Agenda and minutes

Children’s Services, Education & Skills Scrutiny Board - Tuesday 1st November 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Suite. View directions

Contact: James Hughes  Democratic Services


No. Item



To receive any apologies.

Additional documents:


No apologies were received.


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:


Cllr L McCarthy declared an interest to the Chairman.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 326 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 12th September 2022.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the last meeting were received as an accurate record and approved.



Cllr J Tildesley



Cllr L McCarthy


Questions and Deputations

To answer questions, if any, asked by any resident of the Borough pursuant to Standing Orders.

Additional documents:


There were no questions or deputations received.


Update on the development of new alternative and specialist provision in Solihull pdf icon PDF 187 KB

To note the ongoing work being undertaken to develop specialist and alternative provision places in Solihull.

Additional documents:


Ann Pearson, Team Leader – School Places Planning, presented the report.


Questions were as follows:

·  Cllr J Tildesley – On p.20 2.2 it is mentioned we have submitted a further Special Free School Bid. Where would we be looking at placing the school and how would it be set up?

o  Ann Pearson – The bid went in just before the half term for the school which would offer another 150 places. There is a lot of feasibility work going on at the moment around finding suitable land. Setting up the new school would take 4-5 years so we need to have plans to meet demand in the interim which are underway. But for every 1 child we send to external provision we can fund 2 in our own provision so there is a clear benefit to this in tackling overspending.

·  Cllr J Hamilton – Do we have the numbers for those who are not attending mainstream or special schools?

o  Ann Pearson – I don’t have them to hand but I can provide a written response.

ACTION: Ann Pearson to provide the numbers of children who are not attending mainstream schools.

·  Do you know the number of children who have been excluded since the start of the new school year?

o  Ann Pearson – I don’t have those to hand but would be happy to get a written response to you.

ACTION: Ann Pearson to provide the numbers of children who have been excluded since the start of the new school year.

·  Cllr L McCarthy – What is being done to support those who can’t access education but do not want to come off roll?

o  Ann Pearson – There is a new service focusing on inclusion and they are now working to get to understand the detail of each child’s circumstances and how they can support them to access the education that is right for them.

·  Cllr L McCarthy – There have been cases that I have encountered where the Council has worked with a  family to help a child access the right education but it hasn’t worked. It used to be that the child could then access a personal budget to support with accessing online resources via a private provider. Is this still the case?

o  Ann Pearson – I would have to seek clarification on that and come back to you.

ACTION: Ann Pearson to seek clarification and provide a written response to Cllr L McCarthy.

·  Stephanie Freeman – On p.32 Refresh is mentioned. How many children have been supported by Refresh so far? How many children are there currently? As these placements are part time how much time are children actually spending at Refresh? What has been the outcomes for children that have been supported by refresh so far?

o  Ann Pearson – I will provide a written response.

ACTION: Ann Pearson to seek clarification and provide a written response to Stephanie Freeman.

·  Stephanie Freeman – There are some gaps in provision from reading the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Findings of the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel - Update on the Local Recommendations pdf icon PDF 347 KB

For assurance that the work around the National Panel recommendations is ongoing and being monitored via the CSPR subgroup of the LSCP.


Additional documents:


Diane Rhoden, Director of Nursing – Safeguarding and Quality, introduced the report which focussed on the local recommendations and actions taken only.


Questions were as follows:

·  Cllr D Gibbin – On 1.2 is it fair to say that the funding of the LSCP board is fair and equitable for all partners?

o  Diane Rhoden – This is something that the business board is looking at and reviewing.

·  Cllr D Gibbin – In terms of the violence reduction partnership work – the West Midlands Violence Reduction Partnership has been established for a while now, since its formation violent crime has continued to rise quite heavily. Is it achieving its goals?

o  Diane Rhoden – With respect I don’t think I can answer that question.

·  Cllr D Gibbin – Is the street triage service still running?

o  Diane Rhoden – Yes, it is.

·  Stephanie Freeman – On p.43 1.13.3(b) it talks about staff being complaint with their level 3 safeguarding training by the end of June 2022. Has this been completed?

o  Diane Rhoden - Yes, all staff are now complaint with their training.

·  Stephanie Freeman – On p.43 1.14(c) there is talk of the SOLAR monthly triage calls. What does this actually involve? From experience in the work, I do it is not the case that these calls aren’t happening. Are these calls just for those under safeguarding or is it everybody?

o  Diane Rhoden – So my understanding is that it isn’t just for children under safeguarding it should be for everyone but I will have to come back to you as I will have to contact Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and ask them to provide an update.

ACTION: Diane Rhoden to contact BSMHFT for an update and circulate it.

·  Cllr A Mackenzie – Do you now have confidence that all partners are sharing information with one another? 

o  Diane Rhoden – I can never be 100% confident but there has been a real positive change and improvement. This has been driven by how we have laid out the MASH with all the partners in the same place so it is easier to get up and walk over to another agency and share the information. I am more convinced than before that proper information sharing is taking place.

·  Cllr A Mackenzie – Do all the partners turn up willingly and contribute?

o  Diane Rhoden – Yes in the MASH I am confident they do – but there is work to be done elsewhere to improve relationships.

·  Cllr L McCarthy – What happens when a call has been made and is deemed to be malicious?

o  Delyth Berni – That information is recorded and triangulated to partners. However, if there was to be a 2nd call from the same person that would be treated as a new call and explored and investigated again with fresh eyes and wouldn’t be written off straight away as a malicious call.

·  Cllr J Tildesley – There has been the announcement of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Childrens Services Improvement Plan/JTAI Update pdf icon PDF 183 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide the Children’s Services, Education & Skills Scrutiny Board with an update in relation to the Improvement Plan and response to the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI).


Additional documents:


Ben Feghhi and Pete Campbell introduced the report. Ben Feghhi drew attention to the fact that the CSESSB had requested two reports; one into the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) and one on the Improving Outcomes for Children in Solihull Plan (IOfCiSP). The plan presented to the board this evening is an amalgamation of the JTAI actions, IOfCiSP and the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel and this is why it was one item.


Questions were as follows:

·  Cllr J Tildesley – Theme 1 (1.8) I have done some research on the salaries we are advertising for Social Workers compared to other local authorities. Should we be doing more to make ourselves more competitive?

o  Iona Payne – We have been doing work on benchmarking our salaries compared to the other 14 local authorities that are local to the West Midlands to make sure we remain competitive. However, the feedback we are getting is that it isn’t all about the money – social workers want to feel supported by senior staff and have manageable caseloads so we are looking to do all we can to make Solihull an attractive place to work.

·  Cllr L McCarthy – On p.55 1.9, p62 3.5 and p.63 2.14 the action owners is the AD for Highways & Environment – is that correct?

o  Ben Feghhi – Yes that is correct – although it may seem odd the actions mainly relate to governance issues and at the time the Chief Executive had asked the AD to help out due to capacity. It is my understanding though that these actions will be migrated back to the Childrens Services DLT in time.

·  Councillor A Rebeiro – My first question relates to p.58 2.16 ‘Children are involved in the oversight of and activities relating to Childrens Social Care’. The action is to appoint an officer and develop a team of Childrens champions. I thought we had this well underway?

o  Iona Payne – We do have the OVOS service which is supported by 2 participation officers. At the last meeting of the Corporate Parenting Board we looked at how we can take forward Childrens Champions across all departments in the Council.

·  Cllr A Rebeiro – On p.59 2.21 the improvement need, and action are the exact same wording. Why is this?

o  Ben Feghhi – We can look at amending the wording to make it clear what the action is from the need.

·  Cllr Y Clements – Are we looking at how we could utilise apprenticeships to help staffing in the sector?

o  Pete Campbell – I don’t have the detail of what the Council is doing in regards to apprentices yet but there is a lot of work going on nationally to introduce people to the industry. Some of the initial feedback we have had from OFSTED inspectors relates to the protected first year in industry for newly qualified social workers and OFSTED has been positive about how we support them. The issue we have as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.