Future use of Trevone House – questions from Jeremy Hilton

Trevone House before it was closed as a nursing home

On the 24th of April the county council cabinet, which is controlled by the Conservatives, agreed a plan to convert Trevone House into a resource centre for young people between ages of 16 and 20.

Trevone House will provide living accommodation for up to 21 young people who are in the care of the county council. The facility will have staff on duty 24/7.

The young persons’ facility will have a health assessment unit, an educational day service and apartments for young people to be able to learn the skills of daily living to prepare them for adulthood. It will be inspected by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.

The county council held a public consultation on the 15th of May and another is planned during August.

Here are the set of questions from Jeremy Hilton that took place at cabinet on the 24th of April. First set is the written questions and answers. The second set are the verbal supplementary questions and answers.

The cabinet report can be read online, click here:
http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/documents/s51904/Item%2011%20-%20Gloucestershires%20Sufficiceny%20Strategy%20-%20Semi-Independent%20Project.pdf

Question 1 – Jeremy Hilton

The report says the proposed remodelling of Trevone House will provide a resource centre for children and young people, provision of a health assessment unit, an educational day service and apartments for young people to be able to learn the skills of daily living to prepare them for adulthood. I agree that such a facility for young people in care is required in Gloucestershire, but what other properties in the county were considered and where are they located?

Answer 1 – Richard Boyles

Children Services over the past few years have considered a number of options in relation to providing provision of placements for children and young people in county. This has included looking at existing buildings, as well as purchasing new provision, both in urban and more rural areas. Unfortunately, these searches did not identify any potential properties with the scope that is being offered from using Trevone House. This project is innovative in its design, offering a multi agency approach to our young people. Because of this, it needs to be centrally located, accessible both for young people to access community resources, but also for staff and partners.

Question 2 – Jeremy Hilton

I was only briefed about this proposal on the 11th of April 2019, the day before the cabinet report was published. Local residents haven’t been consulted. What plans do you have to fully consult local residents, other care institutions and local schools based in Kingsholm? And will they be listened to?

Answer 2 – Richard Boyles

A communications plan will be implemented, to engage with and listen to local residents, so that everyone has an opportunity to share their views. Our young ambassadors will be part of this process, bringing to life their journeys, working together not only for the development of this project but also for the life time of the provision, to reduce anxiety, mitigate risks and promote community cohesion.

Question 3 – Jeremy Hilton

In paragraph 3.2, the report says that this proposal will provide accommodation for 16-20 year olds. Can you provide me with an assurance that no person will be placed at Trevone House who is over the age of 20 years?

Answer 3 – Richard Boyles

This project is to support young people moving onto independence from the age of 16 years, planning for them to move on to independent accommodation. In exceptional circumstances, where young people need more time or support due to their learning or emotional needs, consideration would be given for them to remain in placement post 20 years. These young people would have a robust transition plan in place.

Question 4 – Jeremy Hilton

Will the new young persons facility at Trevone House be a single gender provision? If not, what spilt in genders is expected?

Answer 4 – Richard Boyles

The accommodation will be co-ed, but this will be in the context of a needs lead service and planned placements. Placement matching is key to the success of this project and a panel will be in place to review placement referrals. This will be multi agency, with colleagues from Health, Police, Children’s Services and the provider. The panel will not only review the placement referrals, it will also monitor the young people in placement.

Question 5 – Jeremy Hilton

On Radio Gloucestershire, (8am on 15th April 2019), Cllr Mark Hawthorne stated that there would be a minimum of 4 members staff on duty 24/7. Is this correct and how many staff will be on duty during the day and over the night?

Answer 5 – Richard Boyles

The whole concept of this project is to support and enable our young people to flourish and be aspirational in developing their plans for adulthood. Therefore, staffing is critical, not only in the numbers but the quality and skills of the staff team. There will be a minimum of four staff on duty at any one time, across the whole project. At times, where needed, there will be more staff on duty for those young people who need higher levels of support. Parts of the tendering process will require potential providers to evidence their staffs skills and training and supervision standards to ensure they meet the requirements of this. Given the nature of the project, there will be additional staff during the day to deliver the day service provision. The project will also have capacity to bring in additional staff as required and to support young people in distress, particularly those in need of health assessments

The following supplementary questions were asked at the meeting

Supplementary Question 1 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr Hilton referred to the large number of care institutions based in Kingsholm and stated how important it was not to overload the community with such facilities. Seeking clarification on the answer to his question, Cllr Hilton asked what other properties in the county had been considered as possible locations for a young person’s facility? Cllr Hilton asked Cllr Boyles to provide a written answer to the question, including the reasons why the locations had been dismissed as suitable premises.

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People)

Cllr Boyles explained that the project to provide a young person’s facility as was proposed four years ago under the IRIS project. After the Ofsted Inspection in 2017, a key part of Gloucestershire’s Sufficiency Strategy expanded the need for a wider range of local accommodation options. Cllr Boyles explained that some of the properties that had originally been considered were no longer suitable . The Gloucestershire Sufficiency Strategy aimed to cater for young people in the community. Cllr Boyles agreed to provide Cllr Hilton with a written response to his question after the meeting. He stated that, as the terms of the project grew, so did the terms of requirement.

Supplementary Question 2 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr Hilton acknowledged there was a communications plan but stressed the importance of consulting with the local community. Cllr Hilton asked for assurance that consultation had been done?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr Boyles referred to the clear communications plan which set out the engagements that would be undertaken with the local community on a wide range of issues associated with the project, including bus services, schools and hospitals. Cllr Boyles agreed to provide a written response to the question after the meeting and assured Cllr Hilton the views of the local community would be listened to.

Supplementary Question 3 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr Hilton stated that, in the UK, a person reached maturity and was regarded as an adult by the time of their 18th birthday. Cllr Hilton asked Cllr Boyles to guarantee no new person over the age of 20 would be placed at Trevone House and that no one over age 20 would spend their first night in care at the house?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr Boyles stated he was unable to promise that no one over the age of 20 would be placed at Trevone House. He explained some placements could roll over beyond the age of 18 and that he would need to consult with the team on the matter. Cllr Boyles did not envisage anyone over the age of 20 would be placed at the facility but could not give a definite yes or no at this time.

Supplementary Question 4 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr Hilton noted that the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted were regulators of the facility and asked how often and how rigorous were their inspections expected to be?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr Boyles confirmed the inspections would be as rigorous as always and that the inspection reports would be available as and when the information was provided. The inspections would be annual but may be more frequent.

Supplementary Question 5 – Jeremy Hilton

Cllr Hilton referred to a recent briefing with Cllr Boyles and the indication there would only be two people on duty overnight. Cllr Hilton also referred to a recent radio interview given by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, where it was suggested there would be 4 members of staff on duty 24/7. Cllr Hilton sought clarification on how many members of staff would be on duty at the facility from 9pm to 9am?

Response by: Cllr Richard Boyles

Cllr Boyles confirmed there would be 4 members of staff on duty, once the facility was fully open. Until this time, and as the facility developed, the number of staff could be lower, dependent on the number of residents. Cllr Boyles said that everything would be risk assessed, with additional staff brought in if the risk was deemed appropriate.