Venue: Woodside Room - George Meehan House, 294 High Road, N22 8JZ. View directions
Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer
Note: Due to current high levels of Covid infections, this meeting will be fully online. To watch the meeting please click on the link on the agenda front sheet
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.
The Chair referred Members present to agenda item 1 in respect of filming at this meeting. Members noted the information contained therein.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chiriyankandath and James and Ms Denny.
ITEMS OF URGENT BUSINESS
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.
To approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
That the minutes of the meeting of 18 November 2021 be noted.
HARINGEY SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN'S PARTNERSHIP - ANNUAL REPORT
To consider the Annual Report of the Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Partnership. (TO FOLLOW)
David Archibald, the Independent Chair, reported on the progress made by Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Partnership since its inception. The new arrangements had been implemented from September 2019. There were now three agencies that were equally accountable for safeguarding children. These were the Council, the Police and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This was a significant change and a lot of preparatory work had been necessary, including publication of what the new arrangements were. There was a requirement for them to include independent scrutiny.
The partnership was required to produce an annual report. This was being prepared and would be available in due course. It would cover the eighteen month period between the implementation of the new arrangements and March 2021. The partnership had been developing well but the Covid pandemic had had a severe impact. The partnership had responded strongly to it and increased the frequency of its meetings to ensure that safeguarding was maintained and temporary arrangements put in place by agencies were shared with partners.
The partnership aimed to promote excellent joint working between partners and inspire public confidence. There was joint and equal accountability between statutory partners. The Council provided approximately 80% of the budget. In addition to the amounts in the budget, contributions in kind were also received from agencies. There had been 10,700 contacts in the previous year. The highest number of these had come from the Police. There had been 2,877 referrals, compared to 3,612 in the year before. Performance data was monitored to identify patterns and regular audits undertaken to promote challenge and learning. National guidelines were followed in respect of serious incidents. There were currently two Serious Case Reviews in progress. Reviews such as these were now to be replaced by Practice Reviews. When the Covid-19 pandemic had started, business continuity plans had been developed to ensure that children remained safeguarded. Major efforts were made to ensure that children were still seen. 33 multi-agency training events had been held during the year and the feedback from these had been positive.
There were three specific themes within the priorities for the forthcoming year. These were:
· Children living with mental health issues;
· Prevention and early intervention; and
· Older children in need of help and protection and contextual safeguarding, including exploitation.
The partnership would also be looking at the following with other strategic partnership boards:
· Transitional Safeguarding with the Safeguarding Adults Board;
· Neglect with the Early Help and Health & Wellbeing Boards; and
· Stop and Search with the Community Safety Partnership.
In answer to a question regarding whether the new arrangements were sufficiently robust yet to safeguard children effectively, Mr Archibald stated that the three strategic partners were now working more closely together than in the past. There was always room for improvement though. It was widely accepted that the best systems protected children by reducing levels of harm done but it was not possible to reduce this to zero. The partnership was learning from audits and feedback. The Covid-19 pandemic had proven to be a ... view the full minutes text for item 42.
Scrutiny of the 2022/23 Draft Budget/5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy (2022/23-2026/27) PDF 385 KB
To consider and comment on the Council’s 2022/23 Draft Budget/5-year Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2022/23 – 2026/27 proposals relating to Children and Young People.
Josephine Lyseight, Head of Finance (People), reported that that the budget proposals for 2022/23 included growth spending of £11.8 million across the Council. There were also existing savings plans of £12 million, including £4.72 that concerned children and young people. Short term use of reserves had made the growth proposals possible. They assumed a Council Tax increase of 1.99% plus a 1% Adult Social Care precept. The funding for children and young people included social care grant funding.
The Quarter Two financial position showed a Council wide overspend of £23 million, £12.87 million of which was Covid related. The respective figures for Children and Young People (C&YP) were an overspend of £7 million, £3 million of which was from Covid. The Dedicated Schools Grant showed an overspend of £6.3 million. This key driver for this was the increased number of children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. The proposals provided growth funding for C&YP of £4.172 million in 2022/23 and £5.376 million during the MTFS period. There were also savings of £1.679 million in 2022/23 and £2.039 million for the period as a whole. The capital budget included £92.9 for C&YP services during the MTFS period, which was funded by government grant and borrowing. There was one new scheme included within this, which was for a new in-borough residential care home, which would provide high quality provision at a lower cost. The projected year end deficit of the DSG was £23.9 million. The total within the DSG for the forthcoming year was £288.34 million.
Panel Members commented that the language that was used in the report to describe the reasons for the overspend in the High Needs Block of the DSG could be open to the misinterpretation that children with EHC plans were being blamed. An overspend was inevitable as SEN was inadequately funded by central government. It was demand led and the Council had a responsibility to deliver services.
Councillor Zena Brabazon, the Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Families, stated that the cause of the overspend was that there was insufficient funding from the government and there was no intention to blame families. The responsibility for providing support had been extended until the age of 25 for some young people but no additional funding had been provided. Families had a legal right to support and it was a demand led service. It was welcome that families had rights and the Council wished to avoid cases being referred to a tribunal. The government had pledged to review special needs funding but this had yet to happen. The issue was not unique to Haringey as every other local authority was in a similar position. Ann Graham, the Director of Children’s Services, stated that she would speak with finance colleagues to see if alternative language could be used in future regarding this. She reported that there was also an overspend in the budget for looked after children but there was no blame attached to ... view the full minutes text for item 43.
Children's Social Care: Annual Report 2020 PDF 2 MB
To consider and comment on the Annual Report for Children’s Social Care.
Beverly Hendricks, Assistant Director for Safeguarding and Social Care, stated that the report covered improvements that had taken place as well as areas where further development was required. There had been considerable work undertaken to stabilise the workforce as this had been a cause for concern, with an excessively high percentage of agency staff within the service in 2018/19 This had now been brought down to 23%. A number of initiatives had been undertaken to achieve this, including the relaunch of the recruitment and retention strategy. Specific work had also been undertaken to support the emotional resilience of staff. There was strong collaboration between the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and Early Help and this had been commented on by Ofsted. All partners worked well together and not merely the three statutory ones. The National Panel had commented that the decision making of the MASH was timely, appropriate and strong following its recent visit. It had also been identified as a significant strength by Ofsted during its visit in 2019. There had also been continued good performance on assessments, with consistent timelines. Audits on quality had taken place and the learning from these had been incorporated into training. The stability of placements had been largely maintained. Children were in stable foster care placements and assessments for adoption were undertaken in a timely manner. In addition, the range of placements that were offered was being widened.
There had been an adverse court judgement in respect of the disabled children’s team (DCT) in 2020. In response to this, three independent experts had been commissioned to undertake a thorough review. Their report to Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Partnership had stated that there were no systemic practice issues. Data also showed that there continued to be a proportionate response to concerns. Caseloads were complex but manageable. The service had developed strong links with special schools. In addition, the DCT sought the views of parents and this included a survey of them.
The Panel commended the service for the progress made in improving the stability of the workforce and training. This was especially commendable in view of the difficulties that there were in recruiting staff at the current time.
HMIP Thematic Inspection on "The experiences of black and mixed heritage boys in the youth justice system PDF 458 KB
To consider the outcome of the HMIP Thematic Inspection into “The experiences of black and mixed heritage boys in the youth justice system” April – June 2021.
Jackie Difolco, Assistant Director: Early Help, Prevention and SEND, reported on the outcome of the HMIP Thematic Inspection of “The experiences of black and mixed heritage boys in the youth justice system”. Haringey was one of nine local authorities inspected at and one of three youth justice services in London.
The report highlighted key factors young people experienced, including:
· Multiple adverse childhood experiences;
· High levels of need, such as special educational needs (SEN) and mental health difficulties;
· High rates of school exclusion, poor attainment and evidence of SEN not being fully addressed;
· Almost a third had been victims of child criminal exploitation;
· Experience of racial discrimination;
· A third of the boys had been subject to Child in Need or Child Protection plans;
· In over a quarter of cases, young people had a disability; and
· Lived in areas of economic deprivation.
There were 18 recommendations, including four that were specifically for local authorities. There was positive feedback on the findings within Haringey’s Youth Justice Service. This included:
· Implementation of cultural change;
· Focussed on and utilising a “child first” approach;
· Evidence of robust work to address disproportionality;
· Embedded specific interventions to improve the experience and outcomes for the black and mixed heritage boys; and
· High levels of motivation and confidence amongst staff.
Haringey had also been identified as an example of good practice in a case study that was reflected within the thematic inspection report. Haringey Youth Justice was also featured within a national Effective Practice Guide published by the Youth Justice Board.
There were four areas that were flagged up as requiring improvement though and work was taking place to address these. An in-depth partnership plan had been developed and examples of actions and work completed to date included:
· Partners using their own data to help inform work and better understand how individual improvements could be made to address disproportionality;
· A new quality assurance tool had been developed which included a focus on how ethnicity and diversity was considered and informed planning and interventions;
· A “temperature check” had been conducted with staff to explore how they were engaging with fathers to support improving outcomes;
· Where young people had been stopped and searched by the Police, this was now recorded as a “significant life event” to ensure that young people were able to talk about their experience, the impact it had on them and used to inform planning and interventions; and
· Commitment to ensure that more mental health, speech and language support was provided.
The Panel commended the service for the good work that had been highlighted in the report. Members commented that youth justice plans were not always shared with parents. Stop and Search had also been a big issue in the past but the situation may have deteriorated so needed to be addressed. It was also felt important that data was not only kept but also acted upon. The importance of diversionary projects was also highlighted.
Ms Difolco reported that plans were routinely shared with parents in Haringey. There were ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
Work Programme Update PDF 292 KB
To consider the future work plan for the Panel.
That the work plan and the proposed items for the next meeting be noted.