Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Introduction From New Committee Chair

For the new Chair of External Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Manley,  to welcome attendees and introduce herself.


The new Chair of External Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Manley, welcomed attendees and introduce herself. She took the opportunity to thank Councillor Phil Pennington for his previous work chairing the External Overview & Scrutiny Committee. 



Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from Non-Elected Member Phil Topham and Vice Chair Councillor Cottle-Hunkin.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 21st April 2021.


The Chair ran through the minutes of the previous meeting page by page with committee members. No issues were raised.


It was proposed by Councillor Chris Leather, seconded by Councillor Newton and - 




That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 April 2021 be agreed and signed as a correct record.


(Vote:  For – 6, Abstain – 2)



Public Participation

15 minute period for public contributions


No requests for public participation were received for the meeting.



Action List


There were no outstanding actions from the action list.  Councillor Manley explained that this was due to a new Chair taking being appointed and future work would be discussed as part of the Forward Plan agenda item.



Declaration Of Interests

Members with interests should refer to the agenda item and describe the nature of their interest when the item is considered.



Members were reminded that declarations of interest should be made as and when the specific agenda item to which they related was under discussion.



Agreement Of Agenda Items Part I and II


There were no part II items for the meeting.



Urgent Matters Brought Forward With the Permission Of The Chair


No urgent matters were bought forward. 



Together Drug & Alcohol Service

An opportunity to hear from Together Drug & Alcohol Service about their work in relation to mental health issues.


Joni Nash introduced herself as the Head of Service and Development at Together.  A commissioned service for people with complex needs and a drug and alcohol service for over 18s.  The service covers Devon excluding Torbay and Plymouth.


The service works with people who have substance misuse issues and with people who have complex needs, this can include homelessness and mental health.  Together work alongside mental health services providing interim psycho-social support, which covers safety planning and harm reduction work; helping service users to identify who to go to for support.


Joni provided an overview of the services that Together provide in the Torridge district.  She also highlighted how the service fits within the provision locally, where the gaps are and how the service support people who are referred in as a result. There are large waiting lists within Community Mental Health services currently, it was explained how this was managed and the work taking place to identify funding streams. 


Joni went on to highlight how the Covid pandemic has impacted their work, with less people being able to move through treatment due to the risks involved in exiting their mental health treatment. 


The Chair thanked Joni for her introduction and asked members if they had any questions. The discussion is summarised below.


The Together Service was based in Bideford, but recently moved to Riverside Court in Barnstaple, covering North Devon. They also have a satellite base that they work from in Ilfracombe and a satellite base in Bideford is also being explored.


Referrals can be by way of walk in, or people can phone. The service aims to screen anyone within 24 to 48 hours. There is a waiting list for those coming into treatment, which dates back to March 2021.Joni explained that the waiting list is long because Health and Social Care are struggling to recruit to positions. They have links with GPs to provide shared care and a Hospital Liaison Officer who is based at the hospital each day. 


During discussions Joni highlighted the different care pathways available locally and the types of interventions available to people depending on their age and need – she highlighted other projects they work alongside and some of the take up they now have because of service closure.  


Members asked about the impact of Covid on the Together Service. The service has seen an increase in alcohol referrals during the Pandemic, more so with lower level alcohol use.


The work has been phone-based and has made them more accessible, so more people have progressed through treatment. This has resulted in more successful outcomes than prior to Covid. However, the service is starting to see an increase in people experiencing anxiety now lockdown is lifting. Joni explained how the service is responding as a result.


Furthermore, some projects have been based online since the Pandemic started and this can be a barrier for those who are digitally poor. The Together Project have continued to see the highest risk people  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.


Consideration Of The Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 206 KB


Councillor Manley explained the aim of the forward plan and asked member of the committee for their suggestions on issues that should be covered at future meetings.  


Items that were agreed for the forward plan:

·         Amalgamation of the of the Norther Devon Healthcare Trust and the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Trust. Specifically looking at how services will be delivered in the local area and how they are working. 


·         The new Transformation Programme was also highlighted as an issue to consider.


·         The contract for Leisure Services and Grounds Maintenance should also be considered as items on the forward plan in the run up to 2022.


·         An update on the progression of the Play Strategy, with an invite extended to Shaun Kearney.  Staci to contact Shaun Kearney to find out if there will be an update in September, or if this item should be added to the November Committee meeting.


·         Consider the joint report with North Devon on larger play spaces like sports fields and Multi Use Games Areas, which are considered lacking in North Devon area. 


·         An annual review of agreed issues, which are booked into the forward plan, with an invite extended to the relevant Lead Member.


·         First Responders - Fire & Rescue, the Ambulance Service and Air Ambulance provision. Considering response time and how define between urgent and non urgent. It was highlighted that the Ambulance Service were currently very stretched and this should be considered when adding to the forward plan.


There was a discussion around recruitment to health and social care roles and the lack of affordable housing locally. It was confirmed this was discussed at the recent Housing Workshop and a report would be presented to Full Council as a result. Chair suggested waiting for the outcome of the Housing report before considering this for the Forward Plan.


Attendees agreed that Janet would contact Toby Davies and confirm the details for the joint Community Safety Partnership meeting in October and, depending on the outcome, the environment item on the same date would be considered for Committee in January.



Exclusion Of The Public

The Chair to move:-

That the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting because of the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.


There were no Part II items so Chair thanks all for attending.