Agenda item

Discovery - Scrutiny Update

To receive the Performance report


The Committee considered the update on the performance of the Discovery contract. The report contained performance measured against the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Documented some of the transformational activities including day services, employment support and reviews of people supported. In addition, there was a financial update on the programme, a stakeholder update and challenges to quality and performance.


The Committee were interested to note the current performance of the Discovery Contract, to welcome the wider engagement with stakeholders and to see the progress of the reviews of people supported by Discovery.


The report contained details of KPI’s associated with the Discovery contract. Somerset commissioners are satisfied that overall the contract is delivering a safe service to the required standards. The commissioners are aware of the staffing difficulties and the impact this has on the quality leading up the restructure. The Committee were informed that there has been detailed work between commissioners and Discovery and it is expected that this is a temporary issue.

The CGC continue to carry out unannounced inspections of Discovery locations in line with their planned inspection regime. The last service to receive such an inspection was Amberleigh. This was rated as Good and some the CQC observed some areas of good practice in supporting people to have choice and control over their lives.


The Committee were interested in an update on Crisis Support as this had been identified as one for concern prior to transfer to discovery, especially Oak House. SCC is supporting Discovery to transform this service and to support the delivery of a new service model the current service will end on 16th March 2019.  During this transfer the KPI’s for this element of the contract have been suspended.


Employment Services now has the new management structure needed to deliver this key part of the programme.  The Committee were pleased to see in the report details of some of the early successes of this programme. In particular, they noted the positive outcomes of the working relationship with Hinkley C in supporting Traineeships leading to employment.

The Committee were keen to ask that Discovery do not refer to “converting people” as this did not set the right connotation. They noted that Somerset did not perform as well as some other places in supporting those with learning difficulties into employment and wanted assurance that this key element of the Discovery contract was rigorously pursued.

The Committee were interested to hear progress on the support being offered to those people who were using the Day Services at Six Acres and Five Ways prior to the announcement of their closure. The Facilities and options put in place are better than those offered by the closed facilities and ae kept under review.  The Committee heard that the Seahorses facility in Minehead has not worked as well as Discovery would have liked and so some National experts have been asked to visit and offer suggestions for improvement. 

The Committee heard that there had been a small underspend, and this has been ringfenced for a Social Value Fund.



The Committee asked about the replacement services available once Six Acres closes and wanted reassurance that there would not be too long a gap between one closing and the other being ready and able to offer the necessary services. The Committee were informed that the new service in Taunton would not replicate that of Six Acres; the rationale for closing Six Acres was to provide better and more support across a wider base. Plans are advanced with a central hub but these remain Commercial in Confidence at this stage.


The Committee were concerned that the quality of the tables in the documentation made it difficult to scrutinise some of the performance. They made a request that in future tables were presented in such a way that they could be read electronically.

The Committee discussed the CQC inspection regime and were concerned that if an inspection failed on one measure of safeguarding this should result in an overall fail in the same way as it would for an Ofsted inspection. It was agreed that the Committee would write to the CQC asking why. This was proposed by Cllr Huxtable and Seconded by Cllr Revans and supported unanimously.


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