Agenda and draft minutes

Children and Education Select Committee OLD
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DN

Contact: Richard Plummer 

Items
No. Item

1/18

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

2/18

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 17 NOVEMBER 2017 pdf icon PDF 220 KB

3/18

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter:

          I.        Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

        II.        Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

     

    NOTES:

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Minutes:

    Allison Griffiths declared a non-pecuniary interest that a member of her immediate family was a service user of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

     

    Liz Bowes declared a non-pecuniary interest.

    Chris Botten declared a non-pecuniary interest as an unpaid Additional Skills Governor (ASG) for Babcock 4S.

     

4/18

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

    Notes:

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (Wednesday 14 February 2018).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (Tuesday 13 February 2018)

     

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

     

    Minutes:

    There were none.

5/18

RESPONSES FROM THE CABINET TO ISSUES REFERRED BY THE SELECT COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 173 KB

    Cabinet responded to the recommendations made by the Select Committee regarding its concerns relating to CAMHS at its meeting 14 December 2017. This is attached for reference.

    Minutes:

    Members received and noted the response from the Cabinet Member for Children.

6/18

CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES (CAMHS) UPDATE pdf icon PDF 241 KB

    Purpose of the report: Toprovide an update on the performance of commissioned Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Surrey following an earlier report in November 2017.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

    Alison Griffiths declared a non-pecuniary interest that a member of her immediate family was a service user of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services.


    Witnesses:

    Rose Durban, Strategic Director for Children, Schools and Families
    Garath Symonds, Assistant Director for Commissioning and Prevention

    Sue Robertson, Interim Deputy Director for Children and Young People,

    North West Surrey CCG

    Sam Morrison, Principal Commissioning Manager (SCW)

    Frank Offer, Head of Market Strategy

    Justine Leonard, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

    Lorna Payne, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

    Dr Phil Ferreira Lay, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

    Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children



    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    Officers explained to the Committee that, in response to the concerns raised at the November 2017 meeting, commissioners and providers were working holistically to drive improvement in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). It was highlighted that there was a shift in driving improvement in creating transparent and accurate datasets.

    2.    Officers advised that there was a challenge raised in the creation of accurate datasets where there was an increased reach into previously unmet areas of need, which had significantly increased demand and increased pressures on the service.

    3.    Officers explained that the primary concern for the service was related to timeliness of assessments, and that the service had recognised areas for improvement in communication between partners and governance systems and demand management.

    4.    Members questioned what an appropriate target was for wait times for the service to achieve and why the service was not achieving these targets. Witnesses commented that, ideally there would be no wait times for those in need, but that in reality, a realistic wait time for a routine user would be targeted at a maximum of four weeks.

    5.    Officers assured the Committee that they were confident that urgent and crisis cases were being dealt with in a timely manner, but advised that routine case timescales had been adversely affected by increased demand. Officers highlighted that the service had acknowledged challenges to the service as a result of this and that work was still needed to resolve this.

    6.    The commissioner acknowledged that a second performance notice had been issued to the provider. It was explained that the commissioner had made clear to the provider the need to improve on issues identified by the Committee and by the service.

    7.    The service stated that there were several instances of good practice within the delivery options available, noting praise from some users regarding the Eikon service and the Hope provision offered. Officers also highlighted evidence of good practice within the Behaviour and Neurodevelopment (BEN) Service, but that there was a need to improve the timeliness of this offer.

    8.    It was acknowledged that there had been some evidence of improving waiting times, but that the service recognised the need to improve and work collegiately with all partners to ensure effective delivery and good value for money.

    9.    It was emphasised by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/18

7/18

STRATEGIC DIRECTORS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 106 KB

    Purpose of the report: To provide an update regarding service priorities for the next six months.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

    Rose Durban, Interim Strategic Director of Children, Schools and Families.
    Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children
    Mary Lewis, Cabinet member for Education

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    The Strategic Director highlighted the current summary self-evaluation, prepared for Ofsted, of Children, Schools and Families attached to the minutes as Annex A. The summary is informed by a more detailed self-assessment against inspection criteria. It was particularly emphasised that the service was working to improve the impact of frontline practice through clarifying expectations in Children’s Services and ensure that the service was clearer at identifying potential risks and issues earlier.

    2.    Officers explained that the focus of current improvement work was to ensure that children are seen, safe and heard through practice improvements throughout the directorate. It was emphasised that improving the experience of the child from needing to receiving help through the system was at the forefront of thinking within the directorate’s improvement plan.

    3.    Officers acknowledged that practice was not consistently good enough or safe enough and that the service would prioritise improvement. It was stressed that, to achieve this improvement in consistency of practice, plans needed to be prioritised effectively, followed through and have defined end goals, which the service was looking to achieve. It was also stated that the service was being clearer regarding practice expectations and what was required from frontline delivery.

    4.    Officers highlighted the five key priority areas for the improvement of Children’s Services:

    a.    Embedding practice, management and leadership expectations

    b.    Strengthening front door decision making

    c.    Routinely identifying children at risk and taking action

    d.    Creating the conditions to enable better practice

    e.    Using focused assurance arrangements 

    It was stressed that focused actions against these priorities were aimed to enable better practice for children and improve outcomes.

    5.    Out of County placements in relation to both care and learning for children were mentioned as a key area of focus for the directorate. A number of workstreams are investigating interventions and approaches to best meet children’s needs within the County.

    6.    Officers indicated that workforce recruitment and retention was critical in the service and that the service was looking at further innovative means to improve this to ensure a robust and sustainable system of delivery for all services. It was highlighted that a method of delivering this was to reduce reliance on interim workers as well as institute a small short-life agile team of social workers to help meet demand pressures across the County.

    7.    Officers noted, following Member concerns raised over potential over reliance on social workers as a child’s first point of support, that Early Help services were working with parents to provide help to support them in their role.

    8.    Early Help implementation by all partners and work to support and promote sector–led School Improvement were also highlighted as key priorities for the service that would be worked on over the next six months.

    9.    Members highlighted concerns raised by teachers regarding increased  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/18

8/18

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT UPDATE pdf icon PDF 528 KB

    Purpose of the report: To raise awareness of changes associated with School Support Services Commissioning (including School Improvement) via the Babcock Joint Venture andto seek views on future options for delivery of the Council’s statutory responsibilities, which will ultimately require Cabinet decision in March 2018.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

    Liz Bowes declared a non-pecuniary interest
    Chris Botten declared a non-pecuniary interest as an unpaid Additional Skills Governor (ASG) for Babcock 4S.

     

    Witnesses:

    Frank Offer, Head of Market Strategy
    Alison Hurley, Director of Education Babcock 4S
    Melanie Harris, School Commissioning Officer

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    Officers explained that the service was seeking the views of the Children and Education Select Committee regarding future options for delivery of the Council’s statutory responsibilities for school improvement. Officers advised that this was resultant of the upcoming conclusion of the Council’s annual service delivery agreement with Babcock 4S (B4S) due to the inability for the service to legally extend the contract period and the change in the landscape regarding school improvement. Officers stressed that B4S traded services were not being discontinued, but that the delivery of commissioned services needed to be reconsidered.

    2.    Officers noted that there were a wide range of tasks and services that were provided on behalf of SCC as part of the current contract, which needed to be reassessed based on planned delivery. It was acknowledged that the service had identified options that were ascertained as being realistic for future delivery. The service stressed that they were looking at these options to ensure good outcomes for children, good performance and good value for money.

    3.    Members noted concerns regarding isolated, smaller, financially challenged and rural schools that may not be able to afford traded services and whether these would lose out on services as a result. Members also expressed concern regarding a “one size fits all” approach and emphasised that the service work to ensure that any outlier schools do not suffer a significant impact from proposed changes.

    4.    Members questioned whether Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT) and education partnerships were ready to take on governance functions that would have been provided by the B4S contract, and whether this could have a damaging effect on performance.

    5.    Members felt that they were unable to make an informed decision regarding individual options for statutory and strategic services and recommended that the service provides a business case for individual services and how they could be delivered which could be examined in detail.

    6.    The Surrey Education in Partnership programme was noted as running in tandem with the recommissioning process and that this would work to reinforce school to school support as part of strengthening improvement.

    7.    Officers noted that schools were primarily concerned with ensuring that statutory services were delivered, rather than who provides the service. It was noted that this was inferred from the low level of survey responses from schools regarding the low response rate to the stakeholder survey.

    8.    The representative of B4S noted that they would be working to strengthen their traded services following contract expiry and that they would be maintaining relationships with schools and Surrey County Council following the end of the contract.

     

    Recommendations:

    1.    That the service provides a business case of the statutory and strategic services currently commissioned from B4S  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8/18

9/18

MULTI AGENCY SAFEGUARDING HUB PROGRESS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 77 KB

    Purpose of the report: To provide Members with an update on MASH progress and future direction.

     

     

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

    None

    Witnesses:

    Carl Bussey, Head of MASH
    Sam Bushby, Assistant Director of Children’s Services
    Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children
    Mary Lewis, Cabinet member for Education

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    Officers highlighted that a key concern for the service was that contact demand for the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) had expanded exponentially. It was noted that the service were received over 5000 contacts each month and that this was difficult to sustain. It was noted that the police were the most numerous contact and that the service had been working to triage police contacts and ensure that contacts are sustainable for the available workforce.

    2.    Members noted the positive and informative experience that they had engaged with in their visits to the MASH to determine key challenges and thanked officers for facilitating.

    3.    It was noted that there had been feedback sessions with Dedicated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) and that these had been helpful in highlighting key challenges to schools. It was expressed that the service had evidence of revised practice to ensure that the journey of the child is easier based on feedback.

    4.    It was stressed by officers that they were looking to implement incremental improvement within the service’s performance, rather than sweeping change, to ensure effectiveness and completion of these improvements. It was noted that one of the key areas of development was improving the timeliness of referrals.

    5.    Officers noted that they were gathering evidence of service learning, feedback from users and evidence of national best practice. Members expressed interest in seeing the outcomes of this work and evidence that there had been improvement in key areas of the MASH.

    6.    Officers indicated that the pace of change had increased significantly, highlighting that deadlines for evidencing improvement were set at June 2018.

    7.    Members questioned the numbers of police contacts, asking whether they were coming in at the right place and whether there were contacts from other sectors that were potentially being missed. Officers stressed that approximately 95% of police contacts were assessed at the level one of the MASH, identified as low level routine risk contacts. It was noted that there was work to do with triaging these contacts and ensuring that they are handled appropriately and at the right level.

    8.    Officers noted that looking at national best practice was a good indicator of identifying appropriate threshold levels. It was stressed that the service was working to identify correct threshold levels and that this work would help to accomplish this.

    9.    Officers emphasised the that it was important to define the work of social workers in the MASH in order to reduce demand and workload on their time and ensure that they are correctly deployed to reduce pressure on the MASH.

     

    Recommendations:

    1.    That the service provides a future update reviewing evidence of practice improvement data collected over the period, detailing the implementation of future learning, feedback provided and national best practice in the MASH and provide this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9/18

10/18

UNACCOMPANIED ASYLUM SEEKING CHILDREN pdf icon PDF 274 KB

    Purpose of the report: Surrey currently looks after the third highest number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) of any local authority in England. This paper seeks to outline the current position in relation to Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children & Care Leavers (UASCL) , whilst recognising the increasing financial considerations attendant upon having such a large group of asylum seekers in the care of the county.

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

    None

    Witnesses:

    Mark Jowett, Area Head of Children's Services
    Sam Bushby, Assistant Director of Children’s Services
    Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children
    Mary Lewis, Cabinet member for Education

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    Officers stressed the importance of the issue facing the authority regarding Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC), highlighting the significant funding pressures put on the service. Officers noted that there was evidence of decreasing overall numbers of children projected in 2018/19 but that cases of UASC care leavers were increasing as a result of historic cases. It was noted that, resultant to this, that there was a £4.5million deficit which was funded by the service.

    2.    Officers and the Cabinet Member for Children highlighted that there had been significant lobbying efforts with comparable authorities in the South East to resolve the funding inequality with central government. It was also noted that there was a Home Office review of funding due in February 2018 which would further clarify the funding position.

    3.    Officers advised that the service was providing a good quality service for UASC with the resources available. However, officers explained that they were working to make better use of funding available, stating that the service was looking to provide accommodation in county wherever possible to produce best outcomes and value for money.

    4.    Members questioned whether officers could further promote initiatives, such as the host families, further using social media. Officers noted that this would be something that they could work with and involve Members in to promote.

    5.    Members questioned funding arrangements for statistical neighbours and whether they were in a similar situation. Officers noted that the two authorities with greater numbers of UASC, Kent and Croydon, had received a historic special arrangement regarding funding, which was not granted to Surrey. Officers did note that they were not above their designated quota for UASC in county and that a similar special arrangement based on this would be unlikely.

    6.    Members noted that the service could work to control spending on its UASC and ensure that it gets best value for money, highlighting the high cost of spend on each child against national disposable income, and query whether this was an appropriate use.

    7.    Members questioned the national profiles of identified UASC and whether there was a potential for missing key groups at risk. Officers and the Cabinet Member for Children stressed that they benchmark with other local authorities and with figures of the National Refugee Council to assure themselves that they were identifying the right groups. It was agreed that the service would note any anomalies based on this data.

    8.    It was noted that some groups that have been identified in the list of UASC were at significantly higher risk of exploitation and that the service was working to alleviate this.

     

    Recommendations:

    1.    The Committee recommends that the Cabinet Member for Children continue to work to lobby central Government for additional funding for UASC to address the identified funding deficit.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10/18

11/18

FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME AND RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 123 KB

12/18

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

    The next public meeting of the committee will be held Thursday 3 May 2018at County Hall.

    Minutes:

    Members questioned whether the current date of the next meeting, 3 May 2018, could be changed, due to it coinciding with Local Government Elections in Borough and District Authorities.