Agenda item


The Director of Public Health submits a report that presents a final proposal for a new model of delivery for lifestyle services in Leicester City. Scrutiny Commission members are asked to note the recommended new model and feedback comments on the proposed model to the Executive.


Members of the Heritage, Culture, Leisure and Sport Scrutiny Commission have received an invitation to attend and participate in the consideration of this item.


The Director of Public Health submitted a report that presented a final proposal for a new model of delivery for lifestyle services in Leicester City. Jo Atkinson, Consultant in Public Health delivered a power point presentation on the final proposals, a copy of which is attached to the back of these minutes.


The Chair thanked officers for the report stating that the information presented was more detailed than in the previous report and it provided better understanding. The Equality Impact Assessment was also much improved.

Members considered the report and during the ensuing discussion, a number of points were made including the following:


·      Councillor Cleaver expressed a little disappointment that the review did not promote gardening in general or include information about the initiatives taking place in Eyres Monsell and the Featherstone Orchard which promoted gardening and healthy eating with the added benefit of saving money.


·      A suggestion was made that funding could be sought from the Lottery or Ward Community Budget to help those people who would have to pay for support to promote a healthy lifestyle after their initial 12- week (free) period had lapsed.


·      Reference was made to conversations with people currently volunteering who were concerned about a lack of support. It was acknowledged that volunteering could be exhausting.  The consultant acknowledged that volunteering was an on-going issue and that consideration was being given to appointing a Volunteer Co-ordinator, which would be a paid position to train and support volunteers. They were aware that in some areas of Leicester, it was very difficult to recruit volunteers.


·      Concerns were expressed that there was too much reliance on volunteers and the Deputy City Mayor responded that volunteering was an element of the new model. However, if it was not possible to recruit the volunteers the programme would continue.


·      The meeting heard that there were 16 volunteers leading walks and it was hoped to increase this to 25. It was also hoped to recruit volunteers to help people access gyms.


·      Reference was made to walking groups led by volunteers and a concern was raised as to how those walking groups and services would be delivered in areas where there were busy roads or no accessible or convenient areas to walk. A Member stressed the need to give consideration as to how to help people safely get to those parks or suitable areas. 


·      In response to a question about staffing and volunteers, the meeting heard that consultations had taken place with the unions, staff, service users and focus groups.  The Director of Public Health added that volunteers were not a substitute for paid staff, but would help to expand what was being delivered.


·      In response to a question relating to the proposed savings targets, Councillor Clarke, the Deputy City Mayor with responsibility for Environment, Public Health and Health Integration stated that they were as confident as they could be that the savings target could be achieved without compromising health.


·      The Deputy City Mayor was asked whether the Information Technology staff in the council had the capacity to deliver the proposed digital services. The Deputy City Mayor responded that the council might procure this or develop their own digital service and this was something that the Commission may wish to look at. He was however as confident as he could be that this could be achieved.


·      A Member commented that she hoped that the telephone system for people receiving counselling by telephone would work better than the council telephone system.


·      A Member questioned whether there was a contingency fund to help people on low incomes who would not be able to pay for support after the initial 12 weeks when support was free.  The Deputy City Mayor responded that ideally, the improved lifestyle would enable people to work longer hours so they would be able to afford the scheme, but aside from that, there were some wonderful parks to be enjoyed and outdoor gyms that were free to use.  The Chair expressed concerns that there were some cultural reasons or barriers to prevent people from using outdoor or indoor gyms and it was agreed to ask the Executive as to how they could support people with those barriers.


·      In relation to smoking cessation strategies, a Member asked whether there was a way to monitor whether people managed to stop smoking permanently. The meeting heard that it was not possible to monitor whether people stopped smoking for good, but it was known whether a person had stopped after a few weeks as this would be shown from the results of a carbon dioxide monitor. It was acknowledged that it was very difficult to stop smoking and that some people would lapse.  E cigarettes were offered and it was likely that this would continue.


·      In response to a question as to how referrals from certain communities could be encouraged, Members heard that this was down to marketing and there was the capacity to go into those communities to encourage referrals. 


The Chair drew the discussion to a close stating that she would raise a question at a meeting of the Overview Select Committee regarding the availability of a contingency fund to support those people who had barriers to using gyms.



that the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Commission


1)    Recognise the importance of the public health restructured investment;

2)    Welcome the use of volunteers but have questions regarding the sustainability of the scheme and consistency across the city;


3)    Believe that better use could be made of the outdoor gyms;


4)    Request that the Executive look at the possibility of setting up a contingency fund for those people with barriers to using gyms or who can not afford to carry on after the initial 12-week free period.


5)    Request that the Executive explore the use of social media to promote services and the use of volunteers; and


6)    Ask that the effectiveness of 1-1 and digital support be investigated.


Councillor Dr Sangster left the meeting during the discussion of this item.

Councillor Gugnani, invitee from the Heritage, Culture, Leisure and Sport Scrutiny Commission, left the meeting after the conclusion of this item.

Supporting documents: