Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Children's Services and Safeguarding) on Tuesday 29th January, 2019, 6.30 pm

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room, Town Hall Bootle

Contact: Debbie Campbell,  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

25.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Hands and Keith.

 

26.

Introductions

Minutes:

Introductions took place, for the benefit of the new Parent Governor Representatives and the new Healthwatch Representative.

 

27.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested at a meeting where a disclosable pecuniary interest or personal interest arises, which is not already included in their Register of Members' Interests, todeclare any interests that relate to an item on the agenda.

 

Where a Member discloses a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, he/she must withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest, except where he/she is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of a dispensation.

 

Where a Member discloses a personal interest he/she must seek advice from the Monitoring Officer or staff member representing the Monitoring Officer to determine whether the Member should withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest or whether the Member can remain in the meeting or remain in the meeting and vote on the relevant decision.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests were received.

 

28.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 265 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2018

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2018, be confirmed as a correct record.

 

29.

Review of Health Services for Children Looked After and Safeguarding in Sefton pdf icon PDF 696 KB

Report of the Care Quality Commission, published November 2018

 

The action plan, from the NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Sefton and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group, addressing the recommendations set out within the report, to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Care Quality Commission, published November 2018, on the findings of the review of health services in safeguarding and looked after children services in Sefton. It focused on the experiences and outcomes for children within the geographical boundaries of the local authority area and reported on the performance of health providers serving the area, including Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Local Area Teams (LATs). Where the findings related to children and families in local authority areas other than Sefton, cross-boundary arrangements had been considered and commented on. Arrangements for the health-related needs and risks for children placed out of area were also included.

 

The report set out a number of recommendations for various bodies, including the Sefton CCGs, and an action plan addressing the recommendations had been requested from the CCGs within 20 working daysof the receipt of the report.

 

The Chair had requested the action plan addressing the recommendations to be submitted to this Committee. However, this was a very detailed document and a presentation giving an overview of the actions being taken was provided as an alternative.

 

The Committee received a presentation from the Sefton CCGs on the review of health services for children looked after children services and safeguarding in Sefton. The presentation outlined the following:-

 

The Review:

·         Context;

·         Process;

·         Recommendations – themes;

·         Progress; and

·         Next Steps.

 

Context:

·         7 inspectors used a range of methods to gather information both during and before the visit;

·         Tracking and sampling followed the experiences of 140 children where there had been safeguarding concerns or who were “looked after”;

·         Examined the effectiveness of health services in promoting the children’s health and wellbeing;

·         Inspectors on site 23 to 27 July 2018; and

·         Report published 28 November 2018.

 

Process:

·         Report provided 15 sections with 49 individual recommendations;

·         Identified further areas to be brought to the attention of Public Health Commissioners in Sefton Council;

·         Task and Finish Group chaired by Accountable Officer of Sefton CCGs to develop and progress action plan;

·         Nine organisations including the two Sefton CCGs and Sefton Council; and

·         “Buy-in” from all organisations.

 

Sections 1 – 4 themes

 

Sections 5 – 10 themes

 

Sections 11 – 15 themes

 

Progress

 

Next Steps:

·         Task and finish group on-going;

·         Actions being progressed within organisations and collectively where appropriate;

·         Action plans to be monitored through individual organisations governance processes; CCGs Clinical and Quality Performance Groups and Public Health Commissioner contract processes; and

·         Updated action plan to be re-submitted to CQC on 4 July 2019.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         Were the actions to be undertaken on track?

Delivery against the milestones in the action plan were currently on track, although not all the actions would be completed by July 2019 and remedial action would be taken, where necessary. The task and finish group would continue.

 

·         Reference was made to the timely completion of initial health assessments.

Work was in progress to streamline processes. A number of different factors affected the process, including children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Local and National Safeguarding Practice Reviews pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Report of the Head of Children’s Social Care

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Children’s Social Care on Working Together 2018 which provided statutory guidance for multi-agency working in local areas, and on a national level, to keep children safe. The report set out arrangements for new local and national safeguarding practice reviews which were replacing the current system of undertaking serious case reviews. The main changes defined in the statutory guidance were:-

 

·         Replacement of the current National Panel for serious case reviews (SCR’s) with a Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel;

·         Introduction of two levels of review - Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review (commissioned locally), and National Child Safeguarding Practice Review (commissioned nationally);

·         Duty on Local Authorities to notify incidents to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel; and

·         Undertaking of 15 day rapid reviews for cases referred to the new panel.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         What would happen to serious case reviews that were currently on-going?

These were still technically serious case reviews and would operate under the current system.

 

·         Who would sit on the new National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel?

This information would be obtained and shared with Members of the Committee.

 

·         How long had the new arrangements been in place?

Since September 2018.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)       the report on the new arrangements for local and national safeguarding practice reviews be noted; and

 

(2)       the Head of Children’s Social Care be requested to provide information regarding membership of the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel to the Senior Democratic Services Officer, for circulation to Members of the Committee.

 

31.

Ofsted Focussed Visit pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Report of the Head of Children’s Social Care

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Children’s Social Care indicating that Ofsted had undertaken a two-day focused visit under the Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services on 27 and 28 September 2018.Inspectors had looked at the Local Authority’s arrangements for children in need and children subject to a plan, with a specific focus on services and practice for children who might be on the edge of care.

 

The findings of the visit were detailed in the letter from Ofsted attached to the report. The Children and Young People’s Continuous Improvement Plan had been updated to incorporate the findings from the visit.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         Reference was made to the challenge in the recruitment and retention of sufficient social workers and problems associated with only attracting newly qualified social workers who were relatively lacking in experience.

This scenario was not unique to Sefton. The Authority attempted to recruit a mix of social workers according to experience, although it tended to be newly qualified social workers who applied for positions. National research indicated that social workers tended to stay for around three years in a front-line role.

 

·         Reference was made to the poor attendance of some partners at core groups, as detailed in the Ofsted letter.

The Local Safeguarding Children Board had recognised this issue and was monitoring it.

 

·         Reference was made to agile working arrangements and how newly qualified social workers would cope with this working arrangement.

Social workers were now based within one of three localities. Managers and colleagues were based within the localities and newly qualified social workers would still receive high level support. Equipment provided to social workers enabled them to be more mobile.

 

·         Reference was made to the findings within the Ofsted letter and increasing numbers of children at risk, due to improvements in identifying such children.

There were small increases in numbers year on year and this situation was not unique to Sefton as it was a national issue. It was difficult to predict when demand would peak. Some children brought into care were in the older age category and tended to stay in care.

 

·         How would outcomes be monitored by Ofsted?

Ofsted did not ask to see the Improvement Plan, rather the organisation would return to carry out an inspection or focussed visit. Ofsted was currently behind with inspections and the Council was due another visit this year.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That bi – annual reports on the progress of the Children and Young People’s Continuous Improvement Plan and performance score card be continued to be received by the Committee.

 

32.

Bi - Annual Report Children’s Social Care Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Report of the Head of Children’s Social Care

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Children’s Social Care setting out a summary of the progress in relation to the Children’s Social Care Improvement Plan 2018/19 that should be considered alongside the performance scorecard data.

 

The Improvement Plan identified three key objectives, namely:-

 

1.         Ensure frontline practice is consistently good, effective and focussed on timely, measurable outcomes for children;

2.         To improve management oversight at all levels to ensure effective services for children and young people receive good quality supervision; and

3.         Ensure that frontline services are sufficiently resourced and the workforce appropriately skilled to enable high quality work to be undertaken with children and young people.

 

Following on from the Ofsted Inspection of Services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers during April 2016, Ofsted undertook a two-day focused visit under the Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services on 27 and 28 September 2018. Inspectors looked at the Local Authority’s arrangements for children in need and children subject to a plan, with a specific focus on services and practice for children who might be on the edge of care.

 

The letter from Ofsted was submitted as a separate agenda item and was reported under Minute No. 31 above.

 

The following appendices were attached to the report:-

 

·         The Children’s Services CYIPG Performance Data Scorecard 2018/19; and

·         The Children’s Social Care Bi – Annual Report and Review of Improvement Plan 01/04/18 – 30/09/18.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         Numbers of children being adopted continued to rise, which was positive. Why were adoptions rising?

Numbers of adoptions had been on a positive trajectory since 2012 with delays having been minimalised.

 

·         Had the regional adoption agency contributed towards more placement choice?

For some children, it was not appropriate for them to be adopted within Sefton and a regionalised approach could assist with this.

 

·         As at the end of September 2018 there were 500 looked after children in Sefton. How many of these could be adopted?

It was difficult to quantify numbers as adoption was a significant step to take and the Local Authority would consider family members in the first instance.

 

·         How did the mentor scheme for looked after children and young people contribute?

Mentorship was available for young people aged 17 plus. An increasing number of “staying put” arrangements were in place where care leavers were continuing to live with carers. A range of options were available for care leavers as accommodation was available and close work took place with housing associations to identify types of supported living schemes that provided semi-independent arrangements.

 

·         Liverpool City Council was likely to increase the numbers of its social workers significantly. What was the Sefton view on this?

Difficulties were not generally encountered in recruitment to social worker posts at Sefton and a watching brief would be kept on the situation at Liverpool City Council. A number of social workers spoken to during the recent Local Government Association Peer Review  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Progression Destinations of SEND Young People pdf icon PDF 372 KB

Report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 7 (2) of 10 July 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Economic Growth and Housing that provided an overview of destinations of Sefton young people with Special Educational Needs, with particular focus on their destinations into employment and training. The report also provided some background on models of delivery with the young people and the Council’s involvement in a Supported Internship Programme.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         The Council had worked in partnership with Hugh Baird College and Southport College. Had any work been undertaken with Thornton College?

Thornton College was managed by Hugh Baird College. Not all the students who attended Thornton College were able to undertake internships.

 

·         What follow-up work was undertaken with young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) after the age of 25?

Table 1 within the report provided an indication of young people and their destination within the SEND cohort, as at December 2018. Colleges worked towards young people obtaining paid employment, as not all of the young people involved were aiming towards internships.

 

·         The Council did not appear to be engaging with Thornton College. What happened once education ended for young people with SEND?

A high proportion went on to undertake paid or voluntary employment. The young people concerned received input and guidance from specific workers who assisted with SEND.

 

·         Did internships provide work experience with a view to obtaining employment?

Yes.

 

·         What was the source of the data provided?

Information was provided from the government on young people with SEND and Career Connect Ltd.

 

·         Concerns were expressed that figures from Thornton College were not provided and that the overview of destinations of Sefton young people with Special Educational Needs was not fully accurate.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the information provided on destinations of young people with Special Educational Needs into employment and training be noted.

 

34.

CAMHS Working Group - Update Report. pdf icon PDF 382 KB

Report of the Head of Schools and Families

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 7 (2) of 10 July 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Education highlighting the work undertaken in implementing the recommendations made by the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Working Group. The report set out the background to the Working Group, indicating that the Committee had established a CAMHS Working Group during 2016, to review the CAMHS Service across Sefton. The Committee had commended the Working Group report, together with its recommendations, to the Cabinet for approval. Following approval by the Cabinet in January 2018, the Committee had received an interim report on the implementation of the Working Group recommendations at its meeting on 10 July 2018.

 

The report set out the background to the matter, together with the updated position against each of the recommendations. The report also indicated that Liverpool John Moores University was undertaking a piece of work on CAMHS, the intention being to provide an evidence based approach to providing support for the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people. A report would be presented to the Committee on publication of the final report by the University.

 

A Proposed Mental Health Support Team Model, submitted as part of the Pathfinder bid, was set out at Annex A to the report.

 

Kate Brizell, General Manager, Community Division, Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, reported on the current position regarding waiting times and provider performance. She reported that the Sefton CAMHS Team had relocated form the 3TC building in Waterloo to Burlington House, Waterloo, and that the feedback from staff and service users had been positive. At the beginning of December 2018 there had been 164 children and young people on the waiting list. Currently, there were 121 on the waiting list, the longest wait being 33 weeks for an appointment. The current average time from being referred to being seen for a (choice) assessment was 5 weeks. During July 2018, as part of the choice service moving into localities, a new process was instigated around the booking and scheduling of choice appointments. The overall time from referral to treatment/intervention (partnership) was currently 23 weeks and there was evidence that this wait was decreasing. A crisis care telephone line had been introduced that operated from 8.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. at the weekend. A child or young person at risk of self-harm could now be admitted or booked to a next day appointment. Where there was low intent of self-harm, the child or young person could be offered a next day appointment, where previously they had to attend A&E. The service had seen a 35% increase in use since the previous year and positive feedback had been received from families and users.

 

Debbie Fagan, Chief Nurse and Quality Officer, NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and South Sefton CCG, updated the Committee on additional investment in the service to reduce waiting times. She indicated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Update Report - Special Educational Needs and Disability Process of Assessment Working Group pdf icon PDF 591 KB

Report of the Head of Schools and Families

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 26 (4) of the Cabinet meeting of 26 July 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Education providing an interim update on implementing the recommendations of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Process of Assessment Working Group.

 

The Committee had established a SEND Working Group during 2017, to review the process of assessment for SEND across Sefton. The Committee had commended the Working Group report, together with its recommendations, to the Cabinet for approval and the Cabinet had approved the recommendations in July 2018.

 

The report set out the background to the matter, together with an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the Working Group.

 

Information on SEND and the role of schools was attached to the report at Annex A

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         A number of concerns were expressed regarding the report submitted and the update on the recommendations, including the number of statements within the report indicating that “schools have been reminded…” and “schools should…”.

The Director of Social Care and Health offered to meet informally with relevant Members and officers to go through each recommendation in detail, with a view to identifying what the Council was able to achieve and what could be done to influence schools, and report back to the next Committee meeting.

 

·         Concerns were also raised regarding the response provided in relation to holding assessment appointments in schools.

The Chief Nurse and Quality Officer, NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and South Sefton CCG, indicated that the new Director at Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust had a strong background of children with SEND and she would be happy to attend any meetings to discuss the matter, if required.

 

·         Who could determine what term to use to describe “SEN units”?

Under the new code they were described as “resource provision”, although schools were still describing them as “units”.

 

RESOLVED:             That

 

(1)          the report be noted;

 

(2)          a report on the outcome and recommendations from the externally commissioned SEND review be requested;

 

(3)          relevant officers be requested to present a further report in six months’ time on implementing the recommendations of the Special Education Needs and Disability Process of Assessment Working Group; and

 

(4)       the Director of Social Care and Health be requested to meet informally with the Chair of the Committee, the Lead Member of the Working Group and the Head of Education, together with any other relevant Members at the Chair’s discretion, to go through each recommendation in detail, with a view to identifying what the Council is able to achieve and what can be done to influence schools, and report back to the next Committee meeting.

 

36.

Appointment of Advisory Member pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer requesting the Committee to appoint an additional representative from Healthwatch Sefton, in order to allow a total of two Healthwatch Sefton representatives to sit on the Committee, as non-voting Advisory Members.

 

A document setting out the role of the Healthwatch Sefton representative was attached to the report at Appendix A.

 

The report set out the background to the matter and indicated that the Council’s Constitution allowed each Overview and Scrutiny Committee to appoint people as non-voting Advisory Members. Healthwatch Sefton had recently requested that the organisation be permitted to have a second representative on the Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That an additional representative be appointed to the Committee from Healthwatch Sefton, as a non-voting Advisory Member.

 

37.

Cabinet Member Report pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer in relation to the most recent report of the Cabinet Member – Children, Schools and Safeguarding for the period September 2018 – January 2019. The report outlined information on the following:-

 

·         Pupil Place Planning (2018-2023);

·         Sand Dunes Nursery School Closure;

·         High Needs Funding;

·         Sefton and Knowsley Sky Music Education Hub; and

·         SEND Revisit by Ofsted.

 

Councillor J.J. Kelly, Cabinet Member – Children, Schools and Safeguarding, was in attendance at the meeting to present his Update Report and highlight particular aspects of it, particularly in relation to recent developments with high needs funding.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Cabinet Member update report be noted.

 

38.

Work Programme Key Decision Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer (1) seeking the views of the Committee on the draft Work Programme for 2018/19; (2) noting the progress to date regarding the Joint Working Group for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision and approving the broader scope for its review in considering post-16 transport arrangements; (3) noting the progress made to date against the recommendations of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Process of Assessment Working Group Final Report; (4) noting that there were no items for pre-scrutiny within the current Key Decision Forward Plan that fall under the remit of the Committee, on this occasion; (5) noting the outcome of the site visit to the Dewi Jones Unit, Waterloo; (6) noting that the two vacancies on the Committee for Parent Governor Representatives had now been filled; and (7) noting the changes to the representation by Healthwatch Sefton on the Committee membership.

 

A Work Programme for 2018/19 was set out in Appendix A to the report, to be considered, along with any additional items to be included and agreed.

 

The report set out progress in relation to the Joint Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision Working Group, comprised of Members of this Committee and Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Regeneration and Skills) and indicated that the Joint Working Group had broadened the scope for its review to consider post-16 transport arrangements.

 

Further to Minute No. 35 above, the report indicated that a six-monthly monitoring report setting out progress made against each of the recommendations of the 2017/18 Special Educational Needs and Disability Process of Assessment Working Group had now been submitted to the Committee.

 

There were no items for pre-scrutiny within the current Key Decision Forward Plan that fell under the remit of the Committee, on this occasion.

 

Further to Minute No. 24 (6) of 25 September 2018, the report outlined details of the site visit made to the Dewi Jones Unit, Waterloo, by Members of the Committee, following a request made by the former Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Working Group.

 

The report indicated that the two vacancies for Parent Governor Representatives with voting rights to sit on the Committee, had recently been filled.

 

The report also indicated that the non-voting Healthwatch representative on the Committee had recently changed and that further to Minute No. 36 above, a second Healthwatch representative on the Committee was now requested.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         Concerns were expressed regarding the scope of the Joint Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision Working Group. Assurances were given that provision for SEND would be considered in due course.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)       the Work Programme for 2018/19, as set out in Appendix A to the report, be agreed;

 

(2)       the progress to date regarding the Joint Working Group for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision be noted and the broader scope for the review in considering post-16 transport provision arrangements,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Any Other Business - Ofsted Inspections 2019

Minutes:

The Director of Social Care and Health reported that Ofsted had announced changes to its inspection regime, in that Councils which had been inspected recently would be re-visited in the following 3-6 months a review of Health Services for Children Looked After and Safeguarding in Sefton was likely to be included. This was not a re-inspection, rather it was a re-visit of areas that had been inspected.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the information provided on Ofsted visits during 2019, be noted.

 

40.

Any Other Business - Venue for Next Meeting

Minutes:

The Chair reported that the next meeting of the Committee would be held at the Town Hall, Bootle.