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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

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Marian Spall and Troy Gallagher.


The Chair advised that Councillor Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Schools and Families, had also submitted apologies for the meeting.



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.




Declaration of Substitute Members


Councillor Poyser for Councillor Spall.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 159 KB




That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 September 2017 be agreed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.



Chair's Report


It was reported that the issues related to the operation of the Paradise Park Children’s Centre Café had been resolved.


It was advised that Item B3, Executive Member Questions, would be deferred as Councillor Caluori was not present.



Items for Call In (if any)




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.




Vulnerable Adolescents Scrutiny Review: Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 196 KB

a)    Overview of services for vulnerable adolescents

b)    Evidence from a young person: Simone Headley, Chair of the In Care Council

c)    Inspector Kier Newman –  Police representative for Safer Schools and Youth Engagement

d)    Freddie Hudson – Community Manager, Arsenal in the Community

e)    Abi Billinghurst -   Founder and Director of ABIANDA

f)     Sheron Hosking – CAMHS, Head of Children’s Joint Health Commissioning

g)    Documentary evidence (for information):

·         Early Intervention and Help Strategy 2015-2025

·         Youth Crime Plan 2017-20

·         Transformation Plan for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing 2015-2020

·         Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee Review of Knife Crime and Mobile Phone Theft 2015/16 – Report and Update on Recommendations




Additional documents:


The Committee received presentations from council officers and external witnesses on the services available to vulnerable adolescents.


a)    The Committee received a presentation from Finola Culbert, Director of Safeguarding and Family Support, and Lisa Arthey, Director of Youth and Communities, which provided an overview of the council’s services for vulnerable adolescents.


The following main points were made:


·         The Committee noted the various services provided in the Safeguarding and Family Support directorate. The Front Door Service was the single contact point for families and professionals to make referrals to support services. The service assessed new cases before deciding whether to make a referral to early help services or statutory services.

·         The council had six social work teams that largely operated on a locality basis, however there was flexibility for social workers to work outside of these geographic boundaries if necessary.

·         The Independent Futures service supported care leavers up to age 25.

·         The Friends and Family service supported those who had been granted special guardianship orders, which gave parental responsibility to a friend or family member of the biological parent. The council had a statutory duty to support special guardians.

·         There had been a significant increase in the number of children being looked after; 259 children between the age of 10 and 17 were currently being looked after. It was previously the case that older children aged 14 or over were usually placed with extended family, however as the complexity of cases was increasing, older children were more likely to be placed into specialist care.

·         The number of contacts to social care was increasing, and this was resulting in an increased number of referrals. Over 3,000 referrals had been made in 2016/17, an increase of over 500 on the previous year.

·         The Youth and Community Services directorate was a new directorate established in 2016 to focus on early intervention and the prevention of youth crime. The Committee noted the services within the directorate.

·         The Committee noted the work of the Youth Offending Service, and that users of the service were generally males aged 14 to 17.

·         The Targeted Youth team carried out engagement work in the community. The team was working to offer more evening and weekend activities on estates as this was the time when crime and anti-social behaviour tended to peak.

·         The Integrated Gangs team offered multi-agency support to the 50 most vulnerable young people on the gangs matrix.


b)    Simone Headley, Chair of the Children’s Active Involvement Service, spoke of her experiences of being a young person in care.


The following main points were made:


·         The Children’s Active Involvement Service (CAIS) was previously known as the In Care Council. This was a body of young people who were in care or had a social worker who the council worked with to develop services for young people. 

·         Simone had left care at age 19 after staying with her foster carer for one additional year. She had been living independently for the four years since.

·         The CAIS was working to tackle  ...  view the full minutes text for item 256.


Quarterly Review of Children's Services Performance (Q1 2017/18) pdf icon PDF 436 KB

Additional documents:


Carmel Littleton, Corporate Director of Children’ Services, Finola Culbert, Director of Safeguarding and Family Support, and Mark Taylor, Director of Learning and Schools, introduced the quarterly performance update.


The following main points were noted in the discussion:


·         Persistent absence remained an issue in the borough and the council was working with head teachers and governors, as well as young people, to reduce the number of persistent absentees. Although there had been successes in re-engaging persistently absent young people in education, officers wanted to explore the reasons why absence issues persisted, as more pupils were becoming persistent absentees each year.

·         The council was making good progress with issuing Education, Health and Care Plans.

·         Whilst the number of young people in alternative provision had increased in quarter one, it was reported that this number had decreased in quarter two.

·         Officers commented that outcomes at KS4, managing absence, and the placement of young people in Alternative Provision were issues where the council had limited influence. Whilst the council worked with schools to support their work, schools needed to lead on improving these outcomes.    

·         The percentage of children who were seen in accordance with a Children in Need plan appeared to have decreased. Officers advised that there had been an issue with the reporting of seeing children due to an increase in referrals resulting in capacity issues. In response to a question, it was clarified that all records had now been completed, however the performance indicator required records to be completed the day after the visit. Records were being completed up to four days after the visit during this busy period. 

·         The number of children missing from home had slightly increased. Officers commented that children missing from home tended to be older teenagers with very complex needs.




(a)  That Children’s Services performance in Quarter 1 2017/18 be noted;


(b)  That the changes to Children’s Services performance indicators, as detailed in the report submitted, be noted.


Executive Member Questions pdf icon PDF 138 KB


The Committee noted the Executive Member’s update circulated in the agenda pack.



Review of Work Programme pdf icon PDF 124 KB


The Committee requested a further opportunity to ask questions of the witnesses that attended the meeting. It was advised that visits would be arranged as part of the scrutiny review and further written information could be requested if necessary.