Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, ROTHERHAM. S60 2TH
Contact: Martin Elliott, Governance Adviser The webcast can be viewed at http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv
Apologies for Absence
To receive the apologies of any Member who is unable to attend the meeting.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Pitchley.
To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 January 2020 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.
Resolved:- That the Minutes of the meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on 14 January 2020, be approved as a correct record of proceedings.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.
Councillor Jarvis declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 9, Recommissioning of CSE Support Services, as she was a board member of RISE.
Councillor Senior declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 9, Recommissioning of CSE Support Services, as she managed a charity that supported survivors of CSE.
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 the exclusion of the press and 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.
To receive communications from the Chair in respect of matters within the Commission’s remit and work programme.
The Chair noted her concern that the Children and Young People’s Services Vision Tracker, that showed key service information, and that had been circulated to members of the Improving Lives Select Commission on a weekly basis, was now only being circulated on a monthly basis. It was noted that the weekly report of key performance information had been introduced as a result of a recommendation from the Improving Lives Select Commission based on a study of best practice at other local authorities.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working advised that the change to the frequency of the report had been made due to increased demands being made on the time of the officers who prepared the report to complete other tasks and to prepare reports and other data for the Government. The Assistant Director, Social Care advised that she and other senior managers would be happy to answer any questions that members may have on the report. The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion noted that as some of the data on the weekly tracker changed frequently, receiving the information weekly could present a misleading picture regarding the data, and that providing the data monthly would enable clearer trends to be shown and identified.
The Chair acknowledged these points but noted that any changes to the frequency of the report should have been agreed by members. The Deputy Leader suggested that a meeting with himself, senior officers and the Chair should be arranged to enable to the Chair to discuss members’ concerns regarding the changes and to establish a way forward.
Resolved: - That the Chair meets with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working, and the Director of Children and Young People’s Services to discuss the future circulation of the Children and Young People’s Services Vision Tracker.
Councillors Jarvis and Senior, who had declared an interest in the following item left the meeting at this point.
The Joint Assistant Director Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion and two managers from the Commissioning, Performance and Quality team, Sean Hill and Joanne Smith, attended the meeting to provide a progress report on the recommissioning of CSE Support Services.
The report noted that in 2016 the Council had entered into contracts with three local voluntary sector organisations to provide support services for adults who had experienced child sexual exploitation (CSE). These contracts initially ran from 1 July 2016 to 31 March 2019, with the option for them to be extended for a further two years. These contracts had now been extended until September 2020 with the option, if required to continue with a rolling month by month contract up until March 2021.
The Joint Assistant Director, Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion advised that work on a needs analysis that would inform the recommissioning of CSE support services had now been ongoing for 12 months. The Joint Assistant Director advised that ACEPPE had been commissioned to undertake an independent consultation exercise and needs analysis, however this process had been interrupted when significant concerns were raised in relation to clinical governance and service user safety by Rotherham Rise, GROW and the Trauma and Resilience Service. ACEPPE had subsequently provided a pre-consultation report that had been primarily drawn from work with non-commissioned providers, Swinton Lock and Apna Haq. The Joint Assistant Director advised that this work had now been combined with other sources of information to provide a full needs analysis that included contract performance information, an academically led evaluation of the Trauma and Resilience Service and service user feedback facilitated by current providers.
The Joint Assistant Director advised that a public survey had been launched and that this would feed into the development of the needs analysis, that would in turn inform the recommissioning process. The Joint Assistant Director apologised to the members of the Improving Lives Select Commission with regard to the work that a sub-group of the Commission had undertaken during the summer of 2019 where members had conducted a benchmarking exercise by conducting interviews with other Local Authorities who had identified the need for post-CSE services, as the report incorrectly named the authorities that had been approached. The Joint Assistant Director confirmed that the authorities that had taken part in the exercise had been Rochdale, Telford and Wrekin and Oxfordshire.
The Joint Assistant Director provided assurance that a timeline that had been developed by the Council’s procurement team that would ensure that new CSE support contracts would be in place prior to the current contracts expiring and that there would be no gaps in provision for the CSE survivors.
Two managers from the Commissioning, Performance and Quality team, Sean Hill and Joanne Smith attended the meeting to provide more detailed information on the commissioning process, noting that the process of developing the needs analysis had taken longer than anticipated due to the need to ensure that a broad range of stakeholder feedback had been gathered and used to inform its development. ... view the full minutes text for item 59.
The Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services and the Joint Assistant Director, Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion attended the meeting to provide a progress report on the capital spending programme of £1.186 million that had been approved by Cabinet in September 2019 to create an additional 111 school places in Rotherham for children with special education needs and disabilities.
In introducing the report, the Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services noted that a peer review of the Council’s Special Education Needs Service had just concluded noting that the process had been a positive experience for everyone who had been involved. The Director advised that the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Sufficiency Strategy was an integral part of the Council’s provision to meet the needs of the growing population of children with identified Special Education Needs in the borough.
The Joint Assistant Director noted that the SEND Sufficiency Strategy would enable an increase in places for children with autistic spectrum conditions, moderate learning difficulties and social, emotional and mental health problems, and as such would relieve pressure on the Dedicated Schools Grant (High Needs Budget) by reducing the need to place children in high cost independent specialist provision due to lack of appropriate local resources. It was noted that an increase in places provided by the Council would also be required due to the rise in numbers of children with education, health and care plans predicted for future years. The Joint Assistant Director noted the timelines for the delivery of individual schemes that were detailed in the report and provided assurance to members on the quality of the provision that was being provided.
Members asked how the model of provision that was being provided had been arrived at. The Joint Assistant Director advised that this information was detailed fully in the SEND Sufficiency Strategy document that was available. The Joint Assistant Director noted that the provision that was being created was more than just about creating more places and that the Strategy would provide more flexible provision that would support better learning outcomes.
Members welcomed the extra provision that was being created and asked how children would be supported to progress through the system. The Joint Assistant Director advised that each child’s Education, Health and Care plan would be used to ensure that they received the right level of support at the right time.
The Chair, on behalf of the committee, thanked the Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services and the Joint Assistant Director, Social Care for attending the meeting and answering their questions
(1) That the report be noted.
(2) That the report on the peer review conducted on the Special Educational Needs Service be circulated to the members of the Improving Lives Select Commission when it becomes available.
The Chair, due to unforeseen circumstances left the meeting at this point.
Councillor Jarvis, the Vice-Chair took the Chair for the remainder of the meeting.
The Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services and the Assistant Director, Social Care attended the meeting to provide a progress report on the delivery of the Council’s Early Help and Social Care Pathway.
In introducing the report, the Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services noted that like all directorates across the Council savings had needed to be to identified, but that Children’s and Young People’s services still needed to be delivered, and delivered to a high standard. The Assistant Director, Social Care advised that the Early help and social way pathway was part of the transformational activity, alongside demand and market management, taking place in Children’s and Young People’s Services that would enable services to continue to be delivered at a high standard, but at the same time enable the savings that were needed to be made.
The Assistant Director advised that the pathway aimed to create an environment where children and their families received targeted help at the earliest possible opportunity that ensured that only the children who required more intense support progressed to receiving statutory social work intervention, and that where such intervention was made that intervention was underpinned by a service that delivered excellent social work practice
The Assistant Director made a presentation to the meeting that provided a detailed progress report on the development and implementation of the Early help and social care pathway. The presentation provided information on:
· The principles and objectives that had informed the design of the pathway.
· The activity surrounding the development of 10 workstreams that made up the pathway
· What was working well, including:
· a well-trained and motivated workforce with reduced reliance on agency social work staff.
· reduced demand for social work led services.
· closer and more collaborative working between social care and early help services.
· audits of the service having provided assurance on the quality of practice being delivered.
· the delivery of the savings linked to the delivery of early help and social work pathway being achieved during 2019/20.
· Issues with regard to the delivery of the Early help and social care pathway that required further attention, including:
· the turnover of staff, most notably in case holding social work teams being higher that was ideal.
· caseloads of early help practitioners continuing to rise.
· being able to reach a point of assurance where a reduction in the social work workforce could be safely made.
· The next steps in the delivery and development of the pathway, including:
· completing a review of the work of social work locality teams and corresponding early help teams to inform future service delivery.
· ensuring that any reduction in numbers of social workers was implemented in line with the principles of ensuring manageable caseloads and ensuring that any reductions were only made when it was safe to do so.
· continued learning from audit and other feedback so as to share and showcase best practice in order to enable practitioners to learn from each other.
The Assistant Director advised that so far as result of the transformational ... view the full minutes text for item 61.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working and the Joint Assistant Director, Commissioning, Performance and Inclusion attended the meeting to provide a summary of the impact that the Pause Rotherham Practice, a project that worked with women who had experienced, or were at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care, had had on its first cohort of women since its launch in July 2018.
It was noted that the Rotherham Pause Practice had been recognised by the national team as delivering good practice. The report noted that women from the current cohort had achieved many positive outcomes as a result of the assertive intervention of the Rotherham Pause Practice in areas such as debt management, dealing with housing issues, registering with a GP, ending abusive relationships, re-establishing contact with children, making new friends and completing college and university courses.
The Joint Assistant Director provided information about some of significant achievements made by the women who had participated in the project, including:
· One woman has had just completed her first semester at University, where she was studying for a BA in Zoology.
· One woman had obtained 9 GCSE’s and a Level 3 in Health and Social Care; and was being supported by Pause to explore Open University options.
The report stated that 39% of the women in the cohort were moving forward in their lives by gaining new skills and employment opportunities. It was noted that these outcomes were particularly positive in the context of the distance travelled from the point at which the women on the project engaged with the programme until graduation.
The Joint Assistant Director provided information on the financial impact of the project, noting that due to the nature of the project in influencing the potential future behaviour of the participants, the financial impact of the project had been measured in terms of cost avoidance. The Joint Assistant Director advised that the cost avoidance associated with 20 women on the programme taking a pause from pregnancy and the associated avoided births showed that the immediate avoidance would be £1,292,599 with the potential for avoiding £2,088,480 over a five-year period – of which £1,631,683 would be cashable cost avoidance.
Members welcomed the positive outcomes that the project had made on the women who had participated in helping them move forward with their lives and noted their satisfaction that the project would continue in Rotherham with a second cohort of women.
Members expressed their appreciation and thanks to Lindsey Knight, Pause Project Lead who was leaving her job supporting the project for all the work that she had put into making Pause in Rotherham such a success and wished her success in her new role at the Council.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working noted his agreement with the comments of members and thanked members of the Improving Lives Select Commission for their support of the project from the outset and the role that they had ... view the full minutes text for item 62.
To consider any item(s) the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
Date and time of the next meeting
The next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission will take place on 16 June 2020 commencing at 5:30pm in Rotherham Town Hall.
Resolved: - That the next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission take place on Tuesday 16 June 2020 at 5:30pm.