Home > Council and Democracy > Agenda and draft minutes


Agenda and draft minutes

Contact: Elaine Ireland  Senior Democratic Governance Adviser

Items
No. Item

1.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are asked to declare any interests in the items under consideration and in doing so state:

 

(1) the type of interest concerned either a

 

(a)    personal interest

(b)   prejudicial interest

(c)    disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI)

and

 

(2) the nature of the interest concerned

 

If any member requires advice on declarations of interests, they are advised to contact the Head of Democratic Governance in advance of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Councillors Debbie Coleman and Stansfield both declared a personal interest in Item 5 ‘Children’s Social Care Improvement and Residential Children’s Home Provision’, the nature of the interest being that they were employed by residential children’s homes.

2.

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING HELD ON 9 JANUARY 2020 pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To agree the minutes of the last meeting of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee held on 9 January 2020 as a true and correct record.

 

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that the minutes of the last meeting held on 9 January 2020 be signed by the Chairman as a true and correct record subject to the following amendment: Councillor Coleman’s name to be deleted from Item 1 Declarations of Interest from those declaring an interest in Item 9 ‘Corporate Parent Panel Annual Report’ as she had not declared an interest in that item.

 

3.

PUBLIC SPEAKING

To consider any applications from members of the public to speak at the meeting.

 

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there were no applications to speak by members of the public on this occasion.

4.

FORWARD PLAN pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To consider the content of the Council’s Forward Plan, March-June 2020, within the remit of the Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Forward Plan, March-June 2020 relating to the portfolio of the Deputy Leader of the Council (Children) and the Cabinet Member for Schools, Education and Aspiration. Members noted that the Forward Plan contained two items relevant to the Committee: ‘To progress the acquisition of the former Job Centre Plus building at 43 Queens Street to accommodate Children’s Services in a single location, in line with the preferred delivery model following the Ofsted review’ and ‘The implementation of a regional adoption agency with Lancashire County Council in November 2019, in accordance with the regionalising adoption agenda’.

 

Councillor Mrs Callow, in her capacity as Chair of the Scrutiny Leadership Board enquired as to the anticipated cost to the Council of the potential relocation of Children’s Services to the former Job Centre Plus building, as well as seeking details of the proposed lease arrangements. Mrs Diane Booth, Director of Children’s Services responded that the purchase of the building was one of the options being considered.

 

Further information on the implementation of the regional adoption agency was requested. Mrs Booth confirmed that the decision would be considered by the Executive on 1 April 2020 and that the proposals would recommend joining together with Lancashire County Council to provide adoption agency services across both areas.

5.

CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE IMPROVEMENT AND RESIDENTIAL CHILDREN'S HOME PROVISION pdf icon PDF 256 KB

To inform the Scrutiny Committee of the financial profile of Children’s Social Care and Early Help services in 2020/2021, explore the reasons for the current spending levels and inform the Committee of what is being done to support positive change.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs Booth, Director of Children’s Services presented her report outlining the progress of Children’s Social Care as well as the outcomes of the review of residential children’s home provision.

 

Members queried the lack of an action plan in relation to the residential children’s home provision, as previously requested by the Committee. Ms Kate Aldridge, Head of Delivery and Performance explained that a Sufficiency Strategy for 2020-2023 would form part of the action plan, with the strategy currently undergoing internal consultation prior to publication. Ms Aldridge confirmed that once finalised, the action plan would be shared with the Committee. The anticipated timescale for the implementation of the Sufficiency Strategy was queried, with Ms Aldridge explaining that whilst elements of the strategy had already been implemented, finalisation of other features were still outstanding.

 

As outlined within the report, Members noted that of the 63 children requiring residential provision, only 23 had been placed within the area and the remaining 40 had been placed out of the Borough. Whilst the Committee acknowledged that the residential providers were operating commercial businesses, the question was asked of whether the Council could have any influence over ensuring our children were placed in Blackpool. Ms Aldridge advised that there were 70 residential places available across Blackpool and that efforts were being put in place to help safeguard the places for Blackpool children by strengthening relationships with providers. Ms Aldridge explained that providers often charged rates that Blackpool was unwilling to pay and which other Local Authorities would pay, thus keeping the prices at a high level. She informed the Committee that relevant Local Authorities had been contacted to raise awareness of the situation and to ask them to ensure that Blackpool was a suitable location for their placements. Ms Aldridge outlined a number of avenues being explored to discourage providers from building residential children’s homes within unsuitable areas of the town, for example via the planning regulatory process.

 

In response to a question raised on the high cost of placements, Ms Aldridge explained that specialist out-of-Borough placements were sometimes necessary and the number of such provisions across the country was limited. The increase of £7 million towards placements to support looked after children was discussed, with the Committee expressing the view that the high level of increasing costs was unsustainable. Assurance was sought that all residential providers in Blackpool were Ofsted registered, with Mrs Booth confirming that all places used by Blackpool were.

 

Mrs Booth explained that three key factors were being implemented to address numbers of looked after children:

·         Working with partners to improve early help provisions and reduce the number of children brought into care;

·         Recruitment of appropriately trained and experienced staff;

·         The timely discharge of children out of care.

 

With regards to target-setting, Mrs Booth advised that a financial planning meeting would be held imminently and agreed to share Medium Term Financial Planning (MTFP) information at the next meeting of the Committee.

 

A question was raised on the percentage of children in care that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

COMMITTEE WORKPLAN pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To consider the contents of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Committee Members considered their annual workplan and requested the following items:

 

Placement Sufficiency Strategy – 23 April 2020.

Medium Term Financial Planning information in relation to Children’s Social Care – 23 April 2020.

Residential Children’s Home provision action plan – once finalised for publication this would be included within the MTFP.

Positive Transitions report – to be circulated to Committee Members by Ms Aldridge.

Six month Commissioner review – to be circulated to Committee Members by Mrs Booth.

7.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

To note the date of the next meeting of the Committee as Thursday 23 April 2020 at 6pm.

 

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was noted as Thursday, 23 April 2020, commencing at 6pm.