Agenda and draft minutes

Children's Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee - Tuesday 19 July 2022 7.00 pm

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/3c4hLwG. The video will remain available to view for 180 days. 

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:

    There were none.

     

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 188 KB

    • View the background to item 2.

    To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2022 as a correct record of the proceedings.

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED: The 16 March 2022 minutes were agreed as a correct record of the meeting.

     

3.

Exclusions in Lambeth Schools 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 965 KB

    • View the background to item 3.

    Wards: All

     

    Report Authorised by: Fiona Connolly: Executive Director for Adults and Health

     

    Contact for enquiries: Feyisa Demie, Adviser for School Self-evaluation and Head of Schools Research and Statistics Service, 0207 926 9448, fdemie@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ben Kind; and Abrilli Phillip, Director of Education and Learning, introduced the item and noted:

    ·           Teachers and school staff had operated under very difficult circumstances during Covid-19 and national lockdowns but had exceeded expectations in providing education to Lambeth’s children. 

    ·           Permanent exclusion had dropped from 43 in 2017 to four in 2020-21.  The small data set of four skewed percentages to the national average and was also difficult to compare to previous years due to Covid-19.

    ·           Lower numbers of Lambeth’s pupils were suspended in 2019-20 compared to national averages.

    ·           Paragraph 2.30 detailed the significant work and improvements tackling permanent school exclusions in Lambeth, serving the most disadvantaged pupils and to lower school suspensions.

    ·           Suspension numbers were in-line but as percentages were significantly below national averages.

    ·           Raising the Game through the Lambeth Schools Partnership, and Anti-racism and trauma-informed practices, were examples of positive programmes that helped recognise and understand children’s needs, and ensured professionals were inclusive and received appropriate training.

    ·           Lambeth had established more formal fair access protocols, such as the monthly Fair Access Panel (FAP) all-schools meeting.  This provided early intervention for at-risk young people, and children were invited to attend to input into decision-making, allowing real solutions for a fresh start or to target resources to tackle incidents of poor behaviour and pupils could thrive.

    ·           Lambeth was reducing PRU funding from 185 places to 95 this year, although it only placed 47.

    ·           Children in school, especially in mainstream, were safer and more likely to succeed.

    ·           Only one child had been presented at a primary FAP this year and there had been zero primary school exclusions for several years previously.

    ·           Lambeth was working towards zero exclusions.

    ·           Lambeth pupils outside of the borough’s schools remained at risk of exclusion and Lambeth was working with other local authorities to ensure that did not occur.

     

    The Sub-Committee next heard from Dominic Bergin, Headteacher of the Elmgreen School and Chair of the Fair Access Panel as follows:

    ·           The Fair Access Plan had led to a significant shift of thinking on exclusions, and all Lambeth schools and academies worked together to give equitable treatment to students and schools.

    ·           He desired no permanent exclusions in the borough, but some young children were in challenging situations, and it was essential to seek the best outcomes for them.

    ·           The nature of young people coming to the Panel was impressive, many in difficult and challenging circumstances, but schools were receptive to maintaining mainstream provision where appropriate.

    ·           The number of students coming back to the FAP was low, with well-integrated places allowing students to thrive, and the FAP was a force for good that reduced exclusions and ensured students remained in mainstream education.

    ·           It was important that children gained mainstream qualifications and did not have their qualifications nor aspiration narrowed at an early age.

     

    The Sub-Committee next heard from Alex James:

    ·           Reducing exclusion rates were a positive, but it was important to note the impact of exclusion, especially for primary school  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Supporting Families Programme pdf icon PDF 358 KB

    • View the background to item 4.

    Wards: All

     

    Report Authorised by: Fiona Connolly: Executive Director for Adults and Health

     

    Contact for enquiries: Kulsuma Faiz, Supporting Families Coordinator, 07535 046250,kfaiz@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ben Kind; Brenda McInerney, Assistant Director for Early Help, Access and Assessment; and Kulsuma Faiz, Supporting Families Coordinator, introduced the item and noted:

    ·           The Programme helped support families across Children’s Social Care and Early Help, with multiple and complex needs and embedded whole family working; however, delivery challenges continued due to the current economic environment and Covid-19 impacts.

    ·           Lambeth continued to meet national targets on the number of families reached, but outcomes were variable and continuous employment remained challenging, although this was in context of the borough’s relatively high unemployment levels.

    ·           Lambeth was working to embed practices across services to ensure as many families benefitted as possible, and Lambeth was developing innovative data solutions to further improve.

    ·           Better partnership working with statutory and voluntary partners was key, and it was hoped they would improve preventative efforts.

    ·           Key performance indicators were being reviewed that could be included to help develop a localised indication if early help was sufficiently working.

    ·           Lambeth was entering a new three-year phase, including a Payment by Results method, but was also operating in an increasingly challenging environment, such as with housing availability.

    ·           The Programme generated ring-fenced revenue for early intervention with families, based on evidence of progress and benefits for families.

    ·           The Programme could offer career progression advise and help, carer provision, unpaid internship, unpaid training, and other steps to employment.

    ·           The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sat alongside other practitioners in the Programme and helped with universal credit claims that could overwhelm families and severely impact children.

     

    In discussion and in response to Members’ questions, the Cabinet Member and officers noted:

    ·           Progress looked different across each of the six criteria as detailed in the agenda pack, page 31.

    ·           Progress was measured against six successful family outcomes, reviewed by a team of analysts.

    ·           Practitioners worked with families and briefed the Leadership team on records that required updating to feed in analysis, such as EHCPs collected by social workers.

    ·           If families came back requesting support this would be provided, but it was hoped that the Programme had enabled them to become more resilient and able to handle future challenges.

    ·           The Partnership between bodies such as schools, GPs, and voluntary community sector could help with specific targeted services; and capacity was being built with partners to enable proactive checking and referrals and to upscale the support partners could provide.

    ·           There would be more capacity and data maturity from September for Tier 2 with a potential to build in more links with ward councillors, greater officer support to help families access services and review whether responses to levels of need were sufficient. 

    ·           The borough was currently split into 4 localities, and more accuracy was needed.

    ·           Family progress was verified once analysts saw evidence of sustained progress, which was then subject to verification and met 90% attendance levels.

    ·           Analysts reviewed thousands of cases each year and waited until sustained progress before reporting to the Board.

    ·           It was possible that more families  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

IICSA Action Plan Delivery Update pdf icon PDF 563 KB

    • View the background to item 5.

    Wards: All

     

    Report Authorised by: Fiona Connolly,Executive Director of Adult Social Care

     

    Contact for enquiries: Lucy Sawyer, Programme Lead: IICSA

     

    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 Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ben Kind; Fateha Salim, Assistant Director Inquiry Legal Team; and Lucy Sawyer, Revenue Programme Manager, introduced the item and noted:

    ·           The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was established in 2015, with Lambeth one of three identified areas that failed in its duties to care for children, noting the failures of several children’s homes and of foster carer experience between the 1960s-1990s.

    ·           Lambeth began an interim Action Plan prior to publication of IICSA’s report, becoming the basis for the Action Plan published in December 2021, and approved by the Sub-Committee, Cabinet and Full Council.

    ·           Lambeth took full responsibility and apologised for the abuse of children in its care and for not taking necessary steps to protect children.

    ·           A Redress Scheme had been setup in 2018 to pay compensation to affected individuals.

    ·           The Council needed continuing Member engagement and to ensure it met its corporate parenting and safeguarding responsibilities; and the Cabinet Member offered access to the Sub-Committee to any data on children in care to support its duties scrutinising the Action Plan.

    ·           The final IICSA report was expected soon, with further councillor engagement to follow.

    ·           The Action Plan was a live document under continuous monitoring and review, with one further action (5.8) added in May 2022 detailing the alignment of quality assurances.

    ·           This report had last come to the Sub-Committee in March 2022, and 15 further actions had been delivered since, representing 25% of plan.

    ·           It was expected that due dates would even out and greater focus on longer-term and ongoing actions and would occur over the next six months.

    ·           Ongoing actions were those begun prior to the development of the plan but were included to provide assurance that these were sufficiently embedded.

     

    In discussion and in response to Members’ questions, the Cabinet Member and officers noted:

    ·           It might be appropriate to revise deadlines, but in all instances, there was co-working with service areas to ensure this was appropriate and confidence in delivery.

    ·           The monthly IICSA Oversight Board chaired by the Strategic Director for Children’s Services, Fiona Connolly, regularly reviewed the Action Plan to ensure dates were met.

    ·           There had been resourcing issues in Human Resources that delayed the review and implementation of the three actions marked as amber, and completion was expected soon.

    ·           Compliance with the mandatory Member training would be reported to the Standards Committee.

    ·           The Plan would continue into 2023, after which it would be peer reviewed to consider impact.  The Council would also ensure that actions were incorporated into usual operational procedures.  For example, the delivery of the strategy for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) would be monitored and delivered through that governance framework.

    ·           Officers would discuss the possibility of self-certification of training via video, tests and assessments, with Human Resources and Democratic Services.

     

    RECOMMENDATIONS:

    1.         To report back to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 452 KB

    • View the background to item 6.

    Wards: All

     

    Report Authorised by: Raymond Prince, Director of Legal and Governance

     

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

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The work programme was taken offline to be discussed at and updated following the CSSSC Work Programming and training sessions.