Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, to present the report.
Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, introduced the report.
A member said that he recognised that a lot of work was being done to turn around Children’s Services but he noted that the recent Ofsted progress letter had identified concerns that a number of children continued to have multiple Social Workers. He asked what steps were being taken to address this issue.
Cllr Boyles stated that Advanced Practitioners were in place in each team to work with colleagues and understand caseloads. He was pleased that 75% of team managers were now Council employees rather than agency staff. Work was being undertaken with a specialist recruitment company to find people for the remaining posts. He said that management information was being strengthened to make sure that there was a robust monitoring process in place to allow concerns to be identified.
RESOLVED to note the report.
Report from Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.
Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, referred to the issues facing children-in-care in terms of their healthcare. He provided information on the services that were in place including the introduction of dedicated children-in-care nurses from January 2018.
A member expressed concern that the recent press release on Children’s Services did not reflect the concerns expressed by Ofsted. He did not believe that members were being kept informed of developments and questioned whether the Improvement Board was working as it should be.
Cllr Boyles advised that regular reports were provided in Members’ Matter to ensure that all members were kept up-to-date on the latest developments. He assured the member that there was no complacency amongst the members of the Improvement Board or senior staff. He said that nothing was being hidden and the issues identified by Ofsted were being addressed.
Answering further questions, Cllr Boyles advised that all the agencies involved had signed up to a data sharing agreement. This meant there should be no delays in providing information as a result of the requirements of the Data Protection Act and related legislation. He said that efforts were being focused on the needs of individuals which followed the core principles of the NHS England pilot ‘My plan, my life’. He explained that the number of children in custody was falling and the Police were aware of the need for children to be dealt with in an appropriate manner with proper representation. He stated that he did not wish to interfere with the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner but the Council was prepared to provide support where necessary.
In light of the importance of the issue, two members called for oral updates on the Ofsted Improvement Plan to be made at each full Council meeting.
Cllr Brian Robinson, the Chairman of the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee, advised that the committee looked at the Improvement Plan at each meeting with members given the opportunity to ask questions of the Cabinet Member.
Cllr Boyles said that he would seek guidance on the best approach to reporting to members in future.
RESOLVED to note the report.