Agenda and minutes

Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee
Monday, 11th September, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Courtyard Room - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: David Abbott  020 8753 2063

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 246 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2017.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2017 were approved and signed by the Chair.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for lateness were received from Nadia Taylor.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Elaine Chumnery, Councillor Marcus Ginn, Vic Daniels, and Matthew Jenkins.

3.

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. 

 

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Caroline Needham, declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 9, Adoption and Fostering Update, as a member of the Council’s Adoption and Fostering Panel.

4.

Public Participation

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: david.abbott@lbhf.gov.uk

Minutes:

Cas Bradbeer, Deputy Youth Mayor, asked if there had been any progress setting up the ‘skills for young people’ task force that was discussed at the previous meeting. The Chair said that she would take the proposal to the Youth Council for consideration.

5.

Director's Update pdf icon PDF 548 KB

This report provides an overview of recent developments in Children’s Services.

Minutes:

Steve Miley, Director for Children’s Services, presented the report and highlighted the following areas:

·         ‘Moving On’ - work was underway to move to a sovereign department. Key leadership roles had been appointed and consultation with staff was underway.

·         Social Care – Child Protection enquiries - there had been an increase in demand that was also reflected nationally. The service had put in additional resources to keep all cases allocated and case-loads manageable.

·         Care Leavers – the number of care leavers will continue to increase as aspects of the Children and Social Care Act com into practice - requiring local authorities to provide services up to the age of 25.

·         Grenfell Tower Fire – a number of familes and individuals (around 100) have been placed in the borough. A team of outreach support workers was set up with volunteer social workers and housing officers. They have been carrying out regular visits and providing information on additional services and support.

·         Travel Care and Support Service – this week has also seen the successful introduction of the new Travel Care and Support Service.

 

Ian Heggs, Director for Education, presented a summary of the latest school tests and exam outcomes for 2017. He noted that overall H&F’s primary schools have performed exceptionally well this across the Key Stages. Key Stage 2 was particularly good – with H&F moving from 14th to fourth in the national rankings.

 

Secondary School had faced significant changes to the GCSE grading system this year – but despite this H&F’s schools had achieved impressive results. The percentage achieving 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and mathematics was

provisionally 69%, compared with 70% in 2016 - which was above the 2016

national average (59%).

 

Etiene Steyn, Strategic Commissioner, presented a summary of the new Travel Care and Support Service mobilisation. He highlighted that the new provider of minibuses was awarded the contract on the basis of an excellent tender which put quality at the centre of the service offer. The specification was co-designed with parents, carers, schools, day services and social care stakeholders. The focus of the specification was to clearly define and enhance quality in the areas of; staff competence, service

continuity, improved communication and compassionate care.

 

Nandini Ganesh commented that Parentsactive had received a number of compliments for the new service – particularly around punctuality and the politeness of the escorts. She said that parents were ‘happy and relieved’. The Chair was very grateful that the new service was well received and asked that her thanks be passed on to the members of the working group, councillors, and staff involved in the project.

 

Nadia Taylor, referring to 6.3 of the report, asked what had contributed the increase in costs of £164k. Etiene Steyn said it was due to the service enhancements. The new contract had far more of a focus on customer care and support.

 

The Chair noted that the Committee recognised the work that had been done by staff to support those  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Cabinet Member's Verbal Update

Minutes:

Councillor Sue Macmillan, Cabinet Member for Children and Education, informed the Committee that Steve Miley had been appointed as Director of Children’s Services. She congratulated him on the appointment and noted that he had shown both a passion to improve the lives of young people and a willingness innovate in times of tightened resources.

 

Travel Care and Support

Councillor Macmillan took a moment to discuss the new Travel Care and Support Service and the reasons why it was necessary. Under the original passenger transport contract that the administration inherited – vulnerable children were taken to the wrong homes, some were let out of buses unescorted, there was inappropriate behaviour from drivers and escorts, children’s seat belts weren’t fastened, and both communication and training was poor.

 

In response to the concerns of parents, the Council established a working party of councillors, senior officers, parents, and schools that has met every month for the last three years. At first the priority was making the existing service safe. The name of the service was changed from ‘passenger transport’ to ‘travel care and support’ – emphasising that the service was there to treat children safely and support them. The goal of the new service was making sure children arrived at school ready to learn.

 

While significant effort had been put into the making the existing service safe, ultimately we had to procure a higher standard service that built on the lessons learned from last time. The key was involving users of the service in its design – parents, schools, and carers were involved in every part of the process. We also prioritised quality over cost. It was still early days for the new service but the picture was positive and we’re confident that the minor issues are being dealt with.

 

Councillor Macmillan thanked Etiene Steyn and his team for their mammoth effort making the new service a reality. It showed that if we are determined to get it right and build high quality services we can do it.

 

Nandini Ganesh asked if there had been any progress on independent travel training. Etiene Steyn said the team was working with Adult Social Care on some pilot projects around the borough. The first had launched at Woodlane and they were in discussions with Queensmill about setting up another. Etiene added that CT Plus, the new mini-bus provider, was a social enterprise and they had a proposal to implement independent travel training as part of their social value work with the Council.

7.

Improving Transitions - Task Group Final Report pdf icon PDF 216 KB

This report makes recommendations to improve the experience for young disabled people transitioning from social care services for children, to social care services for adults.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Rory Vaughan, Chair of the Task Group, introduced the report. He explained that the Health, Adult Social Care & Social Inclusion Policy and Accountability Committee formed the task group to consider how the Council could improve the experience for young disabled people transitioning from social care services for children to social care services for adults. Councillor Vaughan thanked everyone involved in the group – including parents, carers, officers, headteachers, medical professionals, and councillors – for their contribution to this important piece of work.

 

Councillor Vaughan informed the Committee that the key reason for setting up the task group was that parents whose children had moved from children’s services to adult social care described the transition as ‘a cliff edge’. The necessary planning and support had not been there for them. The task group brought officers, parents, and professionals together to understand the issues in depth and look at how they could be improved.

 

Through a series of challenging discussions with a range of stakeholders the group formulated four recommendations designed to remove the cliff edge, bring professionals together, and ensure young people and their families get the appropriate support.

 

Councillor Ben Coleman, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, addressed the Committee - noting that this area had been a personal focus for him over a number of years. He drew attention to recommendation one – the creation of a new preparing for adulthood team that would bring together officers and funding from children’s services and adult social care. Councillor Coleman hoped that this would become a model for other services across the Council – breaking down silos and focusing on the needs of the customer. He welcomed the report of the task group and said he was determined to make the recommendations a reality.

 

Councillor Sue Macmillan, Cabinet Member for Children and Education, echoed the words of Councillors Vaughan and Coleman. She said the onus was now on the Cabinet and officers to implemented the much-needed improvements recommended by the task group.

 

Lisa Redfern, Director for Adult Social Care, said she was working with Steve Miley, Director for Children’s Services, to make the recommendations a reality. A joint project group was already place and the new preparing for adulthood team would be co-produced with parents and young people. While planning for the new service was going on, two new transitions workers would be appointed to help close the gaps in the short term.

 

Councillor Alan De’Ath thanked the task group for their report - noting what an important area this was to get right and how important it was to co-design services with users. He asked how the success of the new service would be measured. Steve Miley said young people’s satisfaction and progress would be the key measure. Lisa Redfern added that one of the formal mechanisms that will be put in place would be a steering group, or reference group, of young people and parents. Officers would also undertake regular audits of case plans to make  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Young People's Mental Health - Transformation Plan Update pdf icon PDF 498 KB

This report updates the Committee on planned improvements to mental health services for young people and progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the CAMHS taskforce.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Angela Caulder, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Joint Commissioning Manager, presented the report that updated members on the progress of the transformation of mental health services for young people programme – and the implementation of the H&F CAMHS task force’s recommendations.

 

The CAMHS Taskforce, led by Councillor Alan De’Ath, held workshops with young people, providers and partners in 2015 and reported in the Spring of 2016. The taskforce made five recommendations:

·         Improve access, support and information

·         Strengthen training for children’s workforce

·         Improve transition arrangements

·         Develop a clear Hammersmith and Fulham Transformation Plan

·         Sign up to the Mental Health Challenge

 

Angela Caulder noted that advances had been made in all of those areas - building on the work that had already been started in the CAMHS transformation plan. The transformation plan had four priorities – eating disorders, service redesign, improving crisis care, and learning disabilities, ADHD and autism.

 

Councillor Alan De’Ath asked if every school in H&F had a mental health lead. Angela Caulder said they didn’t – with 72 mainstream schools in H&F there weren’t the resources to make sure every school did. Schools were also independent bodies now, there weren’t the mechanisms to enforce schools to do this. But they had been working with schools who were open to working on mental health. By March 2018 they hoped to have 20 schools with mental health leads. Councillor De’Ath said the members of the committee who were school governors should recommend that their schools had leads.

 

Cas Bradbeer, Deputy Youth Mayor, noted that one of the priorities in the Youth Council’s manifesto was ensuring all young people had access to healthcare now and in the future. On the mental health side the Youth Council had been discussing education and training for young people. It seemed that there was training available to staff but not for young people. They would like to see mental health first aiders in schools and more suicide prevention work for young people. Angela Caulder noted that MIND were commissioned to deliver mental health first aid in schools. There was also training for young people to become mentors and work to reduce the stigma around mental health issues – including themed assemblies in schools and PSHE classes. This was all part of the preventative and early mental health strategy.

 

The Chair suggested Angela Caulder be invited to discuss this work at an upcoming Youth Council meeting. It was also noted that Cas Bradbeer was working on a peer education project to make young people more aware of mental health and LGBTQ+ issues. Angela Caulder said she would be happy to be involved in the work of the Youth Council and hear more about Cas’s project.

 

Philippa O’Driscoll noted that a primary school where she was a governor had started ‘play therapy’ sessions and it had been really positive - helping children resolve issues. She went on to ask if officers knew the suicide rates amongst young people in the borough. Angela Caulder  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Fostering and Adoption pdf icon PDF 296 KB

This report provides an overview of the work of the Fostering and Adoption Service.

Minutes:

Sally Pillay, Head of the Fostering and Adoption Service, presented the report that gave an overview of the work the Fostering and Adoption Service undertook during 2016-17 and to date in 2017-18. It also highlighted planned innovations to strengthen practice and build on its current achievements.

 

The Chair asked if there was a programme to support and recruit adults with disabilities as foster carers and adopters. Sally Pillay said there was no targetted programme but H&F did have foster carers with disabilities.

 

Councillor Alan De’Ath, referring to 3.3 of the report, asked whether the income from trading in-house adopters of £656k was split evenly between partner boroughs. Sally Pillay said it was. Councillor De’Ath asked if this area of income generation could be developed further. Sally noted that income had increased every year – but the upcoming regionalisation of adoption could change that.

 

Steve Miley added that other local authorities had cut back on adoption recruiters in the past but H&F had kept them - so we retained capacity that could then be sold on. Fostering was still seen as having commercial potential as there was a national shortage of foster carers.

 

Councillor Caroline Ffiske, also with reference to 3.3 of the report, asked for more detail on the national case law that had caused the number of required adopters to reduce. Sally Pillay said a judgement (‘Re B-S’) made by Sir James Munby, the most senior family courts judge in the Country, had refered to adoption as a ‘last resort’ and subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of adoptions nationwide.

 

RESOLVED

That the Committee noted the report.

10.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 198 KB

The Committee is asked to give consideration to its work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

The Committee noted the work programme for the 2017-18 Municipal Year.

11.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 13 November 2017.

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 13 November 2017.