Agenda and minutes

Children's Social Care and Health Cabinet Committee
Wednesday, 3rd December, 2014 10.00 am

Venue: Darent Room, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Theresa Grayell  03000 416172

Media

Items
No. Item

16.

Apologies and Substitutes

To receive apologies for absence and notification of any substitutes present

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No apologies or notice of any substitutes had been received.

17.

Declarations of Interest by Members in items on the Agenda

To receive any declarations of interest made by Members in relation to any matter on the agenda.  Members are reminded to specify the agenda item number to which it refers and the nature of the interest being declared

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

18.

Minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2014 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To consider and approve the minutes as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of this committee’s meeting held on 23 September 2014 are correctly recorded and they be signed by the Chairman.  There were no matters arising.

19.

Minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 4 September 2014 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To note the minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that these be noted.

20.

Meeting Dates for 2015

Tuesday 20 January

Tuesday 21 April

Thursday 4 June

Wednesday 22 July

Tuesday 8 September

Wednesday 2 December

 

All meetings are planned to commence at 10.00 am. If an earlier start time is required for any meeting, this will be announced nearer the time.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The dates reserved for the committee’s meetings in 2015 were noted, as follows:-

Tuesday 20 January

Tuesday 21 April

Thursday 4 June

Wednesday 22 July

Tuesday 8 September

Wednesday 2 December

 

All meetings would commence at 10.00 am. If an earlier start time were to be required for any meeting, this would be announced nearer the time.

 

 

21.

Verbal updates pdf icon PDF 20 KB

To receive a verbal update from the Cabinet Members for Specialist Children’s Services and Adult Social Care and Public Health, the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing and the Interim Director of Public Health.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            Mr P J Oakford gave a verbal update on the following issues:-

 

Child Sexual Exploitation awareness session for Members of this Committee and the Corporate Parenting Panel on 18 December

Visits with principal practitioner to Folkestone had been very enlightening. He would shortly start a series of visits to all children’s centres in the county, in alternate weeks with visits with social workers.

Kent Safeguarding Children Board Annual Conference on 13 November – ‘Voice of the Child’

E.safety– he had recently seen Becky Avery’s excellent presentation on e.safety and the effects of cyber-bullying and recommended it to the committee. He undertook to arrange for this committee and the Corporate Parenting Panel to see Becky’s presentation.

 

2.            He responded to comments and questions, as follows:-

 

a)  the presentation on Child Sexual Exploitation for all Members, and the opportunity to discuss the issue at future meetings of this committee, was welcomed.  Schools had a major role to play. Reporting of alerts was vital, and there was much work to be done in this area. Mr Oakford explained that he had met with the Director for Education and Young People’s Services to discuss how schools could best train their teaching staff to handle the issue. The House of Commons report of a recent investigation into Child Sexual Exploitation gave a good summary of the issue, and Members of the committee would be sent a link to the report; and

 

b)   the value of making a presentation to Members on cyber-bullying was questioned, if Members were not able to hear at first hand the views of young people on the issue. It would be more helpful for Members to be briefed in a school setting or at a Youth Advisory Group, where young people could contribute their views.

 

3.            Mr A Ireland then gave a verbal update on the following issues:-

 

0 – 25 Programme Transformation Update – the design phase of work with Newton Europe had been very successful and the implementation stage would end shortly, with a presentation being made to the Portfolio Board and a key Cabinet Member decision being taken in the new year.

Child Sexual Exploitation – Ofsted themed inspection - the report of the recent inspection had been written in general terms, without highlighting any of the eight local authorities, including Kent, which had been inspected. The report included a number of recommendations, both for local authorities and for its own inspectors, on how to manage the issue. Members of the committee would be sent a link to the report.

Virtual School Kent Awards for 16+ and Care Leavers – the first such awards ceremony had recently taken place and, it was hoped, would come to have the same profile as the awards ceremony for younger children in care.

 

4.            He responded to comments and questions, as follows:-

 

a)    asked about possible wider publication of the Ofsted themed report, Mr Ireland said that he had discussed with Ofsted the possibility of publishing the report once the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

The Way Ahead: Draft Emotional Wellbeing Strategy for Children, Young People and Young Adults (0-25) in Kent - Part 1 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing and to consider and endorse the draft Strategy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms K Sharp, Head of Public Health Commissioning, was in attendance for this item.

 

1.            Ms Sharp introduced the report and explained that the draft strategy was being presented to Members for their comment and endorsement.  This strategy represented the start of much work on emotional wellbeing, and regular updates would be made to the Committee. The strategy sought to address how best young people with emotional wellbeing issues could be given early support via the most appropriate route, before their needs escalated to require a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service (CAMHS). Ms Sharp and Mr Ireland responded to comments and questions, as follows:-

 

a)    the strategy and its clarity were welcomed.  It set out why a service was needed and then how that service would be delivered;

 

b)    in response to a question about the number of family liaison officers in each school, able to offer early intervention, Ms Sharp undertook to respond to the questioner outside the meeting.  Young people had said that they wished to be able to access support at school but not from a teacher. The role of trusted confidante should be kept separate from a teaching role;

 

c)    the offer to supply case studies mentioned in the report was welcomed as useful illustrations, and the delivery plan was eagerly awaited.  Ms Sharp undertook to supply these outside the meetng;

 

d)    it was important that, amongst a number of professionals around them, a family had one person to whom they could link and from whom they could receive first-hand support;

 

e)    being able to access the right help, early on, would help prevent an issue escalating to a more advanced and distressing stage; and

 

f)     the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been looking at CAMHS in depth over some months, and would be looking again at the whole contract in the new year.  It was vital that regular monitoring of the issue be maintained.

 

2.            RESOLVED that:-

 

a)    the draft Emotional Wellbeing Strategy for Children, Young People and Young Adults (0-25) be welcomed and endorsed; and

 

b)    the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee be thanked for its work on scrutinising the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service (CAMHS).

 

23.

Ofsted Inspection Mapping: Single Inspection Framework pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing on the key themes emerging from inspections conducted under the single combined inspection framework, and to agree how the County Council should prepare for future inspections.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            Mr Segurola introduced the report and responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a)    the timing of the next inspection was, as yet, unknown, but the Directorate was preparing for it to take place in the new year;

b)    the hope was expressed that the next inspection would review and acknowledge the vital role of the IRO service and the improvements made to this service, eg recruitment of two new IROs and the ongoing drive to reduce the average caseload, which would allow each IRO to spend more time engaging with each child;

c)    asked about peer reviews, Mr Segurola explained that the system of peer reviews and the allocation of authorities to undertake them was managed by a regional agency, so the County Council was not able to state a preference of which other local authority it wished to review its services;  and

d)    it was confirmed that elected Members would be engaged by Ofsted inspectors as part of the review, and those who had taken part in past reviews confirmed that they had been interviewed.

 

2.            RESOLVED that the findings outlined in the report, and given in response to questions, be noted, and the County Council focus attention on these areas when preparing for the next inspections of its specialist children’s services.

24.

Recruitment and Retention of Children's Social Workers pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing on progress in addressing the recruitment and retention of children’s social workers.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms K Ray, Human Resources Business Partner, was in attendance for this item.

 

1.            Ms Ray introduced the report and summarised key areas of work since the previous report to the committee’s meeting on 23 September 2014.  In addition to the recruitment activity figures presented in the report, one team manager post had been offered, 50.5 FTE newly-qualified social workers had been recruited (some of whom had started work; some would start very shortly) and several more were being interviewed. The next wave of recruitment was expected in April and May 2015. Ms Ray responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a)    the newly-appointed social workers were of a good calibre and good feedback had been received about the new recruits.  Newly-qualified social workers were easier to recruit, but to encourage more experienced social workers to move to Kent from other local authorities was more of a challenge;

b)    the number of social workers that Kent needed to have to meet its needs was approximately 430, so the latest intake of 50.5 FTE represented a significant proportion of this total;

c)    newly-qualified social workers would work with a reduced caseload and would need more support and training than more experienced workers. There was currently a good number of newly-qualified social workers completing university courses and seeking employment and it was hoped that this would continue;

d)    research had been undertaken on how long experienced social workers tended to stay in any one post, and to identify common patterns of career moves. The County Council had made tangible changes to its retention package in an effort to keep experienced social workers for as long as possible;

e)    asked about the possibility of re-training existing staff, who may not have the exact social work qualifications required but could be supported to study for them, Ms Ray explained that a scheme to sponsor staff to undertake social work degree courses with the Open University had been in place for the last few years.  Mr Segurola added that the County Council also worked with colleges to offer training placements to social work students, who were then more likely to want to work for the Council when qualified. The benefit for the Council was that these newly-qualified staff would already be familiar with its work practices;

f)     asked about the apparent low success rate of only one appointment being made from 30 applications, set out in the recruitment activity in the report, Ms Ray explained that, although the Council advertised the requirements of a post very clearly, often applications were received from a number of candidates who did not have the required qualifications and were unsuitable to proceed to shortlisting and interview;

g)    there would always be some level of turnover of social workers, due to retirement and career moves, and the aim was to retain experienced social workers for as long as possible and to balance new recruitment with retention of existing staff;

h)   asked about continuous professional development for existing social  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Action Plans arising from Ofsted inspection - progress update pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing on the improvement journey of Kent’s services for children and young people.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            Mr Segurola introduced the report and set out key challenges, eg achieving consistency of practice and the need to increase post-adoption support to keep up with a rise on the number of adoptions.  Monthly data monitoring was helping to map good practice and areas of development, so that evidence would be ready to share with Ofsted at the next inspection. He responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a)    asked what the committee could do to help officers prepare for inspection, Mr Segurola offered to share improvement documents with Members, as well as sharing with a local Member any issues which had arisen in their division. Mr Ireland added that the Member Improvement Panel had a valuable scrutiny role; and

b)    asked if Kent’s size and diversity made it difficult to share and spread best practice, or to keep track of issues such as the number of children placed in the county by other local authorities, Mr Ireland replied that it was possible to be confident of only about 60% of the available data on these placements.  It was important that presentation of this issue at the next inspection was frank and robust, so the extent of the problem experienced by Kent would receive appropriate recognition. Ofsted might even be able to lend its weight to Kent’s lobbying of government about this issue.

 

2.            RESOLVED that information set out in the report, and given in response to questions, be noted.

 

 

 

26.

Annual Report on Complaints and Representations - 2013/2014 pdf icon PDF 302 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing on the operation of the Children Act 1989 Representations procedure in 2013/14.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            Mr Segurola introduced the report and responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a)    the term ‘explanation’, listed as an outcome to the largest number of complaints, meant that some level of clarification had been required in response to a complaint that information supplied to a service user or their family had been unclear.  The lesson from this type of complaint was that information and advice given to service users should be as clear and user-friendly as possible, eg avoiding the use of jargon; and

b)    another issue to be addressed was to reduce delay wherever possible, and as far as possible, in dealing with service user complaints. Tracking processes had been improved in the past year.

 

2.            RESOLVED that information set out in the report, and given in response to questions, be noted.

27.

Specialist Children's Services Performance Dashboard pdf icon PDF 23 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing on progress against targets set for key performance and activity indicators.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the information set out in the dashboard report be noted.

28.

Public Health Performance - Children and Young People DOCM 55 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and the Interim Director of Public Health outlining the performance against targets set for key performance and activity indicators which relate to services delivered to children and young people.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms K Sharp, Head of Public Health Commissioning, was in attendance for this item.

 

1.            Ms Sharp introduced the report and said that most areas of performance had met targets, with the exception of breastfeeding.  It was hoped that the recently-improved contract for community infant feeding would soon show an improvement.  Ms Sharp and Mr Scott-Clark responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a)    the Chairman said that her local Healthy Living Centre was undertaking work to promote breastfeeding but did not make available any data.  Mr Scott-Clark agreed that data flow had been identified as a problem and that it was difficult to see a clear picture of progress;

b)    asked about mothers who were not able to breastfeed, and how they could be recorded in the data amongst those who did not breastfeed, Mr Scott-Clark explained that the prescribed way in which data was collected did not have scope to record those who could not feed so, sadly, this cohort was not reflected;

c)    similarly, mothers who started to breastfeed but did not continue would show up only by identifying the difference between the figures for the number of women initiating breastfeeding and for those still breastfeeding at 6 – 8 weeks, although the finer detail of when and why they had stopped would not be recorded;

d)    schemes to encourage mothers to breastfeed in public, and building support for and acceptance of this, would help. Premises could label themselves as being ‘breastfeeding friendly’. Advice on breastfeeding in public places could be issued by children’s centres.  The Chairman added that the County Council aimed to provide facilities at County Hall for mothers to breastfeed and express milk, and she undertook to check on this.  Ms Sharp advised that it ws the responsibility of a line manager to support a returning mother to express milk at work; and

e)    a view was expressed that statistics on the rates of teenage pregnancy were not helpful in identifying trends as they were not as current as the data for other areas of activity, and that it was also not possible to make any comparison between areas.  Ms Sharp explained that future reports could include more detail.

 

2.            The Cabinet Member for Adult Social  Care and Public Health, Mr Gibbens, endorsed the comments made about encouraging breastfeeding and making facilities available to support this and said that District Councils and schools needed to consider how they would make available such facilities. The Chairman added that committee Members’ offers to support local schemes and distribute promotional material locally would be useful in spreading the message across the county. Ms Sharp undertook to make available some promotional material to the next meeting of the committee.

 

3.         RESOLVED that the information set out in the dashboard report, and given in response to questions, be noted.

 

29.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 31 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on the Committee’s work programme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the work programme for 2015 be agreed.