to achieve Best Value. To read the full council-wide recommendations, visit the Accounts Commission website.
Where the 61-page report addresses IJB and Partnership performance specifically, it notes:
- the IJB made strong progress during 2020/21 in changing the way health and social care services are delivered, despite the significant financial and operational impacts of Covid-19.
- Partners worked closely together during the pandemic to develop constructive relationships that have improved how services are provided. This included developing a masterplan for transferring responsibility for patients in the Falkirk Community Hospital to the IJB.
- The IJB’s focus on community hospitals will provide further opportunity to address significant priorities.
- Progress has been made on the use of digital technology, including the Analogue to Digital Telecare project undertaken in partnership as part of the ‘Council of the Future’ programme.
- The IJB has implemented new service models after learning from its experience of dealing with Covid-19. For example, the HSCP model developed with NHS Forth Valley to support care homes has extended the ‘Hospital @ Home’ service.
- Council-wide, there is a clear focus on addressing aspects of adult and children’s social care which “perform relatively poorly compared with other councils. The Partnership has evidenced further improvement over the last year in its latest annual report.
- There are significant recruitment challenges faced by social care services, with the report recommending further work with partners to support longer-term plans.
- Partners are still to formally agree support services to be provided to the IJB, including financial and procurement support. While the recent progress is positive, delays in the integration of key services have affected the IJB’s ability to fulfil the aims of its strategic plan and demonstrate Best Value.
- The strong joint working between Falkirk Council, HSCP, and NHS Forth Valley in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic has improved the effectiveness of the IJB and enabled it to make progress in shifting the balance of care. However, NHS Forth Valley has yet to fully integrate key services. This falls short of the expectations within legislation and reduces the IJB’s ability to achieve transformational change.
Falkirk Council’s Best Value Assurance Report is available to read as part of the Accounts Commission’s meeting agenda on 9 December. You can read it now online. The report will be discussed with the audit team during the public meeting.
The report is not complete, and therefore won’t be officially published, until the Accounts Commission has determined what action it would like to take – this may include publishing its own findings on top of the conclusions made by the audit team.
If the Commission agree to accept the conclusions made by the audit team, the complete Best Value Assurance Report will be published in January.