In response to a question from Plain Speaker, the Chair of Calderdale Council’s Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel has confirmed that the Panel is to hold a private meeting on Monday 1st September at 6pm in Halifax Town Hall.
The meeting is not on the official Council calendar, nor on the printed sheet which was issued on 28 August listing amendments to committees for the period 1 September to 1 October.
Neither the Council’s Democratic Services Manager, other Councillors who are not on the Scrutiny Panel, nor the public had been told about it.
I asked Cllr James to reverse the decision to exclude the public from this meeting, but Cllr James later emailed his refusal, saying:
“The purpose of the meeting is to allow the panel to discuss the nature of the advice that may be sought from external
We hope to also discuss questions that may be asked of the CCG when they appear before the panel. We have now
agreed with the CCG that this will be on the 17th September.
The meeting on the 9th September will still be held but with other agenda items.
The meeting this evening is not to discuss the items you have noted below. [You can see these items that I asked Cllr James about, below the photo]
Please be assured that the Scrutiny Panel will hold all relevant discussions in public.”
I made this request to hold the meeting in public, on behalf of members of the public who signed a petition calling on the Scrutiny Panel to use its powers to formally inquire into the unpopular proposed NHS shake up, known as Right Care Right Place Right Time – but now re-branded by the NHS Commissioners as Care Closer To Home.
At its last meeting, the Scrutiny Panel agreed to act on the public petition .
Councillor James informed me of the private, unscheduled Scrutiny Panel meeting after I’d asked my ward Councillors and the Scrutiny Panel members and Scrutiny Officer for information about this unscheduled Scrutiny Panel meeting, and whether it is open to members of the public.
I have asked Cllr James if he would like to comment on this meeting, so that Plain Speaker readers can understand his side of the story, as is only fair and ethical.
The Scrutiny Panel is the Council body charged with responsibility for holding local NHS organisations to account.
In one of his emails, Councillor James said that the private unscheduled meeting is a ‘work planning’ meeting. I asked him to confirm whether or not that ‘work planning’ is to discuss:
- the appointment of an external adviser to help the Scrutiny Panel inquire into the “Right Care” proposals,
- the approach the panel should take to the ‘Right Care Right Time Right Place’ proposed NHS and social care shake up (now re-branded by Calderdale Clinicial Commissioning Group as “Care Closer to Home“
Members of the public, including me, have asked the Scrutiny Panel to appoint Professor Allyson Pollock as their external advisor.
The regular, scheduled Scrutiny Panel meeting on 9th September, was to have called in the Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chief Officer Dr Matt Walsh, to explain the CCG’s plan to go ahead and implement the community health and social care element of the Right Care proposals without public consultation.
This meeting has now been pushed back to 17th September, although the Scrutiny Panel will still meet on 9th September. The 9th September agenda will be on the Calderdale Council website.
Updated 1 September with confirmation of the meeting from the AHSC Scrutiny Panel Chair, Cllr Malcolm James.
Updated 2 September with information about Cllr James’ emailed refusal of my request that he reverse the decision to hold the Scrutiny Panel meeting in private, and information about the new date for the Scrutiny Panel meeting that will call in Dr Walsh of Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group.