Agenda and minutes

Children’s Services, Education & Skills Scrutiny Board
Wednesday 6th April 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, Council House

Contact: Joseph Bright, Democratic Services Officer, email:  jbright@solihull.gov.uk 

Note: Meeting viewable online: https://solihull.public-i.tv/core/portal/home 

Media

Items
No. Item

74.

Apologies

To receive any apologies.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following Members submitted their apologies:

Councillor J Hamilton

Councillor L McCarthy (Councillor K Thomas – substitute)

Parent Governor Representative S Golby

 

Councillor A Rebeiro and Mr B Hall, Diocesan representative, submitted their apologies and joined the meeting remotely.

 

75.

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.)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

76.

Questions and Deputations

To deal with any questions or deputations received.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no questions or deputations.

 

77.

Joint Targeted Area Inspection - Update pdf icon PDF 184 KB

The purpose of the report is to provide the Children's Services, Education and Skills Scrutiny Board with a summary of the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) into the identification of initial risk and need regarding Children and Families within Solihull.  This was not a graded inspection.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Board was invited to consider a summary of the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) into the identification of initial risk and need regarding Children and Families within Solihull, the findings of which were published on 21st of February.

 

Members raised the following queries and observations:

  • A Member highlighted the role of Councillors as Corporate Parents. They also queried whether there was potential for greater Member involvement in the partnership safeguarding arrangements. The Member also detailed how the role of the Scrutiny Board and its Members needed to be considered going forward.
  • A Member detailed how, when they were Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, they met with front-line Social Workers, and queried whether there was potential for the Scrutiny Board to do this. They also questioned whether there was a need to create a separate Children’s Safeguarding Scrutiny Board.
  • The Chairman confirmed that it was proposed for reporting on Corporate Parenting to be included as part of the Board’s future work programme as well as meeting with Social Workers. He also explained that, prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Scrutiny Board had met with Social Workers and conducted a site visit to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). During the pandemic Scrutiny Board members had also held virtual meetings with Social Workers. It was also noted the establishment of any additional Board would be subject to reporting to Full Council.
  • In considering the report, Members expressed their deep sadness at the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and the killing of Kaylee-Jayde Priest – they requested for this to be recorded as part of the minutes.
  • A Member highlighted the the recruitment of additional officers to join the MASH and raised the following questions:

Ø  They queried the volume of experienced Social Workers recruited to the MASH. The Member also raised a number of points and queries regarding the use of agency staff.

Ø  The Member detailed how the Chief Superintendent had previously advised the Board about the recruitment of additional Police staff to the MASH. Again, they requested clarification regarding the background and experience of these newly recruited officers.

Ø  They also questioned whether these new Police recruits were part of a region-wide team, or whether they were specifically for Solihull.

Ø  The Member also noted how reference had been made to the provision of services via the West Bromwich Police Station and it was questioned whether these could be delivered in Solihull.

Ø  They queried the child safeguarding provision in Solihull and requested clarification that there were officers available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • The Interim Director of Children’s Services emphasised how there was a national shortage of Social Workers. Solihull Council had been successful in retaining its experienced Social Workers. It was explained that, during the pandemic and following the trial for the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, there had been a significant upsurge in demand for Children’s Social Services. Additional staff had been recruited during the summer months and,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.