Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Children's Services and Safeguarding)
Tuesday 28th January, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Birkdale Room - Southport Town Hall, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DA. View directions

Contact: Debbie Campbell,  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

35.

Introductions

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Claire McDonough, the newly appointed Parent Governor Representative, to the meeting and introductions took place.

 

36.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Bennett and her Substitute Councillor Irving; Councillor Keith and her Substitute Councillor Lewis; and Councillors Pitt, Sayers and Thomas.

 

37.

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.

 

38.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2019, be confirmed as a correct record.

 

39.

Joint Targeted Area Inspection of the Multi-Agency Response to Children's Mental Health pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Report of the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education, indicating that between 23 and 27September 2019, Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), HMI Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, (HMICFRS) and HMI Probation (HMIP) had carried out a joint inspection of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Sefton. This inspection included a “deep dive” focus on the response to children’s mental health. The letter to all the service leaders had been published on 18December 2019, and publication had been delayed due to the General Election and the purdah period. The letter outlined the regulators’ findings about the effectiveness of partnership working and of the work of the individual agencies in Sefton and identified areas for priority action. Since the inspection a number of actions had been taken to strengthen the strategic approach. Copies of the letter to all service leaders with key findings and of the terms of reference for the Children’s Continuous Improvement Partnership Board were attached to the report. The next stage would be for a written statement of proposed action responding to the findings of the letter and this was required to be a multi-agency response involving key partner agencies.

 

Representatives of the key partner agencies involved attended the meeting to highlight particular aspects of the findings of the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) and to respond to questions put by Members of the Committee. The following representatives were present:

 

Vicky Buchanan, Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education, Sefton MBC;

Fiona Taylor, Chief Officer for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG;

Lee Wilkinson, Detective Inspector, Merseyside Police;

Tanya Wilcock, Head of Communities; Sefton MBC; and

Laura Knights, Head of Children’s Care, Sefton MBC.

 

The Committee received a presentation by the representatives of the various agencies involved, providing the findings of the JTAI and actions required. The presentation outlined the following:

 

·         Partnership Findings;

·         Governance Arrangements;

·         Health Agencies – Strengths;

·         CCG Commissioned and Public Health Commissioned Health Services;

·         Police – Strengths and Areas for Development;

·         Early Help – Strengths and Areas for Development;

·         Children’s Social Care;

·         Youth Offending Team (YOT) – Strengths and Areas for Development; and

·         Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) – Strengths and Areas for Development.

 

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

 

·         Concerns were raised regarding a young person in crisis at the weekend, as access to services would require presentation at A&E at either Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust or at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

Investment had been made into Venus and other sources of support for mild to moderate mental health needs. NHS England commissioned the specialist high-need services. Detailed information could be provided on the THRIVE Model, that would provide the future pathway for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), if requested by the Committee. The Chair indicated that this could be considered as part of the Committee’s Work Programme for 2020/21.

 

·         How long were children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

SEND Continuous Improvement Plan Update pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Report of the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 29 of 12 November 2019, the Committee considered the report of the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education updating the Committee on actions taken and progress made regarding the improvements required following the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission joint local area special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) revisit. The report detailed the key actions and responses being taken.

 

The following were attached to the report:

 

Annex A - Progress to date;

Annex B - Analysis of baseline Parent Carer Survey;

Annex C - SEND Strategic Needs Assessment;

Annex D - Feedback from Children and Young People; and

Annex E - Draft Joint Commissioning Strategy.

 

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

 

·         What progress had been made regarding the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) pathway?

The pathway had been agreed with the Sefton Parent Carer Forum, needed to be considered by the Sefton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and would start to be delivered from 1 April 2020.  The CCGs were looking to invest in the region of £1m. It was important to note that the change might impact on other parts of the system.

 

·         Had a visit to East Cheshire been undertaken to learn about the experience there in developing a joint strategy for ASD and co-commissioned ASD pathway?

East Cheshire had undertaken some considerable work to ensure wrap-around care was available. A visit had also been undertaken to Wakefield. Other services would need to support the pathway and wrap-around care put in place. Representatives of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust could be invited to a future meeting of the Committee to explain developments. This could be part of the on-going reporting mechanism. 

 

·         Would parents/carers be involved in the future?

Yes, the Sefton Parent Carer Forum would be involved in the future development of the ASD pathway.

 

·         What developments were taking place regarding improved communications with parents/carers?

The Sefton Parent Carer Forum had been involved in the production of a survey and feedback indicated there had been good involvement by parents/carers in completing the survey. It was considered that it would take time for parents/carers to feel the effect of the changes being put in place. It was hoped that feedback regarding communication would be more positive in the future.

 

·         Feedback for the survey had been low and was not necessarily representative.

Over 1500 parents/carers had been contacted, as well as information notices through all schools and further social media communication, and the Sefton Parent Carer Forum had shared it at one of their events. It was anticipated that a shorter survey could be produced in 6 months’ time to assist with engagement and Healthwatch Sefton had offered support with this.

 

·         Would the CCGs continue to fund the Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Information and Advice Service (SENDIASS)?

The value of the Service was recognised, and the CCGs would consider relevant budgets as part of the CCG budget setting for 2020/21.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)       the information be received, together with progress regarding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Corporate Parenting Role of Elected Members pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Report of the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education informing Members of their roles and responsibilities as Corporate Parents. Updated copies of The Sefton Corporate Parenting Strategy and the Sefton Local Offer for Care Leavers were provided, together with the Local Government Association Corporate Parenting Resource pack.

 

The following were attached to the report:

 

·         Elected Members Checklist;

·         LGA Corporate Parenting Resource Pack;

·         Sefton Corporate Parenting Strategy; and

·         Sefton Local Offer for Care Leavers.

 

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

 

·         The documentation should be circulated to all Members of the Council, to remind them of their roles and responsibilities as Corporate Parents.

 

·         Tributes were paid to the young people on the Making a Difference (MAD) Group who participated on the Corporate Parenting Board.

 

·         Had the young people involved contributed towards the Sefton Local Offer for Care Leavers?

Yes, this document was updated regularly, and the young people ensured that the services offered were still relevant.

 

·         Could future updates place more emphasis on joint partnership working?

Yes, this would be reflected.

 

·         It was hoped that any young people leaving Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) were aware of the Life Rooms facilities, available in both Southport and Bootle.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)       the contents of the report be noted; and

 

(2)       the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care and Education be requested to circulate relevant information/documentation on the Corporate Parenting role and responsibilities, to all Members of the Council.

 

42.

Climate Emergency pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Joint report of the Head of Corporate Resources and Executive Director.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 33 of the Council meeting of 18 July 2019, the Committee considered the joint report of the Head of Corporate Resources and the Executive Director indicating that at its meeting on 18 July 2019, the Council had agreed a motion to declare a Climate Emergency. Work had progressed since that date on developing a programme structure, strategy and initial implementation plan for delivery of the motion and its objectives. In order to further inform this work, a baseline position was required across the Council of work that was currently underway or planned that could contribute to the Council achieving the aims of the motion. The report provided a summary of work undertaken to date and the exercise that was required to be led through each Overview and Scrutiny Committee in order to establish that baseline position.

 

The Section Manager Energy and Environmental Management, Corporate Resources, attended the meeting to provide a presentation to Members on the Climate Emergency.

 

The presentation outlined the following:

 

·         Purpose;

·         Sefton Target;

·         How we quantify our emissions; and

·         Next Steps.

 

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

 

·         Doubts were raised as to the adequate recording of air quality, particularly in the most congested areas of the Borough.

Pollutants were monitored and actions taken to influence partners and reduce pollutants, including improvements to nearby green spaces. Improvements could also be made to combat domestic pollutants, such as by improving insulation, etc.

 

·         What role was the Committee being requested to undertake on climate emergency work?

Following the collation of baseline information, options would be presented to the Committee in due course.

 

RESOLVED:      That

 

(1)       the Council’s agreed approach to delivering the objectives, as set out in the Council motion that declared a climate emergency, be noted;

 

(2)       the activity that will take place within the first 12 months of the programme; be noted; and

 

(3)       the important role of each Overview and Scrutiny Committee in delivering the Council’s objectives, as set out in the agreed motion, and the initial work that is required to be carried out in each area of the Council’s activity by all Heads of Service, in order to form an initial baseline position; and that this initial work will be reported back to the next meeting of the Committee, be noted.

 

43.

Mental Wellbeing in Sefton Schools pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Report of the Director of Public Health.

 

A presentation to be provided at the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Public Health providing an update to Members of the Committee regarding activity in Sefton schools; sharing findings of a school’s wellbeing survey; and details of the new Kooth service, an early intervention resource. The report set out the background to the matter, together with key findings by the Liverpool John Moores University and the next steps to be take.

 

The Committee received a presentation by Steve Gowland, Public Health Lead, on mental resilience in Sefton schools. The presentation outlined the following:

 

·         Methods of Evaluation;

·         The Survey;

·         Who took part?

·         Resilience:

o   girls compared to boys;

o   by school year;

·         Protective Factors;

·         Mental wellbeing:

o   Girls compared to boys;

o   By school year;

·         Staff Findings;

·         Mental Wellbeing Offer in Sefton:

o   2017;

o   2020; and

·         Conclusions.

 

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

 

·         How had the children been asked about their mental and emotional wellbeing?

A survey had been used. The Kooth service had been procured and was an early intervention resource which targeted improvements in young people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. The service complimented and was part of the Borough-wide THRIVE approach, that would provide the future pathway for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

 

·         Had academies taken part in the survey?

Yes.

 

·         Was any training provided to prepare school staff in building their own resilience, particularly following sudden deaths?

The Amparo suicide support service had been commissioned and had worked with a variety of schools within the Borough.

 

·         Support at the transition stage appeared to be key.

This point was acknowledged, and on-going work was required.

 

·         Would the better preventative measures being undertaken represent a reduction in referrals to CAMHS?

The survey provided a base-line and could be repeated in the future. The data could be provided to the 0-19 Service and interventions adjusted accordingly. A wellbeing Toolkit was currently being developed for schools and colleges.

 

·         Did the data suggest that boys were less likely to discuss issues later in life?

The results of the survey had not been different from other parts of the UK and it was not known whether boys were providing responses expected. The Kooth service did provide a level of on-line anonymity.

 

·         The Government had committed to providing support for mental wellbeing in schools and colleges.

Joined-up work undertaken as a Council and with partners remained on-going.

 

·         All schools should be encouraged to take part in any future survey. It was also important to de-stigmatise mental wellbeing.

 

·         The ethos of how schools responded to the issues involved was important, particularly at a time when school budgets were under pressure.

There was a need to move away from a clinical approach and encourage a general wellbeing approach.

 

·         Different schools adopted different approaches and pressures could be applied to those children with special educational needs and/or disabilities, particularly where they were required to sit in a specific area within a classroom, where they could feel “labelled”.

 

·         Had the survey identified any major differences  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Cabinet Member Report pdf icon PDF 78 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 November 2019 – January 2020. The report outlined information on the following:

 

·         Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND);

·         Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) of services for children in Sefton;

·         Early Help Strategy; and

·         St. Teresa’s Catholic Infant and Nursery School – Consultation.

 

Councillor J.J. Kelly, Cabinet Member – Children, Schools and Safeguarding, attended the meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Cabinet Member update report be noted.

 

45.

Work Programme Key Decision Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer, seeking the views of the Committee on the draft Work Programme for the remainder of 2019/20; identifying any items for pre-scrutiny by the Committee from the Key Decision Forward Plan; noting the progress to date by the Persistent Pupil Absence Working Group; noting a replacement Parent Governor Representative had now been appointed; and receiving an update on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

A Work Programme for 2019/20 was set out at Appendix A to the report, to be considered, along with any additional items to be included and agreed.

 

There was just one Decision within the latest Key Decision Forward Plan, attached to the report at Appendix B, that fell under this Committee’s remit, and the Committee was invited to consider items for pre-scrutiny.

 

The report set out progress to date made by the Persistent Pupil Absence Working Group, comprised of Councillors Bennett, Carragher (Lead Member), Keith and Mrs. Cain, Independent Advisory Member.

 

The report advised that following the resignation of a former Parent Governor, a replacement Parent Governor Representative had now been appointed;

 

Further to Minute No. 10 of 12 November 2019, the report set out an update on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)       the Work Programme for 2019/20, as set out in Appendix A to the report, be agreed;

 

(2)       the contents of the Key Decision Forward Plan for the period 1 December 2019 – 31 March 2020, be noted;

 

(3)       progress made to date by the Persistent Pupil Absence Working Group be noted;

 

(4)       the fact that the vacancy on the Committee for a Parent Governor Representative has now been filled, be noted; and

 

(5)       the update on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee be noted.