Agenda and draft minutes

Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 8th March, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 

Note: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MGE0MzJlZDUtYjEzZi00YzZiLTk5NTgtMzY3YzBkYWI3NDM2%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%226ddfa760-8cd5-44a8-8e48-d8ca487731c3%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22ca51a886-64c6-4e53-a39f-67bee89fa2b9%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d&btype=a&role=a 

Items
No. Item

27.

FILMING AT MEETINGS

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.

Minutes:

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

28.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Ms Jakhu.

29.

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).

Minutes:

None.

30.

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.

Minutes:

None.

31.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

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

Minutes:

None.

32.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 157 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of 17 December 2021.

Minutes:

AGREED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of 17 December 2020 be approved.

33.

Cabinet Member Questions - Children and Families

An opportunity to question Councillor Kaushika Amin, the Cabinet Member for Children and Communities, on developments within her portfolio.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Kaushika Amin, the Cabinet Member for Children and Families, reported on key developments within her portfolio as follows;

·         Children had returned to school following the recent lockdown.   Schools had still been open during lockdown to accommodate vulnerable children, those without access to IT and children of key workers but now all other children were returning.  She had not yet received attendance figures but it was likely that they would follow a similar pattern to previous returns to school after lockdown, with attendance lower initially but picking up once parents and carers felt more confident;

·         Work had been undertaken to look different ways of providing IT support to enable children and families to better access remote learning.  A hardship fund had been developed to fund the purchase of laptops and the amount of equipment was slowly being built up.  Haringey Giving had contributed £24,000 of funding to this.

 

In answer to a question regarding SEND provision and parent and carer involvement, she reported that an organisation called Amaze had undertaken a review and its report had been published in July last year and shared with parent carers.  There were three key areas where improvements were recommended:

·         Closer working relationships needed to be developed between professionals and parents and carers;

·         A new parent/carer forum needed to be established; and

·         The new parent/carer forum needed to be able to provide information, guidance and support.

 

Engagement had taken place with parents and carers following the publication of the report by Amaze, facilitated by an independent chair.   Parents and carers had been very supportive of the proposals and opportunities had been provided for them to participate and contribute to their development. This included helping to design the new arrangements and developing the service specification.  Co-production had also taken place on the design of a new after school club for SEND children between 5 and 8 years old.  In addition, work was taking place to develop residential and non-residential respite for parents and carers.

 

In answer to a question regarding school funding, she stated that individual schools made their own arrangements for raising additional amounts and the Council was not party to information on how much they raised.  She would investigate what figures were available on total income and expenditure of schools and whether it was possible to calculate expenditure per pupil based on this.  Panel Members commented that the ability to raise additional funds was not equal.  Some schools had access to large top ups to their funding whilst others did not and this impacted on the educational experience of children in individual schools. The Cabinet Member acknowledged that there was inequality between schools.  Some were very good at raising additional money.  The ways in which they raised and spent money varied.  Money from fund raising was normally used to purchase things that schools would not otherwise receive.  She would raise the issue with the Assistant Director for Schools and Learning and Headteachers and provide a written response to the Panel in due course.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Haringey Safeguarding Children's Partnership

To receive a verbal update on progress from the Independent Chair, including the timeline for the Annual Report. 

 

 

Minutes:

David Archibald, Independent Chair of Haringey Safeguarding Partnership, reported that its first annual report was due in June 2021 and would cover the first 18 months of the new arrangements, which had begun in September 2019.  The key aspect of the new arrangements was the joint and equal responsibility of the three statutory partners, which were the Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Police. 

 

Strategic partners met regularly.  The Safeguarding Board had been retained but was now called the Leadership Group. This was working well and partnership working had improved.  Due to the pandemic, there had been more regular meetings of the Leadership Group to enable partners to update each other on matters such as staff absences, temporary measures, managing demand and referral sources.  The partnership was keen to ensure that safeguarding remained effective despite the impact of the pandemic.  There had been a particular focus on unseen children and a lot of work undertaken on monitoring.

 

The partnership included a number of sub-groups and efforts had been made to keep these going during the pandemic as they made an important contribution.  Business continuity plans of partners had been shared and the partnership had developed its own overall plan.   Partners had written to all front line staff emphasising the importance of continuity and of seeing children.  Training had been moved on-line and Section 11 audits had been completed as required. He felt that a good balance had been achieved between business as usual and responding to the challenges of the pandemic.  There was an expectation that there would be additional demand coming out of lockdown.  The effectiveness of the new safeguarding arrangements was being reviewed by the government and he felt that the partnership would be in a good position to respond to any recommendations.  It had a strong action plan and continued to work effectively.

 

In answer to a question, Mr Archibald stated that safeguarding partners everywhere were concerned about the impact of lockdown on unseen children.  The Safeguarding Partnership had been able to respond rapidly to the changing circumstances and make suitable adjustments. There had been some positives that had come from the use of virtual meeting technology though.  The relaxing of lockdown restrictions provided an opportunity not only to resume many things that had not been possible but to also keep the best parts of what had worked during lockdown.  It was likely that interactions would take place both face-to-face and virtually in the future. 

 

35.

Haringey Community Gold; Progress and Evaluation pdf icon PDF 353 KB

To consider progress with the Haringey Community Gold initiative.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Eduardo Araujo, Senior Tottenham Community Safety Manager, reported on progress with the Haringey Community Gold initiative. 

 

Addressing youth violence and reducing the number of young people entering the criminal justice system were key parts of the Borough Plan and the Young People at Risk strategy.  The initiative had received approval for grant funding from the Greater London Authority in November 2018. It supported young people at risk of exclusion and those involved in or on the periphery of criminality. The programme aimed to create a network of community organisations, support existing schemes and promote new initiatives.  There was a tailor made dedicated outreach service and a range of community based agencies that aimed to engage disenfranchised youth in a range of settings. The strengths based approach aimed to create practical pathways and maximise opportunities for young people to achieve their potential.

 

Performance in 2020 had proven to be reasonably successful.  There had been a target of 2000 for engagement and 2119 had been achieved.  809 individuals had completed activities against a target of 500.  209 young people had completed employability training.  There had been an increase in demand for mental health support, with the number of young people accessing services increasing from 14 to 41.   18 young people had become involved in the Youth Advisory Board, who was now meeting virtually and on a weekly basis.  Three quarters of young people that the initiative had engaged with were young black males between the ages of 14 and 18.  They came from all wards of the borough, with the largest number coming from Northumberland Park.  Some participants had also come from other boroughs due to the work that had taken place with the College of North East London (CoNEL), with the largest percentage coming from Enfield.  Referrals came from a wide range of sources and included several looked after children.

 

Moving forward, the initiative was looking to refresh its look and provide a clearer image.  Much of the work had moved on-line during the pandemic and there was a need to ensure that the initiative caught the attention of young people.   The programme had originally been designed to operate on a face-to-face basis and work had continued with schools during lockdown as well as outreach.  Evaluation of the first year of the initiative had given it bronze status and it was intended to achieve silver status for future years. 

 

In answer to a question, Eubert Malcolm (Assistant Director for Safer and Stronger Communities) stated that the Council’s Young People at Risk strategy sought to keep young people safe and out of criminality.  This was through early intervention and diversionary activities. A whole systems approach was being adopted and initiatives involved working with community groups, parents and young people.  The causes of serious youth violence were complex though and there were no easy answers.  Criminality had dropped by 14% in Haringey in the last year, which was one of the biggest reductions in London.   This included robbery and violent crimes.  A careful  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Haringey Child & Adolescent Mental Health and Well-Being in the Context of Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 559 KB

To receive a report on child and adolescent mental health and well-being in the context of Covid-19.

Minutes:

The Panel received a presentation on child and adolescent mental health from:

·         Kathryn Collin, Head of Children’s Commissioning, Haringey,  North Central London (NCL) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG);

·         Michele Guimarin, Joint Commissioning Manager for Vulnerable Children, LBH and NCL CCG; and

·         Andrew Smith, Project Manager for Children’s Mental Health, Haringey, NCL CCG.

 

Ms Collin reported that CAMHS delivered a wide variety of services that ranged from universal to targeted and specialist interventions.  The Trailblazer project was very important as it filled a gap in early help.  The prevalence of mental ill health was growing.   Services had remained open during lockdowns and the needs of the most vulnerable had been prioritised.  There had been a need to undertake work virtually and services had done their best to adapt.  Inequalities in access had nevertheless become apparent.  Trailblazer staff had been redeployed and worked on a new mental health and well-being help line for families that operated during the day from Monday to Friday. 

 

A One Stop Shop for help and advice had been created.  This included a web page covering the SEND Local Offer that had everything in one place. There had been 428 webpage hits in September 2020 and an average of 250 hits per month. Kooth was a national digital support service that had been commissioned in Haringey.  There had been wider promotion of it in the borough and this had led to a large increase in young people accessing the service.   It had a key role in providing support for children not accessing support through traditional therapy services and was especially well used by boys. 

 

There had been a number of training exercises and events, including bereavement training.   Schools were being supported, including through the provision of a “one-stop” referrals.  There had been increased one-off investment into Educational Psychology, Hope in Tottenham and Open Door counselling to make sure there was an expanded offer to meet growing demand.  There had also been investment in mental health crisis and liaison support at the North Middlesex Hospital.  There was also now a 24/7 crisis helpline for professionals as well as a Crisis Line for families and Out-of-Hours nursing support.  Unnecessary hospital admissions had been reduced by 75%.   

 

Services were working towards a four week waiting time and there was an Access Team providing triage and a single point of entry.  There was now a need to monitor waiting time for interventions and treatments after referral.  Most referrals were from professionals but self-referral was also possible.  Waiting times had reduced considerably, with Open Door seeing 75% of referrals within four weeks and Haringey CAMHS increasing the number it saw within four weeks from 25% to 55%.    People were currently more likely to keep appointments.  Demand for services was greatest in the most deprived areas of the borough.  52% of CAMHS service users were BAME and 75% of those who used the Trailblazer service.  88% of those who used the Crisis Service and 100% of Trailblazer service users had stated that they would recommend  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Early Years, Childcare and Education; key current issues pdf icon PDF 959 KB

To consider an update on early years, childcare and education.

Minutes:

Ngozi Anuforo, Head of Strategic Commissioning for Early Help and Culture, reported on current issues affecting early years education and childcare in the borough.  Local provision was diverse.  The sector had remained stable and had not suffered many closures following Covid so far. There had been a greater reliance on childminders to provide the necessary provision in the earlier part of last year.

 

The Council had a statutory duty to ensure that there was enough childcare in the borough and required to undertake a childcare sufficiency assessment every three years, with an update provided to the Cabinet Member each year.  The impact of the pandemic on the sector had been huge.  During 2020, the importance of childcare provision had been highlighted through its prioritisation for re-opening.  Funding to local authorities for free early education had continued and this was expected to be passed on by the Council to providers in the sector.  Provision had continued to be available during the summer for children of key workers and of those who were vulnerable.  During the autumn, the expectation had been that all provision would be open but it was recognised that there were likely to be fewer children attending than normal due to parental concerns and the re-opening of schools.  A stocktake had been undertaken to gain an understanding of the impact of Covid on the sector and there was also an ongoing conversation taking place with providers.  It was known that there were less children participating in the free early education offer.   Providers had also highlighted a decrease in the demand for paid for provision.  It appeared that there had been a change in the profile and needs of parents and that greater flexibility was now required.

 

Many providers were concerned about the economic viability of their businesses.  They had needed to make adaptations in order ensure safety.  Their capacity had shrunk to meet social distancing requirements, which had a financial impact on them.  There had also been staffing impacts due to sickness, self-isolation or vulnerability.   Providers who were maintained or voluntary or community sector did not meet the necessary profile to access government support.  A number had needed to close for periods or reduce capacity and had struggled to find the resources to pay for agency staff.

 

Some parents were reluctant to take up nursery places and this was more common in the disadvantaged areas of the community so could therefore include some of the children that the Council most wanted to support.  There was a need to build confidence amongst parents and alleviate their fears.  Some parents were now asking for funded provision only and not paid for services. This was linked to changing work patterns, furlough and redundancies.   There was a particular challenge in provision for children with SEND, where there had been a significant reduction in access.  The Council was looking to increase SEND capacity across the borough.  There was a clear need for more flexible childcare to respond to changing work patterns. It was also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 300 KB

To consider the future work plan for the Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel noted that the meeting was the last scheduled one of the current year.  The Panel’s review on schools required completion though and an informal meeting would be arranged to consider appropriate conclusions and recommendations.  The workplan for 2021/22 was currently under development.  A consultation meeting with representatives of the local community would be taking place on 16th March to obtain their views, including on what the Panel’s priorities should be and the suggestions that had so far been received.  Following this, an informal Panel meeting would be arranged with officers from the Children and Young People’s Service to obtain their input.  Specific consideration would need to be given to items for the first Panel meeting of 2021/22 and to the selection of a suitable issue to undertake an in-depth review.

 

It was noted that inspections by OFSTED had not taken place during lockdown.  An adapted methodology had been adopted when they had resumed in the autumn in order to address the challenges posed by Covid.  Inspection reports for individual schools and the local authority were available on the Ofsted website and a link to this would be circulated to Panel Members.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Panel notes the work programme for 2020-21 and the process for developing the work plan for 2021-22.