Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Daniel Wilkinson  Email: daniel.wilkinson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5102

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Clare Morris, and from Gabriel Hall.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2015.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Panel held on 29 January 2015 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record, subject to an addition noting the Panel’s presence at Pound Park School and that the Panel’s thanks were given to the School’s staff.

5.

Cabinet Member report pdf icon PDF 53 KB

This report provides high level monitoring data for non-statutory complaints received between July – December 2014; outlines the Council’s revised complaints policy and process; and summarises how directorates are learning from complaints. 

 

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.  He thanked Children’s Services for their focus and their delivery of services.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services emphasised that it was important to recognise that it was a challenging time with regard to school places, both for primary and secondary schools. Not everyone could get their first choice. Because the Borough’s schools were so successful parents increasingly tended to choose them. There were different pressures across the Borough.  It was expected that, in the long term, primary school admissions would level off in the next few years but secondary school admissions would be challenging in the future. With regards to new schools there was a process to be undertaken, from identifying sites, to identifying partnership opportunities etc.  The Cabinet Member agreed that there needed to be a shift of focus with regard to post-16 provision, a more cohesive Borough-wide approach was needed to meet the needs of young people.  The Cabinet Member noted that some challenges with the UTC were being experienced, and said that there was no information on the Blackheath Bluecoat site as present. The Cabinet Member commented that a school federation structure was an excellent way to achieve integration of schools in the Borough.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Assistant Director Commissioning and Resources replied that travel was taken into account when planning the placements for primary schools. Children’s Services worked with schools and outreach services in providing support for parents in completing the on-line admissions application; it was still possible to do a paper application. It appeared that some secondary schools were more popular because of their results, or because they were perceived to provide better environments. Where possible the authority would seek to expand schools. For 2017 there was particular pressure in the Greenwich West Ward; Officers were discussing with developers to see whether developements could include schools.

 

Panel Members commented that a more strategic look needed to be taken with regard to provision of post-16 education.  It was felt more support was required with regards to admissions, to help those who had difficulty accessing resources online or those who had English as a second language. It was not clear whether there was pattern with regard to choice of schools; Members suggested provision of a scattergram displaying where the 216 pupils resided who were not able to get their preference schools as an aid.

 

Resolved  -

 

That the Cabinet Member’s report on progress against priorities for 2014-15 be noted.

6.

Child Sexual Exploitation : Progress Report pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel is asked to receive a presentation on the progress we have made in strengthening arrangements to tackle child sexual exploitation and to consider priorities for the year ahead.

 

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Senior Assistant Director Children’s Services.  The Senior Assistant Director gave a detailed presentation to the Panel.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Senior Assistant Director Children’s Services, explained that in Greenwich the pattern was for opportunistic exploitation by young men by their contact with vulnerable girls.  Officers had not seen any evidence of organised trafficking or exploitation. The profile in London was different, from say Rotherham.  One issue was where the young people went and may be they went out of the borough.  There was a lot of fluidity and they knew that was different from elsewhere where exploitation had been based on locality.

 

The Senior Assistant Director commented that many people did not realise how youths got associated with gangs. Likewise many parents were not aware that on-line grooming took place across different backgrounds. The Greenwich Safeguarding Children Board had looked at the problems facing young people on-line. Some parents struggled to deal with challenging behaviour, they felt they were alone with a stigmatising issue. However, for a lot of parents the NVR programme had made a difference.  He clarified the difference between child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse within families.

 

The Senior Assistant Director stated that Officers monitored Greenwich children placed outside of the borough. If Greenwich ever had any concerns about their Looked After Children outside of the borough they would not be placed there. Greenwich was pro-active in sharing information with other boroughs.  There was a high degree of system integration for London boroughs, but sometimes authorities’ processes outside of London were not consistent

 

The Senior Assistant Director confirmed that the Council had good relations with the Police, and had a good arrangement with them on sharing data. He stated that no child’s welfare was compromised or put in second place by an investigation. The Police had been robust. The Police had raised community awareness amongst those involved in the night time economy. Police communication with the schools was excellent and the Police were able to brief headteachers sensitively. Authorities engaged with different communities by talking about the matter; they sought to raise awareness across all communities as many communities did not think it happened.

 

The Senior Assistant Director indicated that there was a clear recommendation from a number of reports that schools needed to do more but Officers were satisfied that Greenwich schools were actively engaged.  There were channels of communication to raise matters and there was regular contact with the schools. The schools network was chaired by a headteacher and there was a priority in getting messages across and back to peers.  There was a programme to talk with young children about why they did things to get favours, as that could lead to being exploited. Many schools encouraged talk about respectful relationships and building self-esteem; more pupils were now able to talk about the matter which was good because they needed to be more open and not avoid talk.

 

The Senior Assistant Director said an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Universal Youth Support Re-Commissioning pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel is asked to note progress of the re-commissioning of Universal Youth Support and comment on the recommendations of the commissioning review, set out in Section 3.

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Assistant Director Commissioning and Resources, who also circulated an addendum to the report.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Assistant Director confirmed that the Summer Programme provision would link in with the SEND reforms.  She clarified what was required of the providers, including a curriculum of activities, how they would achieve outcomes and how they would market the service. She stated that there would be a social value assessment of contracts. The Assistant Director explained that there had been discussion with service users; parents wanted reassurance that staff would support their children with special needs but they did not necessarily want a separate service. Every service they commissioned previously had a separate provision for the disabled but now they had an inclusive one. A range of choices were available. 

 

A query was raised with regard to the London Living Wage. Members stressed that the Council as an employer should be paying the London Living Wage as that was Council policy.  The Head of Integrated Support, Children and Families, confirmed that the London Living Wage was in the standard legal contract with providers but not in the specification which was about the requirements of the service.

 

Resolved –

 

Noted the progress of the re-commissioning of Universal Youth Support

8.

Children and Young People Plan (CYPP) quarterly performance monitor: Quarter 3, 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel are asked to scrutinise performance across the partnership for Quarter 3 (Q3), 2014/15.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Assistant Director, Commissioning and Resources.

 

The Head of Integrated Support, Children and Families, added that Officers had done some work with some schools to identify factors that were predictors for NEET at 16 so that they could do more preventative work at 14, and the scheme would be rolled out everywhere in the autumn. 

 

The Director of Strategy and Performance (GCCG) commented that the GCCG worked closely with the Council and with GPs; partnership working was the only way to solve matters with resources stretched as they were at the moment. He suggested that a reason why some of the performance figures in the appendix were in the red was because of how data was collected and compared. He noted that there was a connection with housing conditions and respiratory tract Infections.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Assistant Director replied that obesity was a priority in the Health and Wellbeing Strategy.  A whole system approach was needed as a number of factors were involved and it would take time to turn the issue around. Diet was a huge factor and there were commercial determinants. Public Health was working with schools on food. There was a focus on improving exercise.  It was not just about working with children at school, it was also about educating parents about children not being active.

 

The Director of Strategy and Performance (GCCG) indicated there were a number of services up for renewal and it was opportunity to commission a linked together service.

 

In response to a query about the figures for dentistry the Director of Strategy and Performance (GCCG) explained dentistry was the responsibility of NHS England.  The Senior Assistant Director Children's Services added the figures related to the scheduling for Looked After Children; in Quarter Four, they would get an improved figure.

 

Resolved –

 

That the performance across the partnership for Quarter 3 (Q3), 2014/15, be noted.

9.

SEND Reforms - In-depth Scrutiny (Interim Report) pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To note the information and evidence received on the implementation of the SEND Reforms.

 

To agree the comments and recommendations that the Project Team has identified.

 

To agree that this project continues as part of next year’s work programme.

 

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the report.

 

Members indicated they were happy with the report, and that they expected the recommendations to be followed up.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services commented it was a positive report.  He stressed funding implications needed to be understood and he reminded Members that the Care Act had come into force that day.

 

Resolved –

 

1.       Noted the information and evidence received on the implementation of the SEND Reforms.

 

2.       Agreed the comments and recommendations that the Project Team has identified.

 

3.       Agreed that this project continues as part of next year’s work programme.