Venue: Room THB-06, Town Hall, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RW
Contact: Jacqueline Pennycook, Democratic Services Officer, Email: email@example.com 020 7926 2167
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.
The Chair welcomed all to the meeting, with a special welcome to Maria Bellinfantie, Lambeth Youth Council, who was attending her first meeting, and all attendees introduced themselves. The below declarations of interest were raised:
· Councillor Dr Mahamed Hashi and Maria Taylor informed the Committee that they worked with the Young Lambeth Cooperative.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 23 October 2018 as a correct record of the proceedings.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 October 2018 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of proceedings.
Contact for Information:Hamant Bharadia, Assistant Director Strategic Finance;Tel: 0207 926 9153,
The Chair, Councillor Liz Atkins, noted that it was unacceptable to run local government on shoestring budgets, with central Government’s planned cuts forcing Lambeth to find an extra £43m saving over the next three years, with a £12m reduction to Children’s Services. There was a need to ensure frontline services were protected from cuts, that early help continued and residents received the help they needed.
Annie Hudson, Strategic Director for Children’s Services, gave a presentation to Members included as background papers for this item.
The Chair, Councillor Liz Atkins, then noted the Overview and Scrutiny’s (OSC’s) recommendations expressing concern at the level of service changes, impacts on the most vulnerable and the need to increase in-house foster care. All Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee Members shared concern at the level of changes and Lambeth’s ability to achieve proposed savings, highlighting the £8m savings required in non-staffing service transformation.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Deputy Leader (Children and Young People), Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite; Annie Hudson, Strategic Director for Children’s Services; Cathy Twist, Director of Education; Tony Parker, Director of Commissioning and Improvement; and, Michelle Hayden-Pepper, Interim Director of Children's Social Care, responded:
· The demands on CSC were considerable, but officers believed that the proposed changes were deliverable through tight and careful programme management, although additional capacity was needed. The Council’s Chief Executive, Andrew Travers, agreed that a strong programme management approach was required.
· The numbers of children in care had been significantly above statistical neighbours, but had fallen and was now fairly steady over the last 12 months, at around 400-420, which was comparable to other similar inner London boroughs.
· There were large numbers of teenagers coming into care (in common with other London boroughs) and there were concerns that care did not provide consistently good outcomes for this group of children, with outcomes for children coming into care at a relatively young age and/or who stayed for long periods being generally better.
· The concern regarding the Council’s ability to improve fostering performance was understood, but the proposals were different to that of two years ago when Lambeth was rated inadequate and failed to grow fostering as pledged.
· Neighbouring boroughs had higher proportions of children looked after cared for by in-house carers; in Lambeth this stood at around 25% of all children fostered being with in-house carers. There was capacity to improve both recruitment and retention; and a key element of the revised strategy was that a one-Lambeth approach would be crucial to deliver new targets.
· The one-Lambeth approach would involve schools, health services, councillors, and other partners; and the delivery of the Strategy would be regularly discussed and monitored at the Corporate Parenting Board.
· Teenagers were expensive to place in care and were often placed with private providers, which meant significantly higher costs whilst not always improving outcomes for young persons; instead, social workers needed to work with families to get children back home, in extended families, or within the wider community.
· Commissioning was often market-led and it ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Contact for enquiries: Claire Kirwan, Transformation Officer, SEN Service, Education Learning and Skills 0207 926 6678, CKirwan@lambeth.gov.uk
The Chair, Councillor Liz Atkins, opened the item by noting that all children deserved to be the best they could be and Lambeth was committed to delivering support so young people could stay in the local community. However, that aspiration was challenged by central Government’s imposed budget, increasing numbers of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) children, and raised community expectations that could not be met in current spending constraints.
Cathy Twist, Director of Education; and, Adam Yarnold, Lead, Special Education Needs & Disability, provided an update on the SEND Strategy and preparation for external inspection, noting that:
· A local area inspection of services and partner work by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted was awaited in early 2019, and would review how Lambeth provided and commissioned SEND services.
· The Children and Families Act 2014 changed eligibility criteria and support available, in particular expanding the age range for additional support from 3-19 to 0-25 years; and Lambeth was implementing its requirements, but budgets had not changed much since 2014.
· The SEND Strategic Board was overseeing the Act’s requirements, self-evaluating, identifying areas for development, and implementing and monitoring outcomes.
· Funding for SEND came from three sources: the Dedicated Schools Grant [DSG] (mainly via the high needs block); the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)’s budget; and, through the Council’s revenue grant.
· Costs were increasing significantly and budgets nationally were challenged.
· The paper also detailed how Lambeth assessed and met needs and outcomes, including with partners; areas for development and next steps; provided statistics requested by OSC; support and provision from early stages to adulthood; and, summaries of specialist education provision.
· The paper also detailed funding to support travel assistance to and from school as well as the Children’s Services’ projection and reduction of a £4.5m overspend.
The Committee next heard from Christine Golding, GMB Education Convenor; and, Laura Liverotti, therapist at the Park Campus Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), who noted:
· Last year’s cut to the outreach service, covering support and the transition between the PRU and mainstream, predominantly affected black and Afro-Caribbean boys;
· Feelings of a lack of hope and concern that children would be unable to go back to mainstream schools;
· Pupils most at risk in PRUs or mainstream schools were not always receiving the support they needed; and,
· Pupils were not always receiving proper reintegration nor social skills preparation for bigger classes, their self-esteem, reactions to their previous attendance at PRUs, and positive visions for their future.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Deputy Leader (Children and Young People), Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite; Annie Hudson, Strategic Director for Children’s Services; Cathy Twist, Director of Education; and, Adam Yarnold, Lead, Special Education Needs & Disability, responded:
· The Action Plan and Strategy were included in the agenda pack (pages 117 and 103-114 respectively) and officers would provide measurable targets for SEND pupils, including the four priorities of the Local Area Plan.
· Councillor Brathwaite had written to central Government in November, setting out the woeful financial circumstance for all London boroughs, and ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Contact for Information: Elaine Carter, Lead Scrutiny Officer, Corporate Resources; 020 7926 0027;
The Chair discussed the work programme and explained that the 19 March 2019 meeting would focus on Children’s and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing (including mental health and CAMHS) and Progress update on Children’s Social Care and improvement journey. There were no further items added to the agenda.
The Chair, Councillor Liz Atkins, recorded Elaine Carter’s, Lead Scrutiny Officer’s, impending retirement, noting her expertise in making scrutiny far more effective in Lambeth. Many councillors and officers had been in contact regarding Elaine’s exemplary work supporting the Council’s scrutiny function, with both the Chair and Councillor Ed Davie, former Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, noting her fantastic work over many years, offering their thanks and presenting a gift on behalf of Members. Councillor Dr Mohamed Hashi also noted Elaine’s work for the Black Health and Wellbeing Commission, being instrumental in translating residents’ input, including his own, into successful outcomes and future practices.
The Chair, Councillor Liz Atkins, continued by thanking attendees for their participation, and offered season’s greetings to all.
1. That the Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee on 19/03/19 consider:
(i) Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing (including mental health and CAMHS); and,
(ii) Progress update on Children’s Social Care and improvement journey.
2. To note the following recommendation from Overview and Scrutiny (Crime and Disorder) Committee, 1/11/18:
· To recommend that the Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee considers whether the educational/training programmes offered by the Youth Offending Services are sufficiently targeted, up to date and meeting clients’ needs.