Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms, Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

11.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Angela Leeves (Early Years Representative) and Reverend Roger Bristow (Church of England Representative).

 

Apologies were also received from Councillor Fortune (Portfolio Holder) and Councillor Dykes (Executive Assistant).

 

12.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were no additional declarations of interest.

13.

MINUTES OF THE EDUCATION, CHILDREN & FAMILIES SELECT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 4th July 2018 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Minutes:

With reference to page 10 of the minutes, a Member noted that ‘positive discrimination’ was in fact illegal.  Whilst it was noted that at the meeting this term had been used by the Officer concerned, it was agreed that the reference in the minutes would be amended to “positive action”.

 

Referring to page 12 of the minutes, a Member highlighted that whilst at the meeting the Chairman had referred to ‘apprenticeship opportunities for people identified by the Council’, following the meeting it had been agreed that the recommendation from the Committee be that contractors should be required to ‘offer apprenticeship opportunities to young people’.  In light of this the Committee agreed that that this reference should be amended.

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 4th July 2018 were agreed, and signed as a correct record, subject to the amendments outlined above.

14.

QUESTIONS TO THE SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to the Chairman of this Committee must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting and must relate to the work of the scrutiny committee.  Please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on 10th October 2018.

Minutes:

No questions were received.

15.

MATTERS ARISING AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Minutes:

CSD18150

 

The Committee considered a report dealing with the Committee’s business management.

 

Matters Arising

 

In response to a question concerning whether a further meeting had been arranged with the Diocese to discuss a Catholic Secondary School in the Borough, the Deputy Chief Executive agreed to investigate further and report back to Members following the meeting.

 

In response to a question concerning any impact of the Restructure of the Youth Courts the Deputy Chief Executive reported that conversations with the Police had indicated that there appeared to be no immediate impact however, the situation would be kept under review.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive also confirmed that in respect of Streetwise, a couple of conversations had taken place with Lewisham.  The contractual agreement was between Streetwise and Lewisham and as a result of this LB Bromley had limited ability to intervene.  However, a further follow up meeting had been arranged between LB Bromley and LB Lewisham and the plans regarding Streetwise had been put on hold until this meeting had taken place.

 

The Chairman noted that no Bromley children had been forced to attend Croydon schools.  The Committee noted that Bromley parents had the choice to send their children to Croydon schools and the Chairman requested that following the meeting information on the number of children who chose to attend Croydon schools be provided to the Committee.

 

The Chief Executive attended the meeting to provide Members with an update concerning the Aeronautical College at Biggin Hill.  In the interests of transparency the Chairman confirmed that he was no longer a Governor at London South East Colleges.  In order to support the update the Chief Executive circulated the letter that had been sent to the Principal of London South East College along with two maps of Biggin Hill airport; one of which highlighted 3 specific sites and a ‘Strategic Plan’ detailing proposals at the Airport.

 

The Chief Executive provided some context around the history of the issues with the Aeronautical College, explaining that in July 2014 the London Mayor has issued Supplementary Planning Guidance.  This had encouraged some land at Biggin Hill to be used as an education facility with specific reference to aeronautical and high tech.  Subsequent to this, there had been a report to the Council’s Executive identifying up to £3.5m funding for the Biggin Hill area from Outer London Business Funding that the Local Authority had received.

 

Referring to the ‘Strategic Plan’ map, the Chief Executive reported that at the time this had been developed discussions about the Master Plan were ongoing and initial discussions took place about an aviation academy at the ‘West Camp Site’ owned by Bernie Ecclestone.  In the early days it was envisioned that the funding identified would be used to bring that site into use.  The intention was for the Council to achieve an asset in return for the investment.  However, the plans started to fall through and the Chief Executive explained that the letter he subsequently sent to the Principal of London South  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

QUESTIONS TO THE PORTFOLIO HOLDER FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to the Education, Children & Families Portfolio Holder must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting and must relate to the work of the Portfolio.  Please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on 10th October 2018.

 

Minutes:

No questions were received.

17.

PORTFOLIO HOLDER UPDATE

Minutes:

As the Portfolio Holder was unable to attend the meeting it was agreed that he would be asked to provide an update at the Special meeting due to be held at the beginning of December.

18.

SCRUTINY OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, CARE AND HEALTH SERVICES

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director for Education, Care and Health Services, Mr Ade Adetosoye, attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Committee. Mr Adetosoye gave a brief introduction with an overview of his first 21 months in post, highlighting the following key achievement and challenges –

 

  • The launch of the ‘Roadmap to Excellent’ and the Transformation Programme; this introduced the Caseload Promise.  Generally the caseload of social workers had been kept below 20 however, the past three weeks had been particularly busy and caseloads had slightly increased.
  • 80% of social workers were now permanent staff and the progress that had been made in this area was something to celebrate.
  • As a result of additional funding that had been received it had been possible to established a specialist Team for CSE, Missing and Gangs.  In the 2016 Ofsted Inspection the Local Authority’s inability to track its young people at risk in terms of CSE and gangs had been particularly criticised and this new team directly addressed this criticism.
  • The outcomes of each of the 7 Monitoring Visits undertaken by Ofsted demonstrated measureable progress within the Service.  The previous week the annual conversation with Ofsted had taken place.
  • It was expected that Children’s Services would receive its inspection from Ofsted within the next two months and preparation for the Inspection was ongoing.
  • A great deal of progress had been made with the recruitment of social workers and this was something else to celebrate.
  • In conclusion, the Deputy Chief Executive stated that he was proud of the way in which the Council had embraced children in care and had taken steps to celebrate the work of children in care.

 

Challenges included:

 

  • The budget.  LB Bromley was still below the national average and its statistical neighbours in terms of the number of children in care.  This directly impacted on the budget as it was likely that the Local Authority would see further  increases in the number of children taken into care.
  • Early intervention.  A key area was to work with schools in relation to early intervention.  There were a number of options to be explored in relation to encouraging schools to do more in respect of early intervention.  The possibility of locating certain early intervention services in schools should also be explored.
  • More needed to be done to increase the outcomes for children in care at Key Stage 4 (in respect of achieving 5+ GCSEs).  Currently 25% of pupils achieved 5+ GCSE and steps needed to be taken to increase this.
  • More work needed to be done around providing apprenticeship opportunities for Bromley’s children in care.

 

In conclusion, the Deputy Chief Executive reported that in the past year there had been 3000 referrals into Children’s Social Care, 6000 visits to early intervention centres.  There were currently 2000 children in need, 280 children subject to a Child Protection Plan, 310 children in care, and 63 children monitored through the Local Authority’s MEGA Panel (relating to CSE, Missing and Gangs).  The Deputy  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Minutes of the Education, Children and Families Budget and Performance Monitoring Sub Committee meeting held on 18th July 2018 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Education, Children and Families Budget and Performance Monitoring Sub Committee meeting held on 18th July 2018 were noted.

20.

LIVING IN CARE COUNCIL VIDEO

Minutes:

The Committee watched a video that had been made by the Living in Care Council entitled “Listen when I Speak”.  The Committee thanked the Living in Care Council for the informative video, noting that it had raised a number of questions which would feed into the Committee’s Scrutiny Review in January 2019 focused on Corporate Parenting.

21.

WITNESS SESSION: SUSTAINABILITY OF THE CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE BUDGET

(A)  ADE ADETOSOYE, DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, CARE AND HEALTH SERVICES

 

(B)  DAVID DARE, HEAD OF SAFEGUARDING AND CARE PLANNING WEST

 

(C)  DAVID BRADSHAW, HEAD OF ECHS FINANCE

 

Minutes:

The Committee had been provided with a comprehensive report in advance of the meeting.  Included within the report was an overview of the Children’s Social Care Budget and data surrounding the families accessing children’s social care and the reasons for referrals into the service.  In addition to this, Members had before them the Bromley Safeguarding Children’s Board Neglect Strategy.  Following the publication of the agenda supplementary financial information had been circulated to Members.

 

The Chairman welcomed Mr Ade Adetosoye, Mr Bradshaw and Mr Dare to the meeting.  Members of the Committee explored a number of themes and issues with the witnesses.

 

The Head of ECHS Finance introduced the report and highlighted that the current forecast was a £1.5m overspend in the Children’s Social Care budget (after management action).  The supplementary information provided to the Committee provided a further breakdown of the budget and current outturn.  The Chairman highlighted that in 2016/17 there had been an injection of funding from the Executive following the Ofsted Inspection.

 

The Head of Safeguarding and Care Planning West emphasised that Children’s Social Care was a demand-led Service.  The report presented to the Committee had detailed some of the reasons that Bromley children had entered care.  There was a range of children accessing statutory services, often with a variety of needs.  The Committee noted the national challenges around the availability and access to secure beds.  The result of the inadequacy of the market to meet the high demand meant that young people often had to be placed in other, non-secure, provision with a high, and therefore costly, ratio of staff to child.  The report before the Committee detailed three case studies of Bromley children looked after.  Two of the three young people had been unknown to the Local Authority prior to coming into care.

 

The Head of Safeguarding and Care Planning West also emphasised the range of packages that were offered to children with disabilities in order to support them to remain at home.  Many of the young people had complex disabilities and this placed an extreme strain on parents.  As a result of this parents often required additional support such as, but not limited to, respite care.  The costs associated with children with disabilities entering care were high as a result of the complexity of their care needs.

 

The Head of Safeguarding and Care Planning West reported that it was difficult to identify why there had been an increase in the numbers of children being referred recently into Bromley.  The Head of Safeguarding and Care Planning informed Members that within Children’s Social Care the combination of mental health issues, and drug and alcohol dependency amongst parents was known as the “toxic trio”.  There were a number of factors that led to children being taken into care. The Local Authority worked with parents in an attempt to keep children within the home environment for as long as possible however, sometimes the Local Authority had to embark on care proceedings to request endorsement from the judiciary to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

 

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