Agenda, decisions and minutes

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 4.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - City Hall, Bradford. View directions

Contact: Fatima Butt / Jill Bell 

Items
No. Item

42.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

Minutes:

(1)                  In the interest of transparency Claire Parr disclosed an interest in Minute 46 as her daughter was a Social Worker.

 

(2)                  Councillor Engel disclosed an interest in Minute 46 as she was a Member of the Corporate Parenting Panel.

 

(3)                  Councillor Engel, Councillor Sobiya Khan and Councillor Peart also disclosed an interest as they were taking part in the Labour Group work on SEND and Children’s Services Improvements.

 

Action:           City Solicitor

43.

MINUTES

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2018 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).

 

(Fatima Butt – 01274 432227)

Minutes:

Resolved-

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2018 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).

44.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Fatima Butt - 01274 2227)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted by the public to review decisions to restrict documents.

45.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

To receive referrals have been made to this Committee up to and including the date of publication of this agenda.

 

The Committee is asked to note the referrals and decide how it wishes to proceed, for example by incorporating the item into the work programme, requesting that it be subject to more detailed examination, or refer it to an appropriate Working Group/Committee.

 

Minutes:

No referrals had been received.

46.

OFSTED INSPECTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITY CHILDREN'S SERVICES (ILACS) pdf icon PDF 109 KB

The report of the Interim Strategic Director (Document “U”) provides updated information about the Council’s response to the published OFSTED ILACS judgement following inspection of Bradford’s Children’s Services.

 

 

Recommended -

 

That the Committee notes the Draft Improvement Plan and provides comment.

 

(Jim Hopkinson – 01274 432904)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved-

 

(1)          That the Committee notes the draft Improvement Plan and looks forward to receiving a specifically themed report at each of the next six committee meetings.

 

(2)          That the Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services includes reference in the Improvement Plan, to the role that the scrutiny committee will have in working with the Improvement Board.

 

Action:           Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services

 

                                                                        (Jim Hopkinson – 01274 432904)

Minutes:

The report of the Interim Strategic Director (Document “U”) provided updated information about the Council’s response to the published OFSTED ILACS judgement following inspection of Bradford’s Children’s Services.

 

The interim Strategic Director Children’s Services reported that progress had been made in addressing the key areas for improvement identified by OFSTED which included:

 

·         An interim Improvement Board had been in place since the end of the inspection chaired by the Chief Executive; an Improvement Advisor would be appointed by the DfE and would start to chair the Improvement Board in February 2019.

·         Development of the Improvement Plan included the voice of the child at its heart, involving staff at all levels in Children’s Services. A Planning workshop with Ofsted took place on the 10 December 2018 to help inform the improvement plan.

·         A peer review of the Front Door and MASH arrangements had been undertaken. The peer review identified that there was further work to be undertaken to ensure that the application of consent and decision making in the MASH were robust.  Actions arising from this review would be included within the Improvement Plan.

 

She reported that there had been a number of actions taken in advance of the publication of the Improvement Plan which included:

 

·         Auditing 1700 cases for children who were Child Protection and Child in Need and undertaking corrective actions where required

·         Putting in place an additional Head of Service for the Front Door  and MASH to strengthen leadership capacity

·         Strengthening Quality Assurance and employing three temporary  experienced auditors to review specific areas and cases

·         Undertaking on-going recruitment to vacancies resulting in a very small number of unfilled posts

·         Working closely with the Teaching Partnership to put in place additional training for social workers and managers starting in January 2019

·         Putting in place additional social work oversight in the homelessness team and in the contact centre.

·         Putting in place a plan to move the early help gateway into the MASH in early January, facilitating the move to having one integrated  front door

·         Undertaking a review of social work salaries and retention.

·         Starting to review the use of the information management system Liquid Logic to ensure the most efficient and effective use of system capability

·         Reviewing the performance information requirement and putting in place an enhanced suite of reports to drive and facilitate the required improvements.

·         Confirmation of arrangements for the Children’s Services Improvement Board once membership and Terms of Reference were approved by both DfE/OFSTED and Executive.

·         Submission of a full Improvement Action Plan (Deadline for submission: 4 February 2019).

·         Undertaking  the actions set out in the improvement plan and putting  in place performance indicators to monitor progress.

·         Supporting  on going monitoring visits every three months, the first of which is  expected to take place in March 2019.

·         Quarterly monitoring would continue until the Authority had an inspection and moved into a different pathway (to be good or above)

·         Councillors and senior officers collectively were committed to making sure that the authority worked rapidly and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

SCHOOLS FORUM UPDATE pdf icon PDF 103 KB

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “V”) will provide an update on the work of the Schools Forum.

 

The last update was provided (as an additional report for information) to the Committee on 12 December 2018. The Schools Forum has met once since on 9 January 2019. The decisions list from this meeting is attached at Appendix 1 to Document “V”.

 

The Schools Forum has now made its recommendations on the allocation of the 2019/20 Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). These recommendations will be presented to the Executive and then to full Council for final decisions on 21 February 2019.

 

Recommended -

 

Committee Members are asked to consider and to note the information provided in this update.

 

(Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved-

 

That the Committee notes the information provided in the report and requests that the outstanding funding award from the Government be reported to the Committee in a timely manner.

 

Action:           Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services

 

                                                            (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

Minutes:

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “V”) provided an update on the work of the Schools Forum.

 

The last update was provided (as an additional report for information) to the Committee on 12 December 2018. The Schools Forum had met once since on 9 January 2019. The decisions list from this meeting was attached at Appendix 1 to Document “V”.

 

The Schools Forum had now made its recommendations on the allocation of the 2019/20 Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). These recommendations would be presented to the Executive and then to full Council for final decisions on 21 February 2019.

 

In response to a Members question the Deputy Director, Education and Learning reported that the DfE had confirmed that they did not want to appoint a sponsor for the free SEMH (social, emotional and mental health) School, this did not mean that the Free School would not be happening but the plan to build it would be delayed, the hope was to have it up and running by 2020/21 which was now hugely disappointing; free schools required sponsorship; there was an issue around sufficient capacity and provision; the authority was looking at using potential physical  capacity in current provision at present to create more specialist places as this approach did not require the opening of a new school or sponsorship; there were plans to put in place additional capacity; 354 new places would be made available and the authority would continue to review the situation so that it could be prepared for 2020.

 

Members requested that the Committee should lobby the Government on the late announcement of the funding allocations and the position that the late announcements put schools in.

 

Resolved-

 

That the Committee notes the information provided in the report and requests that the outstanding funding award from the Government be reported to the Committee in a timely manner.

 

Action:           Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services

 

                                                           

48.

UPDATE ON SCHOOL TRAVEL pdf icon PDF 76 KB

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “W”) sets out the progress made by the Travel Assistance Service and Passenger Transport Services post the structure changes of April 2017.

 

Recommended -

 

That the information in this report be noted.

 

Decision:

Resolved-

 

That the Committee welcomes the changes highlighted in the report and the savings achieved to date.

 

                                                                                    (Paul Hart – 01274 439347)

Minutes:

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “W”) set out the progress made by the Travel Assistance Service and Passenger Transport Services post the structure changes of April 2017.

 

Members made the following comments:

 

·         Why were these changes not made before; who did the 10 full time trainees detailed in paragraph 2.8 train?

·         What was the definition of eligibility?

·         How much did the service of Edge Public Solutions cost? Could transformation and change of the service not happen without them?

·         There was an online application process but were hard copies available?

·         Was there a process to re-assess applications where there was a mobility component?

·         How was the original saving of Children and Adult Services Transport Budget of £5.9 million arrived at?

·         Some children that were receiving assistance were passing closer schools to get to the school they were attending.

In response to Members questions it was reported that:

 

·         Definition of eligibility was a legal definition; the government set out the eligibility that Local Authorities had to work with; the eligibility on Post 16 was decided by each Authority on whether they provided it or not.

·         Bradford Council had a statutory duty  to provide home to school transport to children assessed as being eligible; the categories of eligibility were set down in legislation and statutory criteria and guidance issued by Central Government enabled the Council to determine which children were eligible.

·         The transformation was made by the Travel Assistance Programme Board.

·         The full time trainees were needed to cover the training of adults who travelled at the same time as school; KEYFORT would also provide walking escorts to eligible children who lived within a short walking distance and where their additional needs did not prevent them from walking to school.

·         Applications could be made online as well as hard copy of the application being made available.

·         Applications could be re-assessed if parents inform the service of any changes.

·         The potential saving of the Children’s and Adult Services transport budget of £3.568 million was now a more realistic figure.

·         The eligibility criteria for SEN schools was different; needed to look at what the school offer was for children such as children in Keighley attending schools in Bradford which meant that a child was spending a long time travelling to school.

 

Resolved-

 

That the Committee welcomes the changes highlighted in the report and the savings achieved to date.

 

                                                                                   

49.

PROGRESS REPORT ON B POSITIVE PATHWAYS pdf icon PDF 84 KB

In January 2017 Bradford was awarded £3.2 million over 2 years from the DfE Innovation Fund.  There are 3 elements to the award:

 

1)        Reducing the need for children to come into care through stronger edge of care work.

2)        Improving our ability to provide high levels of care within our residential homes  through embedding a therapeutic “PACE” approach.

3)        Setting up two “mockingbird” hubs to improve support to foster carers working with  children with more complex needs.

 

After consultation with the Children in Care Council, the programme was named B Positive Pathways (BPP).  The Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services will present a progress report on BPP (Document “X”).

 

 

Recommended -

 

That the Children’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee note the content of Document “X” and the progress of B Positive Pathways.

 

(Jim Hopkinson – 01274 432904)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved-

 

(1)       That the Committee welcomes the contents of the report and asks that officers provide information in a briefing note on the steps that are being taken to address the issues with the site that “Requires Improvement".

 

(2)       That the full academic review of the programme be presented to the Committee, as soon as the information is available.

 

Action:           Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services

 

                                                            (Jim Hopkinson – 01274 432904)

Minutes:

In January 2017 Bradford was awarded £3.2 million over 2 years from the DfE Innovation Fund.  There were 3 elements to the award:

 

1)        Reducing the need for children to come into care through stronger edge of care work.

2)        Improving our ability to provide high levels of care within our residential homes  through embedding a therapeutic “PACE” approach.

3)        Setting up two “mockingbird” hubs to improve support to foster carers working with  children with more complex needs.

 

After consultation with the Children in Care Council, the programme was named B Positive Pathways (BPP).  The Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services presented a progress report on BPP (Document “X”).

 

Updated appendices were tabled at the meeting.

 

It was reported that In November 2018, DfE gave permission to re-profile funds from the initial 2 year timeframe into a third year in line with delays encountered through recruiting specialist practitioners.

 

Members were informed that B Positive Pathways Programme (BPP) was an  innovation funded project that scaled the successful North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) ‘No Wrong Door’ innovation project to Bradford. No Wrong Door was a different approach to working with adolescents to prevent them entering the care system and to improve their long term outcomes. The model centred on a hub home with wrap around multi agency professionals working together. No Wrong Door had won several awards and had made a significant saving to the public purse in the approach that had been taken. A number of Local Authorities were looking to replicate this approach.

 

It was reported that BPP was fully funded for two years. There had been a staggered completion date for the two years in regard to partners. The Police partnership would be reviewed in March 2019 and the Health partnership would be reviewed in March 2020. By the third year for each partnership, the aim was to show the significant savings that had been made to ensure that the programme was supported financially for years three and four. There would be a full academic review of the programme (including a cost benefit analysis) to show impact with the research partners led by the University of Oxford Rees Centre.

 

Members were informed that the Hub Home and Children’s Specialist Centres had been inspected by OFSTED and two were judged as good and one required improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was reported that in January 2019 the evaluation team would be producing some cost benefit analysis findings ahead of the discussions with police to identify the future vision of the partnership; the in house BPP data analyst had also been able to draw some data. The findings were inclusive of a £292,825 saving across LAC for missing, of which £144,425 was directly related to BPP. In addition to this, BPP had made a direct saving to police of £71,253 in its reduction of calls for the service.

 

Members were informed that there were currently 26 young people in the Mockingbird model and since February 2018 the service had not encountered any  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

CHILDREN'S SERVICES OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

The report of the Chair of the Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Document “Y”) presents the Committee’s Work Programme 2018-19.

 

Recommended -

 

That the Work programme 2018-19 continues to be regularly reviewed during the year.

 

(Licia Woodhead – 01274 432119)

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved-

 

That the Work Programme 2018-19 continues to be regularly reviewed during the year.

 

Action:           Overview and Scrutiny Lead

 

                                                                        (Licia Woodhead – 01274 432119)

Minutes:

 

The report of the Chair of the Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Document “Y”) presented the Committee’s Work Programme 2018-19.

 

Resolved-

 

That the Work Programme 2018-19 continues to be regularly reviewed during the year.

 

Action:           Overview and Scrutiny Lead