Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Woodside Room George Meehan House - Outside Venue. View directions

Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 

Note: To watch, click the link on the agenda front sheet 

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.


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


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Dixon and Ms Jakhu and Ms Jhunjhunwala.


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).




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.





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




Minutes pdf icon PDF 273 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting on 20th July 2021.


In respect of item 8 and the reference to the inclusion of refugee and migrant support within the terms of reference, Panel Members queried where responsibility for the support of adults lay.  Ann Graham, Director of Children’s Services, reported that her department was only in a position to report on support for children. Councillor Zena Brabazon, Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Families stated that she was happy to provide an update on support provided for Afghan refugees, including that provided for both children and adults.  The Panel suggested that one option would be for this to be an item on a future joint meeting of the Children and Young People’s and the Adults and Health panels. 




That the minutes of the meeting of 20 July 2021 be approved.


Financial Monitoring pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive an update on high level financial performance for the service and scrutinise how this meets organisational priorities.



Josephine Lyseight, Head of Finance (People), reported on the current budgetary position of the Children’s Service.  There was currently a projected overspend of £5.82 million.  £3 million of this was related to Covid expenditure.  The key areas where pressures were being felt were Safeguarding and Social Care, which had an overspend of £4.1 million, and Prevention and Early Help, which had an overspend of £1.5 million. 


The pressures in Safeguarding and Social Care were due to the increased number of placements and placement complexity, resulting in higher unit costs of care and increased staffing and legal costs.   The pressures in Early Help and Prevention were due to Special Educational Needs (SEN) transport and anticipated income pressures in Nursery and Children’s centres. 


Work was taking place with the Commissioning Service to mitigate the rising costs of placements, which reflected a national supply and demand issue.  Action included developing relationships with new providers and working to increase the capacity of the brokerage service to secure and negotiate placements at the best possible price. 


In respect of SEN transport, the pressures arose from an increase in demand of 10%.  In response to this, routes had been re-procured and this had reduced costs by 10%.  There was also new route mapping software and action was being undertaken to reduce the number of costly out-of-borough placements. 


In respect of the savings that were approved as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), all of these were currently forecast to be delivered.   Mitigations would be put in place and replacement savings found in the event of this position changing.  


As in Period 3, the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) budget was forecasting an in-year overspend of £6.58m.  All of this originated from the High Needs Block (HNB) and the main reason for this remained the increasing number of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP).  Approximately 25% of looked after children now had an EHCP.  A DSG Management Plan was being produced with various stakeholders and would also be shared with the DfE.  Whilst Council actions would mitigate the level of overspend, it would not still not be sufficient to bring annual spend within allocated budgets.  This was due to the significant difference between government funding and demand for services within the HNB.


John O’Keefe, Head of Finance (Capital, Place and Regeneration) reported that the Capital Programme had been reviewed and re-profiled so that the funds were still available for works to be carried out in future years.  The funding for primary school repairs and maintenance had not been re-profiled though as the work that this covered was highly reactive in nature.   The funding for this had been kept in the current budget so that the Corporate Landlord function could respond to demands as and when they arose. Secondary School modernisation and enhancement programme had also not been re-profiled due to uncertainty regarding the works that needed to be done.  Funds for this had been retained in the budget so Project Managers could deliver on schemes as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Support to Refugee Afghan Children

To receive an update and comment on arrangements for providing support to children from Afghan refugee families.


Charlotte Pomery, Assistant Director for Commissioning, reported on the assistance that was being provided for Afghan refugees by the Council and its partners.  She reported that there were currently two schemes in operation:

·         The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Programme, which was for households of individuals who had worked alongside British Forces; and

·         The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, which was aimed at people most at risk from the new regime.


People on both schemes were given indefinite leave to remain and were also able to claim benefits as soon as they arrived.  They also received the same package of support, which was funded by the Home Office.   There were 12,000 refugees currently staying in bridging hotels and they were now all out of quarantine.   Long term accommodation was now being sought.   Haringey had pledged to take four families from each of the two schemes.  There was a Haringey Welcome Advisory Board of the Council and its partners, which aimed to coordinate support.  There were currently no bridging hotels in Haringey and no refugees had yet been allocated to Haringey.  The Council was working closely with the Home Office regarding the relocation process.


Annual Youth Justice Plan 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To consider and comment upon the Annual Youth Justice Plan for 2021-22.

Additional documents:


Jackie Difolco, Assistant Director – Early Help, Prevention and SEND, reported on the Annual Youth Justice Plan for 2021/22.  It was the duty of each local authority to develop such a plan and it had already been approved by the Haringey Youth Justice Partnership Board and submitted to the national Youth Justice Board (YJB).


The Panel noted that the Youth Offending Service was subject to inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP). The most recent inspection had taken place in 2012 but the service had undergone a thematic inspection in May 2021 on the support and supervision provided for black and mixed heritage boys and young men. Haringey had been one of nine local authorities selected from across the country and one of three London boroughs. The inspection had taken place from the 17th to 21st May and involved interviews with staff, young people and partners as well as a review of cases. Findings from the inspection were expected to be published later in the year.


The plan covered what had happened in 2021 and what the service intended to do in 2022.  In 2021, the cohort of young people who were supported by the service represented less than 1% of their local population.  There had been 232 young people who had come into contact with the service, including 86 first time entrants and 10 who had received custodial sentences.  The figures were lower than previous years but higher than the borough’s family group of comparable authorities and neighbouring boroughs.  There had been a 12% reduction in offending, which equated to 58 fewer offences. 


Key priorities and outcomes were outlined in the Plan.  Good progress had been achieved so far in respect of a number of priorities, although this may have been influenced by the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic.  There was a projected reduction of 6% in young people becoming first time entrants to the criminal justice system, equating to 81 young people.  The reoffending rate had gone down to 24%, which was the lowest on record and below the target of 40%.  There was also predicted to be a reduction of young in custody of 30% or 14 young people, compared with a target of 16 and 20 for the previous year. 


The service was undertaking a more systemic approach to youth justice practice and adopting a “whole family” approach.  A parents “Think Space” had been developed and they were currently looking at pathways within Family Support and Youth Services to provide a more joined up approach to family work and targeting the needs of siblings of young people who offended.  Work was also taking place to develop a process for involving fathers or father figures of young people who offended.  In addition, the service had been chosen for a pilot project that focused on its link with Alternative Provision and how young people could be supported better in getting back into mainstream education.  The service was also represented on a newly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Missing Children pdf icon PDF 463 KB

To consider and comment on work undertaken by the Council and its partners to address the vulnerabilities of children and young people who are at risk and who go missing from home or care in Haringey


Pauline Morris, Head of Service (SQIP), reported that safeguarding partners supported and had adopted the protocols relating to missing children, which had been reviewed earlier this year.  Training on the updated protocol was taking place and included the actions supporting it.   She outlined some of the achievements that had been made by the Council and its partners, which included:

·         The development of a missing children app by Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Partnership, which was a self-reporting tool and enabled young people to activate support from across the partnership and to request a return home interview;

·         Widening the quarterly reporting from partners to provide analysis of key themes and issues in order to better understand child sexual and criminal exploitation; and

·         Repurposing the Family Network meetings to provide opportunities for looked after children to develop their care plans and shape their contact arrangements safely.


She reported that there had been improvements in the following areas:

·         Recording and compliance;

·         Management of missing and high-risk cases, through the monthly Vulnerability, Violence and Exploitation Prevention Panel  meetings;

·         Monthly MACE meetings considered intelligence around the problem profiling victims, offenders, locations, and themes (VOLT); and

·         The Virtual School lead for Haringey received daily data on missing children and is routinely invited to all missing strategies for looked after children.


Looked after children were most at risk from going missing. Children reported as missing were likely to be involved with “county lines” and local low level drug distribution. A disproportionate percentage of young people who were reported missing were from Black and Minority Ethnic communities. The number of looked after children reported missing remained highest amongst the 15 to 17 age group. Between April 2020 and March 2021, there were a total of 806 missing episodes reported, involving 190 children.  The service were aware of the identities of the children who most frequently went missing and provided a range of support to them. 


All children who went missing were offered a return home interview but not all took up the offer.  Refusal was most common amongst older children.  Amongst children living at home, either the parent or the child could refuse the offer.  Return home interviews were only effective if follow up support was offered that addressed the reasons for them absconding.  This may include a reassessment, initiating a team around the family, referral to a specialist service such as CAMHS or involvement of colleagues from the voluntary agencies. The needs and intervention plans of young people considered to be at highest risk were considered at the Edge of Care Panel.  56% of missing children were male and 44% female.  The majority of children who went missing were absent for less than 24 hours.  


In answer to a question, she stated that main reasons that young people returned after going missing was that they had accomplished the task that they had set out to do or that they had been won round by continued contact from the service.   In answer to another question, she stated that some young  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To consider the future work plan for the Panel.

Additional documents:


The Panel noted that the final report of the review on schools was currently being drafted.  A meeting between the Chair and officers in the Children and Young People’s Service was in the process of being arranged to discuss the possible scope and terms of reference for the proposed review by the Panel on child poverty.  Work on such a review would need to be completed quickly in order to ensure that it could be approved by the end of the current administration.  The scheduling of items  for the remaining meetings for the year, including the agenda for the next meeting of the Panel, would be finalised following discussion between the Chair and relevant officers.


New items of urgent business

To consider any items admitted at item 3 above.