Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale
Contact: Democratic Services 6011
You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so. A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.
It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors D. Bevan, L. Elias, C. Meredith, A. Moore, G. Paulsen and T. Sharrem.
Declarations of Interests and Dispensations
To consider any declarations of interests and dispensations made.
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.
To receive the Minutes of the Joint Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding) held on 15th July, 2019.
(Please note the Minutes are submitted for points of accuracy only)
The Minutes of the Joint Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding) Meeting held on 15th July, 2019 were submitted.
The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.
To receive the action sheet.
The action sheet arising from the meeting of the Joint Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding) held on 15th July, 2019 was submitted, whereupon:-
Item 6 – Safeguarding Performance Information for Social Services and Education
A Member suggested that to capture the information regarding in year transfers graphs be included with the data.
The Education Transformation Manager said that regarding out of county pupils no detailed information was available, although the Department did try to pursue this information with schools and other local authorities.
The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the action sheet be noted.
To receive the Executive Decision
Consideration was given to the Executive Decision Sheet.
The Committee AGREED that the Executive Decision Sheet be noted.
To consider the report of the Service Manager
Children's Services and the Strategic Education Improvement
Consideration was given to the report of the Service Manager, Children’s Services and the Strategic Education Improvement Manager, which was presented to provide Members with safeguarding performance information from the Council with a focus on analysis from Children’s Social Services and Education from 1st April to the 30th June, 2019.
The Service Manager, Children’s Services spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.
Impact on Budget
With reference to court applications and legal costs, the Service Manager said that the number of court applications was stable and the Safeguarding Team were now working at full capacity and both had a positive impact on the budget, although it was sometimes necessary to commission an external consultant for Court appearances. The Director of Social Services commented that market testing had been undertaken and work was ongoing to see if other local authorities could provide Blaenau Gwent with this service.
A Member requested that for future reporting graphs be located near to the relevant text for clarification. The Service Manager said that the format of the report would be looked at for clarification purposes.
A Member enquired if the police were the highest source of referrals. The Service Manager said that the Detective Sergeant (DS) role in the Information Advice and Assistance service (IAA) was making positive contributions to the safeguarding process. Referrals from police had not reduced but the quality of information received had improved which resulted in better decision making through preventative services such as the Early Action Together programme. The Member also enquired regarding Leisure Trust referrals. The Service Manager confirmed that all staff were trained in level 1 safeguarding to recognise signs of abuse and some referrals from police may have originated from Leisure Trust staff. The Head of Education Transformation commented that the Leisure Trust had lead officers for safeguarding but referrals may be low as most leisure provision was open access and assured Members that arrangements were secure.
Categories of abuse
In response to a Member’s question regarding the main category of abuse, the Service Manager said that the main category was neglect, this was the highest form due to reasons such as parenting, home or being exposed to vulnerabilities re poverty lack of finances. The second highest was emotional abuse, mental health abuse would present as emotional abuse so the secondary category would go hand in hand. Although challenging preventative measures were used through partnership working, education and informing parents of the impact of emotional abuse on the child.
A Member pointed out an error on page 37, Fig 2.4 Breakdown of children on child protection register, the information relating to Unknown should read Male.
Councillors Martin Cook and Wayne Hodgins left the meeting at this juncture.
The Safeguarding in Education Manager presented the Education information.
A Member enquired regarding the high number of restrictive physical interventions during the Autumn term. The Head of Education Transformation explained the Autumn term generally was the longest term; however, the ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To consider the report of the Head of Adult
Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Adult Services which was presented to provide Members with safeguarding performance information relating to Adult Services from 1st April to the 30th June, 2019.
The Service Manager for Development & Commissioning spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.
In response to a Member’s question regarding the Intermediate Care Fund (ICF), the Director of Social Services said that funding had been secured up to March 2021 and discussions were underway for securing funding beyond this point but there were no guarantees.
A Member referred to domestic abuse cases for this quarter and enquired if they were the same or different issues reported in the last quarter. The Service Manager said that some issues were similar, however, it was difficult to report as some issues overlapped. The majority of cases were internal and timelines had been strengthened, for example where a theft had occurred and the police were involved if no evidence could be found this would then become an internal issue.
A Member enquired if there had been any prosecutions. The Service Manager said that one individual at risk was being managed and presented to the police. If there were allegations against a carer the Agency would need to suspend that carer and replace with another.
A Member referred to the high number of unknowns on the person alleged responsible table. The Service Manager explained that this was due to no specific individual being identified, for example a neighbour may have reported a fall by a service user or a carer may be concerned about a family member taking money. There would be a screening process to gather evidence and map and monitor effectively, but no proof may have been found.
Another Member referred to the sources of referrals. The Service Manager explained that there could be several referrals from different sources regarding the same individual, this would be classed as one referral so no duplication would take place.
The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 2, namely that the report be accepted as provided and recommend approval at the Executive Committee.
To consider the report of the Strategic
Education Improvement Manager.
Consideration was given to the report of the Strategic Education Improvement Manager which was presented to seek Members views on the revised quality assurance protocol for safeguarding arrangements in Local Government Education Services (LGES).
The Safeguarding in Education Manager spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.
A Member raised concerns regarding transfers of pupils from one school to another and out of county transfers and commented that it was incumbent on the school to pass on transfer information and felt that the Admission Policy was not being implemented by schools correctly i.e. completing the transfer forms fully. The Head of Education Transformation said that the Admission Policy was renewed annually and was presented to Education & Learning Scrutiny Members for consideration, however, he would work to ensure that implementation of the policy would be carried out more effectively. Members acknowledged this course of action.
Another Member also raised concerns in relation to transfer information not being passed onto schools. He commented that staff and pupils could be at risk of violence and aggression if information was not passed on. He also enquired what support was in place for school staff who had allegations made against them. The Head of Education Transformation said that a task and finish group led by the Chief Officer Commercial to discuss violence and aggression against staff was to be arranged and one key point for discussion would be school-based staff.
A Member commented that a policy should be considered that if a parent was banned from one school they should be banned from all schools in the borough due to safeguarding issues.
The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 1, namely that Members scrutinised the revised protocol and contributed to the continuous assessment of effectiveness.