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The Minutes of the meeting held on 1 June 2015 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.
The minutes relating to the Children, Young People and Families Portfolio which had been considered by the Executive Board since the last meeting of the Board, were attached at Appendix 1 for information.
RESOLVED: That the minutes be noted.
The minutes of the Halton Children’s Trust meeting held on 23 June 2015 were submitted to the Board for information.
RESOLVED: That the minutes be noted.
The Board received a presentation SEND Reforms and the preparation in place for a local area inspection expected to occur any time after May 2016.
Members were informed that the evaluations of a future inspection would include: effective identification of need; effectiveness in meeting needs; local arrangements to achieve better identification; and outcomes and the overall effectiveness of the area in meeting its responsibilities. The importance of the role that schools would play in the identification of need was noted.
It was reported that the inspection arrangements details would be as follows:
· All local areas will be inspected, with an inspection interval of up to 5 years;
· Inspection teams would include a HMI, a CQC Inspector and a local authority inspector;
· There would be monitoring inspection visits for areas found not to be good and re-inspection for inadequate areas;
· Inspectors would review available national data as part of their preparation, including within area inspection outcomes from CQC and Ofsted;
· Fieldwork would include discussions with elected members, key local area officers from health, education and social care, meetings with leaders of early year settings, schools and colleges;
· Strong emphasis would be placed on gathering the views of young people and parents and carers;
· Visits would be made to a range of providers. The visits would not inspect the provision but focus on the effectiveness of the area’s arrangements; and
· As appropriate the findings of the area inspection would contribute to other CQC and Ofsted inspection activity.
Members were presented with some possible questions that could be asked during an inspection and these were discussed.
Further to Members’ queries, the following was noted:
· The DfE had discussions with Officers regarding resolving their approach to ensure the graduated approach was used in schools and settings and had shared ideas with them on how to progress this;
· Schools were being encouraged to ensure they were carrying out their duties with regard to SEND Support in Schools and it was suggested that school governors be informed of this responsibility;
· The risk of financial abuse taking place for people with personal budgets has been discussed and it was noted that staff were able to monitor the systems being used and did have the authority to withdraw funding at any time if they suspected this was happening to any client; and
· An update on Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool (POET) was requested for the next meeting.
RESOLVED: That the presentation be received.
The Board received an update on the activity of the Domestic Abuse Family Support service during its first year.
The Board was advised that in November 2013, Halton Borough Council commissioned Core Assets Children’s Services to deliver a new domestic abuse service for children, young people and families experiencing domestic abuse to ensure a co-ordinated approach for families. It was reported that the service provided information, advice and direct support to families in a variety of methods. It worked directly with parents to reduce the impact of domestic abuse on parenting capacity, helping them to understand and address the impact on the child’s behaviour, both individually and in groups. It also afforded children and young people, who had lived/were living with domestic abuse, opportunities to share their feelings in an environment which was safe, through a discreet Art Therapy service, as well as within Child Safety Planning work. The service also supported HBC Children’s Social Care with the Cheshire and Merseyside Local Authority Pre-Proceedings Protocol.
The report provided Members with details of staffing of the service and provided an overview of activity the team had seen.
It was noted following a Member query that the schools of children who were using the service were aware if a child of theirs was receiving this support and that in fact work was carried out within the school setting as well.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) notes the positive developments in the Domestic Abuse Family Support Service;
2) notes the potential cost effectiveness of the Domestic Abuse Service in diverting children from care; and
3) notes that work will be undertaken with service users to input into the design of the new commission for 2016.
The Board received a presentation on the emerging picture of Halton’s educational attainment. It was noted however that the information was based upon un-validated and provisional data which was subject to change. Members were advised that the validated national results would not be available until the publication of the Department for Education (DfE) statistical first releases.
In summary the presentation included:
· Early Years Foundation Stage Profile;
· Good Level of Development in EYFS;
· Children in Care – EYFS;
· Phonics results and Children in Care (CIC) Phonics Results;
· Key Stage 1 results in reading, writing and maths;
· Key Stage 1 results for CIC;
· Key Stage 2 headlines – results at Level 4 and Level 5;
· Key Stage 2 for CIC progress;
· GCSE; English Baccalaureate; and A Level Headlines.
Officers advised that following the release of the DfE statistics, the updated information would be reported in the next quarterly monitoring report.
RESOLVED: That the Board note the presentation.
The Board received a report from the Strategic Director, Children and Economy, which provided an update and feedback of compliments made by clients and positive feedback from workers/professionals relating to the Children and Enterprise Directorate.
It was noted that the information in the report was accepted as the mechanism by which the Senior Management Team was kept informed and that this information was used to develop services.
The report contained information on the number of compliments year by year; a breakdown of compliments and positive feedback over the years; compliments made broken down into departments; and compliments made in Children and Families showing year by year. The report also detailed some clients’ comments that were received in the form of letters, cards, emails and texts with regards to:
· Child Protection and Children in Need;
· Children in Care;
· Team Around the Family;
· The Education, Inclusion and Provision Department; and
· Economy and Enterprise Department.
Members noted that staff benefitted from receiving compliments as it was proof that their efforts were appreciated and made them feel valued and that compliments were also a powerful tool in motivating continued efforts.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
The Board received the Annual Report – Comments, Complaints and Compliments relating to Child Social Care Services (1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015).
It was reported that the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure was for Children and Young People to have their concerns resolved swiftly and wherever possible by the people who provided the service locally. The report provided an analysis on complaints processed under this and included information such as:
· Numbers of complaints;
· Who the complaints were made by;
· How the complaints were made;
· Types of statutory complaints made;
· Outcomes of complaints at various stages; and
· Timescales involved;
1) the Board accepts the report as the mechanism by which the Local Authority is kept informed about the operation of its complaints procedure for Children in Social Care; and
2) the Board notes that the Annual Report evidences how feedback from service users has been used to improve service delivery.
The Board received the Performance Management Reports for Quarter 1 of 2015-16 and were requested to consider them and raise any questions or points of clarification required.
It was noted that the key priorities for development or improvement in 2015-18 were agreed by Members and included in Directorate Plans, for the various functional areas reporting to the Board as follows:
· Children and Families Services; and
· Education, Inclusion and Provision
The report detailed progress against service objectives and milestones and performance targets and provided information relating to key developments and emerging issues that had arisen during the period.
RESOLVED: That the Policy and Performance Board receive the first quarter performance management reports.