Meeting documents

Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 19th January, 2017 10.30 am

Date: Thursday 19th January 2017 Time: 10.30 a.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

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

PresentAndWithReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR N. DANIELS (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors: M. Cross, W. Hodgins

Noted
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

The following declaration of interest was made:- Councillor B. Pagett - Item No. 9 - Update on the Increase in Looked After Children Population

Noted
3. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Report (141K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 28th July, 2016.

RESOLVED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
4. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Report (165K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 13th October, 2016.

RESOLVED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
5. ACTION SHEET - 13TH OCTOBER 2016
Action Sheet (40K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee meeting held 13th October, 2016, whereupon:-

RESOLVED that the Action Sheet be noted.

Agreed
6. YEAR END FINANCIAL POSITION FOR SOCIAL SERVICES
Report (119K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (25K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (26K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (79K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Team Leader - Revenue Services, which was presented to provide information on the financial management within Social Services and details on the current position relating to savings targets for 2016/17.

The Team Leader of Revenue Services spoke to the report and highlighted the key points therein:

- Budget table for last three years
- Children's Services
- Details of Outturn Expenditure
- Progress against Approved Savings Targets
- Appendices

A Member referred to a recent announcement relating to potential funding being made available to address mental health issues and asked if this would be available to Blaenau Gwent. The Chief Accountant Revenue Services advised that she had not currently received this information.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
7. ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF SERVICE DELIVERY SCRUTINY TASK AND FINISH GROUP
Report (100K/bytes)
Appendix (40K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Service Manager Provider Service, which was presented to seek agreement for the continuation of the Alternative Methods of Service Delivery Task & Finish Group and for the new Vice-Chair of Scrutiny to replace the previous Vice-Chair on the Task & Finish Group.

The Service Manager - Provider Service spoke to the report and highlighted the background and context.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and that the Alternative Methods of Service Delivery Scrutiny Task & Finish Group continue; that the new Vice-Chair of Scrutiny, Councillor B. Pagett replace the previous Vice-Chair on the Group and that Councillor K. Brown be elected into the vacant position on the Task & Finish Group.

Agreed
8. CORPORATE PARENTING PROGRESS REPORT
Report (187K/bytes)
Appendix (129K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Children's Services, which was presented to inform Members of the work undertaken during 2016 by the Corporate Parenting Board to improve outcomes for Looked After Children within Blaenau Gwent.

The Head of Children's Services spoke to the report and highlighted the key points therein:

- Update on Progress made under the Action Plan
- School Exclusions of Looked After Children
- Personal Education Plans
- Primary and Secondary attendance
- Family & Personal Relationships
- The Corporate Parenting Workbook for Councillors

A Member asked if children were still looked after up to the age of 25. The Head of Children's Services confirmed that this was the case providing they remained in full time education.

Response Times

A Member expressed concern in relation to the amount of time it took for Officers to respond to families who had requested assistance and provided an example of an individual who she had been in contact with who had desperately needed help. The Head of Children's Services said that she was aware of the concerns surrounding this issue and that the Children's Services Teams had been under considerable workload pressure but she would undertake to investigate this further.

The Officer stated that the intention was for children to initially remain with their parents but if this was not possible then family members would be supported. The Member acknowledged response but requested the average waiting time for a response to families needing help. The Officer referred to Child Protection Issues investigate the timeframe for telephone call referrals.

RESOLVED accordingly.

Councillors' Role

The Chair referred to the opening paragraph of the report and emphasised the importance of the Councillors' role regarding Looked After Children. He felt that if there was an issue that a Member was concerned about then it should be developed. The Member wished to thank the Officers that had assisted her in relation to the case she had referred to.

FURTHER RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and noted that the Local Authority and partners were doing enough to improve outcomes for looked after children as part of their corporate parenting responsibilities.

Agreed
9. UPDATE ON THE INCREASE IN LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN POPULATION
Report (169K/bytes)

Councillor Bob Pagett declared an Interest in this item and remained in the meeting but took no part in the discussion.

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Children's Services, which was presented to provide an update in relation to the increase in the numbers of looked after children with Blaenau Gwent.

The Head of Children's Services spoke to the report and highlighted information contained therein.

A Member requested if information regarding whether the increase in Looked After Children was mirrored in neighbouring authorities, and whether there had been an increase of children in residential care. The Head of Children's Services responded that the situation was not unique to Blaenau Gwent and unfortunately the increase of children in residential care was due the number of children with complex needs and in a small number of cases due to the lack of foster placements.

In response to a question raised regarding how referrals were identified, the Head of Children's Services explained that referrals were received from a number of organisations, including the Health Service, Schools, Probation Service and also members of the public.

A Member referred to 2.5 of the report which related to the restructure of the Families First Programme that was being delivered from April, 2017, and asked whether work would be done to prevent parents having multiple children being taken off them and placed in care. The Officer explained that a new project, called REFLECT, funded by Welsh Government, would commence shortly across Gwent looking at repeated pregnancies and working with parents to prevent future children being removed from their care by encouraging contraception.

A Member asked that an impact report on the restructure undertaken within Families First be submitted later in the year.

RESOLVED accordingly.

FURTHER RESOLVED to recommend that, subject to the foregoing, the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
10. AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (67K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the items for the next meeting of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee scheduled to be held on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017.

RESOLVED that the following items be agreed:-

- Population Needs Assessment
- Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
- ACRF - Quarter 3 (October - December)

Agreed