Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Monday 18 September 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Jo Moore - 01452 324196 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Kathy Williams, Cabinet Member: Adult Social Care.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 162 KB

To confirm the minutes of the cabinet meeting held on 19 July 2017.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2017 were agreed and signed as an accurate record of that meeting.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Cabinet members are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.

 

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.

4.

Questions at Cabinet Meetings pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.

 

Written questions

 

To answer any written questions from a County Councillor, (or any person living or working in the county, or is affected by the work of the County Council), about any matter which relates to any item on the agenda for this meeting.

 

The closing date for the receipt of written questions is 4.00 pm on Tuesday 12 September 2017.

 

Oral questions

 

To answer any oral questions from members of the public. An oral question may be asked by a member of the public about any item on the agenda for this meeting, provided notice of the question is given by the questioner to the Chief Executive’s representative, at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

 

Depending on the nature of the questions, it may not be possible to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting, in which case a written answer will be provided as soon as reasonably possible after the meeting. Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be circulated prior to the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Public Questions

 

No public questions were submitted for consideration at this meeting.

 

Member Questions

 

A total of 6 member questions were submitted in advance of the meeting.

 

Please refer to the following link to view the responses to the questions: -

 

http://192.168.220.171:9071/documents/b13541/Cabinet%20Questions%20and%20Answers%20-%2018%20September%202017%20Monday%2018-Sep-2017%2010.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=9

 

If you are unable to access the document at the above link, please go to the link below and select the ‘Cabinet Questions and Answers’ PDF document at the top of the web page: - 

 

http://192.168.220.171:9071/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=117&MId=8858&Ver=4

 

The following supplementary questions were asked at the meeting.

 

Question 1: Cllr Kate Haigh

 

Agenda Item 5: Children’s Services Improvement Plan (page 11 of the agenda pack)

 

Splitting the supplementary question into two parts, Cllr Haigh referred to the update on the progress of the actions agreed at the extraordinary council on 28 June 2017, (Appendix 1), and questioned the use of wording relating to a meeting with the LGA, (Local Government Association), on 8 September 2017 to ‘discuss the practicalities of a cultural review alongside a Peer Challenge’. Cllr Haigh’s understanding was that the review would be ‘part’ of the Peer Challenge. 

 

Response by: Cllr Mark Hawthorne: Leader of Council

 

With the agreement of the Leader, Pete Bungard, (Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council), agreed to provide a further update on the Peer Challenge after the meeting.

 

In addition, the Chief Executive has since confirmed in an email to Cllr Haigh his acceptance of the terminology proposed by Cllr Haigh’s supplementary question and the suggestion that the wording in the briefing be amended to read ‘that the practicalities of a cultural review form part of the Peer Challenge’.

 

The second part of Cllr Haigh’s question expressed concern on how Gloucestershire’s Children’s Services engaged with local communities and how the council planned to work with local organisations and communities in the future.

 

Response by: Cllr Mark Hawthorne: Leader of Council

 

Cllr Hawthorne reflected on the areas for improvement that had been identified by the inspection report and said ‘he did not recall that this as an issue that had been flagged by the Ofsted Inspection’.

 

The Leader stated he was certain the council would continue it’s good work of engaging with local organisations and communities. In addition, the Improvement Advisor, (appointed by the Department of Education), would ensure best practice as part of his long-term commitment to the improvement of Children’s Services for Gloucestershire.

 

Question 2: Cllr Iain Dobie

 

Agenda Item 5: Children’s Services Improvement Plan (page 11 of the agenda pack)

 

Cllr Dobie thanked Cllr Boyles for the responses to his 5 questions on the Children’s Services Improvement Plan and to the responses provided at the Full Council meeting on 13 September 2017.

 

Relating his supplementary question to all 5 of his original questions, Cllr Dobie asked the Cabinet Member to ‘look him in the eye’ and ‘state man to man on behalf of all the vulnerable children in the care of the council and its officers’, if Cllr Boyles ‘personally believed the Children’s Services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Children's Services Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To approve the Children's Services Improvement Plan for submission to Ofsted. 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the Draft Children’s Services Improvement Plan, seeking approval of the plan for submission to Ofsted, following the outcome of the Inspection of Children’s Services in Gloucestershire in February 2017.

 

Having considered all of the information, including known proposals and the reasons for the recommendations, Cabinet noted the report and

 

RESOLVED to: - 

 

1)    Approve the Children’s Services Improvement Plan for submission to Ofsted, and

 

2)    Authorise the Interim Director of Children’s Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, to make any further minor changes to the plan as required by Ofsted.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the Draft Children’s Services Improvement Plan, seeking approval of the document for submission to Ofsted, following Ofsted’s inspection of Children’s Services for Gloucestershire in February 2017.

 

Cllr Boyles outlined the background to the decision, confirming that Gloucestershire’s Children’s Services had been inspected under the single inspection framework for inspecting local authority children's services. (Ofsted is the Independent Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills). The Ofsted inspection report, published on 13 June 2017, had rated Children’s Services in Gloucestershire inadequate overall.

 

On 10 August 2017, the Department of Education issued an Improvement Notice based on the findings of the Ofsted inspection report. The notice included a requirement for the council to address the Ofsted recommendations and to appoint an Improvement Adviser to support the change process. Ofsted and the Department of Education required the council to submit an Improvement Plan by 19 September 2017.

 

It was confirmed that, following submission of the document, Ofsted would review the Improvement Plan and provide feedback, with a possibility of making further recommendations. It was noted that the Improvement Plan was anticipated to be subject to further change.

 

Cllr Boyles confirmed that that the Improvement Plan was structured around 3 themes; i) Leadership and Management, (including Leadership and Governance, Culture, Management, Recruitment and Retention, and Performance and Quality; ii) Help and Protection and iii) Children in Care and Care Leavers.

 

Key Directors and Senior Officers from Children’s Services would be responsible for implementation of the plan, including providing updates to the Improvement Board on progress made. Essex County Council, (the Council’s Improvement Partner), would work with the council to support the improvement process and to ensure the good services provided by Gloucestershire’s Children’s Services were robust enough to be sustained into the long term.

 

Cllr Boyles outlined some of the actions that had already been taken by the council to address the issues highlighted by the Ofsted Inspection. These included; a new leadership structure to support the necessary changes; focussing on the most at risk children; improving children’s protection practices and establishing robust and transparent quality and performance systems.

 

Responding to questions, Cllr Boyles gave an update on the new leadership team, including the role of Children’s Commissioning and the new Children and Young People’s Plan to be provided by Sarah Scott: Director of Public Heath. Cllr Tim Harman, Cabinet Member: Public Health and Communities, reinforced the relevance of the role and supported the intention to seek contributions from the Public Health Team.

 

The Cabinet Member gave an overview of key dates, including forthcoming discussions with Essex County Council, and confirmed a visit to Gloucestershire was anticipated in October 2017. 

 

Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, confirmed that, so far, an additional £9m of funding had been allocated to address areas identified as needing improvement. Cllr Boyles provided a breakdown of the funding as follows: -

 

Adoption/Fostering/Independent Reviewing Team                               £1.175m

Additional Social Workers                                                                          £2.460m

Intensive Recovery and Intervention Service                                         £1.4m  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.