|Date: Thursday 30th November 2017 Time: 9:30 a.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale|
|Present||And||With||Also||Report to||Report of|
|COUNCILLOR S.C. THOMAS (CHAIR)|
TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (171K/bytes)
It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.
Apologies for absence were received from:
Councillors: J. Holt, B. Summers and J. Wilkins.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.
SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEETING
The Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 19th October, 2017 were submitted.
RESOLVED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.
Action Sheet (47K/bytes)
The Action Sheet arising from the Social Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 19th October, 2017 was submitted, whereupon:-
A Member asked if an update could be provided on the Edge of Care Team. The Head of Children's Services said that the team would be in post from 1st December 2017 and throughout the month would be receiving their induction and training; subsequently they would be taking referrals from January, 2018.
It was noted that the positions of the Edge of Care Team had been filled by applicants from both outside the Authority and internally. Members were informed that in relation to the successful internal applicants, their previous positions would be back-filled.
RESOLVED, that the action sheet be noted.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES- QUARTERS 1 AND 2 2017/2018
Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Social Services which was presented to highlight key points from Quarters 1 and 2 of the 2017/2018 Annual Report.
The Corporate Director spoke to the report and highlighted the Purpose as well as the Background and Context.
The Head of Children's Services spoke on the progress of Children's Services during Quarter 1 and 2. She wished it noted that the second paragraph of page 30 should read Senior Practitioner and not Senior Probationer.
A Member said it was pleasing to see that the Child Care Offer had been implemented.
A question was raised regarding how marketing was being carried out in relation to the Childcare Offer with the public in comparison to other authorities and the Officer explained that 6 other areas were part of the Childcare Offer pilot which would roll out next year and that Blaenau Gwent had been asked to support other authorities in their marketing campaigns. The Officer informed Members that promotion sessions had been carried out at Anvil Court and letters had been sent out to eligible families. It was also noted that those eligible parents who had not taken up the offer would be contacted to establish the reasons for not responding.
In response to a question regarding whether childminders were monitored on a regular basis, the Officer explained that all childminders were registered with the CSSIW and the Early Years Team carried out engagement events and were also monitored on a regular basis in order to provide help and support.
Following a question regarding the 'Edge of Care' team name, it was noted that as soon as the Team were insitu the decision to rename would be taken.
The Temporary Head of Adult Services spoke on Adult Services.
A Member explained that he had recently attended a meeting at Tai Calon with the Information Advisory Team and he expressed how pleased he was to hear that they were out in the community, and was very impressed with what was being offered.
A Member referred to outsourcing the assistive technology contract and the Officer explained that the service was outsourced to a company in Worcester and that the responsibility for the service was now part of the IAA. However, it was noted that the take up had not been too successful and the contract was currently in the process of being reviewed.
RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted.
NATIONAL ADOPTION SERVICE ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2016/ 2017
Consideration was given to report of the Head of Children's Services which was presented to provide Members with an update on the performance of the South East Wales Adoption Team (SEWAS) and the National Adoption Service (NAS) for 2016/2017.
The Head of Children's Services spoke to the report and highlighted the Background and Context.
At the invitation of the Chair the Service Manager from SEWAS read to the report and outlined the graphs contained in the Performance Evidence and Information.
Figure 2 - Numbers of Looked After Children SE
A Member made reference to the comparisons between Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen. The Officer explained that in relation to Torfaen their figures tended to fluctuate. The Director of Social Services informed Members that it was evident from a recent meeting held with other local authority Directors of Social Services that Looked After Children was the biggest budget pressure for local authorities throughout Wales. He also referred to the changes to the judiciary process and the affect it had on increasing LAC numbers.
Figure 5 - Number of Children Placed for Adoption
The Officer referred to the figure for 2016-17 within the graph and explained that a figure of 100 was projected for the next reporting period.
It was noted that the current figure for 2016-17 was not good, however it was anticipated that there would be an improvement in the coming year.
A Member asked if there were a sufficient amount of people waiting to adopt and the Officer responded that last year there had been a pause in the recruitment process due to there being more adopters than children awaiting to be adopted, however, this year was showing a turnaround where more adopters were needed.
A Member enquired of the percentage of those who had been unsuccessful in becoming adopters. The Officer responded that a screening process was carried out, including police checks and preparation training and the numbers that did not go on to adopt were minimal.
A question was asked whether the adoption process had been streamlined and what the estimated timeframe from application to being accepted was. The Officer informed Members that the benchmark was 8 months, with assessments being carried out within 13 to 15 weeks. She explained that adopters were being encouraged to arrange their own medical examinations at a cost of between 70 and 150 to alleviate the waiting times.
The Executive Member wished it noted that he had recently made a visit to Mamhilad and expressed how very impressed he had been with the professionalism and dedication of the staff.
The Head of Children's Services undertook to provide Members with the link to the adoption website.
RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that Option 3 be endorsed, namely:
- To accept the information as reported.
CORPORATE SAFEGUARDING POLICY
Consideration was given to report of the Head of Children's Services which was presented for Members to consider the updated Corporate Safeguarding Policy prior to adoption by Council.
The Head of Children's Services spoke to the report and made particular reference to the Appendices.
A Member referred to staff training and enquired how often staff received safeguarding training. The Officer responded that Safeguarding Leads met every month and were responsible for ensuring that all staff received Level 1 safeguarding training and noted that officers within the Social Services Directorate were trained to deliver Level 1 therefore not dependent on commissioning training for staff.
Modern Day Slavery
A Member made reference to page 109 of the Report and outlined the fact that there were many different types of Modern Day Slavery. He felt that a Training Session on this issue would be beneficial to Members. The Officer undertook to speak to the relevant Officer to arrange a Safeguarding Training Session.
RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that Option 1 be endorsed, namely:
- To consider and support the updated Corporate Safeguarding Policy for approval by Council.
AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (49K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the Agenda Items for the Meeting to be held on Thursday, 11th January, 2018.
It was agreed to remove the Alternative Methods of Service Delivery Task & Finish Group from the Agenda for the next Meeting.
The Chair referred to reviewing the issues around disabled parking as it was felt by a Member that considerable pressure could be brought on the Directorate should residents lose their independence. The Service Manager explained that disabled parking was not the responsibility of the Social Services Department but undertook to liaise with the relevant department.
RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the items be agreed for the next meeting scheduled to be held on the 11th January, 2018.
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