Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

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

Contact: Nassir Ali  Email: tel: 0208 921 6160

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.



There were no apologies for absence.


Urgent Business

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


There was no urgent business.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 34 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.

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Resolved –


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


Minutes pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 04 April 2017.


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.


Resolved -


That the minutes of the meeting of the Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Panel held on 04 April 2017 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.


In Depth Scrutiny - Scrutiny of Children's Health Services provided by Commissioned Providers pdf icon PDF 174 KB

To consider and comment on the formal and informal evidence received by the Project Team on children’s health services provided by commissioned providers within Royal Borough of Greenwich Children’s Centres.

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The Chair introduced the report and confirmed it would be considered jointly with members of the Healthier Communities and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Panel. She added that the in depth review of the Children’s Centres was agreed as a result of discussions between the co-chairs of both panels on perinatal services and the performance data received.


The Chair stated that the types of methodology used during the review included desk top evaluations based on previous reports and national best practice, interviews with health professional members and children service teams and site visits which provided the opportunity to talk to service users.

She added that the children centres provided a valued set of services and the feedback was positive.


The Chair requested the joint panels discuss the recommendations in the iterim report with the Children’s Centres staff and health professionals and use the evidence to finalise the report for late autumn.

 Action: SCDO


The Panel was addressed by Children Centre staff who stated that they provide both universal services and targeted services for under 5’s and their families. They added that they deliver a wide range of services including 1-1 support in speech and language, parenting support with a focus on employment and training, child care and early education and health services. They confirmed there was increased accessibility to the service and that there was a closer working relationship with partners across the borough.


In response to questions from the Panel on the development of a new model into the support of high risk families taking into the account the Councils financial pressures the Children’s Centre staff stated that there were no discussions of a new model at present as the universal services they provide was helping in identifying and targeting children’s needs that had not been recognised previously.


The Director of Children’s Services added that there was a risk of increased responsibility going to children’s centres however the case accountability of care is the responsibility of Children’s Social Care and the Early Help Service who are in the process of developing a more intensive offer that will work in collaboration with the children’s centres. She added that consultation had been going on going for the last year on the levels of need and the importance of universal provision.  She also confirmed that the new model is a reorganisation of local authority services and that consultation will be concluded in the autumn.


Members requested the Director of Children’s Services provide a report on the new model of work after the re-organisation of work is completed.

Action: DCS


In response to questions from the Panel on the relationship between Children’s Centres and the schools during handover periods the staff stated that most centres were located within the schools and that this allowed for a smooth transition especially around safeguarding. They also added that centres not located at schools work closely with parents and Head Teachers to ensure a smooth transition takes place especially for vulnerable families.


With regards to the introduction of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Prevention and Diverting Children from Care - Impact of the Placement Strategy pdf icon PDF 378 KB

To note the impact of the Placement Strategy in helping divert children from care. The panel is also asked to note the areas of practice to support the reduction in children requiring statutory intervention and the reduction in budget pressures on the placement spend.


The report was introduced by the Assistant Director of Children’s Services (Commissioning & Resources)

She confirmed the aim of the service was to make a difference in children’s lives whilst managing a budget which had previously been overspent. She emphasised that there was continuous work being done in managing the number of people in the care system and identified the links to early health services and the need for a specialist service.


In response to Panel Member questions on the costings of agency and in house care the assistant director stated that the key priorities were to increase in house provision which had been relatively successful. She added that the service was taking every opportunity to promote fostering and had identified training and support as some significant issues. The Assistant Director also mentioned that the use of outside agencies was a last resort and that there was a fine balance between protecting, stability and performance. She also commented on the positive partnership with the commissioning team who identified the lack of large home stock in the area and introduced a new strategy of dynamic purchasing.


In response to Panel Member questions on the housing needs of potential foster parents the Senior Assistant Director confirmed that adaptations can be made to properties to create more rooms for foster parents. He added that the lack of a stock of 4 bedroom houses is a challenging issue that is being discussed with planning. He also added the target area for the service was in recruiting and assessing families to take on unaccompanied minors this allows the Council to continue to support the humanitarian effort and focus proportionate attentions.


In response to Panel Member questions on the reduction in the number of looked after children the Senior Assistant Director confirmed they were a result of positive adoption schemes, special guardianship orders & long term foster carers. He added that there is some continued responsibility once the children are returned to family members and a more thorough assessment as to whether care is the right choice for some of the children.


In response to Panel Member questions on social workers the Senior Assistant Director stated that recruitment was successful as Royal Borough of Greenwich had the 3rd highest number of permanent social workers in London. He added that turnover rates were a problem nationally but that partnerships with Lewisham and Southwark Council ensure this is being tackled locally. He also mentioned that the focus on improving practice and stability in front line leadership had led to fewer interim agency staff. The Assistant Director also commented that child focused policies was leading to long standing established relationships between the children and the social workers.


With regards to the challenges faced in retaining front line social workers the Director of Children’s Services confirmed that the career progression for social workers was being looked at with the aim of implementing a new workforce development strategy. The chair asked for a briefing on the workforce development plan before the panel  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


2017/18 Work Programme Schedule pdf icon PDF 35 KB

To agree the attached 2017/18 work programme schedule for the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel (C&YP SP).


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The Chair informed the panel that the corporate parenting panel has been set-up however the meeting dates had been retained by the Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Panel to accommodate a busy work programme schedule.


Resolved –

Panel members agreed the work programme schedule.