Agenda, decisions and minutes

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 20th March, 2019 4.30 pm

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

Contact: Fatima Butt / Jill Bell 

Items
No. Item

61.

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 Councillor Thirkill and Councillor Engel disclosed an interest in Minute 65 as they were Chair and Deputy Chair of the Corporate Parenting Panel.

 

(2)          In the interest of transparency Councillor Peart disclosed an interest in Minute  65 as she was on the OFSTED Improvement Panel Working Group and worked for one of the Multi Agency Academy Trusts.

 

Action:           City Solicitor

 

62.

MINUTES

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2019 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).

 

(Fatima Butt/Jill Bell – 01274 432227/4580)

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2019 be signed as a correct record.

63.

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 432227)

 

Minutes:

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

64.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

The Committee is asked to note any 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.

65.

PROGRESS UPDATE FOLLOWING THE OFSTED INSPECTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES CHILDREN'S SERVICES (ILAC) pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Previous Reference: Minute 46 (2018/19)

 

The Strategic Director, Children’s Services will submit Document “AD” which provides the Committee with a progress update in respect of improvements identified within the Improvement Plan following the recent OFSTED inspection September 2018 and subsequent DFE notice to improve issued on the 4 December 2018.

 

More specifically the report will focus on changes and improvements within Workstream 2 of the Improvement Plan – Partnerships namely:

 

·         The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

·         Front Door Service

 

In addition, the report will provide the Committee with a general update relating to:

 

·         The structure and governance around the Improvement Board including Improvement Plan, and

·         OFSTED’s first monitoring visit.

 

Appendix 1, Feedback from the Monitoring Visit, will be circulated to Members of the Committee and made available on the Council’s website as soon as it has been finalised.

 

Recommended-

 

That the contents of the report be noted.

 

                                                            (Catherine Knowles – 01274 434335)

           

Decision:

Resolved-

 

That the contents of the report be noted and the Committee look forward to the next update and the outcome of the OFSTED Monitoring visit when it becomes available.

 

Action:           Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services

 

                                                (Gladys Rhodes White – 01274 434335)

Minutes:

Previous Reference: Minute 46 (2018/19)

 

The Strategic Director, Children’s Services submitted Document “AD” which provided the Committee with a progress update in respect of improvements identified within the Improvement Plan following the recent OFSTED inspection September 2018 and subsequent DFE notice to improve issued on the 4 December 2018.

 

More specifically the report focussed on changes and improvements within Workstream 2 of the Improvement Plan – Partnerships namely:

 

·         The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

·         Front Door Service

 

In addition, the report provided the Committee with a general update relating to:

 

·         The structure and governance around the Improvement Board including Improvement Plan, and

·         OFSTED’s first monitoring visit.

 

The Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services reported that progress was continuing to be made in response to the OFSTED Improvement Plan which included:

 

·         That a Back to Basic’s programme for all children’s social care staff, was being developed focussing on what good looked like in terms of case recording, voice of the child, analysis of risk within assessments, undertaking home visits and use of supervision.

·         A review and refresh of the social work job role, with a view to achieving an increase in grade to support retention of staff in a competitive market was being undertaken; benchmarking had been undertaken of a new job description and roles and the next step would be to look at increasing pay.

·         Currently the service had 10 social workers who had caseloads of above 25; the service was continuing to recruit practice supervisors to hold some of the cases; the service was continuing to use agency staff; some agency staff were not performing up to the appropriate standard and had to be relieved of their duties.

·         The service was going to start a recruitment process which would take time to work through.

·         The Service continued to improve use of analysis and performance data so that Managers understood where performance was good and where it needed improving.

·         The first monitoring visit took place on 6-7 March and focussed on front door and MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub).

·          Section 47 safeguarding strategy meetings had now moved to the locality teams, this was where there were concerns/risk about a child and agencies through the MASH shared key information in order to assess risk and consider whether a child should be made subject to a child protection plan.  By moving the Section 47’s to locality provided greater continuity in the case management, through timely allocation of a social worker, thereby reducing the “handoffs” across service areas.

·         A multi agency mock inspection was undertaken in February to help with getting ready for the OFSTED monitoring visit; noticed that at the mock inspection that staff were confident about talking about their work and that there was progress being made; staff were positive and understood the urgency required to make changes to ensure the system was safe.

·         Whilst the mock OFSTED inspection was positive, it was acknowledged that whilst the changes were beginning to evidence better management grip and decision making, there remained much to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

CHILDREN'S SERVICES PERFORMANCE OUTTURN REPORT pdf icon PDF 180 KB

The Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services will submit Document “AE” which provides a current position summary of key Children’s Services performance indicators.  The indicators in the report have been benchmarked against the England and Yorkshire & Humber averages.

 

Recommended-

 

That the report be considered.

 

                                    (Phil Witcherley/ Laura Copley – 01274 431872)

Decision:

Resolved-

 

That a further progress report on key Children’s Services Performance Indicators be presented to the Committee in 2019/20.

 

Action:           Interim Strategic Director, Children’s Services

 

                                    (Phil Witcherley/Laura Copley – 01274 431872)

Minutes:

The Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services submitted Document “AE” which provided a current position summary of key Children’s Services performance indicators.  The indicators in the report had been benchmarked against the England and Yorkshire & Humber averages.

 

It was reported that the report provided an assessment of key performance indicators across children’s services.  These indicators were reported annually and the report was based on the latest published information.  A comparison against the England and Yorkshire & Humber averages had been made. There were a number of successes to highlight in the Department:

 

·         In September, funding was confirmed for the ‘Glasses for Classes’ trial in 8 schools. This would be delivered in partnership with Varilux who would provide 2 pairs of glasses for all young people who needed them in trial schools.

·         In August, ‘Parents and Partners in Learning’ was launched in three areas (Keighley, Eccleshill/Idle and Tong/Bowling). This aimed to improve parent’s engagement with their education providers on their children’s learning journey.

·         For primary school pupils, the recent results showed that there was an increase in the proportion of pupils achieving the expected standard across a range of subjects. However, the gap between Bradford and national performance had remained the same.

·         GCSE results continued to improve with Attainment 8 narrowing the gap on the national average and Progress 8 showing positive progress and the second best performer in the family group of local authorities.

·         Some of the schools and academy chains were performing at an exceptionally high level nationally. Dixon had performed particularly well at Progress 8 with Dixons Trinity the 3rd best nationally and Tauheed had the highest performing nationally. This should bode well for local schools they sponsored.

·         There was also improvement at A-levels and more young people continued to participate in the Industrial centres of Excellence and Bradford Pathways.

 

Members commented on the following:

 

·         The narrative relating to children’s social care re-referral rates was misleading.

·         Were unauthorised absence figures being recorded accurately?

·         Was the authority in a stronger position to prevent, protect and ensure that there was the correct level of provision in place to address children Looked After who were away from placement without authorisation?

·         In relation to progress 8; children used to go to local primary schools but since acadamisation that was not the case; what work had been undertaken on the impact of schools like Dixons which were in deprived wards but one of best schools in the country but the majority of children attending the schools were out of the area; how real were progress 8 scores when the information was distorted by intake not being from the local areas.

·         Bradford had one of the best schools in a deprived area but it was disappointing that it was not benefitting the children in a ward that had the most deprived children in the country.

 

In response to Members questions it was reported that:

 

·         Re-referrals were cases that came into the front door which went to Early Help and then come back; It was anticipated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

PROGRESS OF THE FOSTERING SERVICE pdf icon PDF 135 KB

The Strategic Director, Children’s Services will submit Document “AF” which provides an update on the progress and development of the Fostering Service.

           

Recommended-

 

That the significant developments in the Fostering Service be noted.

 

                                                            (David Byrom – 01274 432904)

 

Decision:

Resolved-

 

(1)       That the significant developments in the Fostering Service be noted and welcomed.

 

(2)       That the Committee requests that officers maintain records of those foster care applicants rejected by the Council, to cross reference with appointments to Independent Fostering Agencies, with a view to expressing the Committee’s concerns to OFSTED if necessary.

 

Action:           Strategic Director, Children’s Services

 

                                                            (David Byrom – 01274 432904)

Minutes:

The Strategic Director, Children’s Services submitted Document “AF” which provided an update on the progress and development of the Fostering Service.

 

It was reported The Ofsted Inspection of the Local Authority Children’s Services in September 2018, recommended 10 areas requiring improvement of which there were the following key areas in relation to Fostering Service activity were specifically identified:

 

Sufficiency of local placements to meet the needs of children in our care.

           Completion of mandatory training for all foster carers.

 

Members were informed that the Fostering Service faced continuous challenges in identifying and resourcing good quality foster homes for  children and young people becoming cared for by the local authority. However, this was not just a local issue unique to Bradford but reflected the position nationally, not least because most children looked after were accommodated in foster homes.

 

It was reported that in relation to recruitment and assessment the service was on track to increase the number of enquiries from 2017-18 (432 enquiries) by 7%.  This was over twice the 3% national rise in the number of enquiries about fostering.

 

Members were informed that the national conversion rate for enquiry to mainstream / short break foster carer approvals was 4.19% (source DfE 2019) of 117,335 enquiries to 4920 ‘stranger’ fostering household approvals. Bradford Fostering Service projected conversion rate for 2018-2019 was 5.2% - 25 mainstream / short break foster carer approvals were projected by 31 March 2019.

 

It was reported that:

 

·         A more streamlined service for recruiting foster carers had been created with the addition of a temporary post of Recruitment and Marketing Manager supported by a Community Resource Worker.

·         The time taken to recruiting foster carers had reduced from 20 weeks to 16; most authorities completed the assessment process in 16 weeks.

·         The service was looking into speeding up statutory checks.

·         The service was looking at reducing the length of time taken to complete an assessment.

·         Needed a Fostering Carers charter.

·         Service needed to become more foster carer friendly.

 

 

 

It was reported that as part of the Journey to Excellence and the New Model of Care for Children Looked After in Bradford, the service had worked hard to train, develop and support PACE practitioners in order to help  embed the Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy (PACE approach).  PACE was a way of thinking, feeling, communicating and behaving that aimed to make the child feel safe to enable a trusting relationship to develop. The priority group for this training was children’s residential managers and workers and at least one foster carer in each household.  It was estimated this to be approximately 800 people that needed the course which was delivered half a day a week over a 6 week period.   

The progress made in training foster carers was detailed in section 2.16 (2) of the report.

 

It was reported that as part of the successful innovation bid by Children’s Services, the fostering service was one year in to supporting 2 Mockingbird hubs since February 2018. The model had proven to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.