Agenda and minutes

Venue: Room THB-06, Town Hall, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RW

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

Items
No. Item

1.

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:

    Councillor Lucy Caldicott, Chair of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee, welcomed everyone to the meeting with all attendees introducing themselves.

     

    There were no declarations of interest.

     

2.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 198 KB

    To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2019 as a correct record of the proceedings.

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2019 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of the proceedings.

3.

Pupil Place Planning and Impact on School Capacities pdf icon PDF 601 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Contact for enquiries: Maggie Harriott, AD Education Strategy, Children’s Services; 020 7926 2108 mharriott@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The report was introduced by Annie Hudson, Strategic Director, Children’s Services, and Maggie Harriott, Assistant Director, Education Strategy, who stated that:

    ·         Between 2009 and 2014, there was a 19% increase in the number of primary-age children in the borough, and as a result a number of schools were built or expanded.

    ·         The birth rate was now falling, as in many other London boroughs.  There was a range of suggested factors, including house prices, Brexit, and welfare reform.  The Council was aware of the schools with falling roll numbers, and some schools had approached the Council directly, due to the financial implications of underfilled schools.

    ·         Decreasing the Published Admissions Number (PAN) was a lengthy process. 

    ·         The Council had approached 12 schools with decreasing pupil numbers on a temporary PAN reduction and was proposing a total decrease of 255 places.  This decision was now with the Schools’ Adjudicator.

    ·         Schools in Norwood and Streatham were full on National Offer Day 2019/20. There were more vacancies in North Lambeth and Brixton, and initial figures showed that these patterns would continue in 2020/21.

     

    The Chair opened the debate to members of the Sub-Committee and in response to questions the Strategic Director, Children’s Services, Assistant Director, Education Strategy, and Pupil Place Planning Officer stated that:

    ·         In order to forecast future demand for school places, officers used population projections from the Office for National Statistics, and on a ward level looked at patterns of where children went to school.  GP registrations were considered an accurate indicator of where a child lived and would suggest where they may attend school.

    ·         The Council would encourage schools to consider options for unused rooms or buildings, particularly for community groups.

    ·         Population forecasting included forthcoming housing developments, using child yield calculations to anticipate the number of children likely to live in a development.

    ·         Information on school admissions was available on the Council’s website, in leaflets and at the Civic Centre.

    ·         Officers had directly approached schools in the areas with the largest fall in pupil numbers, although some schools in other areas had approached the Council.

    ·         The Council had to monitor population changes closely due to the possibility of rapid population changes, as was seen with the increase in the birth rate and migration in the early 2000s.

    ·         A report from London Councils, which would be distributed to Members, showed that falling roll numbers was an issue, particularly in inner London.

    ·         A potential alternative to reduced PANs was the amalgamation of schools to prevent schools needing to close.

     

    RESOLVED:

    i.       That officers consider potential uses for unused school buildings or rooms, and encourage schools to explore their use by community groups.

    ii.     That the report from London Councils on changes to pupil numbers be distributed to Members.

    iii.    That a report on Pupil Place Planning return to the Sub-Committee in early 2021.

     

4.

Children's Services work to tackle violence against young people - Lambeth Made Safer pdf icon PDF 724 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Contact for enquiries: Kristian Aspinall, 0207 926 2429, KAspinall@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The report was introduced by Annie Hudson, Strategic Director, Children’s Services, who stated that:

    ·         The Lambeth Made Safer strategy was a cross Council and multi-agency initiative, but it also had strong links into Children’s Services which led this work.  Other departments, such as Adult Social Care and Housing were also heavily involved.  

    ·         Representatives from a range of agencies, including statutory and community services contributed to each element of the programme.  This work aimed to identify the key issues and to establish future plans for the project.  The report included details of the projects that formed Lambeth Made Safer, including Divert, Raising the Game, Social Workers in Schools, and Early Help.

    ·         The Serious Youth Violence Board was chaired by the Chief Executive and reported to the Safer Lambeth Executive.

    ·         The latest figures showed that the overall number of offences had decreased in Lambeth, but the number of serious crimes had increased.

     

    The Committee then heard from Pastor Lorraine Jones, Dwaynamics, Gabin Sinclair-Constance, Delivery Manager, LEAP, and a parent affected by serious youth violence, who provided the following information:

    ·         Pastor Lorraine Jones had founded Dwaynamics following the murder of her son in 2014.  It worked with children from age five to address the high levels of violence and associated anxiety and stress in the community.

    ·         She also chaired the Lambeth Police Independent Advisory Group, supporting young people, the wider community and the Police to work together more closely and overcome challenges. 

    ·         The Lambeth Boxing Awards was a six-week course for young people to do boxing training with police officers, which created positive relationships between young people and the police.

    ·         LEAP was based in the Tulse Hill Estate and used game-based learning to help children develop emotional intelligence, resilience and conflict resolution.

    ·         The programme had been based in Tulse Hill for two years and had worked with 50 young people in the past year.  Other organisations, such as football teams and Dwaynamics, worked with LEAP to support its work.  Partnership working was encouraged so that there was a lasting impact after children completed the programme, and there were regular reviews to monitor progress.

    ·         Many of the children who had engaged with the programme had severe trauma, and games were used to approach these difficult topics.  Young people living on the estate were now approaching the project to discuss their issues, and had become a voice for young people.

    ·         LEAP had employed a psychotherapist specialising in trauma work, allowing many of the young people to speak to a mental health professional for the first time.

    ·         There continued to be issues of serious violence in the area and it was noted that a teenager was murdered on the estate just over a year ago.  Young people’s responses to incidents and the support they provided to each other was positive.

    ·         A parent spoke of her experience with her son who had been stabbed twice and that of a friend, whose grandchild had been groomed by criminals.  She expressed her concerns at the lack of interventions from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Children's Social Care: Update on progress and challenges pdf icon PDF 443 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Contact for enquiries: Alex Kubeyinje, Children’s Services; 0207 926 2429, AKubeyinje@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The report was introduced by Annie Hudson, Strategic Director, Children’s Services, and Alex Kubeyinje, Director, Children’s Social Care, who stated that:

    ·         The self-evaluation, included as an appendix, was completed prior to the annual engagement meeting with Ofsted.  Ofsted had stated that the self-evaluation form was an honest assessment, and had identified areas of innovation, such as the Social Workers in Schools programme.

    ·         Performance around health assessments and child and family assessments had improved in recent months.

    ·         A major issue for improvement was the turnover of social workers.  A new structure had been introduced to provide greater career pathways and attract more experienced social workers.

    ·         Efforts were being made to ensure continuous improvement, including through external review and scrutiny by outside bodies; for example through peer reviews. 

    ·         In order to address budget pressures, all budgets had been reviewed with the aim of how better value for money might be secured and resources could be best used.

     

    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.

     

    The Chair then opened the debate to members of the Sub-Committee and in response to questions the Strategic Director, Children’s Services and Director, Children’s Social Care, stated that:

    ·         Lambeth was one of three pilot authorities for the national What Works Centre social workers in schools project.  There was ongoing analysis of outcome and impact, but it was possible that if the pilot was successful, the programme could be expanded.

    ·         Funding for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) was in a different budget to CSC.  Additional funding was being allocated to SEND from central Government, which would reduce the overspend.  There were regional and national concerns on SEND spending, and Lambeth’s overspend was not dissimilar to most other London boroughs.

    ·         The number of children on Child Protection Plans had stabilised and there had been a recent decline in the number of Looked After Children; so that Lambeth was now broadly in line with its statistical neighbours.

    ·         Comparisons with statistical neighbours would be provided in future reports.

    ·         There had been a lack of opportunities for progression for more experienced social workers in the previous structure. The Advanced Practitioner role was created as a result, with a good response levels to the job advert.

    ·         Officers were aware of the need to ensure diverse interviewing panels and creation of a positive culture.  The Director of Children’s Social Care held regular surgeries for staff to express any concerns in confidence and there were forums for social workers and managers to discuss issues.

    ·         The Performance and Audit teams monitored data, trends, comparisons with statistical neighbours and complaints.  The Practice and Performance Board, which met monthly, used this data to formulate future plans.

    ·         The new Fostering Strategy was being finalised, and officers were liaising with Finance on offers and allowances for Foster Carers.  Three new Foster Carers had been recruited, and the number of in-house Foster Carers was stable.  Further work was needed on the out-of-hours service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

2019-20 Children's Services Scrutiny Sub Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 304 KB

    (All wards)

     

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED:

    That the work programme be noted.