Agenda, decisions and minutes

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 5th August, 2020 3.00 pm

Venue: Virtual remote meeting

Contact: Fatima Butt / Jill Bell 

Items
No. Item

53.

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:

No disclosures of interest in matters under consideration were received.

54.

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. 

 

(Jill Bell - 01274 434580)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted to review restricted documents.

55.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

To receive referrals that have been made to this Committee the publication of this agenda.

 

The Committee is asked to note the referrals listed above 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:

There were no referrals to the Committee.

56.

PROGRESS UPDATE FOLLOWING OFSTED INSPECTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES CHILDREN'S SERVICES (ILACS) pdf icon PDF 138 KB

The Strategic Director Children’s Services will present a report

(Document “V”) that provides the Committee with a progress update in respect of improvements identified within the Ofsted Improvement Plan, namely:

 

1.        Ofsted October 2019 and February 2020 monitoring visit outcomes, progress and continued challenge.

 

2.        Improvement Programme update.

 

Recommended -

 

That this Committee notes the contents of Document “V”.

 

                                                            (Irfan Alam – 01274 432904)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director Children’s Services presented a report(Document “V”) that provided the Committee with a progress update in respect of improvements identified within the Ofsted Improvement Plan, namely the Ofsted October 2019 and February 2020 monitoring visit outcomes, progress and continued challenge and the Improvement Programme update.

 

The Independent Chair of the Improvement Board attended the meeting and provided members with an update and referred to the circumstances during the Covid 19 restrictions.  He noted that the Social Care and safeguarding partnership had worked very well and partners had been brought closer to one another especially in Bradford.  He added that there had been a better relationship with schools, with more focus on vulnerable children and safeguarding.  A specific Covid team had been established for vulnerable children already known to the authorities and those that were not.  He explained that the demand data at the front door had improved.  The number of referrals with no action or rejected as there was no consent were now much lower.  Twelve early intervention Co-ordinates had been recruited, 3 to work in each of the 4 localities.  He highlighted that with regard to timeliness ie meeting statutory timescales in which social workers and managers have to respond to specific  incidents, Bradford was as good if not better than other authorities with nearly all timescales being 80-92% met across all factors which was very good.  He added that the peer review of the front door had identified some positives and some recommendations for action which the Deputy Director Social Care was addressing.  He stressed the urgent need to focus on recruitment and retention of social workers and noted that Bradford still had 104 agency social workers and stressed that supervision was better done by permanent staff.  He advised members that electronic recording of supervision statistics and the electronic recording of audit were being worked on.  He added that each month every council must audit a number of cases and that at present Bradford’s methodology and auditing needed improvement.  A new e-leaning platform had been procured which was not yet operational.  Social workers had commented that the cameras on their lap tops had been disabled and that it was important to have a camera facility to conduct case conferences.  He concluded that the DfE review and consultation would result in a formal letter and he suggested that the Committee receive a copy of the letter.     

 

The Chair expressed concern about the recruitment and retention of social workers and expressed the view that money should be spent on employing permanent, not agency staff.

 

The Strategic Director of Children’s Services acknowledged the need to recruit more social workers and noted that recruiting level 3 social workers, those with a minimum of 2 years post qualification experience, was particularly challenging with regard to issues of remuneration packages and the stability of workloads and that a package was being  developed for September.  He added that there had been a lot of success in recruiting Heads of Service,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

CHILDREN'S AND YOUNG PEOPLE'S MENTAL HEALTH - UPDATE pdf icon PDF 120 KB

The Strategic Director Children’s Services will present a report (Document “W”) that provides an update on progress to improve mental health support for children and young people.

 

Recommended -

 

The Committee is asked to note the update, highlight areas for consideration and attention and continue to support the System Review currently underway.

 

                                                                                    (Sasha Bhat – 01274 737537

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Strategic Director Children’s Services presented a report (Document “W”) that provided an update on progress to improve mental health support for children and young people.

 

The following questions were asked by members and answers provided:

·         What were the outcomes from the Action Plan?

o   4 themes were identified that would be ratified by Leadership Team in the next 2 weeks.

·         What is the timescale from assessment to treatment?

o   12 months for children from Keighley and 16 months for children from Bradford, each child on the waiting list had been written to offering them 6 sessions of counselling while they were on the waiting list.

·         Spend per head at £48 per child was £11 below the national average despite an increase in 2017/18 which suggested an issue of local priorities rather than austerity.

o   This highlights that Bradford is not spending the right amount.  The Health and Wellbeing Board has accepted this and set CAMHS as a priority that investment rises with need.

·         How do you triage cases?

o   Previously the Care Trust did not differentiate between urgent and non urgent cases, now each case receives a response within 5 days.

·         Why is the waiting time so long and what support is given to children and parents in the interim?

o   There was a lack of investment in early intervention.  Work was being undertaken with the Early Help Team to provide peer support networks and sign post self support and offering 6 sessions of counselling for all those on the waiting list.

·         Why was counselling support not being accepted?

o   A very small  number have not accepted and the authority were working with them.

·         Why are waiting times different in Keighley and Bradford?

o   They are two different bases in the same service and this was being looked into 

·         What is done to remind people of appointments as the percentage of missed and cancelled appointments was of concern?

o   The Care Trust had been asked to implement sending text reminders.

·         The impact of Covid 19 had increased fragility in families and increase pressure on a fragile system.  What is the timeline to achieve the model of support outlined in paragraph 4 page 80 of Document “W”

o   A grief and loss pathway had been established with a wide range of providers and went live in July.  Work was being undertaken with Public Health and £600,00 had been identified to work on financial support and welfare advice, wellbeing, mental health support, suicide prevention support, signposting and guidance, providing services via Freephone and befriending and carer support.

·         What training had been provided for staff in schools?

o   Training on early signs of mental health and first aid training would be in place in September.

·         Concern was expressed about the issues regarding the fitness for purpose of SystemOne and members expressed the need to know how long before it would be working?

o   It was noted that the issuers with SystemOne covered a wide range of services as well as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

SCHOOL ORGANISATION, INCLUDING; SCHOOL EXPANSION PROGRAMME, EDUCATION CAPITAL FUNDING, AND ACADEMY CONVERSIONS pdf icon PDF 118 KB

The report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “X”)updates the Committee on a number of key areas related to school organisation in the Bradford District.

 

Recommended -

 

That the Committee notes the report.

 

                                                                        (Marium Haque – 01274 431078)

 

Minutes:

The report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “X”)updated the Committee on a number of key areas related to school organisation in the Bradford District.

 

A member questioned the usefulness of the information in the School Condition Allocation in table 2 as it had to be read in conjunction with the number of schools that had converted to academies.  The Deputy Director Education maintained that it was important to see what funding was received and how it was used  and that problems were identified in good time. It was agreed that in future members be provided with  a capital breakdown to see what funding was received and what it was spent on and identify if there was a significant mismatch.  It was agreed that members be provided with this information as soon as possible.

 

In response to a member question it was agreed to provide members with an analysis of the impact of academisation on the ethnic mix of schools.

 

Resolved –

 

That a report be presented to the Committee in 12 months, which also includes a breakdown of capital and ethnic mix of schools.

 

                                                                       

ACTION:       Strategic Director of Children’s Services

 

                                                           

59.

CHILDREN'S SERVICES OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - WORK PROGRAMME 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 79 KB

The report of the Chair of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Document “Y”) includes the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee  work programme for 2020/21. 

 

Recommended -

 

(1)       That members consider and comment on the areas of work included in the work programme.

 

(2)       That members consider any detailed scrutiny reviews that they may wish to conduct.

 

                                                                        (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the work programme be kept under review.

 

 

ACTION:       Overview & Scrutiny Lead