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Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Roll call and declarations of Interest
A roll call will be carried out to confirm attendance and members will have the opportunity to declare any interests.
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 Standards Committee.
The Chair carried out a roll call of committee members to confirm their attendance. There were no declarations of interest.
To approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
The minutes of the meeting held on 28 January 2020 were agreed as an accurate record.
A resident submitted a set of questions related to the Youth Council section (Item 4) of the minutes of the meeting held in January 2020. As they were unable to attend the meeting a written response was provided. The responses are copied below.
Q. Do the Youth Council engage with youth clubs?
A. Youth Council regularly engage with and host meetings at clubs prior to COVID. They host ballots for UK Youth Parliament and Youth Mayor elections and are actively involved in our events including Take Over Challenge and Youth Achievement Awards. We work alongside Young Hammersmith and their members (youth providers) on various projects and are planning a Youth Voice Network meeting with members in September.
Q. In terms of social isolation with youths and concern with knife crime - is there an action for follow up with Youth Justice in H&F?
A. An action plan has been produced to respond to young people’s suggestions following workshops on knife crime and street safety at Take Over Challenge 2019 and shared with relevant professionals and teams. Our Member of Youth Parliament and London Youth Assembly Members are also working on regional and national campaigns on knife crime. The response to knife crime is obviously across various departments and teams. The focus for the Youth Council is to capture and share youth voice.
Q. Has there been an improvement with recycling in schools?
A. Recycling in schools is a focus of their manifesto. Ozan and Scarlett, our current MYP and Youth Mayor have worked alongside the borough’s Recycling Team, to develop a list of the top 10 single use plastics items used by young people and alternatives and sharing of best practice for schools. This will be distributed to schools before the start of the next Academic year. The priority for them during COVID has been the youth focused communication and videos.
Q. Did the concern about young people finding teachers & other professionals intimidating get addressed?
A. Youth Council have covered this in their videos on the impact of COVID on young people, which have been shared with Head Teachers. Think this point was particularly in relation to the teaching of PHSE. Youth Council are also working on some core modules (they are referring to this as the ‘curriculum for life’) and it will include suggestions for teachers and the plan is planned is to share with all schools in September. We also have a framework for involving young people in interviews which can be re-shared with schools.
Q. Did the H&F alumni portal materialise?
A. Answer to be circulated.
This paper provides an overview of how H&F’s Children’s Services department responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also attached are briefing notes from individual services covering how they responded, what they’ve learned, and the challenges going forward:
· Family Services
· Family Support
Jacqui McShannon, Director of Children’s Services, introduced the report which provided an overview of the key changes made to the Children’s Services operating model in response to Covid-19 and related challenges in the community.
Jacqui McShannon took a moment to say how proud she was of Children’s Services officers who showed initiative, courage and determination – and a real child centred approach – when responding to the pandemic and its impacts on children and families in the borough. The Council had been committed to co-production during the pandemic response and had worked closely with the Youth Council, care leavers, parents and carers. She highlighted the collaboration that had taken place across the whole Children’s economy, noting that H&F’s partnerships (including schools, safeguarding, the police, and commissioned services) had not just stood up but came together in dynamic and committed ways.
Jacqui McShannon explained that Children’s Services had provided a coordinating response, mandated by central Government but not fully resourced. The department had stepped up – redeploying staff, requesting and receiving additional resources from the Council to be deployed in the best interests of serving children and young people in the borough.
She noted that the impact for children and young people was not over as most children were not yet back in school. Officers were continuing remote visits and were anticipating new challenges and a surge in demand in the Autumn.
Children’s Social Care and Family Services
Bev Sharpe, Assistant Director of Family Services, gave a presentation on the response from children’s social care and family services.
Councillor Mark Loveday asked what action had been taken in relation to care placements outside of the borough. What happened if carers were ill or self-isolating? Bev Sharpe said all carers had backup care arrangements in place. There was only one case where a carer fell ill and a child had to be moved to another carer temporarily.
Councillor Loveday noted that looked after children typically had a lower than arrange attendance rate at schools and asked what had been done to improve engagement during lockdown. Bev Sharpe said each child was allocated a virtual schoolteacher who links their educational needs with the school’s provision. The virtual schoolteacher stays in regular contact and sets educational challenges each week. All looked after children had access to online learning.
Councillor Loveday asked if there was any feedback on how successful the virtual school had been. Bev Sharpe said young people were engaging well with the virtual school.
Matt Jenkins, noting the risk of a second wave of the pandemic, asked what preparations the Council could make to improve access to technology. Bev Sharpe said the Council completed a roll-out of 770 laptops by mid-July.
Councillor Lucy Richardson noted that a new restructure of mental health services had just been launched by Hammersmith & Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). She asked if young people had been engaged in the process. Bev Sharpe said Children’s Services officers were meeting regularly with the CCG to look at service ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting is scheduled to take place on the 9th of September 2020.
The date of the next meeting was noted as 22 September 2020.