Agenda and minutes

Improving Lives Select Commission - Tuesday, 29th October, 2019 5.30 p.m.

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

Contact: Caroline Webb, Governance Adviser  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 17 September, 2019 pdf icon PDF 112 KB


To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 17 September, 2019 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


Resolved:- (1) That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on 17 September, 2019, be approved as a correct record of proceedings.


Matters arising:


The Governance Advisor updated Members that the meeting to discuss Persistent Absence (Item 25) would take place on Tuesday November 12th, 2019 and that email notification had been sent to members of the Commission.


Cllr Clark made reference to the Harms of Hate event (referred to in Item 27) which had been held earlier in the month and informed the Commission that she would be providing feedback to the Assistant Chief Executive.


Declarations of Interest


To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest


Exclusion of the Press and Public


To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.


There were no items requiring exclusion from the press or public.


Questions from Members of the Public and the Press


To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.


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




To receive communications from the Chair in respect of matters within the Commission’s remit and work programme.


There were no items for communication.




Improving Lives Select Commission Work Programme 2019/20 - Update pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To discuss the Select Commission’s work programme.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the Improving Lives Work Programme. An update was given in respect of work undertaken, progress in relation to recommendations and future work.


It was noted that a sub-group had been established to scrutinise measures to address persistent absence and work would commence shortly to review “Holiday Hunger”.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the contents of the report and the Work Programme detail be noted.


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



Rotherham's Early Help Offer pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To scrutinise the effectiveness of Rotherham’s Early Help Offer

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed Cllr Watson, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children's Services & Neighbourhood Working and the Assistant Director for Early Help and Family Engagement, along with service users and members of staff from the Early Help & Family Engagement Service.


The Char invited service users to give an account of their experiences of early help services and youth offending services respectively. They outlined the support and advice received from staff and the positive impact the interventions had had on them. This included support for new parents, assistance with benefit and financial advice, employment support and transition into adult services. The service users also highlighted how different agencies were co-ordinated in delivering tailored provision which reflected their assessed needs.


Officers from the Early Help Service gave case studies (which were provided with the consent of service users) which illustrated how the voice of service users were captured and gave an indication of the breadth and complexity of the case work under consideration. Details were also given of the “Signs of Safety” methodology used to ensure consistency of practice, and how positive outcomes for children and young people were measured.


Members thanked the service users for their personal testimonies and the assurance that they gave about quality of service.


The following issues were raised and clarified:


·         The service user highlighted that there was a lack of education and employment opportunities for young offenders. Members requested that the Deputy Leader explore if further measures could be taken to identify Council apprenticeship opportunities for young people involved in the youth justice system and engage the wider business community in similar initiatives. It was further explained that work was being undertaken with schools to minimise school exclusions and promote attendance as this was recognised as an important factor in diverting young people from offending behaviours.


·         Work was undertaken with young offenders under 18, to ensure that if they were transitioning into adult services, that this was done as smoothly as possible.


·         Examples were given of peer support schemes set up to engage young offenders or those at risk of offending and offer diversionary activities. The service user had participated in such schemes. An application for funding with neighbouring authorities had been successful to support such initiatives.


·         Further details were provided of the early help offer to new parents; for newer parents this may involve intensive one-to-one parenting support, however as parents grew in confidence, play groups and other outreach support could be accessed on an ‘as-and-when’ basis.


The Deputy Leader introduced the briefing paper, outlined the key themes covered and plans moving forward. This included the statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) which set out requirements for Early Help Services to provide a continuum of support to respond to the different levels of need of individual children and families; details of the Early Help Strategy 2016-2019, which had been previously considered by Improving Lives Select Commission; and the 2018 Ofsted re-inspection of Services for children in need of help and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


Youth Justice Plan pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To scrutinise the effectiveness of the measures outlined in the Youth Justice Plan to address youth offending in Rotherham.

Additional documents:


The Service Manager (Evidence Based Hub & YOT) gave a presentation which outlined the role of the Youth Offending Team.  The YOT worked alongside statutory partners including Police, South Yorkshire Probation Trust and the NHS, together with a wide range of contracted Voluntary and Community Sector organisations to achieve the national youth justice strategic objectives which were to:


·         Prevent Offending

·         Reduce Re-Offending

·         Increase Victim and Public Confidence

·         Ensure the Safe and Effective use of Custody


Rotherham YOT was located in CYPS within the Early Help Service and was governed by the YOT Management Board and Safer Rotherham Partnership. The paper referred to the Rotherham Youth Justice Plan 2019-21, which was approved by the Chair of the YOT Management Board and Chair of the Safer Rotherham Partnership and signed off by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) on 3rd September 2019.


The following areas were highlighted as working well:

·         The rate of First Time Entrants (FTEs) for Rotherham continued to fall significantly. It was suggested that the lower rate in Rotherham was due to the work undertaken to triage and assess young people at an early stage prior to their entry into the Criminal Justice System.

·         Rotherham continued to have Custody rates below national and regional figures.

·         The voice of young people was strong within the YOT and young people attended and presented at the YOT Board when available.

·         The YOT Board Chair was proactive and sought innovative ways to share good practice.

·         There were good relationships with the YJB Regional leads who provided essential peer support and challenge.

·         There were Child Criminal Exploitation pathways in place across the sub-region with outreach, intelligence sharing and partnership working.


The paper referred to the YJB Peer review  in January 2017 which noted that the Rotherham YOT was performing well in relation to reducing reoffending and the use of custody. The review team were impressed with the focus that partners in Rotherham had placed on the service and the local youth justice system.


In respect of areas for improvement, the Looked After Children status of the offending cohort continued to increase as a percentage from 20% in Q4 18/19 to 25% in Q1 2019/20. It was noted that this was a small cohort and therefore, any increase would be reflected as a large percentage change. Reoffending rates also continued to be of concerns,   and it was acknowledged that this cohort of young people had entrenched behaviours and complex needs with a propensity to reoffend more often. However, programmes had been developed to address Barriers to Learning to reduce the number of NEET young people and increase access to counselling. YOT staff were encouraged to support families to attend the range of parenting programmes available through the Evidence Based Hub.


Reference was made to the detailed Action Plan that addressed key priorities of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Safer Rotherham Partnership and the YOT Board. Progress was measured and reported to the board at quarterly intervals.


Further work was also underway to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Urgent Business


To consider any item(s) the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.


There was no urgent business to report.


Date and time of the next meeting


The next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission will take place on Tuesday 3rd December 2019 commencing at 5.30pm in Rotherham Town Hall.


Resolved:- That the next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission take place on Tuesday, 3rd December, 2019 at 5.30 p.m