Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Wednesday 25 October 2017 11.00 a.m.

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham.

Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer. 

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 6 and 27 September pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the minutes of the meetings held on 6th and 27th September, 2017 be approved as correct records of proceedings.


Declarations of Interest


There were no Declarations of Interest to report.


Questions from Members of the Public and the Press


There were no questions from members of the public or the press.


Rotherham MBC Annual Report - Compliments and Complaints 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the Council’s Annual Report - Compliments and Complaints 2016/17 (hereafter referred to as ‘the annual report’) which set out information about complaints made to the Council under the Corporate Complaints Procedure, Housing Complaint Procedure and the Adult and Children’s Services Complaint Regulations.


The figures in the report included details of the number of complaints received, numbers of compliments received, and information on those complaints that have escalated to be considered by the relevant Ombudsman. The information included detailed breakdowns of complaints and enquiries received for each Council Directorate.


Analysis was also provided on the particular trends in the complaints received, by service area, and in terms of the timescales in which responses were provided; as well as about the escalation of complaints.


The report also highlighted examples of key learning points from the complaints received, which have been used over the last year in regular reports to senior managers to address or correct any mistakes and improve services or procedures as a result.


It was noted that legislation on complaints was different in three cases for Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care and Housing and the Council had created an additional process for corporate complaints. Members queried whether it would have been preferable to replicate one of the existing three processes for corporate complaints rather than establishing a fourth process. In response, it was confirmed that customers are not presented with a myriad of different procedures and it was the role of the Complaints Team to guide them through that process. It was noted that the processes were different, but had a number of similarities too and that the corporate complaints procedure mirrored the procedure for children’s social care.


Members sought clarification on how the Council defined a compliment and whether every disgruntled comment was also recorded. In response, it was confirmed that compliment was considered to be praise in any form where a customer is happy with standard of service provided. With regard to disgruntled comments, if the comment had been made under the complaints process then it would be recorded, but if it had been received outside of the corporate complaints team then it would not be formally recorded. Members were advised that all staff needed to act upon feedback provided and take responsibility for improving the way in which services are delivered.


It was noted the number of complaints had increased significantly and Members sought an explanation for the increase. In response it was confirmed that the majority of the increase was attributable to a change in the category definitions. It was further noted that complaints were logged in the Liquidlogic system. Members queried how the new system could have an underlying impact on the number of complaints received.


Reference was made to small increase in complaints relating to adult social services and the increase in the length of time taken to respond. Members sought clarification as to why performance on response times had dropped and whether there had been specific issues and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Sustainability Strategy for Children's Services 2016 to 2021 - Progress Report pdf icon PDF 92 KB


Consideration was given to the progress report on the Sustainability Strategy for Children’s Services 2016 to 2021 which was subject to comprehensive internal review and external challenge completed by the Practice Partner for Children’s Improvement (Lincolnshire County Council). 


The report set out in detail the progress of the sustainability plan initiatives, including details on:-


·                Therapeutic Service.

·                Family Group Conferencing.

·                Special Guardianship Looked After Children.

·                Pause Project.

·                Edge of Care.

·                Multi-systemic Therapy (MST).

·                Reunification Project.

·                Single Assessment Review Duty Team.

·                Appointment of Newly Qualified Social Workers (x 22).

·                Overall summary / conclusion on the investments to date.


A summary of delivery against the targeted outcomes from the Sustainability Strategy in 2017/18 was highlighted.


The individual projects were on target to deliver expected outcomes and achieve a reduction in expenditure compared to the alternative option of “do nothing”.  However due to the significant increase in LAC to 521 (+7%) since 1st April 2017, there was a forecast net cost pressure on the CYPS budget of £2.592m.  Without the initiatives in the Sustainability Strategy, the in-year pressure could have been more severe, a further £2.261m on top of the current overspend.


The significant increase in the number of looked after children referred to above is entirely due to the unforeseen and extraordinary impact of the complex abuse inquiry, of which the costs were substantial.  Without this, CYPS would be reporting a break-even budget position.  However, instead the forecast at 31st July, 2017 and reported to the September Cabinet was for a Directorate overspend of £2.592m.


The forecast included 39 children and young people in care who were directly linked to the investigation.  It did not incorporate any further placements, up to an additional 70 based on “worst case scenario” estimates, which could exacerbate the current position by up to £2.3m in this financial year.


Members sought clarification in respect of the predicted trend for the numbers of looked after children. In response it was confirmed that the trend prediction took account of the national picture, as well as local circumstances in Rotherham, where the Complex Abuse Inquiry had increased demand. However, it was noted that activities from the Council had prevented 37 admissions into care.


The point was made that all Members were concerned about the overspend on the budget for Children and Young People’s Services, which could not be attributed fully to austerity driven by central government. In response, it was noted that the prediction for services for children and young people to be overspent by £2billion on a national basis by 2020. The feeling from the Local Government Association, councillors with responsibility for children and young people’s services and directors of those services was that the government needed to take similar action that which had been done for adult social care. It was confirmed that the Council had plan and the plan was having some effect, but it could not be denied that it was making the budgetary position very difficult.


Members sought assurances in respect of attracting and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


The Implementation of the Revised Foster Carers Payments Scheme pdf icon PDF 71 KB


Consideration was given to the Foster Carers Payments Support and Development Scheme which was revised twelve months ago with the specific aim of boosting the recruitment of foster carers in Rotherham and to reduce the increasing reliance on the Independent Fostering Agency sector (IFAs). Whilst the revised scheme had broadly been successfully implemented it had coincided with a significant increase in the overall numbers of looked after children (LAC) so that there had been little impact on the use of IFA placements. However, without this revised Scheme it may well be that recruitment would have been less successful and the financial implications arising from the increase in LAC numbers would have been even more significant. 


Members sought to understand what lessons had been learned from implementation and whether examples had been reviewed from other authorities. In response, it was confirmed that the main lesson learned was not to try to implement two systems at once. However, it was acknowledged that the implementation of both systems could not be delayed. The glitches in the implementation of the Liquidlogic system had not been anticipated but were resolved. The response of the CYPS leadership team was to meet with foster carers face to face to discuss the issues.


Reference was made to the need to improve the training for members of the Fostering Panel and that consideration should be given to providing training before commencing other areas of activity. Furthemore, Members queried whether there was any evidence that people would interested in fostering as a career choice or receiving recognition as employees. In response, it was confirmed that there was no enthusiasm for professionalising the role of foster carers.




1.    That the contents of this report be noted.


2.    That consideration be given to reviewing the training programme for the Fostering Panel.


Youth Cabinet/Young People's Issues


No issues to report.


Work in Progress


Improving Places Select Commission


Councillor Mallinder reported looking forward to establishing a five year plan and some long term infrastructure for the Commission. Members would follow up on the Allocations Policy as concerns had been relayed that it had not implemented. The Commission had also asked for reports on the Major Incident Plan and Neighbourhood Working.


Improving Lives Select Commission


Councillor Clark reported that some work was planned on Complex Abuse and this was in its infancy. It was noted that the planned October meeting had been delayed, but that a meeting would go ahead and would be chaired by the Vice-Chair on Pause Project. She also encouraged everyone to attend. the January meeting where the focus would be on the Voice of the Child.


Health Select Commission


Councillor Evans reported the Commission had not met since the previous meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Management Board, but that a meeting was scheduled for 26 October where the focus would be on CAMHS and workforce development.  




That the information be noted.


Call-in Issues


The Chair reported that no issues had been referred for call-in.


Date and time of next meeting

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held on Wednesday 8 November 2017 at 11.00a.m. at Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham.


Resolved:-  That the next meeting be held on Wednesday, 8th November, 2017 at 11.00 a.m.