Council services by letter

Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow, HA1 2XY. View directions

Contact: Frankie Belloli, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 020 8424 1263 E-mail:  frankie.belloli@harrow.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

231.

Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

 

Reserve Members may attend meetings:-

 

(i)                 to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)               where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)             the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)              if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Members:-

 

Ordinary Member

 

Reserve Member

 

Councillor Richard Almond

Councillor Stephen Wright

Councillor Ms Pamela Fitzpatrick

Councillor Michael Borio

Councillor Barry Kendler

Councillor Kairul Kareema Marikar

Councillor Paul Osborn

Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane

 

232.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:

 

(a)               all Members of the Committee;

(b)               all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no declarations were made by Members of the Committee.

233.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 141 KB

That the minutes of the meetings held on 27 June and 17 July 2017 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meetings held on 27 June and 17 July 2017 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

234.

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any public questions received in accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 17 (Part 4B of the Constitution).

 

Questions will be asked in the order notice of them was received and there be a time limit of 15 minutes.

 

[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3.00 pm, 14 September 2017.  Questions should be sent to publicquestions@harrow.gov.uk  

No person may submit more than one question].

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions or petitions were received at this meeting.

235.

References from Council/Cabinet

(if any).

Minutes:

There were none.

RESOLVED ITEMS

236.

Youth Justice Partnership Plan 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People Services

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the Council’s draft Youth Justice Partnership Plan for 2017-18.  The Divisional Director, Children and Young People introduced the report commending those who had worked to produce the draft plan and to achieve improvements in the service such that the “priority rating” of the Youth Offending Team had now been withdrawn.  He apologised to the Committee for the late circulation of a further version of the plan which contained certain minor amendments.  He established the context of the draft plan, including various relevant reviews of youth justice such as those conducted by Charlie Taylor, David Lammy and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MoPAC).  The officer reported that the plan included proposals made by the Youth Justice Board and was aligned with the Community Safety, Violence, Vulnerability and Exploitation Strategy; the intention was to bring together a more coordinated “youth offer” for local young people.  The officer confirmed that the staffing position had developed with fully permanent appointments and a good skills mix in place; he considered that there was now an effective “triage” system diverting young people away from behaviours likely to put them at risk of entering the youth justice system.

 

In response to a Member’s query about crime levels, the officer confirmed that while overall levels were down, there were increases in certain crimes and in the severity and seriousness of some of these; for example, there had been an increase in the use of knives.  So while there had been success in reducing first time entrants to the youth justice system, the seriousness and impact of violent crimes was a real area of concern.

 

A Member considered that the plan contained too much detail in certain parts and did not adequately highlight the key issues; he gave the example of the section on “Out of Court Disposals” (Page 18 of the plan) as being unclear as to the trend compared to previous periods.

 

The representative of the Harrow Youth Parliament considered that there was room for improvement in the “youth offer” as part of the Early Support Service, particularly in relation to activities and initiatives to develop self-confidence in young people.  His view was that the current offer did not go far enough in addressing these needs and he proposed that the Council should do further work with relevant voluntary organisations in this area.  An officer reported that such opportunities were available in existing programmes although they tended not to overtly labelled as “self-confidence” sessions since this was likely to deter young people.  Instead, the relevant skills and approaches were included in sessions on such subjects as creative writing, drama and even cookery; there were also classes on presentation skills.  It was intended that these programmes would continue with the involvement of groups such as Ignite. 

 

A Member raised concerns about street crime in South Harrow, particularly incidents involving knives.  The Divisional Director, Children and Young People confirmed that knife crime was a top priority for multi-agency work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 236.

237.

Ofsted Inspection - Action Plan pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report which outlined progress with the Council’s response to the Ofsted Inspection report on Children’s Services issued in February 2017.  The Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People & Schools expressed her satisfaction at the outcome of the Ofsted inspection, but she underlined the importance of the action plan to address those limited areas where the inspectors had recommended improvements.

 

The Corporate Director, People Services confirmed that Harrow was in the 25% of local authorities in the country judged as “good” by Ofsted and that  there were only a couple of authorities in a higher category.   He tabled a chart of the results of the Ofsted inspections of London Borough councils to demonstrate Harrow’s performance.

 

An officer outlined the key messages from the inspection report, in particular the strong political and corporate leadership.  He cited one member of the inspection team as having said it was “self-evident that children are everyone’s priorities”.  The inspection had highlighted strengths in terms of the quality of children’s social work, the swift and effective legal processes to protect vulnerable children, the integration of relevant policies and themes such as work on child sexual exploitation, radicalisation, etc, arrangements for the education of children in care, and the recruitment and retention of social workers.  The inspectors had also commended the quality of training and supervision of staff, the strong relationships between social workers and the children and young people they worked with, and the relationships with key partner agencies.  The action plan contained ten recommendations and there was already good progress against each of these. 

 

In response to a Member’s query about the recruitment of social workers, the officer underlined the importance of continuity and stability in the support given to vulnerable children and their families.  In this regard, retention of good quality staff was a priority for the service as was the recruitment of such staff when vacancies occurred.  The service was moving from the use of agency staff with the proportion of them having reduced from 30% to 20%.  A growth bid had been submitted in the previous financial to support improved recruitment and retention. 

 

In response to another Member’s query about improvements proposed as a result of the inspection, the officer explained that some had been the result of the timing of the inspection.  For example, a reorganisation of Early Support Services had been taking place at the time of the inspection and changes had been implemented since; this involved the alignment of the service with Children’s Centres and the emerging new youth offer.  Higher than usual levels of activity in children’s centres had been noted during August and referrals were now more prompt and effective. 

 

A Member asked about work tackling radicalisation among children and young people, and in particular, whether this included work with youth organisations.  The Divisional Director, Children and Young People, reported that the Council had received some additional funding for work with schools and youth organisations like Wish and Synergy were also involved in this.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 237.