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Appointment of Vice Chair and Co-opted Members
The Committee is asked to elect a Vice Chair from its membership for the 2017/18 Municipal Year.
1. That Councillor Caroline Ffiske be re-appointed as Vice Chair for the 2017-18 Municipal Year.
2. That the following co-opted members be re-appointed for the 2017-18 Municipal Year:
· Eleanor Allen, London Diocesan Board for Schools
· Nandini Ganesh, Parentsactive Representative
· Philippa O'Driscoll, Westminster Diocesan Education Service Representative
· Nadia Taylor, Parent Governor Representative
· Vic Daniels, Parent Governor Representative
· Matt Jenkins, Teacher Representative
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 24 April 2017.
The minutes of the previous meeting, held on 24 April 2017, were approved and signed by the Chair.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Marcus Ginn.
Apologies for absence were received from Nandini Ganesh and Philippa O’Driscoll.
Declarations of Interest
If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.
At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.
Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.
Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.
There were no declarations of interest.
To invite questions from members of the public.
Anyone is welcome to come and ask questions without giving notice but if you have complex questions you can submit them in advance to ensure a more detailed answer. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The were no public questions.
This report provides a brief overview of recent developments in Children’s Services.
Clare Chamberlain, presented the report and highlighted the following items.
The Children and Social Work Bill received Royal Assent – the bill contained a raft of new measures designed to boost support for children and young people, including:
· Increasing the age for which local authorities were responsible for Care Leavers up to 25 years old. This was a welcome change but did place additional financial burdens on the Council.
· The Establishment of a Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel - Safeguarding partners in local authority areas must now make arrangements for partners, and relevant agencies to work together in exercising their safeguarding functions and promoting the welfare of children. Cases with the most serious implications for practice would be reviewed at the national level.
· Regulation of Social Workers – A new organisation, Social Work England, was being created to take over from the HCPC as the profession’s regulator.
Steve Miley presented the year-end summary of Family Services data in section 4.4 of the report – highlighting that while there had been greater demand on the front end of the service because of an increase in referrals, by using systemic practice they had kept numbers of children on the child protection list down. He also noted that since bringing foster carer recruitment back in-house the service had recruited 24 new foster carers - the first time more than 15 foster carers had been recruited within a year.
Councillor Marcus Ginn asked if there was an opportunity to get parents who wanted to adopt involved in fostering. Steve Miley said they tended to be different cohorts – in general terms adopters were couples that had not been able to have children of their own and wanted to provide a lifelong commitment to a child. Foster carers on the other hand tended to be people who had already had their own family and were committed to giving something back by taking children and young people who needed short term support. Councillor Ginn asked what the average ages of adopted and fostered children were. Steve Miley said that children under five were most likely to be adopted – foster children tended to be in the 5-17 range.
Eleanor Allen asked if it was still true that a foster carer looking to adopt would lose their foster allowance. Clare Chamberlain responded that the Council had a policy of ‘no detriment’, ensuring that the same allowance would be paid for an appropriate period.
Nadia Taylor asked what ‘Section 47’ referred to. Steve Miley said it was when a professional (teacher, nurse etc.) tells Family Services about a potential child abuse case. Family Services would then meet with the police and decide if there should be an investigation. ‘Section 47’ referred to section 47 of the Children Act 1989 – they were more widely known as ‘Child Protection Inquiries’.
Matt Jenkins asked if there was a reason behind the number of Child Protection Inquiries (Section 47s) increasing so dramatically while Child Protection List numbers decreased. Steve Miley noted ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Cabinet Members Update
The Cabinet Member will give a short verbal update on their activities since the previous meeting.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Sue Macmillan back as Cabinet Member for Children and Education following maternity leave.
Councillor Macmillan updated the Committee on her recent activities as Cabinet Member:
· She visited a number of local Children's Centres to discuss the new Integrated Family Support Service.
· She met with the headteacher of Brackenbury Primary School to discuss cuts to school funding.
· She met with the headteachers of Jack Tizard and Woodlane Special Schools to discuss SEND issues.
· Following some recent serious case reviews, where H&F was not the primary authority, it was noticed that children under Child in Need plans did not have the same rigorous checks and procedures as those under Child Protection Plans when children were transferring boroughs. In response to this the Cabinet Member wrote to the minister for Children and Families to ask for a review of the legislation. Following the election results last Thursday this issue would be raised again with the new Minister once appointed.
The Committee will discuss the role of supplementary schools in the borough and the support provided by the Council. A briefing note is attached to provide context.
The Chair welcomed Claud Steven, Quality Development Adviser from the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE), to the meeting to speak about supplementary schools in the borough and how the centre supported them.
Claud Steven addressed the Committee and informed members that the NRCSE was committed to the support of effective, community-led, supplementary education that complemented the learning of children and young people attending mainstream schools. The centre provided resources for supplementary schools to establish themselves as safe places to send children. Advisors visited the schools to ensure their paper-work was up to date (insurance, safety checks etc.) and that good practice was being observed.
The Chair asked Claud to speak about the supplementary schools that operated in the borough. Claud Stevens highlighted the following local schools that had recently completed the centre’s three-day Good Management Course:
· Sudanese Association – based in White City and run a small group of classes teaching English and Maths.
· Westpoint - Community Supplementary School
· Glory House Education Centre
· Iranian Association – based in Acton High School and serving a large group of young people.
· Lido School
· Riana Sudanese School – a well-established school based in Hounslow running English and Maths classes and a popular Youth Club.
· People Unite – runs a popular homework club.
· The Leaf Education School
Councillor Elaine Chumnery asked if it was known how many supplementary schools operated in the borough. She then noted that as a parent she would have expected these schools to have safeguarding policies in place as standard but that didn’t seem to be the case. Richard Stanley said this was a national issue – supplementary schools were volunteer-based so were not subject to the same requirements as professional organisations. There was no requirement for these groups to have safeguarding policies or DBS checks for ‘staff’ for example. That was why it was important for organisations like the NRCSE to provide support and make sure they were safe. The Local Safeguarding Children Board had also looked at supplementary schools and were considering how to improve practice across the sector.
Matt Jenkins asked if the content of the teaching in supplementary schools was known – was it based on the national curriculum. Claud Stevens said many schools focused on English, Maths, and Science – in addition to languages and cultural teaching. Matt Jenkins asked if the content was monitored. Claud Stevens said they looked to see if it met national standards but they were not carrying out formal inspections. He added that the NRCSE had a Prevent coordinator to look at potential areas of radicalisation and they asked schools if they were aware of the Prevent agenda and the associated local authority training. Richard Stanley noted that the Council’s Prevent officer also has a register of known supplementary schools in the borough and checks in on them.
Councillor Elaine Chumnery said she would like to know how many supplementary schools there were in the borough and they should be made to attend safeguarding training. Steve Miley said ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
The Committee is asked to give consideration to its work programme for the current municipal year.
Councillor Elaine Chumnery asked that an item on the potential dangers of young children’s addiction to smart phones be added to the agenda – including constructive ways to support parents. Officers suggested research was needed and a briefing note was more appropriate than a full report.
The Chair suggested that the Skills for Young People item could be the basis for a joint task group with the Youth Council. Councillors asked that the group included the Council’s commissioned Youth Club and personal impact skills (interview skills). The task group would start in Autumn.
The Chair asked for the Chief Executive of the Young Hammersmith and Fulham Foundation to be invited to speak about their work supporting young people by facilitating grant funding for community groups and charitable organisations.
Members asked for an item on home schooling in the borough.
Matt Jenkins noted that the NUT had done a lot of work around the workload of teachers item and could be invited to present their findings.
The Chair asked that the item on Permancy and Adoption be prioritised.
Date of Next Meeting
The Committee is asked to note the date of the next meeting, which is to be held on 11 September 2017.
The Committee noted that the next meeting would be held on 11 September 2017.