Meeting documents

Joint Education and Learning & Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding)
Monday, 28th January, 2019 9.30 am

Date: Monday 28th January 2019 Time: 9.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of

COUNCILLOR S. Thomas (Chair)

Councillors: D. Bevan
G. A. Davies
P. Edwards
S. Healy
R. Hill
J. Millard
J. C. Morgan
L. Parsons
K. Pritchard
K. Rowson
T. Smith
B. Summers
H. Trollope

Co-Opted Members: T. Baxter

A. Williams

Corporate Director � Social Services
Adult Service Manager � Social Services
Safeguarding in Education Manager � Children Services
Service Manager � SEW Social Services
Education Project Manager - Education
Scrutiny Officer � Advisor
CHAIR & MEMBERS OF THE COUNCILDEMOCRATIC SERVICES OFFICER - DEMOCRATIC & CORPORATE SUPPORT
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Version of Agenda Coversheet (172K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from:

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Councillors:� M. Cook

���������������������� �M. Day

����������������������� K. Hayden

���������������������� �H. McCarthy

����������������������� �J. P. Morgan

����������������������� �T. Sharrem.
������������������

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interests or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. EDUCATION & LEARNING AND SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SAFEGUARDING)
Minutes (227K/bytes)
Cofnodion (224K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Joint Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding) Meeting held on 25th October, 2018.

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(The Minutes were submitted for points of accuracy only).

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The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.
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Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (43K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Joint Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding) Meeting held on 25th October, 2018 whereupon:-

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Safeguarding Performance Information for Social Services and Education � January to March, 2018

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A Member felt that the 281 referrals received from the Police seemed to be rather a significant amount. The Corporate Director stated that there was an eligibility criterion that the Department worked to. The Service Manager explained that any Police call out in relation to a child is an automatic referral to Social Services. She stated that there was a strong indication of a proposal being agreed for an additional DS in the IAA Service as well as a proposal that Early Action Together will fund 2 additional family support workers. The Member requested this be brought back to Committee if the proposals did not transpire.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the information contained in the Action Sheet be noted.
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Agreed
7. CAPACITY WITHIN THE SAFEGUARDING TEAMS WITHIN SOCIAL SERVICES
Report (153K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (31K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which was presented to provide Members with the assurance around Capacity within the Safeguarding Teams within Social Services.

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The Corporate Director of Social Services spoke to the report and highlighted the key points therein:

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� Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
�� Future Developments
� Supporting Evidence
� Children/Education Safeguarding Team

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Reference was made to the member of staff that had had approval for the reduction in their hours of work but concern was raised that the Department had not employed anyone to cover the remaining hours; the Member also asked if it was felt there was confidence within the Department that Managers were following correct procedures in relation to back to work interviews etc. The Corporate Director explained that consideration would be given to any member of staff wishing to reduce their working hours following their return to work from maternity/adoption leave and he gave assurance that the service would continue to be provided with the recruitment of a full time post currently in process. He confirmed that in relation to procedures being followed, he was confident that all Managers were trained to provide accurate data.

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Supporting Evidence

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Reference was made to 6.1 relating to adult referrals going up and children referrals going down; however page 45 � Referrals to Social Services indicated that referrals in July to September had gone up from 840 to 1,170, which indicated that accurate figures were unable to be determined. The Member asked if assurance could be given that there was capacity in moving forward. He also referred to the 2.12 � Future Developments and 6.1.6., the Safeguarding Hub Pilot in Newport and asked if it was known whether partners had capacity. The Corporate Director said that in terms of figures, a different trend had been witnessed over the years with some quarters seeing an increase and some a reduction; however, the numbers throughout the year have been similar and it is anticipated that this year will see the same level. He continued that in relation to the Hub Newport had different processes and with regard to a regional approach it may be that Blaenau Gwent decides on only one Hub, where the Police may decide to work over two or three areas. These discussions will be held with all partners. The Member felt it would be interesting to see the figures for the whole year and to ensure that any collaboration meets the needs of Blaenau Gwent.

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Concern was raised regarding the vacancy of Manager and the inability to advertise the position until the completion of the Senior Management Review and it was suggested that the Committee write to the MD in the hope of having this process expedited. The Corporate Director assured Members that the Service Manager was overseeing the position and assurance was given that safeguarding issues were being dealt with.

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A Member referred to the comparisons with other Authorities and felt that Blaenau Gwent proved the most efficient in relation to referrals within Children Services but requested to know whether there was an issue with staff in this particular area. The Corporate Director stated that generally the turnover of staff was particularly low and the Authority found no problem in attracting good staff. The Member also mentioned the increase in Headteachers addressing concerns and asked if a new policy was in place or was this due to capacity issues. The Service Manager responded that intentions were to advocate that it was perfectly acceptable for teachers to take the first account from a child as this would assist in the decision of what route would need to be taken. The Member then referred to the number of referrals teachers� made and the lack of updates received, he wished to stress the importance of teachers receiving feedback promptly. The Officer said that this was the duty of IAA but she undertook to raise the issue with the appropriate body.

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A Member referred to 2.4 of the report regarding the creation of a further post for safeguarding in Education and asked if it was felt that Social Services has sufficient resources to support both portfolios. The Corporate Director responded that the capacity was sufficient when all members of staff were in post; however on times this proved difficult and staff would then be asked to do over and above their role. He assured committee that capacity was being managed.

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Following a question regarding Elected Home Education and whether these children were being checked for referrals, the Corporate Director explained that this was certainly an issue of concern throughout Wales with the continual lobbying of Welsh Government for a process to be put in place by way of a register to enable visits and ensure safeguarding. The response that had been received was that a report would be forthcoming in the Autumn, but to date this has not been forthcoming.

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A Member made reference to staffing and asked how many vacancies there were at present. The Corporate Director stated that there was currently one vacancy.

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Following a discussion regarding the option:

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The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that Option 1 be endorsed, namely that Members scrutinise the contents of the report and accept the assurance of the Director of Social Services that the Safeguarding Tea has sufficient capacity to meet the current demands.
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Agreed
8. SAFEGUARDING PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FOR SOCIAL SERVICES AND EDUCATION - APRIL TO SEPTEMBER 2018
Report (137K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (2M/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services and Corporate Director of Education which was presented to provide Members with the Safeguarding Performance information and Self Evaluation information from across the Local Authority.

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The Service Manager spoke to the report and highlighted key points contained therein:

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� Purpose of the Report
� Supporting Evidence
�� Performance Information Data
�� Youth Service Information
�� Allegations of Abuse made against Professionals

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The Safeguarding in Education Manager spoke on:

�� Education Information
�� Elected Home Educated

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A Member asked how particular issues relating to parents and teachers would be dealt with. The Safeguarding in Education Manager stated that such issues would be expected to be managed by the school; however should the parent be dissatisfied then the School Complaint Policy should be followed. The Education Project Manager also confirmed that there was a procedure to adhere to should there be evidence of jeopardising health and safety.

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Following a concern raised in relation to 6.1.7 regarding 3 allegations of unsubstantiated abuse and 5 substantiated allegations the Service Manager confirmed that she was confident the right decisions had been taken and did not have any concerns.

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A Member referred to Physical Restrictive Intervention and asked how many children had received this more than once, how many had actually moved between schools and how many of them are cross county moves. The Safeguarding in Education Manager responded that RPIs are primarily used in a very small number of schools, there was no concerning trend regarding repeated interventions; no children had been subjected to manage move or change of school. The Officer undertook to take these issues forward and provide the information at future meetings.

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In relation to Elected Home Education a Member expressed his concern relating to setting a trend for other children to follow; he requested to know if any visits to families had been refused and asked what would be the procedure in relation to MARFS. The Safeguarding in Education Manager said that there could be a risk in relation to setting a trend; however continual work was being done to avoid this; she continued that in terms of visits, every Home Educated child would be visited and assessed. The Service Manager informed that regarding MARFS, there was currently a review of IAA taking place and she undertook to provide information at the next Safeguarding Meeting.

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Concern was raised that the report had not indicated any figures of referrals from Leisure and the Service Manager undertook to bring this back to the next Safeguarding Meeting.

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In response to a question on how many children being Home Educated were special needs, the Strategic Education Improvement Manager responded that from the analysis done of the last academic year the data shows that of the 58 children 28 were identified as having special needs. The Member referred to the delay of a child in a mainstream schooling who was waiting for an assessment for ASD and the Officer asked the member to provide the information relating to the case so that she could speak with the Head of Inclusion and provide further information in respect of the case that had been raised.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that Option 1 be endorsed, namely to accept the approach and information detailed in the report provided.
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Agreed
9. ADULTS SAFEGUARDING PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FOR THE PERIOD FROM THE 1ST APRIL 2018 TO THE 30TH SEPTEMBER 2018
Report (145K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services which was presented to provide Members with the Safeguarding Performance Information relating to Adult Services from 1st April, 2018 to 30th September, 2018.

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The Adult Service Manager spoke to the report and highlighted:

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� The Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
� Supporting Evidence
�� Performance Information

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A question was asked as to whether referrals were made by the Council�s Community Connectors and the Adult Service Manager explained that Community Connectors are able to make referrals, however referrals become everyone�s responsibility in terms of safeguarding. The Member then asked if spot checks were carried out and the Officer confirmed that unannounced checks were done by a variety of individual professionals.

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A Member made reference to the Homeless and asked if they were involved in the system. The Officer said that they were in relation to referrals; however there are occasions where the threshold is not met and this is currently being looked at across the region.

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In response to a question regarding funding being secured in the next budget for Intermediate Care, the Corporate Director of Social Services confirmed that ICF was Welsh Government Grant Funded and confirmation had been received that funding would continue next year.

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A Member related to a recent briefing session that had been held for Members on �Scamming� and asked if there had been any reports received regarding this. The Adult Service Manager stated that nothing had been reported but agreed that information needed to be relayed via digital media and the Police. He felt confident that the mechanisms being put in place would prove beneficial.

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A Member asked if the referral route would be taken for anyone being homeless and the Corporate Director responded that there was very little homelessness in Blaenau Gwent but advised that the Housing Department could possibly provide this information.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that Option 1 be endorsed namely to accept the approach and information as detailed in the report.
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Agreed