Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 5 - 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 were received on behalf Pauline Sheath, a Church of England representative, and Alexander Seadon, a Parent Governor representative.

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 67 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 24th February 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 Meeting of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel: Corporate Parenting, held on 24 February 2015, be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

5.

Royal Greenwich Virtual School: Headteacher's Annual Report 2014 -15 pdf icon PDF 34 KB

The Panel is asked to scrutinise the annual report for 2014-2015 from the Headteacher of the Royal Greenwich Virtual School and to note improvement actions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received the Virtual School Annual Report 2014/15 presented by the Headteacher.  Improvements made, together with development and training opportunities in the period were noted.  It was recognised that the aims of the Virtual School were geared toward promoting the best education outcomes for children looked after by the Royal Borough of Greenwich (Royal Borough).  The Panel was pleased that the aim extended to other children placed in schools across the Royal Borough by other local authorities.

 

In response to questions raised, the Panel received confirmation from the Headteacher that a post-16 officer had been recruited by the Virtual School.  Also, the Virtual Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) had attended the Education Health Care (EHC) training.  Thus, to ensure adequate support to children with their education, the Virtual School was working collaboratively with its delivery partners in social care, fostering, housing, and special education needs (SEN) teams, including the Youth Offending Services, and other relevant agencies in and out of the Royal Borough.

 

The Headteacher continued with her response, informing the Panel that the collaborative efforts with delivering partners were vital in meeting the ambition of the Virtual School, so that children continue with education or training up to 18 years of age, irrespective of whether they are looked after, or with SEN.  In particular, personal education plan (PEP) meetings were utilised to co-ordinate provisions for the individual child.  Regular attendance tracking through the Welfare Call initiative ensured that attainments were monitored, so that problems could be identified at an early stage for timely support to children.  Early intervention work with delivering partners ensured that attendance levels for looked after children (LAC) continue to be good.  The rate of exclusion across schools within the Royal Borough had also declined.  Furthermore, following the recruitment of the post-16-officer, the number of young people in education and training up to the age of 25 years of age increased substantially in the period when compared to previous years.  However, if a post-16 student expressed a desire not to continue education, PEP meetings would be organised by the post-16 officer with the relevant support services, including the young person, to discuss options with the aim to get him/her involved in training or other form of learning.

 

The Panel was also informed by the Headtecher that a criterion by Ofsted required children going through transitions to be monitored for six months.  Therefore, in a situation where LAC moved out of the Royal Borough, and the placement becomes long-term, a PEP meeting would usually be held to ensure that they get the best out of education.  Thus, there was no reason why transportation would not be provided for LAC to and from their existing school should be considered necessary at the PEP meeting.  In addition to that, LAC were supported to maintain contact with their friends and family members while going through with the change, provided that there was no danger of potential harm to them.  The Headteacher clarified that similar support would also be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Royal Borough of Greenwich Fostering Service pdf icon PDF 34 KB

The Panel is asked to scrutinise the annual report from the Royal Borough of Greenwich Fostering Service which covers the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 (appended to this report) and the developments underway to improve as outlined.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Permanence Service Leader introduced and summarised the report, highlighting progress in relation to the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s (Royal Borough) Fostering Service for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.

 

The Panel noted the report, together with achievements and priorities for further improvements, and it welcomed statement that the Royal Borough was striving to be an innovative fostering service, and the best in London.

 

In response to questions raised, the Service Leader advised the Panel that in order to further improve efficiency, the Fostering Service (FS) was recruiting carers from a diverse background to meet the needs of the Royal Borough’s ‘looked after children’ (LAC), and that a number of initiatives had been implemented.  It was stated that the Fostering Support Task Group (FSTG) was offering mutual support and practical help during placements.  Training and development for supervising social workers (SSW) and foster carers were evaluated and revised annually to ensure outcomes for LAC.  Also, in addition to the FS quarterly development events, the Children’s Services had adopted the Secure Base Model to underpin its work with children and families, and to solicit ideas and suggestions for service improvement.  Furthermore, since the last inspection from Ofsted in February 2013, there had been greater involvement of young people in service development through the Children in Care Council.  It was confirmed that the Council’s Children and Young People Plan for 2014-17 had also been revised to include a Sufficiency Strategy for placements that was aimed at driving service delivery, and the recruitment of additional foster carers.

 

Members expressed satisfaction that the Greenwich Foster Carers’ Association was dealing with individual and collective issues with the FS on behalf of carers, and that allowance provided to foster carers by the Royal Borough was competitive.  The Service Leader confirmed that the new financial scheme introduced in April 2015 included a tiered professional development programme to recognise the efforts of foster carers, and to encourage them to become ‘fostering champions’ to support service review and development programmes.  However, it would be inequitable to offer discounts on Council Tax payments for foster carers residing within the Royal Borough because those performing similar roles outside the local area would not benefit from the provision.  In particular, the Government had insisted that foster carers should be treated as professionals, and that attention should be given to their training and development.  Thus, under delegated authority, foster carers could use their discretion to make decisions, and be fully involved in day-to-day arrangements and planning with SSW to support the children they look after.

 

The Service Leader continued by advising the Panel that the Royal Borough’s training and development activities served as a therapeutic approach to caring, and are informed by a Secure Base Model to redirect resources toward suitable placements relevant to the capability of prospective foster carers to meet a child’s emotional needs. Also, through the Emergency Duty Fostering Scheme, ‘out of hours’ service would ensure that reliable group of carers were available to provide children a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Broadwalk Children's Home [To Follow] pdf icon PDF 78 KB

The Panel is asked to scrutinise the recent inspection by Ofstead of Broadwalk (29-30 September 2015, and to note the feedback from Elected Member and Regulation 44 visits to Broadwalk so far during 2015-2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Permanence Service Leader C introduced staff from Broadwalk Children’s Home (Broadwalk) at the meeting, advising the Panel that they were available to answer questions following recent Ofsted Inspection exercise.

 

On behalf of the Panel, the Chair welcomed the Manager of Broadwalk at the meeting.  The Panel also noted comments relating to the recent visit to Broadwalk by Councillor Steve Offord.

 

In discussing the issues, Members expressed satisfaction that the Ofsted inspection that took place in September 2015 judged Broadwalk as outstanding in the provision of highly effective sustained services, the delivery of which were contributing to significantly improve outcomes for children and young people who needed help, protection and care.  Members also welcomed information that the inspection outcome noted that effective multi-agency working existed at Broadwalk, and that the staff were knowledgeable and skilled in their interaction with other professionals.  It was recognised that inspection report imposed no requirements, but made recommendations for further improvements.

 

In response to questions raised, the Manager confirmed to the Panel that work had commenced to address the recommendations made by the inspectors.  As an indication, the assessment of risk template had been revised to show evidence of regular evaluation.  It was stated that a bounded and page-numbered book had also been acquired to record the administration of controlled drugs at Broadwalk.

 

On behalf of the Panel, the Chair thanked the Manager and her staff for continuous improvement, particular that the outcome of a full Ofsted inspection in June 2014 judged Broadwalk as “good with outstanding quality of care”, and an interim one in February 2015 found “improved effectiveness”.

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted.