Venue: Committee Room
Contact: Emma Aye-Kumi (020 8314 9534)
1.1 The following matters arose from the minutes:
· Provisional secondary exam results would be circulated by email to the committee on 7 December 2018
· The CAMHS report that Cllr Holland had been working on was almost complete. It was hoped the report would be ready in time for the January meeting of the CYP Select Committee, subject to it having been considered by Mayor and Cabinet beforehand.
· Officers were working to prepare a breakdown of children’s residential placements by ethnicity.
1.2 It was RESOLVED that the minutes be agreed as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
2.1 Councillor John Paschoud declared an interest in respect of Item 5 – Public Health – Health Visiting Cuts. He is an ordinary member of the Lewisham and Greenwich Hospital Trust.
2.2 As regards Item 6 – SEND strategy update - Councillor Jacq Paschoud declared the following interests:
· Council-appointed Trustee of Brent Knoll Watergate Trust
· Trust Governor to Watergate School
· Trustee of the Ravensbourne Project, which provides short breaks
2.3 Both Councillors John and Jacq Paschoud declared each other’s interests as they are required to declare the interests of their spouse under the constitution.
2.4 Parent-governor representative, Kevin Mantle, also declared the following interests, relevant to Item 6:
· He is a Trustee of Signal, a Lewisham parent support group for autistic children and their families
· He also has an autistic child at Brent Knoll School with an EHCP
· In his paid employment, he is working with the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver aspects of a learning disability programme.
2.5 Councillor Kalu declared an interest as a Governor of Good Shepherd School.
Responses to Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet
4.1 The Chair reminded the committee that at the last meeting on 17 October, owing to prolonged consideration of proposed budget cuts, there had been insufficient time for committee members to ask questions about the evidence provided by the Head of Public Protection and Safety. Members were now invited to put forward their questions and comments.
4.2 The committee noted that:
· Food had been a significant unifier in Glasgow’s implementation of the public health model
· Lewisham is far more diverse than Glasgow so food may not be the same common ‘language’
· Food is still relevant. Families in Glasgow had reported that it was a powerful tool and had not felt like a handout, but a more dignified approach. Sharing food provided the opportunity for families to talk openly and eat healthily
· Lewisham has a lot of community strengths through schools, the Youth Service, community groups. There could be dialogue about how to build on these strengths and assets to move towards a public health approach
· A community project in Telegraph Hill Ward is providing hot meals to young people, which is bringing the community together and increasing the welfare of residents.
4.3 The Chair invited those members that had attended school visits, Fair Access Panel (FAP) and the Independent Review Panel (IRP) to report their observations. In addition, Cedric Whilby and Dom Herlihy, independent review panellists, were invited to address the committee. The Committee made the following observation:
Fair Access Panel
1. Lack of BAME representation on the primary FAP
2. Both the primary and secondary FAPs were well run and presented lots of good examples of schools working together
3. It appeared that some heads were protective of their territory
4. The FAPs handled very difficult cases with great sensitivity
5. Abbey Manor College, Lewisham’s Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), had been represented at the secondary FAP. The representative clearly demonstrated that he knew the children well, and was working hard and cooperatively with schools
6. One Member noted with surprise that FAP had been asked to consider a situation where a pupil was struggling with learning rather than behaviour
7. When a parent is offered a Managed Move for their child as an alternative to exclusion, all of the paperwork is in place and the school is ready to exclude. The parent’s choice at that point is MM or exclusion.
8. Year 11 cases always go to FAP as it is an important year when students sit their GCSEs
9. New arrivals go to FAP for need to be assessed to ensure they are placed in the right education setting, and with links to post-16 opportunities. The family has an input and FAPs recommendation can only be implemented with parental consent.
10.FAP is a forum for heads to discuss complex cases. Only the decisions are minuted, to allow free and frank discussion.
11.Managed Moves (MM) can be at the point of exclusion, but school are encouraged to consider it at an earlier point. ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
5.1 Helen Buttivant, Consultant in Public Health, and Catherine Bunten, Service Manager, CYP Joint Commissioning, Resources, introduced the item.
5.2 The Chair invited Tony O’Sullivan from the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign to address the committee. The committee heard that:
1. The current average health visitor vacancy rate nationally is 25%. Whereas the figure provided by the trust is around 10% vacancy rate at Band 6, the perception among staff is much higher.
2. 2 years ago a 16.8% budget cut was made from the health visiting budget, which targeted the higher band 5 – 6 health visitors, affecting skill levels.
3. The number of social workers has also been reduced.
4. 2 years ago 40% of the school nurse system funding was cut.
5. Mr O’Sullivan made a plea to the committee “to protect what is left of the safety net for children and mothers by resisting further cuts”.
6. The national guideline ratio of health visitors is 1:400. Lewisham is moving away from national guidelines by looking at ratios for children aged 0-3 and including unqualified health visitors. Mr O’Sullivan argued that Lewisham was trying to deviate from the national benchmark.
5.3 The following points were made in discussion:
1. Health Visitors can be the only professionals with a statutory right to see a child during early childhood, a time where the child is not on any other radar.
2. Caseloads are already high at 1:400.
3. Members were concerned about the cumulative effect of cuts to early help services.
4. Members could not support ‘moving the goalposts’ to meet a cut
5. Health Visitors are important from a safeguarding perspective and play a preventative role for Children’s Social Care.
6. Band 4 should not be included in the ratios since they are not qualified. There is a place for the role but they are not an alternative to qualified health visitors.
7. Some local authorities are supplementing their health visiting budgets from the early years budget.
8. Lewisham’s early help had been criticised by Ofsted and was subject to review.
9. The Institute of Health Visitors and the Royal College of Nursing have said that the key reason for staff leaving is overly high caseloads and unwillingness to accept the increased risk that this presents.
10. Members of the committee were unwilling to accept the cuts, and felt that to do so would be to undermine the direction of Children’s Social Care which was looking to strengthen early help.
11. There was a statutory requirement to consult the CCG and Trade Union on the proposed cuts. Officers would take this forward.
12. The proposals contradicted the SEND Strategy which set the intention for more health visitor contact with SEND children.
5.4 It was RESOLVED that:
1. the committee would make a referral to the Mayor and Cabinet opposing the proposed cuts, which would have an impact on the life experience of Lewisham’s children and young people.
2. The report be noted.
6.1 Ann Wallace, Service Manager – Children with Complex Needs, and Chris Hilliard, Consultant – Special Projects presented the report.
6.2 In response to questions from the Committee, the following was noted:
1. Members asked that the next update include numbers and the percentage of appeals settled prior to tribunal.
2. The council employs a tribunal officer. Counsel is supplied at an additional cost.
3. The council’s decision is upheld in approximately 60% of appeals that go to tribunal.
4. The council is looking to build the supported internship offer with local further education colleges.
5. Members felt the community offer for 22-25 year olds with EHCPs may need strengthening
6. The improvement in take up of annual health checks was measured by GP responses.
7. There was concern that the parent guidance that was being prepared to be published by the end of December was not widely known about.
8. Members requested that the action plan on reviewing transition/ preparing for adulthood be shared with the committee.
9. Some members felt that delivery of the ‘Education’ element of the EHCP was stronger than the ‘Health’ and ‘Care’ elements.
10.There were 2 typos in paragraph 13.2. References to January 2017 and 2018 should have read “in January 2019”.
11.Members requested that any future SEND strategy updates map CQC identified weaknesses against actions.
12.The committee heard that, anecdotally, some families were home schooling because the support set out in the EHCP was not being delivered.
13.The council’s position on elective home education is that generally EHE is not a positive option for children and young people with an EHCP and therefore would be subject to rigorous checks.
14.There were concerns about the high rate of ASD diagnosis. The diagnostic pathway had been reviewed and now included CAMHS input. Results would be monitored so see if the rate of diagnosis changes as a result.
15.Large numbers of children with EHCPs going out of borough to school is down to parental choice, with many parents choosing private schools out of borough. The council is working with 13 Lewisham schools to develop them to manage need.
16.In practice, while the public purse is a relevant consideration, tribunals usually side with the parent regarding their choice of provision for their child.
6.3 The time being 21:23, it was MOVED, SECONDED and RESOLVED that Standing Orders be suspended to allow for the completion of committee business.
17.Cllr John Paschoud had a large number of questions to put to officers, which he offered to do by email to speed up committee business. It was agreed that responses to these questions would return to committee.
18.The committee heard anecdotal evidence that parents were finding it difficult to get schools to do an EHCP assessment, and that where an EHCP was in place schools were not implementing due to lack of resources. As a result, some parents perceived EHCP assessments as not worth doing.
19.Officers clarified that Parents can ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
7.1 Lucie Heyes, Assistant Director – Children’s Social Care, summarised the report.
7.2 The following was noted in discussion:
1. An Ofsted inspection of safeguarding services was expected between January and March 2019.
2. Members were given assurances that the redesign of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) front door and ICT would be sustainable and effective. Practitioners were involved in the design and robust mechanisms were in place to ensure fitness for purpose. It was understood that the adequacy of the infrastructure was key to success. The same system would be used by Adult’s Social Care.
3. The Assistant Director – Children’s Social Care had designed both the Islington and Bexley MASHs, which had both been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Officers were confident that the Lewisham MASH, which largely followed this model, would be effective, although it would take some time to transition to the new design.
4. Members asked to be provided with Children’s Social Care overspend figures from other comparable local authorities. The committee heard that some authorities had applied reserves ahead of reporting. All figures could be found in the Local Government Chronicle, and would be circulated to members outside of the meeting.
5. Between 30-50% of children’s social care workforce are agency staff. In some frontline services, such as Child Protection, this is at the higher end of the scale.
6. Members asked that the next update provide information on social worker recruitment and retention challenges.
7.3 It was RESOLVED that:
1. The next update would provide information on social worker recruitment and retention challenges.
2. The report be noted.
8.1 The Chair summarised the items for the next meeting and proposed extending the timetable for the in-depth review to allow for a third evidence session in March. This would mean that the final report would be considered at the first meeting of the next municipal year. He also advised the Children’s Social Care Sufficiency Strategy would be considered by the committee in March.
8.2 It was RESOLVED that:
· A third evidence session for the in-depth review be held on 13 March, and the final report be considered at the first meeting of the new municipal year
· The Children’s Social Care Sufficiency Strategy be added to the work programme for March
· The work programme be noted.
Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet
9.1 It was RESOLVED that a referral be made to the Mayor and Cabinet to oppose the proposed cuts to the Health Visiting Service.