Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 4 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Jasmine Kassim  Email: jasmine.kassim@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5146

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence for given for Councillor Gary Parker and for Alex Seadon.

 

Apologies for lateness for received from Councillor John Fahy, Cabinet Member of Children’s Services

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 48 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.

Progress report on Cabinet Member Priorities 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The Panel is requested to consider a report from the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services on the delivery of the priorities for 2015/16and in particular the progress made during quarter 1; a summary of planned actions for the rest of the year; and, an update on the re-commissioned child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services presented the report.

 

In response to issues raised by the Panel regarding schools the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services indicated that discussions were moving forward regarding the development of Kidbrooke Park Primary School.  He commented that the Council could only place schools where they had sites and that they were trying to maximise the sites they had according to their resources.

 

In response to issues raised by the Panel regarding refugee and asylum seeker children the Cabinet Member explained that there was an Officer group looking at the current issue, and highlighted that the Council was currently spending £5.1million on the matter through the Nil Recourse to Public Funds Team. The Director of Children’s Services advised that there were long-term financial implications for the Borough in taking responsibility for unaccompanied children who had arrived in the country.

 

The Director of Children’s Services explained that PAUSE was a project that had been piloted last year by Hackney; Greenwich, Southwark and Lewisham had now been invited to conduct the programme which was for mothers who repeatedly had children moved into care. It was voluntary for the mothers as to whether or not they joined the programme.  An assessment was undertaken as to whether or not children who were removed were kept all together or apart but those who were removed serially did not tend to know each other anyway.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Director of Children’s Services replied that the number of Looked After Children was gradually coming down.  However, the cost of placements was increasing, due to various economic factors, and as they moved towards less Looked After Children those remaining tended to be those with the most complex needs.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Director of Children’s Services and the Assistant Director Commissioning and Resources confirmed that they made the best use of in-house provision for fostering, and that with independent providers they were clear what that they wanted which ensured that they got both the best value for money and the appropriate care for the children.

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.

5.

Outcome of Youth Service Commissioning Process pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider a report on the outcome of the commissioning process for universal youth support: year round and summer provision.

Minutes:

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

 

In response to questions from the Panel regarding the contract, the Assistant Director, Commissioning and Resources, clarified that not all the 24 providers who had attended the market engagement event were likely to have made a bid as some were subcontractors so the actual number of bids was not unexpected. The summer provision contract had been determined on a scoring evaluation and if the sole bidder had not met the required score then the Council would have went out to tender again.  Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) had a subcontractor arrangement for some of the provision, and that was monitored. Young people would not see any discontinuity in the new provision, however, they would start to see a new curriculum.

 

In response to questions from the Panel regarding monitoring the Assistant Director, Commissioning and Resources, replied that under the previous provision, performance of the year round provision was monitored on the basis of one time a young people had attended, but now they were looking for attendance of six times or more and they were also seeking 20-25% of the total youth population to do so. She added that young people were to be included in the inspection of the youth service.

 

Officers informed the Panel that the CACT website detailed where the activities were in each Ward and that the information about the youth provision was web based because that is what young people wanted.

 

The Chair commented that it was good that despite budget reductions there was continuity of youth service provision. 

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.

6.

Children's Services Complaints, Compliments and Representations Report 2014-15 pdf icon PDF 36 KB

The Panel is requested to consider the Children’s Services Complaints, Compliments and Representations Annual Report for 2014-15.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Head of Complaints Management.  He clarified what the report and the appendix contained.

 

In response to questions from the Panel, the Head of Complaints Management clarified the difference between the statutory and the corporate complaints procedure, and detailed how those procedures were explained to would be complainants.  He commented that during the time he had been Head of Complaints Management no complainant had simply dropped out of the process once started. He explained that Coram Voice was an advocacy team; and that Barnardo’s had been commissioned to provide help for Looked After Children who wished to complain. 

 

The Head of Complaints Management explained that there had been a reduction in the number of complaints, because there had been a period when the information was not being passed on, but that had been rectified.  He said with regards to the gender balance of the complaints that was because most of the complaints tended to be from mothers.

              

The Director of Children’s Services and the Assistant Director Commissioning and Resources added that the Complaints Management Team ensured that complainants did not drop out. The ethnicity of complainants was not entirely unrepresentative of the ethnicity of the borough.  It was not feasible to determine why people did not make complaints but Officers did seek the views of service users generally through the Children’s Centres, and the Admission service undertook a survey of their service users as well.

 

The Director of Children’s Services advised the Panel that complaints about not getting a child admitted to a certain school went to the Independent Appeals Panel and were not treated as complaints under this procedure; if parents complained to Councillors that was not treated as a complaint under this procedure; if the complaint was about the process rather than the outcome with regards to Admission they were treated as complaints under this procedure.

 

The Director of Children’s Services further advised the Panel that formal compliments were fairly random and could not be used as an indicator of performance. To achieve that they sought systematic feedback from service users, that was part of performance management and was noted in the Annual Report.

 

The Chair requested that the next Complaints, Compliments and Representations Report include a comparison over the last several years to enable greater understanding of trends.

Action: DCS

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.

7.

Children and Young People Plan Performance for 2015-16 Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The Panel is requested to consider the performance across the partnership of services for children at the end of Quarter 1 (Q1), 2015/16.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Director of Children’s Services.  The Director indicated that the Panel in December would get a detailed report with regards to resilience. 

 

The Panel queried the take up of the 15 hours free early education entitlement in Greenwich for disadvantaged two year olds.  The Director of Children’s Services advised that the provision was not compulsory. The national average was approximately 60% for take up and London was lower than that national average. In Greenwich Borough the issue was not that there were not enough places as was the case in other parts of London, there were more than enough places. There was no issue of parents beings put off by bureaucracy as the application process was straightforward.  They had asked parents why they were not taking the provision and the usual answer was that two years of age was too young for a child to be in a formal setting.  Families often had their own arrangements. Sometimes what happened was they held out for a specific provider and would wait until there was a vacancy. It was not known whether there was any correlation between reduced take up in some areas and distance to and from a Children’s Centre where the Children’s Centre was the only provider. 

 

In response to other questions from the Panel, the Director of Children’s Services and the Assistant Director, Commissioning and Resources replied:

·        The new childcare provision for three to four year olds was for parents who were seeking to return to work and not because their children were vulnerable.

·        It was OfSTED who decided who got funding to be a child minder; Greenwich did not have the power to close down a child minder.

·        Health watch was supporting GCCG in increasing attendance with regards to early access for women to maternity services. The challenge was where they had a mobile population. It was considered that the issue could be addressed through GP’s.  Children’s Centres also helped in the matter

·        It was still the case that all mothers at risk were to be visited by a Health Visitor. There was an issue as to whether the health visitor should be tied to GP’s or to Children’s Centres.

·        Low level sexual offences were defined as ‘non-penetrable’. Low level sexual harassment was a concern as they wanted to prevent further re-offending.  The perpetrators were predominantly boys.

·        Re-referrals to a Child Protection Plan tended to be in areas of highest social depravation however, social depravation had no relation to educational attainment results

·        Preventing Female Genital Mutilation was a priority for the Greenwich Safeguarding Children Board and was a multi-agency issue. It was difficult to monitor, it was a small number, and they were relying on faith communities to prevent it.

·        The percentage of referred babies receiving audiological assessment within four weeks was a poor result and the service was now going to be transferred to the hospitals.

·        Parental programmes, such as 1001 days, did pick up on postnatal depression.

 

Resolved –

 

That the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Commissioning Future Reports pdf icon PDF 42 KB

The Panel is asked to note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel on 5/11/2015 and the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel on 3/12/2015 as outlined in the body of the report.

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer indicated that there might be two additional items,   Inspection of Broadwalk and Virtual School’s Annual Report, for the meeting in November, and that the Place Planning Admissions item had been rescheduled from the December to the February meeting.

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.