Agenda and draft minutes

Children, Families, Lifelong Learning & Culture Select Committee - Monday, 18 October 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Woodhatch Place, 11 Cockshot Hill, Reigate, RH2 8EF

Contact: Benjamin Awkal, Scrutiny Officer  Tel: 07816 091463. Email:  Benjamin.Awkal@surreycc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

28/21

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

    To note any apologies for absence or substitutions.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Alex Tear, Alison Todd and Tanya Quddus.

     

     

29/21

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS: 11 MARCH 2021 AND 15 JULY 2021 pdf icon PDF 249 KB

30/21

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.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

31/21

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS pdf icon PDF 206 KB

    To receive any questions or petitions.

    NOTES:

    1.    The deadline for Members’ questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (12 October 2021).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(11 October 2021).

     

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    1.    A question had been received from Fiona Davidson.

     

    2.    Asking a supplementary question, the Member asked what was now being done differently to accommodate more LAC within Surrey, highlighting that the proportion of looked after children (LAC) placed within the county had been increasing incrementally from a low point of 47.1% in April 2019 to 54.2% in October 2021.

     

    3.    The Director – Corporate Parenting explained that the Service had a comprehensive sufficiency strategy and aimed to significantly increase the number of foster placements available within the county, as they wanted the majority of children to live within families, and whilst they had been successful at recruiting more foster carers during the COVID-19 pandemic, many had also left for reasons such as ill-health or retirement. Additionally, there were two frameworks used to commission third-party placements including foster carers, children’s homes and supported accommodation. The Director agreed that the rate of change was slower than she would like and cautioned that it was unlikely that 100 per cent of LAC would be placed within the county as, for some children, the best placement would be outside of Surrey, such as when living with extended family. Eighty per cent of LAC living within the county was described as an ambitious but realistic target. There was a balance to strike between accommodating more LAC in Surrey and moving them at a time which met their care needs.

32/21

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITIES (SEND) TRANSFORMATION UPDATE pdf icon PDF 474 KB

    Purpose of the report: to provide the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee with a progress update on the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) transformation programme, including relevant progress updates about the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Task Group.  This report builds on the Select Committee Report from December 2020 as well as the Cabinet Report from February 2021.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning


    Liz Mills, Director – Education and Lifelong Learning

    Mary Burguieres, Assistant Director – Systems and Transformation

     

    BenedicteSymcox, Chief Executive Officer – Family Voice Surrey

    Kate Goode, Participation Manager – Family Voice Surrey

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    The Cabinet Member explained that the report built upon previous updates to the Committee and Cabinet in December 2020 and February 2021 respectively. It outlined further progress in the year to date and highlighted the next phase of delivery – building system wide momentum and cultural change and securing financial trajectories over the next five years.

     

    2.    The Director added that 290 additional school places for children with SEND had been delivered – a mixture of expansions of existing schools and new specialist units and centres, plus one entirely new school. There was a focus on operational improvements: the Service was seeking to improve the timeliness and quality of Education and Health and Care (EHC) planning and communication with families. They wanted to make sure all children received the right support without necessarily relying on a statutory plan. There had been a reduction in requests for statutory plans, attributed to recent investment in early intervention – Surrey had a high number of statutory plans compared to regional and statistical neighbours. The Service was working with education, health and care partners to ensure children’s needs were met more holistically. From early years, the Service was focused on preparing children for adulthood and was creating additional pathways into adulthood – 70% of young people were on a pathway to independence or employment, a 13% increase on the previous year.

     

    3.    The Vice-Chairman asked what the Programme’s key risks were and asked whether it had been affected by ongoing disruption within the construction industry. The capital programme had delivered 23 schemes in year and there had been a six-week delay to occupying the new school, but temporary provision was accommodating pupils in the meantime. The Land and Property Service’s approach to capital delivery was to secure a longer-term delivery partner to facilitate smoother delivery. The delivery of one free school, Betchwood Vale, had been delayed for a year for planning reasons and the Service was working with partners to ensure delivery and provide interim places. 

     

    4.    A Vice-Chairman asked how the Programme reflected the SEND Code of Practice and Partnership Strategy and the Written Statement of Action’s four key focus areas and would support children to attain better outcomes. The Director explained that the Transformation Programme was outcome focused and everything the Service did was centred on relevant statutory provisions and the SEND Code of Practice. The Strategy reflected local consultation and ran from 2019 to 2022 and the Service was to co-produce a new strategy for 2022 onwards, for which the development of the All-Age Autism Strategy provided an improved model of co-production. The key focus areas were borne out of the original Code of Practice and were reflected in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32/21

33/21

THE IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON EDUCATION AND LEARNERS IN SURREY pdf icon PDF 397 KB

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    Purpose of the report: This report outlines the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education and Surrey learners and the plans that have been put in place to address the impacts, so that children and young people are supported to achieve their potential and no one is left behind. It provides further information on the recent destinations of post-16 learners.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning


    Liz Mills, Director – Education and Lifelong Learning

    Tina Benjamin, Director – Corporate Parenting

    Mary Burguieres, Assistant Director – Systems and Transformation

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    A Member highlighted that, in the absence of council funding for mental health support, some schools were using education catch-up funding to support pupil’s mental health needs, which had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and asked what the overall findings of the literacy and early language undertaken by schools were. The Assistant Director explained that from the pandemic’s outset the Education Service had adopted a preventative approach to minimising the impact of the pandemic on children’s learning. Vulnerable children and children of key workers received in-person teaching and support throughout the pandemic, where it had been in their best interest. Schools, the council and partners had sought to ensure children received high-quality education, and laptops had been distributed to children who needed them. National research showed that a learning gap of approximately three months in the areas of numeracy and literacy had emerged during the pandemic, particularly in Key Stage 1 – this was even larger for disadvantaged students. The Service continued to deliver campaigns to help families support their young children’s speech and language development. National and local research showed there had been a COVID-19-related impact on children at transition stages – Government guidance had prevented settings from providing in-person support at transitions. The Service’s focus for the 2021/22 school year remained on supporting schools to deliver high-quality curriculum and teaching via the Schools Alliance for Excellence (SAfE). The Department for Education (DfE) strongly advised schools to use catch-up funding to provide tutoring for those most in need and to increase teaching capacity to deliver catch-up learning. The council had commissioned continuing mental health support throughout the pandemic, elements of which were focused on parents and carers, children and young people and teaching staff.

     

    2.    A Member asked how educational catch-up support related to child poverty and asked how the council was addressing those issues, particularly in early years. The Assistant Director stated that the Service had supported economically disadvantaged families by allocating supermarket vouchers for school- and college-age children in receipt of free school meals, early years pupil premium children and Care Leavers during school holidays. The Surrey Crisis Fund, food banks and relevant charities had also received financial contributions from the council.

     

    3.    The Member welcomed those financial contributions and asked what additional support was in place for the future, particularly to support disadvantaged children’s education and infants’ development. The Director – Education and Lifelong Learning explained that the Service’s strategy and work around disadvantaged learners included children from economically disadvantaged families and connected with the emerging child poverty strategy – support led by SAfE and delivered by schools included subject matter networks, an increased universal offer and Quality First Teaching approaches. Targeted programmes had been put in place to support children in early years, especially those living in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33/21

34/21

CHILDREN'S HOMES TRANSFORMATION pdf icon PDF 524 KB

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    Purpose of the report: In line with the ambition of the councils Sufficiency Strategy for Looked After Children, Care Leavers and Children on the Edge of Care 2020-2025, to seek support from Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee for the proposed transformation of Surrey Children’s homes in order to strengthen the management capacity and current staffing structure and provide a workforce development framework. The transformation includes the development of additional provision of two places for children with autism experiencing crises. 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children and Families

    Tina Benjamin, Director – Corporate Parenting
    Jo Rabbitte, Assistant Director – Children’s Resources

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    The Chairman noted that the reports for Items 7 and 7a had been received late and published under a supplementary agenda as the detail of the proposed decision being scrutinising had not been finalised at the time the meeting’s agenda was published.

     

    2.    The Assistant Director introduced the report, explaining that the council had reviewed its children’s residential homes and that the recommended changes were to develop its children’s homes’ management and workforce to enable the accommodation of the looked after children (‘LAC’) with the most complex needs within the council’s residential homes. Under the Sufficiency Strategy, the preferred placement for any LAC was within the community with their family or in foster care; however, there were a small number of children for whom residential care was necessary. The change to the model of practice would make residential care a specific intervention to address identified needs. The Assistant Director submitted that this would improve outcomes for children and young people and would be a more effective use of ‘scarce and valuable’ residential provision. It was hoped that the existing children’s homes would form the basis of an extension to residential provision under the existing capital development programme.

     

    3.    A Vice-Chairman asked for the background to the recommended decision and what the key risks were in respect of the proposals. The Director explained that the improvement of residential provision was not initially prioritised as the council’s children’s homes were of a good standard, being mostly rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. As the Corporate Parenting Service (‘the Service’) had developed a better understanding of the LAC placed out of county and what it could ask of its staff, it had identified the need to develop its residential provision to make interventions more purposive and timelier. The proposed model would also support the No Wrong Door service.

     

    4.    The alternatives considered were to continue with the existing model or place LAC in external residential provision, but this was undesirable as, when children were placed in the council’s homes, they were cared for by employees managed by Service, providing greater assurance of care quality. Part of the rationale for increasing the management capacity in residential homes was to provide management cover on weekends: due to the complexity of the needs of children in residential provision, behavioural issues often arose on weekends, straining the on-call system. The introduction of further assistant managers, considering significant regional workforce-development issues, would improve succession by enabling the Service to provide structured career pathways which would help attract and retain high-quality staff and develop registered managers locally.

     

    5.    The key risks in not implementing the restructure were maintaining Good and Outstanding Ofsted ratings and not being able to support the children with the most complex needs in house and within the county.

     

    6.    The key risks in implementing the restructure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34/21

35/21

CHILDREN'S HOMES TRANSFORMATION - PART TWO

    Purpose of report: In line with the ambition of the councils Sufficiency Strategy for Looked After Children, Care Leavers and Children on the Edge of Care 2020-2025, to seek support from Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee for the proposed transformation of Surrey Children’s homes in order to strengthen the management capacity and current staffing structure and provide a workforce development framework. The transformation includes the development of additional provision of two places for children with autism experiencing crises. 

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

    That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the Item 7a on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information under the paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

    The Select Committee considered the financial implications of the proposed changes and asked relevant questions.

    Recommendation:

    Cabinet agree the proposed transformation of Surrey’s Children’s Residential Services provided there are no material changes to the recommended decision or supporting information as reported to the Select Committee.

     

36/21

PUBLICITY FOR PART 2 ITEM

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    To consider whether the item considered under Part 2 of the agenda should be made available to the press and public.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Resolved:

    That the recommendation agreed under Item 7a be published in the minutes of the meeting.

     

37/21

BREAK

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    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee recessed at 1.34pm and resumed at 2.02pm.

     

38/21

EMOTIONAL WELLBEING AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES pdf icon PDF 465 KB

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    This item is expected to commence at approximately 14:00, following a break.

     

    Purpose of the report: To review the implementation and performance of the new Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health (EWMH) services for children and young people (CYP) in Surrey, which began operation in April 2021. The report specifically draws out the early intervention elements of the provision.

     

    This report will provide information about the mobilisation of EWMH services and reflect upon the first six months of operation and what evidence there is of how the new services are beginning to improve outcomes for service users.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:                                                     

    Maureen Attewell, Deputy Cabinet Member for Children and Lifelong Learning

    Hayley Connor, Director – Commissioning

    Jessica Thom, Children’s Emotional Health Alliance Programme Director (Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust)

    Kerry Clarke, Children and Young People Head of Emotional Mental Health and Wellbeing Commissioning (Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group)

    Kate Scribbins, Chief Executive Officer, Healthwatch Surrey

    Katharine Newman, Intelligence Officer, Healthwatch Surrey

    Also in attendance:

    Bernadette Muir, Chairman of the Adults and Health Select Committee

    Angela Goodwin, Vice-Chairman of the Adults and Health Select Committee

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    A Vice-Chairman asked what the level of mental health need was for children and young people in Surrey and how new Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health (EWMH) services would meet that need, what the key risks were and why the contract had been awarded for seven years with an option to extend for a further three.

     

    2.    The Director – Commissioning explained that, following the COVID-19 pandemic, one in seven children nationally had an emotional or mental health need and the acuity of children and young people’s needs had also increased. The new service model did not assume that all children with such a need required a medical or therapeutic intervention; the alliance approach, focus on early intervention and THRIVE model were adopted to mobilise the entire system to respond to demand.

     

    3.    Key risks included demand for services, staff recruitment and retention and managing the transition to the new way of working. A longer-term contract provided Alliance partners adequate time to implement new systems and ways of working and to recruit to services.

     

    4.    The Chairman of the Adults and Health Select Committee (‘the A&H Chairman’) asked how the different members of the Alliance – which included organisations who were involved in Surrey’s previous Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – would work together and for an overview of the Alliance’s governance arrangements.

     

    5.    The Director – Commissioning explained that new leadership and enhanced accountability were provided through the introduction of the role of the Children’s Emotional Health Alliance Programme Director (‘the Programme Director’) to lead the Alliance’s partnership work and to ensure partners had an equal voice, the introduction of the role of the Children and Young People Head of Emotional Mental Health and Wellbeing Commissioning (‘the Head of EMHW Commissioning’) to focus on emotional wellbeing and mental health commissioning, and the council becoming the lead commissioner for emotional wellbeing and mental health services. The Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (‘SaBP’) had also introduced the new role of Executive Director for Children’s Community Services.

     

    6.    The Executive Finance, Contracts, Quality and Performance Accountability Committee led on contract monitoring and delivery and was attended by the Director – Commissioning and Head of EMHW Commissioning, amongst others. The Director – Commissioning stated that with the introduction of a user voice and participation team, the voice of children and young people was ‘hardwired’ into the Alliance, which aimed to prioritise improving the experience of children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38/21

39/21

ACTIONS AND RECOMMENDATION TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 287 KB

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    For the Select Committee to review the attached actions and recommendations tracker and forward work programme, making suggestions for additions or amendments as appropriate.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Resolved:

    Select Committee support officers to follow up all the outstanding recommendations by the next meeting and where possible agree deadlines for all future actions and recommendations at the time of making.

     

40/21

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

    The next public meeting of the committee will be held on 13 December 2021 at 10:00am.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Select Committee noted that its next meeting would be held on Monday, 13 December 2021.

     

    Meeting ended at 3.40pm