Agenda and minutes

Children's Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee - Wednesday 27 January 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams - please copy and paste the following link in your browser: https://bit.ly/3aW2FH8

Contact: Maria Burton, Democratic Services,  020 7926 8703, Email: mburton2@lambeth.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

    Minutes:

    It was MOVED by Councillor Pickard, SECONDED by Councillor Clark, and

     

    RESOLVED that Councillor Liz Atkins be elected Chair.

     

2.

Declarations of Pecuniary Interest

    Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

    Minutes:

    While not a pecuniary interest, Councillor Pickard stated that a member of her family was going through the Special Guardianship process in Lambeth, but that she did not have a prejudiced view as a result of this.

     

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 190 KB

    To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 07 December 2020 as a correct record of the proceedings.

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 07 December 2020 were approved as a correct record of proceedings.

     

4.

Youth and Play Service Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

    (All Wards)

     

    Contact for enquiries: Abi Onaboye, Director of  Children’s Commissioning and Community Safety, AOnaboye@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Minutes:

    The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ed Davie, Integrated Associate Director - Children’s Commissioning, Dan Stoten, and Commissioning Manager, Youth and Play, Melissa Mcarthur, who stated that:

    ·         Officers, young people and partners had contributed to the report, which emphasised the importance of play to young people and the Council.

    ·         In recent years, the Youth Council had been brought back in-house, which had been better for the Council financially and in terms of efficient use of resources.

    ·         2,800 young people had been supported through the Early Intervention and Prevention Support contracts in 2019-20, and young people provided feedback to officers in order to ensure quality of provision.

    ·         Youth and play providers offered a wide range of services, such as the St Matthew’s Project that operated a football club, development opportunities, as well as working to address holiday hunger.  Youth and play provision allowed young people to be physically active, meet other young people, and provided respite for parents.

    ·         Many providers continued to offer a service throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, online and over the phone. The Unlock programme, delivered by the Education department, provided support for 63 young people not in education, employment or training.

    ·         Although the pandemic made running the summer activity programme more difficult, 40 projects had operated, which over 2000 young people had attended.

     

    The Sub-Committee heard from Jhemar, a representative from Spiral:

    ·         Spiral ran workshops on work and education, on subjects including CV development and how to find jobs and courses.

    ·         While there were many opportunities for young people in Lambeth, there were often issues of access or knowledge, as young people did not always know how to find them.

     

    Theo, a young person who attended the Ebony Horse Club, then addressed the Sub-Committee:

    ·         His mother had found out about Ebony online, and he had been made to feel welcome from his first session. 

    ·         He had been bullied in the past which had negatively affected him, but he felt more confident as a result of attending Ebony.  The other young people who attended were kind and supportive.

     

    Youth Council representatives Jeminat, Tyanna-May and Tahira then addressed the Sub-Committee, providing the following information:

    ·         They shared their passions and interests, particularly on addressing social issues including institutional racism, environmental issues, women’s rights and Islamophobia.

    ·         The Youth Council aimed to work with officers and leaders in the Council to effect change, to provide a positive influence on other young people and to represent young people from across the borough.

    ·         In 2020 the Youth Council had worked on a number of campaigns, such as against the removal of free travel, the Minecraft project and Black Lives Matter.  Many Youth Council members were BAME, and it was important to have a safe space to be able to discuss these issues.

    ·         Schools were key in encouraging engagement with the Youth Council, and this had been made more difficult due to the pandemic.

    ·         They encouraged all young people in the borough to join the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Fostering Strategy pdf icon PDF 368 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Contact for enquiries: Shkelqim Luma, Service Manager, Fostering and Permanency, sluma1@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ed Davie and Service Manager, Fostering and Permanency, Shkelqim Luma, who stated that:

    ·         Looked After Children overwhelmingly said that if they could not live with their birth families, they would want to live with a family, and the Fostering Strategy would help deliver this.

    ·         Using other provision, such as Independent Foster Carers, had worse outcomes for young people and was worse value for the Council and taxpayers.

    ·         73% of Looked After Children were already in foster care, but the Strategy aimed to increase this to 90%.

    ·         Efforts to make Lambeth more attractive to prospective foster carers included exempting foster carers from council tax and providing support for foster carers 24 hours a day.

     

    Joan, a Foster Carer, provided the following information to the Sub-Committee:

    ·         She had been a foster carer for 25 years and was supportive of the new strategy, particularly the 24-hour support and improved psychological support for carers and young people. 

    ·         A number of foster carers had met earlier in January and were all excited by the new strategy.

    ·         She hoped that the new policies would make more people want to foster for Lambeth.

     

    Angel, a young person in foster care and member of the Children in Care Council, then addressed the Sub-Committee, stating that:

    ·         She had been in foster care since 2016 and this had been a positive experience.  Her foster carer was warm and welcoming from the start of the placement, and she had been made to feel part of the family.  While some young people had problems with their foster carers, she had always felt supported and respected.

    ·         There had been good communication with her Independent Reviewing Officer, social worker and her foster carer.  Her foster carer had been kept aware of the support that the Council could offer.

    ·         She was ‘staying put’ with her foster carer, but was preparing to live independently in the coming years.  Before entering foster care, she had had limited experience of family life, but her foster carer had enabled her to have positive experience and to prepare her for adult life.

    ·         Foster carers should be made aware of key parts of a young person’s situation before the placement started, and should be able to signpost them to services if necessary.  This would make a young person more comfortable when entering a new placement, particularly if they had moved placements several times.

    ·         It was important to allow young people to have the opportunity to make decisions about their lives, and to provide information on other opportunities.  She had often had to find out about opportunities through the Children in Care Council.

     

    During discussion of this item the guillotine fell at 9.00 pm.

     

    RESOLVED: That the meeting continue for a further period of up to 30 minutes.

     

     

    Officers provided the following information in response to Members:

    ·         Since 2016, foster carers had left Lambeth to foster for other councils as a result of better offers, both in terms  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

2020/21 Children's Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 538 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Contact for enquiries: Maria Burton, Democratic Services, Legal and Governance; mburton2@lambeth.gov.uk, 020 7926 8703

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Sub-Committee Members suggested the following areas for potential future scrutiny:

    ·         The Troubled Families programme.

    ·         Housing for young people, including housing allocations.

    ·         Funding and inspection of Early Years settings.

     

    RESOLVED:

    That the work programme be noted.