To consider a report of the Director of Children’s Services regarding the Short Break Activities Programme and consultation outcomes.
To subject to pre-decision scrutiny, the proposed changes to the Short Break Activities Programme.
The Committee received a report and presentation from the Director of Children’s Services on the proposed changes to the short break activities programme and consultation outcomes (Item 6 in the Minute Book).
The Committee were taken through the presentation which highlighted the proposed changes to the short break activities proposals, and also the consultation outcomes on the nine proposals. With relation to proposal one, it was heard that feedback received was neutral, with organisations in favour of this proposal, and the intention was to commission new arrangements working closely with organisations such as HPCN. The Committee heard that in relation to proposal two, feedback received was broadly in agreement with the proposal and it was noted that in terms of implementation, this would be relatively straightforward. It was also highlighted that there was broad agreement with proposal three from respondents, and questions had been asked about what was a reasonable charge and it was noted that a 50% reduction would be applied to low income families.
Changes to the Gateway Card with the introduction of a new online application system were outlined and Members also heard that respondents broadly agreed with the proposal to require evidence of eligibility from a professional as part of the new Gateway Card application, and families would be supported through this process.
The proposal to cease funding short break activities for young people aged 18 and over was set out and it was noted that while the majority of respondents broadly disagreed with this proposal, the Committee noted the proposed steps to be taken with the Adults’ Health and Care Community Team. It was also explained that young people aged 18 and over, could continue to access the activity, but would have to pay the full rate.
Proposals to only fund short break activities for children who live in the Hampshire County Council authority area were explained and it was heard that this approach would be consistent with many other local authorities, and young people affected could self fund or contact the local authority where they live to explore options. Proposals to only fund short break activities which allowed parents and carers to leave their child and proposals to cease funding for swimming lessons as a short break activity were also set out. Members heard that the County Council would work with other local authority leisure providers to ensure that the needs of disabled children and their parents/carers were taken into consideration.
In response to questions, Members heard:
· That in respect of young people aged 18 years and over, close working with Adults’ Health and Care would ensure that affected families would be contacted to carry out an assessment, and it was agreed that a review of how families were coping with this would be helpful.
· That overnight short breaks at Avon Tyrell could still take place and work had been undertaken to understand need in relation to individual young people.
· That discussions with providers to provide flexibility for parents and carers paying in advance ... view the full minutes text for item 69