Council services by letter

Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Committee Room 5, Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow, HA1 2XY. View directions

Contact: Janette Treciokas, Democratic and Electoral Services Officer  Tel: 020 8424 1263 E-mail:  janette.treciokas@harrow.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

84.

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 Kairul Kareema Marikar

Councillor Mrs Christine Robson

 

85.

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 Panel;

(b)               all other Members present.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that the following interests were declared:

 

Agenda Item 13 – Update from Health

 

Councillor Simon Brown declared a non-pecuniary interest in that his daughter was employed by the CNWL.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

Councillor Janet Mote declared a non-pecuniary interest in that her daughter was employed as a nurse at Northwick Park Hospital.  She would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

86.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 71 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 12January 2016 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2016, be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

87.

Public Questions, Petitions and Deputations

To receive any public questions received in accordance with Executive Procedure Rule 49 (Part 4D 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, Thursday 7 April 2016.  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, petitions or deputations were received at this meeting.

RECOMMENDED ITEMS

88.

Corporate Parent Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received a report regarding progress made on the Corporate Parenting Strategy which had been submitted to Council and Cabinet in 2015.  The report highlighted the Council’s Corporate Parenting responsibilities and outcomes for Harrow’s Children Looked After.

 

An officer provided an overview of progress on the priority actions for 2014-16 and  attention was drawn to the following:

 

·                     the Member induction and workshops had been well attended; Further refresher sessions would be arranged. There was Member representation on the Virtual School Improvement Board;

 

·                     attendance by young people at the last quarterly Beyond Limits session had been disappointing.  Information on the next session due to be held on 28 April 2016 would be circulated to Panel Members;

 

·                     progress had been made in regard to health assessments through  partnership with the CNWL Children Looked After Team;

 

·                     the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) results reflected the dramatic improvement in placements through a range of foster carers providing stability and value for money, the doubling of the adoption scorecard, and consistently good time frames;

 

·                     the officer had met with the Portfolio Holder for Children and Families to discuss apprenticeships for Care Leavers;

 

·                     there had been positive feedback regarding the CLA Celebration event.

 

Members expressed appreciation on the positive progress of the Corporate Parent Strategy, in particular the success in the recruitment of an increased number of in?house foster carers, the improvement in placement stability, the improvement in the number of health assessments and reviews, and  the positive feedback from the Children Looked After Celebration Event.

 

The officer undertook to provide an annual update on the Corporate Parent Strategy.

 

Resolved to RECOMMEND:  (to Cabinet)

That the strategy update and progress made be noted.

 

Reason:  All councillors are Corporate Parents and need to be aware of how these responsibilities are being carried out.

RESOLVED ITEMS

89.

Feedback from Children Looked After (CLA) Achievement Event pdf icon PDF 363 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People

Minutes:

An officer provided feedback on the CLA achievement event which was held on 17 February 2016. Members expressed their appreciation at the work involved in the organisation of the event and were pleased at the positive feedback. The use of The Hive was considered to be a popular venue.  It was noted that the arrangements were reviewed annually by a small working group which took into account accessibility, parking, size and acoustics.

 

The following suggestions were made by the Panel:

 

·                     that feedback on future events include quotes from young people in attendance;

 

·                     that healthy eating options be available including savoury and food with less sugar;

 

·                     that the Social Workers advise which young people would be in attendance to receive their certificates.

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

90.

Information Report - Activity and Performance pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received a report which set out activity for Children Looked After and Children with Child Protection Plans as at 29 February 2016 as well as the provisional performance position at the end of quarter three of 2015-16.

 

Attention was drawn to the following:

 

·                     There was still significant pressure on the service regarding Child Protection Plans which had resulted in a reduction in the timeliness of initial child protection conferences.  However, the performance was still above that of  statistical neighbours and nationally.  The challenging target set for 2016/17 resulted in a positive approach.

 

·                     CNWL needed to be advised of information more quickly to ensure that all CLA received annual health checks in accordance with performance targets.

 

·                     Required absence rates for the academic year were slightly above average.

 

·                     There had been significant improvement in care leavers and accommodation.

 

A Member queried the role of the Panel in connection with Child Protection Plans for children.  It was confirmed that performance in these areas was monitored by the Local Safeguarding Board.  It was noted that only matters relating to Looked After Children should be reported to the Corporate Parenting Panel. It was agreed that the terms of reference for the Corporate Parenting Panel should be reviewed.

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

91.

Housing for Care Leavers - Update Report pdf icon PDF 187 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People

Minutes:

An officer presented a report updating the Panel on the challenges and housing assistance available for care leavers.

 

It was reported that the Housing stock was under pressure due to homelessness and regeneration. The allocation for CLA had been reviewed and the high priority accorded to CLA had been maintained and the quota for social housing continued.

 

The Panel was informed that the offer of housing would be mainly studio flats as otherwise the CLA would struggle to meet the shortfall when the  Welfare Reform changes were implemented in April 2016.  The changes would not affect CLA under 21.  Should the quota prove to be insufficient the officers could bring forward proposals to offer accommodation in shared housing.  In response to questions, it was noted that the lead in time for shared accommodation would be about three months and that there were regular discussions by a housing sub group.  A scheme for CLA who wished to share would be developed if required.

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

92.

High Costs Placements Monitoring pdf icon PDF 171 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People

Minutes:

An officer presented a report on the progress made in monitoring high cost placements. The Panel was informed that the review of the 20 most expensive placements had arisen due to the Council’s saving plans  and was given an assurance that the care of the children involved would not be compromised.

 

Attention was drawn to the following:

 

·                     one efficiency considered in the review was to ensure that as the level of need reduced the package of care reduced correspondingly;

 

·                     with regard to placements with inbuilt education or therapeutic packages the officers would ensure that all available joint funding initiatives with health would be taken up;

 

·                     a review of agreed actions would take place in September.  A review of the next 20 most expensive placements would then take place.

 

The Panel expressed the view that officers should ensure that the needs of the children should not be compromised due to costs.

 

In response to questions from Members it was noted that:

 

·                     six children from the same family had been taken into care, and put into independent fostering arrangements.  This was unplanned and had had an effect on budgets.  Short term emergency placements due to unexpected need for a high level of care were reviewed to ensure an efficient use of resources;

 

·                     an example of partnership working was  out of borough placements which included  protection  from violence and to break links with gangs and exploitation.  These  varied in length of time and were  necessary to break links with the local area.  Harrow used foster carers from other boroughs as part of the West London Alliance and  the commissioning framework.

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

(1)          the report be noted;

 

(2)          a further review be undertaken in September 2016, and an update submitted to the Panel in October 2016.

93.

Harrow Virtual School - Head Teacher Mid-Year Report pdf icon PDF 379 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, People

Minutes:

An officer presented a report which set out early predictions in terms of the performance and standards of Children Looked After by the end of each Key Stage and a summary of the key areas monitored by the Virtual School.  It was noted that the mid-year report related to data for the  spring term 2016.

 

Particular attention was drawn to the following:

 

·                     14 students were attending university.  At 10%, this was higher than the national average for care leavers attending university of 6%.  The officer would look at best practice in this area; 

 

·                     the next report would include performance across ethnicity;

 

·                     a request for exemption from SATs had been submitted to the examination Board for a pupil with an Education, Health and Care Plan. Care would be taken to ensure that this would be handled in a sensitive way, ensuring the pupil did not feel excluded from those taking the test;

 

·                     a lot of work has been put into KS4 for improvement.  All year 11s had been offered an Easter revision programme but only one student had taken up the opportunity;

 

·                     the figures for fixed term exclusions had almost halved compared to the same period the previous year.  The officer would investigate which practices had resulted in this good improvement;

 

·                     it was disappointing that only 49% of Personal Education Plans (PEP) were in place.  Factors included schools not completing the educational aspects of the PEPs, issues around monitoring by the Virtual School and a shorter term.  Further work needed to be done with schools. 

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

(1)          the report be noted;

 

(2)          the Annual report on the Virtual School be submitted to the June meeting of the Panel.

94.

Update from Health pdf icon PDF 496 KB

Report of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

Minutes:

The Panel received a report detailing the health services provided to Children Looked After, existing processes and views about health assessments. 

 

It was noted that all targets had been met in January and February 2016. Monthly breach reports were produced should timescales not be met.

 

Attention was drawn to the following:

 

·                     a GP with special interest (GPwSI) started in March.  The Designated Doctor and Medical Advisor for Hillingdon was covering the role for Harrow whilst the GPwSI was trained;

 

·                     a Handy Hints leaflet and interpreter tick sheet has been produced, and was currently being trialled;

 

·                     an innovative practice whereby three young people who had refused to engage with their health assessments had been asked to complete a written book about their health had been successful as one  young person had  completed the health assessment  booklet;

 

·                     the service would be represented at a meeting with Harrow officers in March regarding health passports for care leavers;

 

·                     the results of a Client Satisfaction Audit would be submitted to the Panel;

 

·                     the officer undertook to provide information on the number of children referred to CAMHS.

 

In response to a question regarding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the Panel was informed that it was discussed during health assessments and, referrals were made to GP or for counselling if appropriate.  A Member referred to a film on FGM which was being trialled at Rooks Heath School and which could be of use to the Designated Nurse.

 

RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

95.

Verbal Report from Members on their visit to Gayton Road

To receive a verbal report from councillors.

Minutes:

cThe Portfolio Holder for Children and Families and Councillor Christine Robson reported on a visit to the hostel for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers in Gayton Road on 3 March 2016.

 

The Members reported that they were impressed with the quality of provision with each of the 30 young people having their own room and having access to kitchen/dining facilities.  The manager escorted members around the premises and provided an information pack which could be of interest to the Panel.  The emphasis was for the young people to feel safe, comfortable, clean and able to have an education.  The Members met young people who were confident and settled in this hostel.

 

In response to a question, it was reported that the residents were aged between 18 and 25 years old, and were from various countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and Afghanistan.  A high priority was given to education and a large number attended Harrow College.

 

RESOLVED:  That the verbal report be noted.

96.

Agenda Tracker pdf icon PDF 7 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the agenda tracker be updated in line with Members’ comments.

 

 

Agenda

15 June 2016

Update/progress on Leisure and Cultural activities for Looked After Children

 

Six monthly report on Care Leavers Employment, Education and Training (EET) – General Update

 

Six monthly report on School Attendance for Looked After Children

 

Coram Partnership 10 Year Anniversary :  draft of event and invitation

25 October 2016

Full Report on Results and Annual Report on Virtual Schools

 

High Costs Placements Monitoring:  Review and Update

10 January 2017

 

28 March 2017

Corporate Parenting Strategy

To be allocated

Annual report on Housing for LAC

 

97.

Any Other Urgent Business

Which cannot otherwise be dealt with.

Minutes:

The officers advised the Panel of the following:

 

·                     an event was proposed for September to celebrate the 10 years of the partnership with Coram to which the Panel would be invited.  Draft arrangements for the event would be reported to the June meeting of the Panel and suggestions were sought from the Panel;

 

·                     the next meeting of Beyond Limits was on 28 April. Leaflets would be produced;

 

·                     a copy of the CLA participating newsletter was available.

 

The Chair referred to the stall outside the entrance to the Council Chamber where young people displayed their work for Members to see in their capacity as Corporate Parents before they went into the Council meeting.  This had previously taken place in July but the next meeting was September 2016.  It was agreed that this would take place and that some of the young people be encouraged to be in attendance.