Agenda and minutes

Children's Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee - Tuesday 7 December 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Assembly Hall, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RW

Contact: David Rose, Democratic Services,  020 7926 1037, Email: drose@lambeth.gov.uk

Note: Information on how to access the meeting is set out on the agenda. However, if you just want to watch the live broadcast you can copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://bit.ly/3DruotL. The video will remain available to view for 180 days. 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Pecuniary Interest

    • View the background to item 1.

    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:

    There were none.

     

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 235 KB

    • View the background to item 2.

    To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 30 June 2021 as a correct record of the proceedings.

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 30 June 2021 were approved as a correct record of proceedings.

     

3.

Response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA): Lambeth Council IICSA Action Plan pdf icon PDF 738 KB

    • View the background to item 3.

    (All wards)

     

    Report Authorised by: Chief Executive: Andrew Travers

     

    Contact for enquiries: Merlin Joseph, Strategic Director for Children’s Services, mjoseph@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Leader of the Council, Councillor Claire Holland, apologised to all victims and survivors, and noted the failure to those whose care had been entrusted to the Council. It was also stated that:

    ·           The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s (IICSA) report was published in July. 

    ·           The Council had transparently worked with IICSA and had set up a Redress Scheme for survivors.

    ·           Survivors’ bravery was noted and had been central to the establishment of an Inquiry and to ensure Lambeth Council addressed its historical failures.

    ·           Today’s Council was much different and had worked hard to address the IICSA report’s concerns.

    ·           Councillors needed to ask themselves tough questions, seek assurances of practice, meet the Nolan principles of public office and fulfil their roles as corporate parents.

    ·           The administration was committed to delivering the Action Plan and demonstrating positive change, and to ensure the profound failures of political leadership did not happen again. 

    ·           The Action Plan set out clear accountability for officers, provided robust oversight and assurance, and was a vital step in this journey, but it was essential not to become complacent.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Chair of Corporate Parenting Board, Councillor Ed Davie, provided further comments on the Action Plan:

    ·           He repeated the Council’s apologies to victims and survivors of abuse under Lambeth’s care.

    ·           He gave apologies from Merlin Joseph, Strategic Director of Children’s Services, who was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.

    ·           It was essential to acknowledge Lambeth’s troubled past, but important to recognise that the Council was now different; with robust corporate and accountable leadership, and Members were fully aware of their corporate parenting responsibilities.

    ·           The Council’s internal framework was stronger, including on risk management, statutory duties and corporate parenting, and with improved and regular scrutiny.

    ·           The regulatory framework was more stringent and accountable, noting OFSTED’s positive letter from its yearly visit published the previous week, and full inspections occurring every three years.

    ·           The legislative framework had also fundamentally changed since the events detailed in the IICSA report, with the Council discharging duties of care in partnership with statutory outside bodies.

    ·           Lambeth had identified learning points for the Action Plan in advance of IICSA’s report; with their recommendations and findings diligently translated into the Plan to ensure positive change.

    ·           The Action Plan recorded 50 actions, of which 10 had been fully completed; and included items such as mandatory safeguarding and corporate parenting training, further safeguards, review of Looked After Children’s (LAC) placements and strengthening corporate parenting arrangements.

    ·           All Lambeth staff and Members were corporate parents with responsibility for children’s welfare.

    ·           The Action Plan did not address all safeguarding mechanisms but responded to the IICSA report.

    ·           Whilst safeguarding was improved, the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was a reminder to remain vigilant.  The Council would not be complacent and was committed to improving.

    ·           The Action Plan was not just for Children’s Services but provided oversight and scrutiny for children in care across the Council. It would be regularly reviewed and strengthened in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 451 KB