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Agenda item

Health, Housing, Adult Social Care Directorate Challenges and Priorities as at July 2019

To consider a report of the Corporate Director outlining some initial challenges and priorities for her Directorate at the onset of the new Municipal Year for 2019/20.


The Corporate Director for Health, Housing and Adult Social Care was in attendance to discuss her priorities and challenges for the coming year.


In response to Member questions, the Corporate Director stated that City of York needed to be a Council that becomes ever more responsive to the views and needs of residents. The Director noted that there are some excellent examples here in York of what can be achieved when Members and officers collaborate. However it is often the case that, despite shared goals, different approaches or different paths will be taken to reach that goal. It was noted that staff can still be focussed on their own directorates, which was particularly evident within financial reports relating to adult social care, for which many of the challenges will need to be addressed collaboratively across the Council.


In response to a question regarding York having the fifth highest physical activity rating in the country and what would be required to improve this considering the rise in obesity, the Corporate Director and Director of Public Health made the following comments:


-      The Corporate Director stated that whilst league tables can be a useful indicator, part of the cultural change that she desired to see, was ensuring that the Council do not ‘hit the target and miss the point’


-      The Corporate Director also noted that so much work can often go into the production of statistics around certain health indicators and not enough time and energy goes into the resolution of the key issues.


-      The Director of Public Health stated that this particular indicator was one that was fairly unreliable as it was based on self-assessments from specific areas.


-      It was also noted that there are inequalities within activity levels and work was on-going to develop a Sport and Physical Activity Strategy to help guide work.


-      Finally it was noted that there are examples of good practice in Leeds, particularly around the reduction of childhood obesity, and this was being explored in York, subject to investment that would be required.


In response to what priorities the Council had in terms of reducing health inequality in the City, the Corporate Director stated that it was firstly important to acknowledge the inequalities, as in a place such as York, it is easy for these to be masked. The Director made the point that it was important to look at specific interventions and programmes that could reduce inequalities from a whole Council perspective and that by different departments and directorates working together to solve and fund problems, certain inequalities could be reduced. The process of looking at issues in that way, will help to identify priorities moving forward.


In response to further questions, The Corporate Director highlighted that she thought there would be little use in trying to take one issue or challenge and trying to shape the market with just one organisation’s needs or one section of the population’s needs in mind. Instead the key challenge would be attempting to shape the market with a whole system in mind, such as a Hybrid Health / Social worker that could perform tasks needed by many people and organisations. The Corporate Director noted that the whole system needs to change together and negotiate with the market together.



Supporting documents:


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