Agenda, decisions and minutes

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 15th December, 2021 4.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - City Hall, Bradford. View directions

Contact: Fatima Butt / Jill Bell 

Items
No. Item

57.

CHAIRS OPENING REMARKS

Minutes:

The Committee stated that it was saddened by the case of Star Hobson and their thoughts were with all those affected. There was a Children’s Safeguarding review which will be published in 2022 and this would give full attention to the case. It would not be appropriate for Members to discuss the case in the meeting and normal questioning would apply at the appropriate time.

 

A minute’s silence was observed by all members and officers in attendance in the memory of Star Hobson.

 

58.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made for matters under consideration.

59.

MINUTES

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 October and 22 September 2021 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).

 

(Jill Bell – 01274 434580)

Minutes:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 October and 22 September 2021 be signed as a correct record.

60.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Jill Bell - 01274 434580)

 

Minutes:

No requests were received to remove the restriction on a report or background paper.

61.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

To consider referrals have been made to this Committee up to and including the date of publication of this agenda.

 

The Committee is asked to note the referrals and decide how it wishes to proceed, for example by incorporating the item into the work programme, requesting that it be subject to more detailed examination, or refer it to an appropriate Working Group/Committee.

 

Minutes:

No referrals were received.

62.

ANNUAL REPORT FOR CHILDREN LOOKED AFTER AND CARE LEAVERS APRIL 2020 - MARCH 2021 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

The report of the Designated Team for Looked After Children - Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) (Document “M”) provides a summary statement on the first annual report for Children Looked After and Care Leavers to include background, content – successes and challenges - and future focus.

 

Recommended -

 

(1)  Members are asked to consider the information provided within the report.

 

(2)  Members are welcome to ask a question or raise a comment at the meeting to gain clarity or for assurance.

 

(Dr Kate Ward - 07985378532

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

(1)  The Committee would like to thank officers for their attendance and contributions.

 

(2)  This Committee requests that a report be presented in 12 months.

 

(3)  That more up-to-date statistics in relation to the timeliness of Children’s Health Assessments, be circulated to members of this Committee in three months’ time.

 

(4)  This Committee requests that the findings from the review into children’s health assessment caseloads be presented to the Committee, in the new municipal year.

 

 

Action – Strategic Director of Quality and Nursing

                 

                                                                  (Michelle Turner)

                                                                  (Dr Kate Ward – 07985378532)

Minutes:

The report of the Designated Team for Looked After Children - Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) (Document “M”) provided a summary statement on the first annual report for Children Looked After and Care Leavers to include background, content – successes and challenges - and future focus.

 

 

Members noted that this was the first report of its kind and while not a necessity, it was good practice to produce an annual report.

 

Members learned of the complexities of providing healthcare to Children Looked After (CLA), and the challenges of the provision of care, in meeting statuary timescales and the increase in the number and complexities of the children who become CLA in the Bradford District.

 

Members understood that a new clinical model has been implemented and had provided success for the Designated Team for Looked After Children, and that it was this that had allowed for an annual report to be produced.

 

Officers stressed the strategic role of the Designated Doctor and a move away from the clinical tasks of the Named Doctor for CLA.

 

Members understood there had been improvements to the statutory timescales of initial assessments and an improvement in the system used to accurately identified at which stage a CLA child is at in the process.

 

Members were keen to understand If the statutory guidance was being delivered and if the Designated Team for Looked After Children was falling short.

 

Members were asked to understand that this was guidance, and that children were no longer falling through the gap. Furthermore, the difficulty was in the timescales of 21 days, to provide an initial healthcare assessment for a child or young adult. This was inevitability difficult to adhere to as obtaining consent can be difficult. The team was not seeing every child within the timeline but this is improving. There are delays especially with services such as CAMHS. Members were told it is not realistic to say every need is being met, and the priority going forward is to meet need.

 

Members sought clarity on the issue of consent and who is responsible for obtaining consent.

In response, officers from the Designated Team for Looked After Children, stressed that it is preferable to gain the parent’s consent. It is the responsibility of social workers to obtain consent. In the event that a parent would be unwilling or unable to consent on behalf of the child, the social work manger can sign and subsequently give consent. Furthermore, the Local Authority can seek a court order. In the case of a young person they may have capacity to give their own consent. There is no set age but it is usually those young adults over 13 or 14 years’ old that can consent for themselves.

Members understood that the obtaining of consent can cause delays for the service. The number of children that do not have consent is reviewed in a weekly triage meeting in which these cases are reviewed and a plan can be put in place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

PROTECTING VULNERABLE CHILDREN & ADULTS AT RISK OF EXPLOITATION pdf icon PDF 231 KB

The report of the Chief Executive (Document “N”) provides an update on the contemporary strategic response to all forms of exploitation of children and adults at risk of exploitation and how partners from The Bradford Partnership – Working together to safeguard children and the Bradford Safeguarding Adults Board work to drive continuous improvement and to hold agencies to account for their work on this subject. This report also outlines the challenges presented to the partnership following the global pandemic – Covid 19 and the current update on progress made to the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Thematic Review recommendations published on July 27, 2021.

 

Appendix D – Is exempt under paragraph 7 (Crime Prevention) Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972

 

Recommended -

 

(1)       The Children`s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee is invited to note the report

 

(2)       The Children`s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee commit to working closely with partners to Continue to raise awareness of exploitation of both adult and children

 

(3)       The Children`s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee commit to working closely with partners to deliver on the actions within the developmental action plan and progressing the extensive wider work presently on going in Bradford.

 

(4)       A further report to be presented in 12 months

 

(Darren Minton/Jane Booth – 01274 434361)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

(1)  The Committee would like to thank officers for their attendance.

 

(2)  This Committee requests that a progress report be presented in 12 months.

 

(3)  This Committee requests the review into existing CSE services and development of the Multi-Agency Exploitation Hub, be presented to this Committee in the new Municipal Year.

 

Action – Bradford Council Chief Executive

 

                                    (Darren Minton/Jane Booth – 01274 434361)

Minutes:

The report of the Chief Executive (Document “N”) provided an update on the contemporary strategic response to all forms of exploitation of children and adults at risk of exploitation and how partners from The Bradford Partnership – Working together to safeguard children and the Bradford Safeguarding Adults Board work to drive continuous improvement and to hold agencies to account for their work on this subject. The report also outlined the challenges presented to the partnership following the global pandemic – Covid 19 and the current update on progress made to the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Thematic Review recommendations published on July 27, 2021.

 

Officers from the Bradford District Safeguarding Group provided a summary of the Report of the Chief Executive, detailing a multiagency strategic approach and two strategic plans.

Officers outlined the positives of the report to Members which were; an increase in pace, allowing for a focus on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Furthermore, Officers made Members aware of the continual presence of neglect and that this is an ongoing issue.

 

Members were keen to understand the impacts of Covid-19 on the ability of partners in Bradford to prevent or mitigate risk of exploitation.

 

Officers answered by highlighting the fact that with restricted movement, there was less missing children, and it was the strategic approaches that brought this down. However, vulnerable children did not return to school at the same rate. Furthermore, Bradford had maintained a street based youth programme, as well as area based youth work teams engaging at garden gates and green spaces in order to comply with restrictions.

 

Members sought to understand to what extent the police have changed their approach over the last few years resulting from issues faced by South Yorkshire police with regards to exploitation, and whether West Yorkshire Police have faced the same issues.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police explained to members that exploitation has changed massively in 25 years. The exploitation team is the biggest office in Bradford. With regards to early help PCSOs build relationships and are working in children’s homes. However, there is a significant reduction in resources and, which has been impacted by the recruitment process taking longer to being qualified police officers.

 

With regards to the issues faced in South Yorkshire, officers highlighted this as a huge issue and informed Members that there is a full partnership assessment which will lead to a city wide action plan creating a positive future of continual improvement.

 

Members sought to understand the impact of the new format of police training on the type of modules delivered and whether when trained PCs are ready to deal with issues of Domestic Violence etc. Officers explained that there has been a professionalization of police training, so officers are better prepared to be fully rounded officers, who are good quality investigators. New recruits are continually improving with partnership work with Bradford University where officers and students train each other. The force has arranged full day practitioner training courses and workshops by professionals.

 

Members were made  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

OFSTED MONITORING VISIT CHILDREN'S SERVICES IMPROVEMENT PLAN pdf icon PDF 96 KB

The Strategic Director of Children’s Services will present a report (Document “O”) following Ofsted’s Inspection of Children’s Social Care Services from the 17 to 28 September 2018, the sixth of a series of Monitoring Visits took place on the 7 to 8 September 2021.  

 

The focus of the Monitoring Visit was around Children in Care and Residential Services.

 

The findings were published by Ofsted on 22 October 2021.

 

The report includes as an appendix the Children’s Services Improvement Plan.

 

Recommended

 

The Committee is asked to note the contents of the letter from Ofsted.

 

(Marium Haque - 01274 431266)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

(1)  The Committee requests that the Outcomes Improvement Plan also contains within it, an outcomes column.

 

(2)  For the Committee to keep and overview of the revised Outcomes Improvement Plan and at its meeting on Wednesday 23 March 2022, members request a report which specifically focuses on one aspect of the priority area in the Outcomes Improvement Plan; with that priority area being children and young people recognising Bradford Council as good Corporate Parents.

 

Action – Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services

 

                                                                  (Marium Haque – 01274 431266)

Minutes:

 

The Strategic Director of Children’s Services presented a report (Document “O”) following Ofsted’s Inspection of Children’s Social Care Services from the 17 to 28 September 2018, the sixth of a series of Monitoring Visits took place on the 7 to 8 September 2021. The focus of the Monitoring Visit was around Children in Care and Residential Services. The findings were published by Ofsted on 22 October 2021. The report included as an appendix the Children’s Services Improvement Plan.

 

The Strategic Director for Children’s Services provided a summary statement of the report following Ofsted’s Inspection of Children’s Social Care Services, and following a monitoring visit focusing on Children in Care and Residential Services.

 

The strategic director for Children’s services outlined plans for an independent review into the Star Hobson case in order to improve services, and commented that the purpose of the report was to update members and not to talk about the successes of the service.

 

Officers explained to members the focus of the Improvement Plan following the 2018 inspection was a focus on children in care, and on performance planning and decision making. Furthermore, the voice of the child being evident as well as the standard of care in residential services, were highlighted in the report.

 

Officers also stated that the 7 outcomes of the Ofsted Improvement plan had been made visible to staff around offices etc. in order to ensure these are understood and used consistently.

 

Members presented concern about the problems in children’s homes and that it demonstrated a failure in corporate parenting. As a result of this Members asked what officers can do to assure them the weaknesses in theory and practice have been resolved.

Officers from Children’s Services stated that young people recognising the service and the council as good corporate parents. This is supported by the new terms of reference for the Corporate Parenting Panel which will change what the panel can achieve. Furthermore, a new Child Protection Plan is being drafted with a focus on work pertaining to residential homes. Improvement were seen here. This is supported by a consistent and collaborative approach to all homes.

 

Members were made aware of a new Level 4 position in the Mockingbird structure, providing provision for mother and baby placements which are traditionally hard to place. The Mockingbird is something that has been tried before, however it is starting again in the new year and will provide for more complex needs.

 

Members asked officers to include reports which had been referenced. In this case the Ofsted report as this was left out of the Agenda and members had to source this themselves.

Additionally, Members sought to understand whether the service had been bought into after a consultation with staff and partners, so when Ofsted come back in 6 months’ time there will be improvements. Members were assured by officers that the Ofsted Commissioner was well sighted on the plan, and subsequently can hold officers to account. Members were assured that the plan is fit for purpose.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

YOUTH JUSTICE SERVICE pdf icon PDF 297 KB

This report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “P”) provides and update on highlights from the Youth Justice Service since the HMIP Inspection during September & October 2019.  Including focus on areas of progress, action in the next period and areas of concern and potential concern.

 

 

Recommended -

 

That the Committee notes the contents of this report and the progress being made.

 

(Sarah Griffin – 01274 43436098 / Mob 07973814052)

Decision:

Resolved –

 

This Committee recognises the progress and improvements that the service has made and requests that a further report be presented late in the New Municipal Year, specifically focusing on the “Next Steps”, which include:

 

-       Improving participation with young people and families to understand their experiences of the services they have received;

-       Starting to address themes that arise from the audit feedback;

-       Using data to drive the service and its impact;

-       Continued Thematic Inspection reports within the service;

-       Embedding the pathfinder model to focus on prevention;

-       Continuing to improve quality and embed the audit process.

 

Action – Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services

 

                                                            (Sarah Griffin – 01274 436098)

 

 

Minutes:

The of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “P”) provided and update on highlights from the Youth Justice Service since the HMIP Inspection during September & October 2019. Including focus on areas of progress, action in the next period and areas of concern and potential concern.

 

The Head of Service and Service Manager for Youth Justice Service provided a summary on the highlights from the YJS in the Strategic Director of Children’s Services’ report. This included focus on areas of progress, action in the next period and areas of concern and potential concern.

 

Following an inspection in September 2019 regarding Keeping Children away from Crime found that the Youth Justice Service requires improvement. So far there has been progress, gone from priority 2 to priority 1.

 

Officers from the Youth Justice Service explained the use of the youth Justice Board, which has provided a lot of challenge, however they are impressed with the improvements the service has made.

 

There has also been a focus on preventative services in an effort to reduce re-offending. One such example is behind the blade.

 

Members were keen to understand the impact that the COVID19 pandemic had had on service delivery.

 

In response, officers indicated that the court had been closed for three months, which could have led to an increase in an increase in re-offending rates.  However, Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny members also heard that the backlog in court cases had been reduced and the courts in Bradford were now up-to-date.

 

Members of the Committee acknowledged the good work that had been undertaken in this area, by officers.

 

 

Resolved –

 

This Committee recognises the progress and improvements that the service has made and requests that a further report be presented late in the New Municipal Year, specifically focusing on the “Next Steps”, which include:

 

-       Improving participation with young people and families to understand their experiences of the services they have received;

-       Starting to address themes that arise from the audit feedback;

-       Using data to drive the service and its impact;

-       Continued Thematic Inspection reports within the service;

-       Embedding the pathfinder model to focus on prevention;

-       Continuing to improve quality and embed the audit process.

 

Action – Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services

 

                                                            (Sarah Griffin – 01274 436098)

 

 


66.

CHILDREN'S SERVICES OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE- WORK PROGRAMME 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The of the  Chair of the Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Document “Q”) includes the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2021/22. 

 

Recommended -

 

(1)       That members consider and comment on the areas of work included in the work programme.

 

(2)       That members consider any detailed scrutiny reviews that they may wish to conduct.

 

(3)       That members comment and approve the amended Terms of Reference for the Elective Home Education Scrutiny Review.

 

(Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

(1)  Members discussed and amended the 2021-22 work programme for the Committee.

 

(2)  Members agreed the amended Terms of Reference for the Elective Home Education Scrutiny Review.

 

(3)  That an additional meeting take place in late January 2022, to consider the findings from the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review, after it is published.

 

 

Actions – Overview & Scrutiny Lead

 

                                                            (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)

Minutes:

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Lead presented the 2021-22 work programme. Members heard that the work programme ad agreed by the Committee formed the basis for the committees work during the year, but can be amended as issues arise during the year.

 

The members discussed and amended the work programme.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Lead provided members with an update in relation to the Elective Home Education Scrutiny Review and members agreed on the next steps. The members discussed and amended the work programme.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Lead provided members with an update in relation to the Elective Home Education Scrutiny Review and members agreed on the next steps.

 

(1)  Members discussed and amended the 2021-22 work programme for the Committee.

 

(2)  Members agreed the amended Terms of Reference for the Elective Home Education Scrutiny Review.

 

(3)  That an additional meeting take place in late January 2022, to consider the findings from the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review, after it is published.

 

 

Actions – Overview & Scrutiny Lead

 

                                                            (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)