Agenda, decisions and minutes

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 13th February, 2019 4.30 pm

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

Contact: Fatima Butt / Jill Bell 

Items
No. Item

51.

ALTERNATE MEMBERS (Standing Order 34)

The City Solicitor will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members. 

 

52.

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:

In the interest of transparency the following disclosures of interest were made in the item relating to Special Educational Needs and Disability Reforms (Minute 57):

 

(1)          Councillor Peart as she worked with children with special educational       needs.

(2)          Councillor Engel as she had a child on the Child and Adolescent   Mental Health Service (CAMHS) waiting list.

(3)          Shain Wells as she had a child on the special needs register and was a    member of a local autism committee.

(4)          Councillors Peart, Engel and Khan as they were taking part in the Labour group working party on SEND and Children’s Services    improvements.

 

Action:            City Solicitor

53.

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  by the public to review decisions to restrict documents.

 

54.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

To receive referrals that 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 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 Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

55.

YOUNG CARERS pdf icon PDF 87 KB

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

(Document “Z”) provides an annual update on plans to meet the needs of Young Carers within the Bradford district, including the recent re-tender of the service.  The work of the Young Carers service is guided by a Memorandum of Understanding 2010, refreshed in February 2014 and 2017 and a Framework of Good Practice.  Previous reports have been presented, the last one was in September 2017.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)          That Overview and Scrutiny to receive Document “Z” for information,  note  the progress and  support continued development in the jointly commissioned service.

 

(2)          That reports continue to be received from the service.

 

 

(Cath Dew – 01274 437949)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

(1)          That the young carers be thanked for attending the meeting.

 

(2)          That a report be presented to the Committee in 6 months to monitor progress of the new contract, including details of what action is being taken to address any issues of concern.

 

(3)          That the Interim Strategic Director be requested to write to those schools that have yet to engage with the Young Carers Service, to encourage them to become involved with providing support for young carers.

 

(4)          That the Committee has concerns about how the early recognition of young carers is picked up and urges  officers to increase promotional communications in all schools and health settings and work with the wider community to de-stigmatise being a young carer.

ACTION:        Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

Minutes:

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

(Document “Z”) provided an annual update on plans to meet the needs of Young Carers within the Bradford district, including the recent re-tender of the service.  The work of the Young Carers service was guided by a Memorandum of Understanding 2010, refreshed in February 2014 and 2017 and a Framework of Good Practice.  Previous reports had been presented, the last one was in September 2017.

 

The following questions were asked by members and responses were given :

 

·         The System 1/GPs – Developing flagging system for young carers was recorded as amber (getting started), was this up to date? In response it was confirmed that this was out of date as this was now in place.

·         How many schools had signed up to ensuring that a Young Carer lead was in every secondary school and primary school by the end of 2019?  All schools had been contacted to identify a Young Carers lead, to sign up to the policy and to ensure that the leads undertook training.  Schools that had not signed up would be followed up to encourage them to do so.

·         Where there any issues that had prompted the Council to re-tender the Young Carers Service?  The service was re-tendered to ensure all contracts had gone through appropriate rigour.

·         How were referrals being made?  Referrals were being made through school nurses and work was taking place to promote the service through local radio stations.

A number of young carers attended the meeting and outlined the help they received from the current provider Barnardos  for such things as bullying, family problems and personal problems. 

 

·         What was being done to include special schools, colleges and universities?  When a young person moved to college the service would liaise with the college.  Special Schools, colleges and Universities could be contacted.  It was pointed out that the new provider Carers Resource worked with adults and had links with colleges and universities.

·         Why were there a higher number of Young Carers in Bradford South?  A lot of schools worked with the service in Bradford South which suggested that the approach was the right one.

·         What work was being undertaken regarding the transition to the new provider, Carers Resource?  Letters had been sent to carers and staff had been transferred over to the new provider so service users would not see a difference and there would be a smooth hand over.

·         Who makes the assessment that caring is inappropriate?  The worker would undertake an assessment with the young person and the family.  When a referral was undertaken consideration was given to whether they could be referred to other agencies if they did not meet the criteria.

·         Was any work being undertaken with parents to assure them that being a young carer was OK and to address their fears that Social Services may become involved?   All of the work undertaken with young carers stressed that it was OK to be a young carer and that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the item relating to Special Educational Needs and Disability Reforms (Appendix 1 to Document “AB”) on the grounds that it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if they were present, exempt information within Paragraph 3 (financial or business affairs) of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), would be disclosed and it is considered that, in all the circumstances, the public interest in excluding public access to the relevant part of the proceedings outweighs the interest in publication of the report.

 

57.

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITY REFORMS pdf icon PDF 190 KB

The Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services will submit Document “AB” which includes a Not For Publication Appendix 1) which provides an overview of the developments and progress in respect of the delivery of the SEND reforms.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       That the Committee note and comment on the contents of the report (Document “AB”) and the strength of the draft SEND Action Plan against the areas for rapid improvement.

 

(2)       That the draft SEND Action Plan be referred to the Executive together with any recommendations for approval.

 

                                                                        (Marium Haque – 01274 431078)

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

(1)          That the draft SEND Action Plan be referred to the Executive.

 

(2)          That the Committee requests that the role of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be added to the governance structure of the SEND Strategic Partnership Board.

 

(3)          That representatives of the service users be invited to attend a meeting of the Committee to share their views as soon as possible in the new municipal year.

 

ACTION:        Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

Minutes:

The Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services submitted Document “AB” which included a Not For Publication Appendix 1) which provided an overview of the developments and progress in respect of the delivery of the SEND reforms.

 

SEND Inspections of all local authorities and local areas over the period May 2016 to May 2021 would be undertaken to assess how effectively these duties were being met. An inspection of the Bradford area was imminent.

 

The Local Authority (LA) and relevant partners had undertaken a process of

Self Assessment in preparation for the pending inspection.  The SEND Strategic Partnership Board had been re-launched with clear terms of reference, multi agency membership and 4 clear project work streams;  Integrated Assessment and Service Delivery, Joint Commissioning, Co production and Engagement and Preparing for Adulthood and were supported by the SEND Transformation and Compliance team.

 

As part of the self assessment process the RAG ratings in the LA Audit Tool contained a large number of Amber ratings (Partial Compliance and Work in Progress), many of which could revert to Red or non compliance if progress was not sustained or quick enough.  This and the work of the SEND Transformation and Compliance team had identified a number of areas which required immediate action to be taken.

 

The following comments and questions were made by members of the Committee and responses given:

 

·         Re-organisation had left professionals struggling, parents confused and children suffering.  Care needed to be taken to ensure that children did not “fall through the cracks”  The quality of SENCO’s (Special Educational needs Co-ordinators) in schools varied widely which had led to a post code lottery.  In response it was noted that efforts were being made to raise awareness through the Local Offer.  Bradford Link was accessible across all age ranges and parents were signposted to talk to schools, early years settings or GP’s.  My support Plans involved families from the start on how all agencies could support children at an early stage.

·         A member referred to the historic practice of keeping children in mainstream schools and the reluctance to issue statements.  In response it was noted that the national average of assessments completed within the 20 week period was 64.9% and that Bradford was well below this.  The national benchmark had been to keep the number of statements under 2% however this was a long time ago.  There were a range of other factors on how government funded the High needs Block going forward.  The issue facing Bradford was to identify  what the level of SEND was and where it needed to be.  Decisions were made historically on moving funds from other blocks to the High needs Block by the Schools Forum as a whole and this was not linked directly to the low number of statements.

·         A member referred to the difficulty in navigating the EHCP process.  In response it was noted that the Integrated Assessment & Service Delivery workstream of the SEND Strategic Partnership Board was working to have a more joined up and integrated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD FOR 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

(Document “AA”) provides a summary of the Annual Report of the Safeguarding Children Board to accompany the full report which is provided as an appendix.  The report provides a summary of priorities and achievements of the Board in 2017/18, as well as the annual summary of the Child Death Overview Panel.

 

Recommended –

 

That Document “AA” be noted and a further report provided in 12 months

 

(Mark Griffin – 01274 434361)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

That Document “AA” be noted and a further report provided in 12 months

 

ACTION:        Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

Minutes:

 

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

(Document “AA”) provided a summary of the Annual Report of the Safeguarding Children Board to accompany the full report which was provided as an appendix.  The report provided a summary of priorities and achievements of the Board in 2017/18, as well as the annual summary of the Child Death Overview Panel.

 

The Chair of the Safeguarding Children Board introduced the report and was accompanied by representatives of the Police and Public Health.  He referred to the challenge of recognising the voice of the child in all aspects of safeguarding in Bradford.

 

The following comments were made and questions asked by members of the Committee:

 

·         Concern was expressed about the statement that schools were “opting out of local authority control and running themselves in the same way as independent schools”.  It was pointed out that they were not independent schools but were publicly funded.  The Strategic Director of Education confirmed that she had statutory responsibility for safeguarding over all organisations, including independent schools.  They could not be required, but persuaded that it was in their interests to be seen to collaborate with the local authority.  The importance of building relationships with schools was stressed. 

·         A question was asked about the definition of modifiable and non modifiable cases of consanguinity.

·         What were the barriers to hearing the voice of the child?  In response it was noted that every Board meeting received reports from children’s groups.   There was a need to hear voices from more communities.

 

Resolved –

 

That Document “AA” be noted and a further report provided in 12 months

 

ACTION:        Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

59.

OFSTED INSPECTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITY CHILDREN'S SERVICES (ILACS) pdf icon PDF 115 KB

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

(Document ”Y”) provides updated information about the Council’s response to the published OFSTED ILACS judgement with a focus on the Theme Four: Improving the Front Door and MASH arrangements.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)          The Committee notes the continuing risks, issues and challenge.

 

(2)          That the next meeting of the Committee continues the scrutiny of the Front Door in advance of the Ofsted monitoring visit.

 

(3)          A summary outcome of the key findings arising from the Peer Review of the Front Door is brought to the next Committee.

 

(4)          The Committee request that for their next meeting, data and audit information is available on theme four (front door and MASH) to enable a deep dive focus to take place.

 

 

(Jenny Cryer – 01274 432438)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

(1)          The Committee notes the continuing risks, issues and challenge.

 

(2)          That the 20 March meeting of the Committee continues the scrutiny of the Front Door with the findings of the Ofsted monitoring visit scheduled for 7 and 8 March 2019.

 

(3)          A summary outcome of the key findings arising from the Peer Review of the Front Door is brought to the next Committee meeting.

 

(4)          The Committee request that for their next meeting, data and audit information is available on theme four (front door and MASH) to enable a deep dive focus to take place.

 

ACTION:        Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

 

Minutes:

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services

(Document ”Y”) provided updated information about the Council’s response to the published OFSTED ILACS judgement with a focus on the Theme Four: Improving the Front Door and MASH arrangements.

 

It was noted that the first monitoring visit would take place on 6 and 7 March.  Members were advised that the Head of Service left their post just after Christmas and as a result an experienced manager had been put in post who whose work would be overseen by the Interim Assistant Director Children’s Social Care Improvement who had been seconded from Doncaster Children’s Services.

 

It was reported that capacity and demand for Front Door services had increased since the OFSTED inspection.  The number of police officers in the Front Door had reduced that had unintended consequences such as the fragmentation of the Multi Agency Child Exploitation Team.  Negotiations were taking place to increase the police presence.

 

It was noted that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had agreed to increase the number of Health Workers in the MASH from 1 part time to 1 full time.  A secondee had been requested until the post could be filled. 

 

The Youth offer was being looked at to add young people at risk of harm or offending.  There had been a rising number of referrals of families and homeless.  An additional officer had been added to work on youth housing.

 

The MASH Strategic Group was looking at refining the section 47 process of referrals.  Meetings were taking place with colleagues in localities to improve the strategy.  Processes would be simplified without losing the ability to gather information from partners that were co-located.  Reviewing the sharing of documents was being looked into.

 

The following comments and questions were made by members and responses given:

 

·         A member had been working with families that had moved into the area and been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation and were involved with the MASH Team but noted that she had not been informed of the outcome of the cases.  It was accepted that the authority was not were it needed to be but that a start had been made in dealing with issues better.  It was acknowledged that there was a need to strengthen links with the benefits system to protect children in need.

·         Who were discussions taking place with regarding housing?  In house and with the housing provider on how to help families with children.

·         What about families moving into the area?  Negotiations had to take place with providers, however they were often on a list with other vulnerable people.

·         With reference to a question regarding thresholds when reviewing children it was agreed that thresholds were too low and that partners needed to get together to have shared responsibility and understanding.

·         An assurance was requested that risk management around domestic violence and neglect were being undertaken better than in September.  In response it was noted that some improvement had been shown but that it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.

60.

CHILDREN'S OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY WORK PROGRAMME 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 142 KB

The report of the Chair of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Document “AC”) 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

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

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

 

ACTION:        Overview and Scrutiny Lead