To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Directors of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing and Education and Young People’s Services, and to consider and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member on the proposed decision to appoint Newton Europe to support the County Council in delivering the implementation phase of the 0-25 Unified Programme.
Mr T Wilson, Head of Strategic Commissioning, was in attendance for this and the following two items.
1. Mr Wilson presented a series of slides which set out the design phase and implementation of the 0 – 25 unified programme, and he, Mr Ireland and Mr Segurola responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-
a) several speakers welcomed the progress reported and said they were encouraged by it;
b) sustainability was a critical issue and was part of the design of the 0 – 25 unified programme, as it had been for the transformation of adult social care. Good leadership and management of the system were essential, to continue to drive the programme forward and make the best use of the model;
c) for step-down services to work well, there needed to be good joined-up thinking. The transformation process had provided useful evidence of what could be achieved;
d) good early help services were vital to address issues early and stop them escalating to greater needs with a higher cost. Integration of services was a challenge as there would be much interdependency. To be successful, the transformation programme had necessarily to be a whole-system approach;
e) the extent to which the County Council would need to resort to using Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs) would depend on the number of children needing foster care placements at any one time. There would need to be a balance between the use of IFAs and of the Council’s own in-house foster carers. It had proved possible in the past year to place more children with the latter than had previously been possible. Being able to reduce the number of children coming into care would support this aim. However, although Kent’s own children in care population was currently falling, the number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) had increased;
f) the staff was congratulated, along with the present and previous Cabinet Members for Specialist Children’s Services, on the progress which had been achieved in transforming Specialist Children’s Services in the past two years. Indicators of the success of the programme would be an improvement of life chances for children in care, which could not yet be measured, and good staff morale, which was already evident; and
g) the report set out the projected savings which could be achieved between 2015/16 and 2018/19, although it would be unwise to try to stretch to greater savings too early.
2. The Cabinet Member for Specialised Children’s Services, Mr Oakford, commented that he fully supported the programme and was happy to own it. He said the work undertaken so far had been outstanding. Its twin aims were to work towards better outcomes and better services for children and young people in care and leaving care, while making the most efficient use of resources and achieving best value for money. He reported that the County Council staff worked well with, and was enjoying working alongside, Newton Europe.
3. RESOLVED that:-
a) the outcomes of the service design phase of the 0-25 Unified Programme be noted, and the plans set out in the Business Case for Implementation be endorsed; and
b) the decision proposed to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services:
1 to appoint Newton Europe to support the County Council in delivering the Implementation Phase,
2 to delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing and the Corporate Director of Education and Young People’s Services to enter into the necessary contracts, following initial confirmation of funding details and the satisfactory negotiation of detailed terms and conditions, and
3 that those Directors, or other suitable delegated officers, undertake the necessary actions to implement this decision,
be endorsed, taking into account comments made by this committee.