Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 19th September, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE

Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 


No. Item



Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 


By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.


The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.

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The Chair referred Members present to item 1 on the agenda in respect of filming at the meeting and Members noted the information contained therein.


Apologies for absence

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chiriyankandath and Dixon, Mr Chapman and Ms Davin.


Items of Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).

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Declarations of interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:


(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

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To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.

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Minutes pdf icon PDF 167 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of 13 June 2019.

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That the minutes of the meeting of 13th June 2019 be approved.


Cabinet Member Questions - Children and Families

An opportunity to question the Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Councillor Zena Brabazon, on developments within her portfolio.


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The Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Councillor Zena Brabazon, reported on recent developments within her portfolio:

·         Good progress had been made in setting the new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements for the borough, which were due to be launched next week. The arrangements made the local authority, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Police equal partners;

·         She had recently attended a conference on Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) achievement in education. This was an issue of particular relevance to Haringey and she was proposing to hold an all Member event to consider the issue further once the data on summer exam results had been finalised;

·         In response to the Youth at Risk strategy, a review was taking place of Alternative Provision (AP);

·         There had been publicity recently regarding unregulated children’s homes.  She was aware that there were some of these within the borough.   This was an important issue and she felt that the government should be lobbied to take action regarding it.  In the meantime, she had asked the Children and Young People’s Service to find out the location of any such homes in Haringey;

·         The implementation of the Invest to Save programme that had been approved recently by Cabinet was proceeding.  This included action to improve Special Educational Need and Disability (SEND) transport which she acknowledged required improvement;

·         She was undertaking a programme of visits to schools and had recently visited Gladesmore School with Councillor Mark Blake as part of this.


The Panel noted that exam data from the summer was still being validated.  Eveleen Riordan, Assistant Director for Schools and Learning, reported that schools would be contacted regarding their results, especially where there had been under performance. 


In answer to a question, Councillor Brabazon reported that she would report back to the Panel on proposals for capital expenditure on schools, including clarification of the position regarding Fortismere School.   In answer to another question, she said that she was not aware of any proposals to close schools in the borough due to declining levels of intake.  She nevertheless felt that there needed to be discussion about the decline in pupil numbers, which was being experienced across the whole of London.  The borough now had additional school places that had been provided by free schools and these had taken pupils from community schools.  There were issues arising from churn and, in addition, housing also had a major impact.  She reported that there had been a useful meeting recently with schools and they would get some budgetary uplift as a result of the recent government announcement.  Haringey nevertheless already funded its schools well.  There would also be an increase of £4 million to the high needs block of funding.  In addition, an increase of 10p per hour had been agreed by the government for providers of the two-year-old early nursery care offer.  She noted the concerns that had been raised about the disproportionately large salaries that had been paid to senior executives of the Tri Borough Alternative Provision (TBAP) Multi Academy Trust,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Finance Update - Children and Young People pdf icon PDF 308 KB

To receive an overview of the financial performance of the services within the Children and Young People Service at the end of quarter 1 of 2019/20.


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Paul Durrant, Head of Finance and Business Partnering, reported that the budget for Children and Young, reported that there was predicted to be an underspend in the budget for children and young people of £246k.  This included provision for the £1.6m savings that had been agreed, which were currently mostly on track.  Safeguarding and Social Care showed an underspend of £72k whilst the figure of Prevention and Early was £131k.  In the event of an underspend, all Directors were able to make bids for the unused funds.


Ms Graham commented that the current projected underspend contrasted markedly with the overspend that took place last year.  There were a list of priority items within Children and Young People’s Services on which the underspend could potentially be used.  The intention was that the funding was kept within the service. 


The Cabinet Member commented that placements and staff provided the biggest pressures on funding.  Part of the Invest to Save programme included action to try and reduce the cost of placements. In terms of social worker staffing, it was critical that more permanent staff were recruited as this could save a lot of money.


New Multi Agency Safeguarding Arrangements pdf icon PDF 489 KB

To report on the new arrangements for Multi-Agency Safeguarding.

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Fatmir Deda, Strategic Safeguarding Partnership Manager, reported on the development in Haringey of new arrangements for multi-agency safeguarding following the abolition of local safeguarding children committees (LSCBs). These were now the joint responsibility of the Director Children and Young People’s Services, the Police Borough Commander and the Chief Operation Officer of Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).  The new arrangements were to be implemented on 29 September and transition was currently under way.  Funding had so far been the biggest challenge as there was no standard formula for how the costs would be shared.  


In answer to a question regarding early intervention, Ms Graham stated that multi-agency safeguarding might provide an area for further Invest to Save proposals.  In particular, the Cabinet Member was of the view that there would be benefit in focussing on the needs of those children in early years who were on the edge of care.   There was also a need to look at the top-up of the rate paid to providers of the two-year-old early entitlement offer.  In respect of the Youth at Risk strategy, alternative additional sources of funding were being sought. In particular, it was hoped that health colleagues would be able to contribute. 


The Cabinet Member commented that there was a need to pay providers of the two-year-old offer sufficient amounts to make it viable for them.  In addition, creative bids to provide young children on the edge of care with further support would also be welcome. Schools would be central to any such scheme.


In answer to a question, Ms Riordan reported that there were about 250 children in the borough who were home schooled and numbers were growing. Such arrangements were monitored regularly to ensure that they were adequate.






The Role of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Annual Report pdf icon PDF 646 KB

To consider activity by the LADO in the year April 2018 to March 2019, including themes identified in the annual report and conclusions from activity during the last year.  

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Sunita Khattra, Head of Service for Safeguarding, Quality Assurance and Improvement, reported that the recent OFSTED report on the Children and Young People’s Service had commented that the LADO service was effective and credible and that parents and professionals had confidence in it.  Sarah Roberts, the borough’s LADO, was considered to be a national expert in her field.


In answer to a question, Ms Khattra reported that there was no national benchmarking for performance but Haringey was receiving considerably more contacts than some neighbouring boroughs.  The largest number of contacts concerned those working in the education sector, followed by foster parents.  The response to reports was intended to be proportionate.  All allegations were subject to a risk assessment.  The service did not only seek to safeguard children but to also protect professionals against malicious allegations. 


Panel Members welcome the more measured approach to allegations against professionals as people’s careers could be damaged severely ones that were malicious.


Independent Review Officer (IRO) - Annual Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 801 KB

To consider the Annual Report of the IRO for 2018-19.

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The Panel noted that the role of the IRO involved testing plans for children that had been put together by social workers and team managers.  They also monitored implementation of plans and they had been encouraged to be challenging.


Ms Khattra reported that the recent OFSTED inspection had highlighted some areas where it was felt that the IRO service needed to be improved and these were currently being addressed.  Greater rigour and challenge were being developed in its approach, particularly in addressing drift and delay and ensuring that placements were appropriate.  Improvements were also being made to the MOSAIC IT system.  


Update on the Alternative Provision Review pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To consider progress with the review of alternative provision in Haringey and its implementation.

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Charlotte Pomery, Assistant Director for Commissioning, reported on the review of Alternative Provision (AP) that was currently taking place.  AP was used for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons would not otherwise receive suitable education.  It could play an important role in enabling children and young people to remain in mainstream schools.  Schools and AP providers had been visited as part of the review.  Processes and interventions had also been looked at as well as the reasons why school pupils might come to be excluded from school. 


She reported that the borough currently had 16 AP providers, some of which were within Haringey and some that were elsewhere.   In 2018/19, there had been 19 pupils who were placed in AP.   In addition, there were 50 pupils who attended the Octagon Pupil Referral Unit and the Council’s Tuition Service also provided for 55 pupils. 


The review had been timely as the National Review of Exclusions, led by Sir Edward Timpson, had recently been published.  In addition, the Council had also recently agreed its “Young People at Risk” strategy, which adopted a Public Health approach to improving outcomes.  Disproportionality was a particular concern and it had been noted that all of the young people currently at the Octagon Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) were from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.  Best practice from London and elsewhere had been looked at as part of the review.  The aspiration was for fewer children and young people to go through to the PRU.  A set of principles were being worked on and these would focus on needs rather than behaviour, although this was still important.   AP needed to be part of an overall support system. 


There was a long list of findings from the review to date.  Amongst these were the following:

·         Schools could move pupils to other schools to avoid exclusions.   There was nevertheless more that schools to do to avoid exclusions, such as reviewing behaviour policies and the use of restorative justice.   Inequalities also needed further consideration, including how unconscious bias could be avoided;

·         Some schools had adopted whole school approaches to autism, mental health and wellbeing and disability, but this was not consistent;

·         It was noted that a grant of £1m had been receded from NHS England to develop and test mental health support.  In addition, action had been taken to address waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS);

·         The primary outreach service was very well regarded and provided good advice and support to schools and staff teams.  However, there was no outreach service for secondary schools;

·         Gaps had been identified in AP for primary school children but the number of children requiring it was small; and

·         More could be done to obtain and listen to the voices of parents and carers. 


Information and data on the numbers and circumstances of managed moves or activities which could be seen as “off rolling” in the borough were not available although it was understood that both might  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


OFSTED Action Plan - Progress pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To report on progress with the implementation of the action plan arising from the Ofsted inspection of Children’s Social Care Services, that was completed on 9th November 2018.

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Ms Graham reported that significant progress had been made and nearly all items had either been completed or were on track to be completed.  There were only two items that were not progressing as anticipated and both of these were national issues that were beyond the Council’s control. 


The Panel congratulated officers on the progress that had been made.  Ms Graham stated that the challenge now was to ensure that progress was maintained and there was no slippage.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider an update on the work programme for 2018-20.

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The Panel discussed its work plan and, in particular, potential issues for future scrutiny reviews.  The following suggestions were made:

·         Looked after children;

·         The High Needs Block;

·         School structures;

·         SEND transport;

·         Engagement with parents; and

·         County lines.


It was agreed that Panel Members would meet separately to discuss further the work plan.




That an informal meeting of the Panel be arranged to discuss further the work plan.