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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Moore  0207 527 3308

Items
No. Item

238.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Spall and Wayne.

239.

Declarations of Interest

If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.

 

If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.

 

*(a) Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

(b)  Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.

(c) Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.

(d) Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e) Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or longer.

(f)   Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

 (g) Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 

 

This applies to all members present at the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

240.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None.

241.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed that Ofsted’s inspection of Children’s Services had resulted in a ‘good’ rating. It was highlighted that the Islington had been rated ‘outstanding’ for Leadership, management and governance.

 

242.

Items for Call In (if any)

Minutes:

None.

243.

Public Questions

Minutes:

A member of the public asked if Islington Council had made any bids for the Strategic School Improvement Fund. In response, the Executive Member advised that an application had not been submitted as no Islington schools met the funding criteria, however the council would continue to keep this under review, as it was thought that some schools may meet the funding criteria in future. 

 

A member of the public asked how many children attending Islington schools had been deported since June 2015. In response, the Executive Member advised that data was not held on the number of deportations, however schools did notify Children’s Services when children moved abroad. This allowed the council to investigate if young people had been successfully enrolled at a school in another country. Children’s Services was aware of 40 instances of children moving abroad since June 2015.

 

A group of local parents provided an update on the proposed closure of Paradise Park Children’s Centre Café. The parents were very grateful that local ward councillors had awarded £20,000 to the Café  through Community Infrastructure Levy funding, and reported that the café was to re-open. The parents asked if it was possible for a condition to be attached to the funding, so that the café would be required to have a paid worker. In response, the Corporate Director of Children’s Services advised that she had recently reviewed the funding specification and confirmed that this would include provision for a paid worker.

 

A member of the public asked why the council could not fund transport to school for a child with autism. Officers advised that they would look into this individual case after the meeting.

 

 

244.

Vulnerable Adolescents Scrutiny Review: Scrutiny Initiation Document and Introductory Briefing pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Gallagher entered the meeting and it was noted that the committee was quorate.

 

a)    Scrutiny Initiation Document and Witness Evidence Plan

 

Lisa Arthey, Director – Youth and Communities, introduced the scrutiny initiation document and witness evidence plan.

 

The review was welcomed by officers, as joining up services for vulnerable adolescents was a priority area for Children’s Services.

 

The Committee expressed concerns about young people missing from home, care, or education, as this could be an indicator of other complex vulnerabilities.

 

The Committee noted the attainment gap of young people from certain BME and White Working Class demographic groups, and commented that these young people may also have specific vulnerabilities. It was requested that witness evidence included demographic statistics where relevant and appropriate. 

 

It was suggested that the Committee should be mindful of the Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee’s 2015/16 review of Knife Crime and Mobile Phone Theft, which reviewed some services for vulnerable young people. It was commented that the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee should be careful not to duplicate this work, and the previous review may have identified services or issues which would merit further investigation. 

 

As the review potentially covered a very broad area of work, the Committee was asked to specify which areas they wished the review to focus on. It was agreed that the review should have a particular focus on:

 

·         vulnerable adolescents who are missing from home, care, or education;

·         young people aged 10 to 13 years (but not exclusively);

·         the issues faced by vulnerable young adults and what services or actions would have helped them as younger adolescents;

·         the ‘child’s voice’ and how the council ensures that services for vulnerable adolescents are tailored to their specific needs;

·         the specific local causes of vulnerability.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)              That the Scrutiny Initiation Document be agreed, subject to the scope of the review being amended to read as follows: 

 

·         vulnerable adolescents who are missing from home, care, or education;

·         young people aged 10 to 13 years (but not exclusively);

·         the issues faced by vulnerable young adults and what services or actions would have helped them as younger adolescents;

·         the ‘child’s voice’ and how the council ensures that services for vulnerable adolescents are tailored to their specific needs;

·         the specific local causes of vulnerability.

 

ii)             That the Witness Evidence Plan be revised to reflect the above amendment.

 

 

b)    Introductory briefing

 

Laura Eden, Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance, delivered an introductory presentation which set out the issues surrounding services for vulnerable adolescents.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The Committee considered how adolescence can be defined. It was advised that there were a range of views on this matter, however it was generally accepted that adolescence commenced at the onset of puberty, which was usually around age 10 to 12.

·         It was reported that the number of adolescents on child protection plans had increased in recent years. Previously the majority of child protection plans related to babies, however around the same number of adolescents as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 244.

245.

Ofsted Inspection of Children's Services and Review of Islington Safeguarding Children Board pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Carmel Littleton, Corporate Director of Children’s Services, introduced the report which summarised the recent Ofsted inspection of Children’s Services.

 

The Committee welcomed that Islington’s overall judgement was ‘good’. Ofsted had made six recommendations which officers were seeking to implement.

 

The Committee queried how Islington’s services compared to other London local authorities. In response, it was advised that many local authorities were graded as ‘requires improvement’, and some local authorities were ‘inadequate’.

 

Whilst the positive inspection was welcomed, it was emphasised that the council could not be complacent, and robust scrutiny of the council’s children’s services was important to ensure continued effectiveness.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Ofsted inspection report be noted.

 

246.

Executive Member Annual Presentation pdf icon PDF 154 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Schools and Families, made a presentation to the Committee on Children’s Services work in 2016/17 and priorities for 2017/18.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The Executive Member welcomed the positive Ofsted inspection. It was commented that officers were aware of what was required to receive an ‘outstanding’ grade, and would be working towards that aim.

·         The Executive Member commented on the progress made by the Pause Project, which worked with 50 vulnerable women who had 200 children taken into care. The women were required to take long-term reversible contraception while accessing the service which offered a range of support. It was advised that project worked on a two-year cycle and the first cohort had recently completed the project. The Executive Member commented that the progress made by the women had been astonishing.

·         The Executive Member hoped that the Pause Project would continue to be supported, however there were sustainability issues which needed consideration. It was advised that Pause workers would be engaging with care leavers in a pilot project, and it was hoped to develop a parallel project for fathers.

·         The Executive Member thanked officers for the relatively smooth implementation of the Bright Start programme, which had fundamentally changed the borough’s early years provision. It was commented that the programme had been implemented with minimal disruption to parents.

·         Youth crime remained a concern. The Executive Member emphasised the importance of investing in services which achieved the best outcomes for young people.

·         The number of new entrants to the youth offending system was below target for the first time since the Executive Member had been in post.

·         The Executive Member commented on the challenges facing education. Although the government was not pursuing forced academisation, the catholic diocese was seeking to transfer its primary schools to an academy trust. The Executive Member commented that a balanced discussion was needed with the diocese, that took into account the views of parents.

·         Work was underway to re-found the Community of Schools. It was intended for schools to have a more significant role in setting the strategic direction of education in the borough.

·         The Executive Member was lobbying the Home Office for further action on county lines drug dealing. Islington’s response to county lines took into account the safeguarding needs of young people, however a cross-borough coordinated approach was needed. 

·         It was commented that Islington officers had been involved in developing a new special educational needs and disability (SEND) services inspection framework. Although there were areas for improvement in Islington’s service, it was thought that SEND services were generally good. It was noted that SEND services were commissioned and provided by both the council and the NHS.

·         The Executive Member provided an update on the progress of the Fair Futures Commission. A place summit had been held recently and useful feedback had been received from the young people in attendance. A call for evidence had recently been issued and the initial findings of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 246.

247.

Review of Work Programme pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Minutes:

Noted.

248.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2017 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.