Agenda and minutes

Children’s Services, Education & Skills Scrutiny Board
Tuesday 4th June 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Civic Suite

Contact: Mala Mistry 0121 704 6054 

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer asked for nominations for role of Chairman of the Scrutiny Board.

 

Members proposed Councillor M Gough as Chairman and this was seconded.

 

  RESOLVED

  (i). That Councillor M Gough be elected as Chairman of CSESSB for the   ensuing Municipal Year.

 

(Cllr M Gough in the Chair)

 

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

Minutes:

The Chairman asked for nominations appointing a Vice-Chairman. A Member proposed Councillor K Blunt and this was seconded.

 

  RESOLVED

  (I). That Councillor K Blunt is appointed as Vice Chairman of CSESSB   for   the ensuing Municipal Year

 

3.

Apologies

To receive any apologies.

Minutes:

Cllr R Holt substituted by Cllr D Holl-Allen, Cllr P Thomas substituted by Cllr P Hogarth, Cllr A Rebeiro, Mrs J Hildreth (Diocesan Representative)

4.

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.)

Minutes:

There were no declarations of pecuniary / conflicts of interest.

 

5.

Questions and Deputations

To deal with any questions or deputations received.

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer advised that no questions had been received

 

6.

Minutes - 14th March 2019 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

For the Scrutiny Board to receive the minutes of the meeting held on 14th March 2019

Minutes:

The Chairman asked those who were present to consider the accuracy of the minutes of the last meeting held on 14th March

 

The Board considered any matters arising in which the Scrutiny Officer advised that the recommendations made at the last meeting in respect of mental health were presented and approved by the Cabinet Member at his decision-making session. She indicated that the Scrutiny Board was likely to want to follow up issues as part of their Work Plan in this Municipal Year.

 

The Scrutiny Officer advised that she would correct the entitled date of the last meeting.

 

  RESOLVED

  That the minutes of the Children’s Services, Education and Skills   Scrutiny Board held on 14th March 2019

 

7.

Children Services, Education and Skills Priorities pdf icon PDF 151 KB

For the Scrutiny Board to consider the Children’s Services and Education Directorate priorities and the priorities of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the item by highlighting the importance of the Board understanding what priorities / projects the Executive and Directorate would be focusing on in order to inform their scrutiny work programme.

 

The Cabinet Member for Chlidren's Services and Education Services provided the Scrutiny Board with an overview of the key priorities the Directorate would be focusing on. He advised that a key area of focus included preparation for the imminent arrival of Ofsted who were due to be carrying out an unannounced inspection of Children’s Services. He also highlighted the increasing number of young people coming into care was considerably higher than the Local Authority’s statistical neighbours. As a result there was considerable pressure on the fostering service and the need to recruit foster carers to deal with the rising demand. He illustrated that although number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) had been static, the Local Authority were still in discussions with the Home Office over historical funding of services.

 

The Cabinet Member also made reference to the need to continue to place an emphasis on children’s mental health services. He advised that discussions with the BSol CCG were underway on getting on co-operation over support for young people undergoing transitions. The Local Authority was legally required to provide support to young people until 25; whereas in the health service this was up to the age of 19. He also indicated that there were different providers delivering children’s mental health support in Birmingham and Solihull and the Local Authority needed to ensure any proposed discussions about merging the two services would not adversely impact the current service rated as good being provided by Solar.

 

He also emphasised the Directorate would be working on ensuring the impact and effectiveness and the newly established new family support service and progressing SEND workstreams, particularly with taking forward the new free school and negotiating an earlier timeframe with DfE. The process had commenced to find a provider to run the school and a successful event was held with potential bidders. The closing date for the bids would be late September.

 

The Director of Children’s Services and Skills indicated that it was pleasing that a specific children’s programme had been added into the Council Plan and that the Directorate were monitoring the increasing numbers of young people coming into the service. She also emphasised that discussions with taking place with the Director of Public Health and Director of Adult Social Care and Support on how to better deal with transitions and avoiding young people falling off a cliff edge.

 

The Scrutiny Board was asked to comment on this report.

 

The Chairman inquired further what Leaders thought Ofsted’s judgement of the Service might be and what their key lines of enquiry were likely to be. In response. The Director of Children Services and Skills advised that she felt reasonably confident that the Local Authority was in a strong position and would hope for the service to be rated as good. She indicated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

New Local Children's Safeguarding Partnership arrangements pdf icon PDF 134 KB

For the Scrutiny Board to be advised of the new LCSP arrangements and look at how they can strengthen their relationship with this body.

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Board heard from the Independent Chairperson of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership who explained the context of multi-agency children’s safeguarding oversight arrangements and what the recent changes had meant in practice. Key messages from his presentation were as follows;

 

·  Legislation in 2006 formally established Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards as Statutory bodies to co-ordinate and scrutinise multi-agency safeguarding activity. In recent years, these arrangements have been reviewed and in the Children’s Act 2017, LSCB were formally abolished. Furthermore the Act strengthened arrangements for investigating Serious Case Reviews (SCR) and improving Health service role in investigating every child death. The new Act stipulated that multi-agency safeguarding arrangements should now the equal responsibility of three main partners – local authority, health service and the Police.

·  As a result of the changes in national legislation, there was a review of multi-agency safeguarding arrangements locally and the government approved Solihull to become an ‘Early Adopter’ of the new statutory partnership requirements..  A new arrangement based on an experiential learning model has been adopted and undergone a rigorous due diligence process and became ‘live’ on 1st May 2019.

·  It was felt that whole-scale and significant changes was not necessary as no previous inspection had raised any major concerns, so the Board was able to convert smoothly into the new partnership arrangements.  The three partners reviewed the membership and new operating structures that reported into a much smaller central board.. It had been decided that the independent Chairperson should be preserved for the moment to provide  robust independent scrutiny and challenge to the new Partnership

·  The three priorities that LSCP would be focusing included neglect, early help and wider criminal exploitation.

·  The LGA would be using the Solihull as a test-bed for its proposed guidance to local authorities and Peer Challenge offer. A team of peers was being assembled coming to do a pilot stock-take of our new arrangements inOctober, with a view to launching the LGA national offer in December.

 

·  As a result of the changes in national legislation, there was a review of multi-agency safeguarding arrangements locally and a new arrangement based on experiential learning model has been adopted and undergone a rigorous due diligence process and became ‘live’ on 1st May 2019 ahead of statutory conversion date as Solihull had been approved as an ‘early adopter.’ The new Board would be smaller than the previous LSCB but with larger working groups reporting to it.

·  It was felt that whole-scale and significant changes was not necessary as no previous inspection had raised any major concerns so the Board was just turned into a partnership and the three partners reviewed membership. It had been decided that the independent Chairperson should be preserved for the moment to provide  robust independent scrutiny and challenge to the new Partnership

·  The three priorities that LSCP would be focusing included neglect, early help and wider criminal exploitation.

·  The LGA have chosen the Lcoal Authority

 

The Independent Chairman highlighted that felt that it was important to have a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

CSESSB Work Programme 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 112 KB

For the Scrutiny Board to consider and finalise their CSESSB Work Plan for 2019/2020 Municipal Year following on from the Work Planning event that took place in May 2019

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Board heard from the Scrutiny Officer on the development of their work programme. She emphasised the importance of scrutiny activity ‘adding value’ and being aligned to the Council Plan and priorities. She highlighted that Members of the Scrutiny Board had the opportunity to input into the work programme at the recent work planning event that took place in May 2019 and this was a further opportunity for the Board to shape the nature of their work programme.

 

The Scrutiny Board indicated that they were happy with the work programme as presented.

 

  RESOLVED

  (I). The Scrutiny Board work programme be approved and for Leading   Members (Chairman, Vice Chairman and Spokespersons to meet periodically   to review the work programme and scope lines of enquiry for items and   establish evidence-gathering for future meetings.

 

10.

Thanks

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer indicated that this would be her last meeting supporting this Scrutiny Board as she had been offered another job. She wanted to place on record her pleasure in supporting the Board over the years and wish the Board and Officers all the very best. In turn, the Members of Scrutiny Board thanked the Scrutiny Officer for the excellent support she had provided to Scrutiny Board over the years.