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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, ROTHERHAM. S60 2TH

Contact: Richard Bellamy  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no Declarations of Interest made at the meeting.


Questions from members of the public and the press


There were no members of the public or press present at the meeting.




Caroline Webb, Senior Adviser (Scrutiny and Member Development) reported:-


-          There was a Member Development session to be held on 20th September at 5.00-7.00 p.m., repeated on 21st September at 9.30-11.30 a.m. on “Understanding Your Communities” to be delivered by Councillor Marie Pye, Member Peer for the LGA


-          A session was to be held on 27th September 2.00-4.00 p.m. on the outcomes of the Early Help consultation


Councillor Jarvis gave an update on the issues discussed at the recent meeting of the Health Select Commission which had included an update on the Health Village, RDaSH Estate Strategy and the response to the Scrutiny Review on Drugs and Alcohol Services.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 17th July, 2018 pdf icon PDF 134 KB


Consideration was given to the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on 17th July, 2018, and matters arising from those minutes.


Resolved:-  That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on 17th July, 2018, be approved as a correct record, for signature by the Chairman.


Arising from Minute No. 13(3) (Domestic Abuse Update), it was noted that efforts had been made to obtain the action plan and engagement timetable.  The issue would be pursued and circulated to Members when received.


Children Missing Education pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:


Susan Claydon, Early Help Head of Service, presented a report on Children Missing from Education (CME) which the Authority had responsibility to ensure were identified, reported and tracked so that suitable educational providers could be found.


The term “CME” referred to children of compulsory school who were not on a school roll and who were not receiving a suitable alternative education e.g. Elected Home Education.


Until recently the CME data had had gaps and required intensive work to ensure that consistent processes and data inputting were in place across the different systems used to capture CME information.


There had been a redesigning of the reporting function and the development of a new CME Performance Scorecard.  This development reduced the ability for rigorous comparative analysis to be drawn on previous years’ performance, however, put Rotherham in a stronger position to understand which of its CME cohort caused the most concern.  One of the key changes to CME reporting was to include predominant issues captured at the point of referral to CME to enable a better understanding of potential vulnerability.


The current position was as follows:-


-          There had been 188 children, from 116 families classified as ‘new’ CME referrals during Quarter 1, an increase of 33 compared with the previous quarter

-          Of the 188, 110 (58.5%) had had a previous episode of CME which emphasised that some children had recurrent issues with CME

-          78% of children were from the central area of Rotherham

-          There were an additional 32 cases that remained open from previous reporting periods bringing the active caseload to 210 at the end of Quarter 1

-          134 cases had been resolved in the period

-          The central locality of Rotherham had consistently higher rates of CME largely due to the mobile and transient nature of the resident population

-          40% of the children identified as CME had no known vulnerability or issues identified within the family at the point of becoming CME

-          Of the newly identified children, 14% were open to Children’s Social Care and 6% to Early Help

-          All children, regardless of identified level of need, became subject to joint investigations by the school and Local Authority at the point of becoming CME to ensure rigorous strategies were employed to try and locate the child


The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund had enabled extra resources to assist with key issues that affected the wellbeing of children and their progression in education.  The workers would spend a considerable amount of time in central locality schools.  The fund was also facilitating the recruitment of 2 Community Navigators, a shared resource between the Council and voluntary sector, which offered intensive outreach and detached work to ‘find’ families that were newly migrant and/or arranging to leave the UK.


As part of the Early Help Review, it was proposed that CME move to Education and Skills as the work closely aligned with school admissions.  Despite the proposed change, processes would remain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) - Update pdf icon PDF 280 KB

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 53 of the Commission held on 22nd March, 2017, Jenny Lingrell, Assistant Director, Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion, and  Paula Williams, Head of Inclusion, presented a progress report assisted by the following powerpoint presentation:-


The Rotherham Context

-          There were 45,028 children and young people attending Rotherham’s schools as at January 2018 School Census (43,882 in 2016)

-          7,513 children were identified as having a Special Educational need (16.6%).  A rise of 0.6% since the census of 2016.  Nationally 14.6%

-          13.7% of the Rotherham’s school population have needs met by a graduated response (SEN Support) in 2018 compared to the National average of 11.7%.  This was a fall from 2014 when 17.3% of the Rotherham School population had needs met by a graduated response in schools in comparison to National 15.1%

-          1,333 of these children have needs met with support of an Education Health and Care Plan (2.9%).  However, this only measures the school population and not those placed outside the Borough

-          Current position at the end of August 2018 showed that there were 1,956 children and young people in Rotherham who had an Educational Health and Care Plan in place with approximately 354 of the children accessing an out of authority provision (18%) which is not in the Borough and 1,602 children and young people access provision for which was within the Rotherham Borough (82%).  33 of the children had their EHC Plan administered by another local authority due to being resident outside Rotherham

-          The 321 children accessing an out of authority provision is split with 116 of them being statutory school aged and 205 being Post-16 aged

-          Looking at those in specialist provision only: 142 children and young people as at end of August 2018, 78 of whom are statutory school aged and 64 that were post-16


Rotherham’s 5 Key Themes in the SEND Strategy

-          Co-Production Voice and Influence

Families and services working together to produce better outcomes for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs

There was clear and strong communication, participation, engagement and co-production with children, young people, families, practitioners and partners

-          Integrated Services and Joint Commissioning

There was collective responsibility and a streamlined approach for children, young people and their families when accessing relevant assessments, services and support

-          Sufficiency of Provision

There was sufficiency of provision to meet the range of needs of children and young people with Special Educational needs and/or Disability

Wherever possible, this should be within line with their choice or that of their parents and within Rotherham

-          Quality of Provision, Performance and Assurance

Provision made through the graduated response and/or an Education Health Care Plan should be of the highest quality to enable the best outcomes for children and young people.  This area would include developments in the specific areas of Autism, Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs

-          Value for Money and Savings

Provision made should be early, involve timely assessment and ensure the best use  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Outcomes from the Improving Lives Select Commission Workshop Session - Complex Abuse Investigation pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Additional documents:


Further to Minute No. 122 of the meeting held on 13th March, 2018, Councillor Clark submitted a briefing paper outlining the outcomes and recommendations from a workshop session held by the Select Commission on 24th April, 2018.  The purpose of the workshop was to seek assurance and further understanding of the extent to which agencies were working together effectively to address complex abuse.


The following key issues were discussed:-


-          In what circumstances were complex abuse procedures used

-          Which agencies were involved and at what level

-          How did other agencies/part of the Council which did not directly have Safeguarding powers (e.g. Housing, Licensing or Enforcement Services) contribute to the investigations

-          What was the impact of the investigations on referrals to Social Care

-          Engagement with Early Help Services

-          Will the changes to the General Data Protection Regulation have any impact on information sharing

-          How is the voice of the child captured in the investigations

-          How was this work viewed in the recent OFSTED inspection


Having had the opportunity to question officers and partners, Members had been assured that the Council and its partners were working effectively within the prescribed policy for complex abuse investigations.


The recommendations from the workshop were outlined in Paragraph 9 of Appendix 1 of the report submitted:-


-          That further investigation takes place to establish the low rate of neglect referrals from Dental Health Services

-          That information is shared in line with existing operational protocols and on a ‘need to know’ basis with Ward Members for the purpose of signposting residents appropriately

-          That the appropriate agencies ensure that the GDPR did not act as a barrier to the appropriate sharing of information

-          That further representation be made by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to the Crown Prosecution Service and relevant Court Services to raise the issue of how all agencies could take timely action to safeguard children at risk of flight

-          That a further update be submitted to the Improving Lives Select Commission in 12 months’ time.


Councillor Clark thanked officers and partners for their attendance at the meeting and assistance in the preparation of the workshop.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the report be noted.


(2)  That the findings be forwarded to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board for consideration.


Feedback from Improving Lives Select Commission Performance Sub-Group


The Chair reported that at a meeting of the Performance Sub-Group further information had been requested on a number of issues relating to Safeguarding and Early Help. 


Councillor Watson provided an update on each as follows:-



-          High number of contacts progressing to referrals – confidence about practice

The high number of contacts progressing to referrals  was reducing.  There were a high number of referrals but that could be linked to cautiousness of partners but we would not want to stop anyone referring in.  What we do know was that during the improvement journey there was a high proportion that were then moved into referrals but that was now not the case and a large number were either going to universal services or Early Help


-          High numbers of children in care

       The big 2 things that affecting this were the historical and inadequate services and the Stovewood Enquiry. As  more perpetrators were being identified and charged if they had their own families, , that then become part of our caseloads because they become a Safeguarding issue.  We do scrutinise every child coming into care and look at all the alternatives.  The Right Child Right Care was having a dramatic effect on people leaving care


-          What alternative steps can be taken to avoid taking teenagers into care

We have taken very few into care in the last 6 months.  We have worked really hard on the Family Group Conferencing


-          Family contact – how is this being ‘managed’ given high demand

This was very difficult to manage due to the high demand.  We have had to employ additional contact staff and have been utilising some of the newly qualified Social Workers with the lower caseloads and some of the Workers in the Fostering Service.  The ultimate goal was to return children to their birth families/extended families


-          Numbers of children leaving care and how this is reflected in performance information

In 2018 148 children have been discharged.  If this continued it would be approximately 222 for the year, however, a similar number had come into care


-          Continuing concerns about health and dental assessments

This is one of the things that tended to improve when everyone was pulling in the right direction but it had to be as normal business.  Some of it was due to late inputting by Social Workers.  We were working with partners. For the Looked After population the dental assessments were more up to date than the general population 


-          Concerns about care leavers in employment, education or training (related issues about quality and scope of apprenticeship offer)

About 61% which was higher than the national average but significantly less than the general population (in Rotherham 93.5%).  Significant number of the young people had health issues and not available for work.  The Corporate Parenting Panel had been pushing partners to offer LAC readiness of apprenticeships.  Councillor M. Elliott, on behalf of the Corporate Parenting Panel, was doing an excellent job with partners on this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.


Improving Lives Select Commission - Work Programme 2018/19 - Update pdf icon PDF 118 KB


Caroline Webb, Senior Adviser (Scrutiny and Member Development), presented an update to the 2018/19 work programme.


It was noted that at an initial meeting on Prevent had been held.  A small sub-group had subsequently met (Councillors Clark, Cusworth and Brookes) had met to determine the focus of work in terms of any future work. 


Resolved:-  (1)  That the work programme be noted.


(2)  That updates be submitted to each meeting of the Select Commission on the progress of the work programme and for further prioritisation as required.


Date and time of the next meeting


Resolved:-  That a further meeting be held on Tuesday, 6th November not 30th October, 2018, as previously scheduled, commencing at 5.30 pm