Lewisham Council
Council meetings

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3

Contact: Andrew Hagger (Tel: 020 8314 9446 Email:  andrew.hagger@lewisham.gov.uk) 

No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 2 October 2014 pdf icon PDF 81 KB




The minutes of the meeting held on 2 October 2014 were approved.




The minutes of the meeting held on 2 October 2014 were approved.


Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 27 KB


There were none.


Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report pdf icon PDF 28 KB

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Ian Smith (Director for Children’s Social Care) introduced the report and highlighted the following key points:

·         The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) is a statutory board with responsibilities that include developing local safeguarding policies and procedures and scrutinising local arrangements.

·         The priorities of the LSCB are set at the start of each year, for 2012/13 these included; Reducing child abuse and neglect, Developing a coherent multi agency strategy to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation and Reducing road traffic accidents involving children & young people.

·         Three cases were highlighted showing safeguarding weaknesses in Lewisham Healthcare Trust with 2 serious case reviews that are due to be published soon.

·         The LSCB received annual reports on Disclosure and Barring Systems (DBS), the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

·         There were a number of task groups set up, including a Child Sexual Exploitation task group (CSE).

·         Future priorities for the LSCB include; Neglect, Looked After Children (LAC) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).


The Chair moved to suspend standing orders to the close of business, which the Committee agreed.


In response to questions from the Committee, Frankie Sulke (Executive Director for Children & Young People) and Ian Smith provided the following information:

·         Lewisham is 3rd highest in London for domestic violence; however a lot of work has been done to publicise the issue so it is unclear whether this is because Lewisham has the 3rd highest rate or because Lewisham is the 3rd best at detecting it.

·         Young people being used as couriers for drugs from Lewisham to other places was a priority for the LSCB in 2012/13. Lewisham Youth Offending Service (YOS) identified it and raised the issue with the police, including a Multi-Agency Sexual Exploitation (MASE) meeting with police. A further report on the issue will be going to LSCB and secondary schools are being informed about looking out for warning signs. This is a cross-London problem and the police are taking a hard line with ringleaders by pressing trafficking charges.

·         Senior management are going to all schools to raise some of the issues identified as priorities by the LSCB, including CSE, drugs, FGM and forced marriage. Management are making a time investment in raising issues that are specific to the school.

·         The new virtual head should help improve the educational attainment of LAC and further information about this will be included in the Committee’s next report on LAC.

·         Faith groups and other voluntary sector organisations have representation on the LSCB and the relationship with the voluntary sector is good.

·         LAC are recorded as missing if they have been absent for more than 24 hours. There is a distinction drawn between an unauthorised absence and being missing and social workers will try to identify regular absences to see what the issue is.

·         A big challenge is the recruitment of foster carers, especially as a significant amount of savings are tied into providing more in-house fostering. Not only will it save money, but placements such as these are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Young People's Mental Health Review pdf icon PDF 94 KB

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The Committee asked that the following information be provided for inclusion in the final review report:

·         Further comparator data on waiting times for CAMHS.

·         Information on what will happen to embed learning from the HeadStart project so far if the bid for further funding does not succeed.


Caroline Hirst (Commissioner, Children & Young People) introduced the report and highlighted the following key points:

·         1 in 10 children will experience some form of mental health problem before they are 15.

·         The HeadStart project is funded by Big Lottery and is a great opportunity to boost universal and targeted mental health and emotional well-being provision within Lewisham, particularly around resilience. The HeadStart project has a series of priorities and targets with a steering group made up of young people.

·         Risk factors for mental health issues include poverty, being a Looked After Child (LAC), parental mental health, and those exposed to trauma.

·         Mental health provision is divided into a number of tiers. Tiers 3 and 4 are statutory provision dealing with the most serious cases. Tiers 1 and 2 are universal and targeted provision.

·         South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust are commissioned to provide specialist child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) provision at Tiers 3 and 4.

·         Place2Be, a national charity, offer universal and targeted provision in 10 schools within the borough, 2 secondary and 8 primary. They provide a school based counselling service, which incorporates 1:1 appointments, group sessions and open access drop in sessions.


In response to questions from the Committee, Frankie Sulke (Executive Director for Children & Young People), Warwick Tomsett (Head of Targeted Services and Joint Commissioning), Caroline Hirst, Mick Atkinson (Head of Commissioning, Place2Be), Wendy Geraghty (Lead Clinician, Lewisham Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and Ruth Hutt (Public Health Consultant) provided the following information:

·         Suicide amongst young people is rare in Lewisham and is more common among young men than other groups. Self-harm is increasing and more common than suicide, whilst the suicide rate itself is static. There have been no suicides amongst children and young people in Lewisham since 2001. It is the intention of the HeadStart Programme, to build mechanisms of identification and increase opportunities for support, building resilience amongst the child population to reduce the likelihood of suicide.

·         While waiting times could be shorter for CAMHS, Lewisham is under the 12 week national target for waiting times and do well in this area in comparison to other  local authorities. 

·         CAMHS services work with young people with high levels of needs.  Young people who self-harm cannot be discharged from hospital without being seen by CAMHS.

·         Young people are directed to other family support services, if they don’t meet the threshold for CAMHS.

·         Nationally and locally there has been some debate regarding the ‘tiered’ approach to CAMH service.  The Department of Health is reviewing the current language and there are proposals to change this to a ‘system’ approach to the delivery of CAMHS. 

·         Part of the HeadStart project is a pilot online counselling service that provides a direct interface to clinical support and this service allows young people to refer themselves.

·         Lewisham CAMHS are fully engaged in the ongoing development of universal and targeted provision in the borough, offering strategic support and expertise to the HeadStart Lewisham programme. 

·         HeadStart Lewisham operates  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Raising the Participation Age pdf icon PDF 92 KB

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The Committee resolved to refer the following comments to Mayor & Cabinet:


·         The Committee highlighted information in the report that showed that raising the participation age has significantly increased the scope of the responsibilities that rest with the local authority, with the expectation that it will be delivered within existing resources. The Committee were concerned that this represents an extra cost pressure for the Council at a time of severely restricted resources.


·         The Committee raised concerns about the risks to delivering activities around increasing the participation of young people in education, employment or training that could arise from changes to the youth service, including the restructure of the way the service is delivered and budget reductions. The Committee sought reassurance that these risks had been identified and that proposed changes would not impact on the capability of the Council in delivering its statutory duties around the participation of young people in education, employment or training.


Sue Tipler (Head of Standards and Achievement) introduced the report:

·         There have been significant implications in raising the participation age (RPA) to 18.

·         RPA is not only about numbers participating it is about the quality of the engagement in education and training and the impact it has on achievement and progression.

·         Officers are talking to primary school heads about those that need support, so that work can be done earlier.

·         Officers are also looking at alternative provisions post-16 and the different pathways open to young people.


Sid Hughes (14-19 lead) then spoke to the Committee, highlighting the following key points:

·         There have been a series of curriculum and assessment changes, with RPA as one part of this rapidly changing landscape.

·         Nationally there has been a 2-3% rise in young people staying on in education, which means that 81-82% do so nationally. Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) levels are at their lowest since 1994. In Lewisham a high number are choosing to continue in education, the 3rd highest in London.

·         Increasing RPA to 17 was the easiest part, the increase to 18 will be more challenging. Challenges come partly from issues around continuity and accounting for all young people. The requirement is to monitor all young people resident in the borough, rather than those participating within the borough. Therefore obtaining tracking information on young people who went to or continue to go to school outside the borough can be difficult. Also UCAS don’t comply with data sharing on time, although there is a lot of pressure on them to do this better. There is a small team tasked with tracking young people and there can be seasonal peaks where tracking information comes through which creates pressure for the team. Lewisham is doing well with NEET numbers below the national and East London average.

·         The number of unknowns varies throughout the year as information comes in from different sources. It is not possible to make assumptions, if someone is unreported it doesn’t necessarily mean they are NEET.

·         There could be more work done to reach young people earlier on. If they are vulnerable to becoming NEET at 16, they are probably vulnerable at a younger age too and targeting them here could be effective.

·         A survey on advice and guidance providers is being carried out to establish what is available and what young people want. Advice and guidance does need to be stronger and more young person centred. There are examples of good practice throughout the borough and it is generally better where there is a leader with advice and guidance as part of their remit. The leader could either be a staff member or a governor. Sharing this best practice can lead to improvement and events such as the annual Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Forum can bring people together to share best practice.

·         The student tracker showed a surprisingly high number of young people were still studying for a level 3 qualification after 3 years. While  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Select Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 153 KB

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The Committee agreed the work programme.


The Committee discussed the work programme.




The Committee agreed the work programme.


Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet




The Committee agreed to refer the comments as agreed under item 5.