Mr Holman (Associate Director of Mental Health, Children’s and Maternity Commissioning (NHS West Kent CCG)), Ms Bamblett (Lead Co-ordinator, Kent Enablement and Prevention Service) and Ms Pearson (Transforming Care Accelerator Pilot Lead, Kent Enablement and Prevention Service) were in attendance for this item.
(1) Mr Collins briefly introduced the report which set out information relating to the Children and Young Person’s Mental Health Service (CYPMHS) and the recommendation that some Kent County Council (KCC) investment be re-focused to address the challenges outlined within the report.
Officers then responded to comments and questions from Members, including the following: -
a) Mr Collins referred to the challenges faced by KCC and the NHS within the KCC early intervention elements of the contract said that the contract’s issues and challenges had been consistently reported to the Service Commissioning Board, Commissioning Advisory Board and Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee.He briefly outlined the options available within the report and the need to review the section 76 arrangement through which KCC worked with West Kent CCG as the Lead Commissioner for the contract with North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), and the need to change the funding arrangement for the Early Help element of the contract. He added that KCC’s public health specialists had recently undertaken a review of the offer for mild to moderate needs in order to understand the effect of the current services and what more could be done to address needs. He briefly referred to the increased demand for specialist interventions, and NELFT’s increase in waiting times and Neurodevelopmental referrals. He emphasised the importance of addressing concerns before they needed to be escalated and working collaboratively with partners.
b) Mr Holman reiterated Mr Collins’ comments and the importance of working collaboratively to reach desired outcomes. He said that despite the current challenges faced within NELFT’s Neurodevelopmental pathway, NELFT were performing adequately as a service in the context of workforce demands and demands for children requiring support and met their Referral to Treatment (RTT) standards across five CCG's. He explained the reasons behind these challenges and emphasised the significant need to ensure that children's needs were met in a universal manner. He referred to the positive work being undertaken in relation to improving the Neurodevelopmental pathway and reducing waiting times.
c) Mrs Chandler (Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services) reiterated comments made by Mr Collins and Mr Holman and emphasised the importance in ensuring that children received early intervention which would benefit them and their families instead of having to wait for long periods of time for a more clinical diagnosis.
d) Mr Collins provided more information in relation to section 2.6 of the report and said that the target of 300 was for children and young people who were involved in the Early Help intensive elements.
e) Ms Bamblett referred to the training which was undertaken by all staff within NELFT and stated that the Kent Enablement and Prevention Service (KEPS) utilised a positive behaviour support model training programme with the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF). She added that the new proposal, if agreed, would embed trauma-informed care practice.
f) Ms Pearson said that informal and formal training sessions would be put in place within NELFT’s Early Help provision. She emphasised the importance of staff working closely with young people and their families to embed a positive behavioural support culture.
g) Mr Collins referred to the recommended option set out within the report and the advantages of recruiting a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner (PBS). He stated that decision and implementation timescales would differ based on which option was agreed.
h) Mr Collins provided more information in relation to the percentages within section 2.7 of the report.
i) Mr Holman referred to contract governance arrangements and said that Children's Services and Health Services were key priorities in Kent. He emphasised the importance of meeting the needs of the children and families accessing services in the most efficient way.
(2) The Chairman suggested that update reports on the matter be submitted to the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee in March 2020 and October 2020. Committee Members generally supported this.
(3) RESOLVED that the proposed decision to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services to
(i) Finalise changes to the Section 76, allowing KCC to have clear oversight of the funding for Looked After Children and children impacted by sexually harmful behaviour and a more dedicated named resource for KHNES;
(ii) Give notice to NELFT, via West Kent CCG, that funding for part of the Kent Health Needs Education Service and all the Early Help element will be recommitted to other early intervention programmes; and
(iii) Delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, or other nominated officer to undertake the necessary actions to implement the decision,