Agenda and minutes

Children’s Services, Education & Skills Scrutiny Board
Thursday 14th March 2019 6.00 pm

No. Item



To receive any apologies.


Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicting Interests from Members

To receive declarations of interest from Members in accordance with the Code of Conduct (Members are directed to the guidance attached.)


Cllr A Mackiewicz declared an interest in his capacity as AMPA Associates Ltd  and the fact his company had done some ecological work in Solihull schools. 



Questions and Deputations

To deal with any questions or deputations received.


The Scrutiny Officer advised that no questions had been received


Minutes - 15th January 2019 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 15th January 2019


The Board considered the accuracy of the minutes of the last meeting held on 15th January 2019. The Scrutiny Officer advised that she would correct the entitled date of the last meeting.



That the minutes of the Children’s Services, Education and Skills Scrutiny Board held on 15th January 2019 was approved as an accurate record of the meeting.


Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Services for Children and Young People pdf icon PDF 150 KB

For the Scrutiny Board to consider an overarching report on emotional wellbeing and mental health services for Children and Young people. The focus at the meeting will be to consider how children and young people are supported to access mental health / emotional wellbeing services in schools and also how people supporting children and young people are aware of mental health needs.


Scrutiny Board to feedback from their site visit to Smithswood Academy and Solar and also from their informal meeting with the Youth Council.


Scrutiny Board considers evidence / presentation on the following;


·  Evidence from Youth Council on mental health conference

·  Health and wellbeing in schools

·  Educational Psychology Service

·  School Nursing Service

·  Parenting Strategy





Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the item highlighting that the Board had a real interest in exploring children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing issues and, as result had done a number of evidence-gathering activities in preparation for the meeting. This included meeting with the Youth Council, visiting a secondary school (Smiths Wood Academy) to understand their approach to Mental health and visiting Solar to understand the work they were doing as the mental health and emotional wellbeing provider for children and young people in the Borough. In order to be focused, he advised that for this particular meeting, they would be looking at two key areas;


·  How education/schools support children and young people with mental heath and emotional wellbeing

·  What come could be done to support others i.e parents, carers to better support children and young people with mental health and emotional wellbeing.


He advised witnesses to keep their presentations between 5-7minutes so that there was adequate time for the Scrutiny Board to consider the information and ask questions,


Overarching mental health and emotional wellbeing report


The Scrutiny Board heard from the Head of Service, Children’s Commissioning who provided them with a brief overview of the report of the Director of Children’s Services and Skills. She highlighted the Local Transformation Plan and NHS Long Term Plan underpinned the direction of travel for mental health services in the Borough. She also outlined how Solar offered a service ‘without tiers’ and that there was a crisis team that was operational from 8.00am to 8.00pm with (24hours pilot being carried out in conjunction with Heartlands Hospital. She made reference to the fact that Solar had turned around their performance and were currently recognised by CQC as having a good service. She also explained that they were a unique service as the Solar as a health service had fully integrated with their partners Barnardos and Autism West Midlands to offer a broad service model that was exceeding NHS access targets.


The Head of Service also highlighted the recent prevalence data indicating that young people were increasingly presenting with mental health issues the older they got. The Head of Service also highlighted the recent prevalence data indicating that young people were increasingly presenting with mental health issues the older they got. She also outlined key achievements and developments that are with Kooth (online support tool) that was working well and the success of five ways café. She also advised of key priorities over the next five years including tailored support for people with learning disabilities and further embedding a systems wide approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing.


The Chairman commented that report highlighted some real positive progress that had been made in supporting people with mental health needs. He suggested based on evidence gathered during the site visit that had taken place that day that another area for improvement was in the area of transitions as it had been highlighted that the information flow between secondary schools and primary schools wasn’t always there. He indicated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Considering the impact and outcomes emerging from Scrutiny recommendations pdf icon PDF 89 KB

For the Scrutiny Board to consider the outcomes / key action emerging from previous scrutiny recommendations.


The Chairman introduced this item highlighting that it had been put on the agenda so that Scrutiny Board to evaluate their impact and effectiveness in making recommendations to the Executive over the past two Municipal Year. He asked the Scrutiny Board to consider each of the recommendations in turn.


The Chairman sought reassurance on whether the recommendations made on 6th November 2017 about options being made available to pupils aged 14 were being taken forward. In response, the Director of Children Services and Skills advised that she had had a very useful meeting with employment and skills manager about providing timely and independent information to young people to enable them to make positive choices. She undertook to come back to the Scrutiny Board on the detail of their recommendations but felt that every child should have the option of a range of choices in life.


The Chairman also raised the recommendation made on 15th January 2018 and the fact that it was disappointing that the Highways department were not able to offer social workers exemption from parking restrictions to enable them to do their jobs more efficiently and with better safety and suggested that the work of Camden Council is explored as they operate such a scheme relatively successfully. In response, the Interim Assistant Director, Children’s Services acknowledged the disappointment and indicated that some short term parking had been made available but he would explore the scheme in Camden and further consult with Highways.


Member inquired about the Government’s decision to grant Autism free school for up to 100 places. In response, the Director of Chlidren’s Services and Skills advised that applications for the free school had been approved and the next stage would be for the Local Authority to publish on their website the service specification. It was emphasized that the procurement process would be managed by Department of Education as they were funding the capital costs of this project, It was also anticipated that the autism free school would be centre of excellence and help support the autism training for teachers across the Borough.


A Member highlighted that the waiting times in respect of autism assessment was concerning and whether anything had been done to address this. In response, it was advised that resources and capacity were being put in place so that people had to wait no more than 18 weeks for an assessment.


The Cabinet Member highlighted that an area that the directorate were closely looking at was SEND transitions as there appeared to be a disparity because whilst local authority retained responsibility until they were 25, the health service only retained responsibility until a young person was 18. He acknowledged that when young adults had to transfer services this could be very unsettling. The Local Authority were continuing to explore options in respect of establishing Solar as a fully-fledged 0-25 service.  The Chairman thanked the Cabinet Member and highlighted that the Board’s site visit to Solar had been successful and the Board could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.