Agenda and minutes

Children & Young People Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 3 September 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Kieran Robinson  01952 382061

Media

Items
No. Item

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 299 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2020 be confirmed and signed by the Chair. 

4.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To approve the Committee’s Terms of Reference for the municipal year 2020 to 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the Terms of Reference be approved.

5.

Scrutiny Review of the Ofsted Report and Action Plan 2020 pdf icon PDF 863 KB

Clive Jones (Executive Director for Children’s & Family Services) and Jo Britton (Executive Director for Children’s Safeguarding & Family Support) will be in attendance for this item.

Darren Knibbs (Interim Director for Childrens Safeguarding and Family Support) will also be in attendance.

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Executive Director for Children’s and Family Services. It was noted that this meeting had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the meeting had been scheduled for April 2020. Members heard that the result of the report was thanks to the Council’s dedication to young people and their families, with dedicated staff and strong yearly investment in services; the Authority had delivered improvement and investment thanks to a transformative vision. The Committee also heard that the level of improvement reported by Ofsted made it the only Local Authority in the West Midlands to receive an Outstanding rating and the only authority outside of London to improve from Needs Improvement to Outstanding.

 

There remained scope for improvement, with the report noting the quality of recording in children’s plans and at key management decision points. This point had been addressed in the Council’s Action Plan which set out how the Authority intended to address the issue. Significant work had been undertaken since the inspection to improve, which included having formal minutes taken at meetings. Changes made under the Action Plan would remain under review to monitor the Council’s progress and to ensure that the actions had the intended effect.

 

Members offered their congratulations to all involved in the Ofsted report and noted the significant improvement that it recognised.

 

Members asked a range of questions, as follows -

How do we maintain the Borough’s Outstanding status?

 

The Council would have to maintain its relentless view to improvement.  Officers were exceptionally pleased with the report, they acknowledged that they must continue to strive for improvement, which was to be achieved through a strong focus on services, listening carefully to the voices of children and young people, and working closely with staff. Officers were also working hard on new initiatives and new methods of communication.

 

How big a part did support from partner organisations play in the report? There had been issues with accessing support, how had this improved?

 

The Council had worked hard with partners to develop services and challenge each other. Children benefited from a wide range of services provided by various partners that worked together to provide the necessary report. A new partnership panel received referrals and worked to find the best solutions. Many needs could be met in schools with the correct intervention and with consultation and guidance between agencies.

 

What effect had COVID-19 had on progress? Had there been an increase in numbers of children in care?

 

There had been a significant impact on the lives of children and families due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council had carried out a risk assessment of children’s cases in a timely manner, continued contact through social care staff and social workers, and reviewed the risk rankings regularly. Before in person visits took place, risk assessments had been undertaken but the Council had also been working virtually. Engagement with children and young people via digital means had been successful with children and young people finding it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Chair's Update

Minutes:

The Chair raised the work programme and invited the Associate Director: Policy and Governance to discuss the issue. The Associate Director recommended changes to a number of items, to which the Committee agreed; the redrafted work programme incorporating the changes would be brought to the next meeting of the Committee.