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Councillor, Marco Longhi chaired the final Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee of 2015 at the Council House this week.   Important items scrutinised on the agenda include ‘Healthwatch’ in the Borough and its future as a statutory service in Walsall.  The attending committee of 11 councillors expressed its continued interest in the re-tendering of Healthwatch provision in Walsall and anticipated performance.  

Chair, Councillor Longhi said; “it is the statutory duty of the council to ensure Walsall has a Healthwatch and the role of scrutiny to ensure this is the best possible provision and meets the needs of people in Walsall. Therefore we shall continue to scrutinise Healthwatch arrangements over the coming months.”

Another item that led to positive debate on the night were the findings from a recent Adult Social Care Peer Review.  This type of review is an accepted format for sector led improvement and brings together local authorities and health partners to look at how they can review practise, policy and consequently improve procedure.   The feedback from the review cited many positives regarding the provision of social care services in Walsall.  It also highlighted the areas for improvement too and this was discussed at length by the committee.

Councillor Longhi, added; “The knowledge gained from the Peer Review is an invaluable.  It means we can learn from the new and existing Health and Social care models which are proving to be efficient and effective - this is a great resource for any local authority.  The recent Peer Review model could be followed corporately across all other council services as well.”

The Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet again on 18 January 2016

Recommendations from Committee:  17 December 2015 are as follows;


1.            Cabinet are strongly urged to carry out a corporate peer review without delay in line with peer review recommendations to allow future budget decisions to be informed by the review findings ASAP.

2.            When considering future savings within adult social care it should be remembered that spend on adult social care as a % of total council budget in Walsall is low and one of the lowest in the West Midlands, future budget setting should ensure sustainable resources to fund adult social care.

3.            Partnership working and a whole Council approach is integral to achieving desired outcomes for adult social care, so Cabinet is urged to accept the peer review recommendation in line with ‘silo working’ and organisation development.


Background on role and function of Social care and Health Overview Committee:   Chairs: Councillor Marco Longhi (Chair) Councillor Eileen Russell (Vice Chair).  Councillor Longhi has specialist knowledge of Adult Social Health Care in the Borough of Walsall and is a former NHS /NICE consultant.


The democratic processes of Health Care Scrutiny involves;


•             A committee of 12 councillors which meet every six weeks to discuss and scrutinise health matters in the borough. 

•             The Committee looks to address areas of public concern, identify best practice models that can be shared with health partners and also to scrutinise lessons learnt.

•             The Social Care and Health Overview committee represents public interest through transparent and open debate. 

•             It has the power to question and postpone Local Authority decisions.  If there is disagreement amongst the councillors, or they feel that your views and feelings are not being fully represented as they see it, a resolution cannot be agreed on particular issue.

•             The Panel therefore has the right to request further scrutiny and debate on an issue before any motion is carried.

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