Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions
Contact: Joss Butler, Democratic Services Officer
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Apologies were received from Liz Bowes, Yvonna Lay, Lesley Steeds and Simon Parr. David Mansfield acted as a substitute for Lesley Steeds.
To agree the minutes of the previous meeting of the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee as a true and accurate record of proceedings.
The minutes were agreed as a true record of the meeting.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members present are required to declare, at this point in the
meeting or as soon as possible thereafter:
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
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.
QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS
receive any questions or petitions.
1. The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (6 September 2019).
2. The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(5 September 2019)
3. The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.
There were no questions or petitions received.
Scrutiny of Children’s Social Care
Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families
Jacquie Burke, Director for Family Resilience & Safeguarding, Children’s Services
Lesley Hunt, Service Manager, Children’s Services
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Director provided an update on progress since their last appearance at the Committee. The critical activity was the implementation of the Directorate wide restructure. Levels of need were reviewed leading to the creation of a new social work document (Effective Family Resilience). The service had trained close to 2,000 people across the public sector in Surrey using this document in preparation for the new Single Point of Access (SPA). Ofsted visited and published positive report; the council met all of its commitments. Staffing issues persist but there were plans in place to resolve these.
2. The level 2 early help offer had been recommissioned, the key difference was that the service commissioned on an outcomes basis and had implemented robust contract management.
3. Four permanent Assistant Directors have been recruited to lead the quadrant that social care teams are organised into across the county. They had responsibility for creating effective relationships and would hold regular family resilience network meetings involving statutory partners and providers.
4. The Committee returned to the issue of recruitment and were advised that this was not purely a Surrey problem. The appointment of a new Assistant Director from Hampshire County Council was positive. The Director further explained that council office space was often in the wrong places to visit families from. As a result, north east practitioners have relocated to a building in Walton-on-Thames. There have been improvements to line management, caseload sizes and supervision.
5. The Director thought that there were many former social workers who would be keen to return to the profession so had created a return to social work programme. The service also aimed to persuade agency workers to become permanent staff, implement an overseas recruitment programme and would work with Community Care to promote its successes.
6. Members asked about developing our own workforce. The Director confirmed this was happening with many Family Support Workers retraining to become social workers. Apprenticeships were also being used. The Cabinet Member reminded the Committee of the existence of the council’s Children’s Workforce Academy.
7. The Director advised that nearly 800 case audits had been done and practice improvements were noticeable. Audits show good direct work, management oversight, preparation for court and in court work. The inadequate cases were tracked to ensure lessons were learned. The Director admitted that plans are not as good as expected though not unsafe. A review of the case management system was underway as another mitigation measure.
8. A Member asked about the usage of services in Surrey Heath and the problems of travelling to different premises. The Service Manager confirmed the service was in the process of moving and provision of universal services had ended in the area. The service were in the process of transforming the Old Dean centre, they will ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To present to the committee an overview of the approach to the modernisation of the services.
Julie Iles, Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning
Liz Mills, Director for Education, Lifelong Learning & Culture
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Cabinet Member explained that the transformation of the library service was not just about the buildings they occupy but digital offerings and outreach services as well.
2. The Vice-Chairman asked how the different needs of rural and urban communities would be considered and urged the witnesses to use the frontline staff in the development of the future services. The Cabinet Member confirmed this issue was part of their conversations with district and borough councils.
3. The Committee raised concerns with the local offer while offering support for the principles behind the transformation programme. Would transformation funds be reinvested in the service? The Cabinet Member emphasised that the service had to be financially viable.
4. This council spent £12 per head in 2017/18 on its library offer, other English counties averaged £9.70. This funding level did not mean the council necessarily provided a better service. There were opportunities for income generation and savings to be made. The Director added that there was a need for capital investment and this would be part of the budget setting for 2020/21.
5. The Committee put it to the witnesses that some libraries will close from the existing 52 and that this would be a challenge. How will the council prepare for that? The Cabinet Member stated that any reports of the number of libraries to close were rumour as the offer was not finalised. Any options that go to the public for consultation will have been sense checked first.
6. The Director added that the service had taken learning from other consultations elsewhere in the country and the level of public interest. They anticipated be an increase in Freedom of Information requests and petitions. Additional support to boost the service’s capacity would be needed to have a meaningful consultation.
7. A Member asked what the risks associated with the changes to model were. The Director considered some of these to be access in rural areas, the needs of more vulnerable sections of community for example people with learning disabilities and older people. A council produced needs analysis had allowed the service to think about place carefully and would lead to services in new areas. There would need to be a phased approach to delivery.
8. The Cabinet Member explained that there would be engagement with local and joint committees, Member briefings and that possibilities for the service would be worked out with local Members to ensure the plans were understood. The Cabinet Member felt the earliest this topic could go to Cabinet would be November and expected to return to this Committee too.
9. The Chairman requested that outreach services were more defined when the consultation was launched and that more information was made available on the timescales for transformation to deflect any rumours.
The Select Committee is asked to review and approve the Forward Work Programme and Recommendations Tracker and provide comment as required.
Kay Hammond, Chairman
Chris Botten, Vice-Chairman
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Chairman suggested holding the next meeting in Guildford. This meeting dating presented a clash for Waverley Members who asked whether the meeting could be held in the afternoon.
2. The Vice-Chairman outlined the plans for the Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) Task Group. This would occur in three sections covering: current provision, support to mainstream schools and service resourcing from October to December.
3. The membership of the Task Group, alongside the Vice-Chairman, was Barbara Thomson and Chris Townsend but the Vice-Chairman welcomed other participants and confirmed that other Members not on the Committee could be co-opted if appropriate.
DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING
The next public meeting of the committee will be held on 14 November 2019 in the Aschombe Suite, County Hall.
The Committee noted its next meeting would now be held on 13 December 2019.