In the coming years, local authorities face an enormous challenge in meeting rising demand for adult social care.

By 2020, social care faces a funding gap of at least £2.6 billion. In Derby, increasing pressures due to demand and inflation place an additional £14 million burden on our finances over the same period.

In these circumstances, it’s important for the Council to think about the way it delivers services and how it can use its limited resources most effectively. With an ageing population, we need to consider the best way for people to receive the support they need, whether that is at home or in residential care.

The Protecting Vulnerable Adults Overview and Scrutiny Board has an important role to play, looking at services relating to social care, health and adult safeguarding.

It’s the responsibility of the Board to examine the services available to Derby residents and suggest ways in which they can be improved. This can include looking at those directly provided by the Council, like adult social care, or services delivered by partners in the NHS, as well as in the private and voluntary sectors.

It’s my role as the Chair of the Board to help set the annual work programme. For example, this year we have been looking at the Derby and Derbyshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan, the success of Local Area Coordination and issues affecting public health in the city.

The Board also gives colleagues in the NHS an opportunity to consult the Council on the development of new plans and policies that may affect people in Derby.

Each year, the Board chooses one topic to examine in detail. Currently, we are looking at access to GP services in Derby, with the support of colleagues from Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Representatives from the NHS will be invited to attend a meeting of the Board, where we’ll have an opportunity to discuss the issues affecting Derby with healthcare professionals. A key part of this topic review will be a patient survey currently being carried out by the NHS.

After hearing the findings of the survey and gathering other relevant evidence, the Board will then be able to make recommendations to Council Cabinet for further consideration.

As lay people, councillors represent the views of residents who use our services to those who manage them every day. Through the scrutiny system we are able to offer a perspective that may not have previously been considered, gained through our day-to-day engagement with residents in our wards.

It’s my opinion that taking on new and innovative ideas can only help the Council as it undergoes a period of substantial change as a result of cuts in Government funding. If we are to protect the services that matter to local people, we must consider every option available.

It’s my responsibility to ensure that the Protecting Vulnerable Adults Scrutiny Board continues to make a meaningful contribution to that process.

Published: Friday 10th March