Agenda and draft minutes

Children's Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee - Wednesday 16 March 2022 7.00 pm, MOVED

Venue: Room THB-06, Town 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/3vPILIq. 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 193 KB

    • View the background to item 2.

    To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2022 as a correct record of the proceedings.

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2022 were confirmed as a correct record of proceedings.

     

3.

Update on Year 1 of Fostering Recruitment Strategy pdf icon PDF 498 KB

    • View the background to item 3.

    Wards: All

     

    Report Authorised by: Jane Carroll, Interim Director, Children’s Services

     

    Contact for enquiries: Shkelqim Luma, Service Manager, Fostering and Permanency, 020 7926 2558,sluma1@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ed Davie; Jane Carroll, Interim Director of Children’s Social Care; Raul Butron, Assistant Director for Corporate Parenting; and Shkelqim Luma, Service Manager, introduced the Strategy and noted:

    ·           There had been significant improvement to the support provided to the fostering community and Lambeth’s children were experiencing better outcomes.

    ·           The Strategy aimed to further increase numbers of foster carers and number of children in foster care, whilst delivering financial savings to the Council.

    ·           The Foster Carer Handbook, Mockingbird model that entailed the networking of foster carers, and 24/7 social worker contacts had led to much greater support and a better all-round service.

    ·           There was further work to be done but this had been a promising first year for the Strategy.

     

    Robert Dev?i?, Chair of Foster Carer Association (FCA); added:

    ·           He was continually asked how Lambeth had made such considerable progress and asked to teach and help other foster carer associations improve.

    ·           Foster carers felt negatively over a year ago, but there were now more permanent staff, weekly surgery meetings and six-weekly catchups, and varied and relevant training provision.

    ·           The out of hours support service meant carers felt appreciated and respected.

    ·           The Foster Carer Charter was a statutory requirement, but many authorities did not have one or was out of date, or policies were absent; and Lambeth’s was praised.

    ·           Lambeth’s improved offer, including ongoing development, enabled foster carers to support young people to their best outcomes.

    ·           All foster carers had their council tax paid weekly during placement.

    ·           The new contact service, delivered in a Mockingbird model, would have a central hub and see foster carers and council staff working together.

    ·           The Child Friendly Lambeth initiative was highlighted and was expected to further improve the outcomes for Lambeth’s young persons, whilst events such as the 1 May 2022 superhero-themed picnic further helped build collaboration.

    ·           Issues such as the finance system still not working properly remained, although that was to be replaced soon, but overall Lambeth was highlighted as a service that foster carers trusted.

     

    Joan Wilson, carer, next addressed the sub-Committee and noted:

    ·           Carers were pleased to receive a new rate of pay and praised Lambeth’s increased recruitment and retention of foster carers.

    ·           The Mockingbird model would help placement stability.

    ·           Carers were supported with council tax payments, in addition to weekly management surveys, six-weekly meetings, out of hours support, and felt recognised and appreciated at a personal level.

    ·           It was possible to speak to managers outside of our normal hours, such as getting coffee on Saturdays which helped develop rapport, solve issues and discuss new ideas.

     

    Calvin Rose, carer, also addressed the sub-Committee and stated:

    ·           Lambeth’s managers and wider team provided a personal service, who were always available where before this could take 3-4 days to receive a response.

    ·           Lambeth offered numerous training packages, which helped share thoughts and experiences, including on psychology which aided mental health during Covid-19 lockdowns and confidence for public speaking.

    ·           Foster carers had important roles and being able  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Lambeth Made Safer pdf icon PDF 632 KB

    • View the background to item 4.

    Wards: All

     

    Report Authorised by: Fiona Connolly, Executive Director, Children’s Services

     

    Contact for enquiries:Anthony Lewis, Assistant Director for Community Safety, 07729 109391,  ALewis3@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Jeanette Young, Director of Children's Commissioning and Community Safety; Anthony Lewis, Assistant Director of Community Safety; and Rory Gray, Programme Manager (Lambeth Made Safer), introduced the Strategy and noted:

    ·           The report outlined ongoing work across the Council and Safer Lambeth Partnership including serious youth violence and addressing root causes of violence in Lambeth across six key themes.

    ·           Lambeth Made Safer was launched in December 2020, utilising a public health needs assessment across a wide range of risk factors, but considered individual, peer group, family, community and environmental settings.

    ·           The programme structure continually evolved and there were currently 18 projects underway.

    ·           The primary and secondary school Fair Access Panel had seen annual secondary exclusions decrease from five to one over the last year, from 43 at peak.

    ·           The Stop and Search Improvement Plan on cultivated community trust and improve police action, with a reviewing group to oversee stop and searches.

    ·           The report also detailed the revitalising of six neglected spaces to mitigate violence.

    ·           The Summer Violence Prevention Programme targeted high risk areas and had benefited 243 children.

     

    During the discussion, Angel Sams, Children in Care Council, noted that younger males were often overlooked when discussing serious youth violence, particularly grooming and being led into crime and asked that earlier and softer intervention at primary schools be reviewed.

     

    In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, officers responded:

    ·           The Council had a good relationship with the local Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), with Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove hosting and regularly attending the Independent Advisory Group (IAG), alongside local Members of Parliament and Southwark Council attendees. 

    ·           Engagement with the MPS covered a wide range of issues, co-developing projects and monitoring activities, such as Stop and Search improvement, reducing violent offending, and actively collaborating to improve trust and police response. The Police were also consistent in supporting the Council’s Lambeth Made Safer Communities Programme.

    ·           The initial impact of the Stop and Search programme was difficult to access due to its recent implementation and due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

    ·           The Lambeth Made Safer Strategy covered a diverse range of complex, challenging problems that necessitated a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary approach to tackle; such as linking into the LEAP Programme for 7–8-year-olds and targeting families and parenting. Public engagement was a key priority to ensure the Strategy was successful and had the right outcomes.

    ·           It was important to increase engagement with, and funding for, communities and the voluntary community sector, to help deliver on-ground community-led solutions. 

    ·           Communications had been reshaped and an additional Community Engagement officer was to be employed to improve active listening and responses.

    ·           Lambeth historically had high rates of violence relative to London; however, data had been distorted by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and required further review.

    ·           The original Strategy was underpinned by detailed needs assessment, which also required review and further evidence and the development of data sets.

    ·           Lambeth Made Safer was a 10-year public health approach to reducing youth violence.

    ·           LEAP was a distinct 10-year early help programme that looked at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

IICSA Action Plan Delivery Update pdf icon PDF 603 KB

    • View the background to item 5.

    Wards: All

     

    Report Authorised by: Andrew Travers, Chief Executive

     

    Contact for enquiries: Fiona Connolly,Executive Director of Adult Social Care

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    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 noted that the Independent Inquiry in Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) Action Plan had been of paramount importance to the sub-Committee’s work.  In discussion, Members noted the timeliness of two actions to ensure new councillors after the May local elections were onboarded into the Action Plan, trained and received relevant DBS checks and on actions marked for completion by April 2022.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ed Davie; Fateha Salim, Director of Legal and Governance; and Lucy Sawyer, Revenue Programme Manager, introduced the report and further noted:

    ·           The sub-Committee had scrutinised the action plan prior to approval at Full Council in December 2021.  Many actions had been completed and there was good progress, with all actions having been started except for a few, as detailed in the agenda pack, for good reasons.

    ·           Corporate parenting and safeguarding training were prioritised as an early item for the Member Induction Programme following the 5 May 2022 local elections so that councillors were onboarded.

     

    In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and officers responded:

    ·           13 actions were coming up for completion by April, with only one action awaiting additional resource before commencing but the recruitment process was underway.

    ·           Actions 8.04 and 8.08 had been revised for completion from 01 April 2022 to 01 May; however, all other April deadlines were on track.

    ·           There were no major areas of concern, although actions with postponed deadlines were being carefully monitored.

    ·           The strengthening of corporate parenting responsibilities in the Constitution would be ratified after May due to the timelines of making such changes.

    ·           The policy on DBS checks would be approved within the organisation and implemented in time for councillor inductions for early May 2022.

     

    RESOLVED:

    1.         To continue regular reporting to the Sub-Committee on progress.

     

6.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 452 KB