Agenda item

Dementia Task Group - Final Report

This report is due to be considered at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled to take place on 2nd September 2021.  Any changes to this report agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be reported for the Executive Committee's consideration in a supplementary pack.




Councillor Michael Chalk, in his capacity as Chair of the Dementia Task Group, attended the meeting to present the group’s final report.


The Committee was informed that the Task Group’s investigation had taken 12 months to complete.  During the review Members had gathered evidence from a range of expert witnesses.  The review had taken slightly longer than originally anticipated due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.


There were various forms of dementia and it was estimated that, by the date of the meeting, up to 1.6 million people had a form of dementia in the UK and people in a range of age groups could develop dementia.  The group had concluded that it was important to raise awareness of dementia, including both the symptoms and the impact that the illness could have on both patients and their families.


The group had proposed three recommendations.  The first proposed that a Dementia Awareness Event should take place at the Town Hall.  This type of event had taken place in previous years, prior to the pandemic, and provided a useful opportunity to share information about both dementia and the support services that were available locally to patients and families.


The second recommendation called for the Older People’s Services Booklet to be updated.  Members were advised that there was a booklet already, though the content needed to be refreshed.  This proposal would have implications, in terms of the officer time that would be required to work on updating the booklet.


The third recommendation suggested that there should be a Member training session focusing on dementia awareness.  This would enable Members to identify the symptoms of dementia and potentially enable Members to work effectively with residents and families impacted by dementia, as part of their ward work activities. 


The fourth recommendation had been added at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 2nd September.  This recommendation called for the Council’s Chief Executive, as part of work on the Integrated Care System, to work alongside partner agencies to provide Members with information about dementia services in the Borough.  The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had concluded that this was a particularly important addition as it would help to ensure that Members were kept appraised of changing circumstances.


The Executive Committee subsequently discussed the proposals in detail.  The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services, in her capacity as the lead Portfolio Holder for health, commented that producing an insightful report such as this during a pandemic was commendable.  Members were advised that the recommendations appeared to be achievable and would help to raise awareness of a condition that could have devastating impacts on both patients and their families.  The reality of caring for a person with dementia was that it could be challenging, and carers could experience grief, loneliness, isolation, embarrassment and discrimination and these were all implications that needed to be taken into account.  The Council would always try to address such issues and to provide communities with the information and support they required.  The Dementia Awareness Event would be key to achieving this.  The report had also helpfully noted that there were many people who had not yet received a diagnosis, though were already exhibiting symptoms and this could make it difficult for those individuals to receive the support they required.


Reference was made to the proposed Member training and it was suggested that this would also potentially be beneficial for Parish Councillors.  For this reason, Members agreed that the third recommendation from the group should be amended slightly to enable Parish Councillors to be invited to participate in the dementia training that would in future be provided to elected Members.  The Committee also suggested that it would be important to ensure that information about the early signs and symptoms of dementia was included in this training, as it would help Members to work with residents at an early stage of the illness, including those who might not yet have received a diagnosis.  There was general consensus that ideally all Members should aim to achieve the status of Dementia Friends, and it was possible that the training would assist with this process.


The Committee also discussed the involvement of the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Julian Grubb, in the review.  Members were advised that during the investigation, the Task Group had discovered that there were higher rates of early onset dementia amongst armed forces veterans compared to the general population.  The interview with Councillor Grubb had provided a useful opportunity to explore the matter further.  It was suggested that it would be helpful for further information about the Armed Forces Champion to be provided for the public’s consideration on the Council’s website.


During consideration of this item, questions were raised about whether the booklet referred to in recommendation 2 would be available as a physical object or would be electronic.  The Committee was advised that this would need to be clarified by officers outside the meeting.  However, it was envisaged that a paper copy could be made available, though there would be financial implications attached.


Councillor Chalk concluded his remarks by thanking the other Members who had served on the review, the officers who had provided support to the exercise and the expert witnesses from a range of organisations who had submitted evidence for Members’ consideration.




1)        officers work with local agencies including the Older People’s Forum, Age UK to hold a Dementia Awareness Event in the Town Hall and promote the event on the Council’s website;

2)        officers undertake a refresh of the Older People Services Booklet which is currently available on the Redditch Borough Council website and include a specific section regarding Dementia Services available in the Borough.;

3)        Dementia Training be provided to all Elected Members and Parish Councillors in order for them to better understand the changing needs of the residents in the Borough; and

4)        as part of the work in respect of Integrated Care System, the Chief Executive of Redditch Borough Council to work alongside partner agencies to provide Members with further information on Dementia services in the Borough and potential services for the future.



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