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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 4, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Moore  0207 527 3308

Items
No. Item

272.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from councillors Spall and Ngongo. Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Gallagher.

273.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None.

274.

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.

275.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair advised of two proposed scrutiny visits as part of the Vulnerable Adolescents scrutiny review. It was advised that further information would be circulated to members of the Committee after the meeting.

276.

Items for Call In (if any)

Minutes:

None.

277.

Public Questions

For members of the public to ask questions relating to any subject on the meeting agenda under Procedure Rule 70.5. Alternatively, the Chair may opt to accept questions from the public during the discussion on each agenda item.

Minutes:

None.

278.

Vulnerable Adolescents Scrutiny Review - Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 169 KB

a)    Laura Eden, Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance

b)    Naomi Bannister, CSE, Missing and Trafficking Coordinator

c)    Sarah Whelan, Gangs & Serious Youth Violence Coordinator

d)    Gabriella Di-Sciullo, Head of Admissions & Children Out of School

e)    Written Evidence (for information only)

·         Islington Safeguarding Gang Protocol and Procedure 2016

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Laura Eden, Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance, made a presentation to the Committee which explained how a vulnerable child may progress from early help services to statutory services as their needs escalate.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         31% of children accessing early help services were between 11 and 15 years old.

·         Families accessing early help services may be referred to other professionals such as an employment advisor or GP. Early help services were also able to advocate on behalf of service users to other services and agencies. For example, early help workers could make representations to housing providers if a family has been served with an eviction notice.

·         Young people accessing Children in Need services were asked about their views and experiences. This informed targeted interventions with their parents.

·         Children in Need services had a wrap-around approach which was intended to reduce the stresses on parents.

·         370 children in 2017/18 had been the subject of a child protection plan. 75 of those were over ten years old. The number of adolescents subject to a child protection plan had increased 42% since 2014, and there had been a 33% increase in emotional abuse.

·         270 looked after children were between the ages of 10 and 18. This was an increasing population, and it was commented that practitioners needed to develop new skills to work with older children. 

·         In general, the council sought to place looked after children with a family member though an interim care order while services address parental issues. If parents did not agree to an interim care order, then the council would make an application to the court to take a child into care.

·         In response to a question, it was advised that the agency which referred to the council most frequently was the Police. Education providers, health services and voluntary sector organisations also frequently made referrals to Children’s Services. It was noted that there was a good uptake of safeguarding training and it was thought that gave professionals the confidence to make referrals.

·         Officers suggested that universal services such as schools and GPs could be more effective in making referrals to Children’s Services. These services were able to identify issues at a very early stage, and earlier referrals would result in earlier intervention and may prevent issues from becoming entrenched.

·         It was queried if the council could do more to assist universal services in identifying issues and encourage earlier referrals. In response, it was emphasised that training is available and is well attended, however professionals working with children needed to have an appreciation of the wide range of issues that affect young people’s behaviour and actions, and ask young people relevant questions to identify these issues.  

·         It was noted that referral rates had increased in recent years as there was an increased awareness of safeguarding matters.

·         A member commented on how perpetrators of domestic violence controlled and coerced their victims; and how some women might be open about their experiences of domestic violence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 278.

279.

Update on the Islington Fair Futures Commission pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Minutes:

Tania Townsend, Children’s Partnership Development and Strategy Manager, introduced the report which provided an update on the progress of the Fair Futures Commission.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         Other authorities had expressed an interest in the Commission and had asked officers for advice on establishing their own commission. The GLA had expressed a particular interest, as it was considering how to make London a child-friendly city.

·         The Commission had received a significant amount of evidence from young people. This included marginalised young people with ‘hidden voices’ such as young carers and LGBTQIA young people.

·         The Commission’s work had focused on three themes; power, place and possibilities.

·         Young people had given commissioners a tour of the borough and provided their views on the local environment.  A place summit had been held to consider how places and spaces could be designed to better meet the needs of young people. It was commented that the voices of children and young people were often absent in planning and development discussions.

·         Young people felt like they were being forgotten and were not benefitting from gentrification.

·         Young people had said that schools should have a greater role in teaching social skills, employability skills, and conflict resolution, and preparing them for adult life.

·         It was commented that national policies were intensifying challenges for young people and families on low and middle incomes.

·         Young people had said they loved Islington and valued its social mix and diversity. However, young people were also concerned about their safety.

·         Young people felt that services focused on the risks to young people and engaged with them in a negative way, rather than focusing on their assets and strengths.

·         The findings of the Commission were due to be reported to the Council meeting on 22 February 2018. An implementation plan would then be developed. Whilst there was only limited funding to provide additional or enhanced services, it might be that services can work differently to better meet the needs of young people.

 

The Committee thanked Tania Townsend for her attendance.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the progress of the Fair Futures Commission be noted.

280.

Quarterly Review of Children's Services Performance (Q2 2017/18) pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Carmel Littleton, Corporate Director of Children’s Services, introduced the report which summarised Children’s Services performance in quarter 2 2017/18.

 

The Committee noted the work underway to increase the registration of families with children aged under five at Children’s Centres. It was commented that early childhood services were being restructured and a different approach may lead to an increase in registration. Work was also underway to improve the take up of two year old funded places.

 

It was explained that placement stability had been affected by older children in care moving placement.

 

To improve the recruitment of childminders a ‘speed networking’ session had been held. Officers advised that there were vacancies available for children, but there was insufficient choice.

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)    That Children’s Services performance in Quarter 2 2017/18 be noted;

(ii)   That the changes to KPIs, as set out in the report submitted, be noted.

 

 

281.

Executive Member Questions pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the written update circulated in the agenda pack.

282.

Review of Work Programme pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Minutes:

Noted.

283.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 28 November 2017 be agreed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.