Agenda and minutes

Venue: Professional Excellence Centre, Acre Lane, Bromborough

Contact: Tracy Little  Children and Young People's Department

No. Item


09:00 Apologies and Introductions


09:05 Declarations of Interest


Cllr C Meaden noted that her daughter works for the Children and Young People’s Department.



09:10 Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB


Minutes of the meeting of 25 September 2012 – no matters arising.


Resolved: The minutes were agreed as a true record.




09:15 Safeguarding Update pdf icon PDF 83 KB


C McKenna presented the regular safeguarding update. The consultation for the new working together documents ended in September and the publication of the final documents are expected. Considerable change is expected.


Changes to criminal records and barring arrangements came into effect in September with further changes in December. The Government has issued a leaflet to explain the changes for organisations working with young people. C McKenna would send a policy briefing to the board members for further information.


J Owens asked for clarification regarding CRB checks and the responsibilities for schools.


C McKenna was asked by the board to ensure that once available further information was provided to the board including a specific briefing for schools.


D Robbins outlined the WSCB Quality Assurance Framework which id designed to allow the board to monitor and measure the quality and impact of safeguarding services.

J Owens noted that the WSCB schools membership was out of date on the webpage. D Robbins said he would ensure it was updated.


D Robbins also outlined Safeguarding Training needs analysis now being rolled out to determine precisely what training is needed for the children’s workforce. 


C McKenna outlined that work was ongoing in Wirral to review children at risk of sexual exploitation, with the development of a local child action plan and local work through Barnardos.


J Hassall noted that in the main Wirral children stay in Wirral which means they can be monitored effectively. The issues in other Local Authorities often occur when children are placed out of borough in children’s homes. There is no complacency and there is continuous scrutiny on the monitoring arrangements for these vulnerable young people.


Work is also under way regarding runaways, in the main Wirral children run away to big cities. Return interviews are carried out in order to address the issues causing the behaviour. To date the numbers of children involved in return interviews is relatively low so this is being addressed. The resulting action plan from the work would be shared with the board once complete and will be under the scrutiny of the WSCB.


The board was updated on the progress regarding critical incident reviews and serious case reviews.


Resolved: That the Board noted the report.



09:30 Report from CT and WSCB Event: Beyond Munro pdf icon PDF 71 KB


The purpose of the day was to facilitate discussion and development on establishing a shared vision and understanding on what an early help offer would look like for Wirral children and their families.


A range of partners attended the event which was facilitated by Professor Jan Horwarth. A range of key points from the presentations were outlined.  C McKenna noted that development work was underway regarding a ‘gateway’ approach with clear differentiation of early help and early intervention.


J Hassall noted that the approach was being refined in order to ensure families at the right level of need were being effectively supported and that the right type of early help could be provided.


C McKenna outlined the next steps and that further consultation would be carried out with partners in driving the developments. A further paper will be brought to a future board.


Cllr Smith noted that the pyramid of need diagram circulated at the event was very useful and requested it was sent again to the board for reference.


Resolved: That the Board noted the report and approved the planned next steps.




09:45 Intensive Family Intervention Project pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Additional documents:


E Hartley presented the report. The government has estimated that troubled families cost the pubic approximately £75,000 each per year. The criteria for identification as a troubled family have been identified as involvement in criminal or anti-social behaviour, a member of the family in receipt of out-of-work benefits and a child with attendance at school less than 85%. Wirral will work with 900 families from now until 31 March 2015. Full payment by results is achieved from impacting on all three criteria.


In year one the target is to work with 260 families. 77 families are currently involved with existing Family Intervention Project provision and 20 have achieved positive results to date. The first phase will focus on 80 families in the Seacombe area. The approach builds on successful interventions that have been used before. Staff will be working differently with key workers, fast tracked interventions, family sanctions and family role model service. The approach will also support community development through a range of partners. S Patterson noted that the seconded Fire and Rescue Service Staff was part of the team and would be working directly with families.


Wirral recently hosted a troubled families review day involving Louise Casey and Radio 4. Wirral Families who had been involved in previous family intervention work supported the approaches planned for Wirral and outlined how they had worked for them.


J Hassall noted how this project would influence the development of preventative services and early help offer on Wirral.


The board expressed their endorsement of the project and was encouraged by the developments made to date. They requested that the work was communicated across the partnership. E Hartley noted that a series of events was planned to demonstrate the planned work and that dates would be communicated when finalised.


Resolved: That the Board noted the report.



10:25 Teenage Pregnancy Progress Update pdf icon PDF 80 KB


At the March Board meeting the board had requested an update on teenage pregnancy at the November meeting. Lucy Tomlinson and Fiona Allen (Joint Teenage Pregnancy Coordinators) presented the report.


The most recent local data indicates that there has been a reduction in the number of under 18 pregnancies in quarter two. In addition there has been a reduction in the rate of conceptions in 14 and 15 year olds. This may signify that the additional investment in sexual health services in schools is having an impact in Wirral. The progress and challenges as outlined in the report were discussed.


V McGee asked about the intelligence available regarding the reasons for maintaining pregnancy. F Allen responded that there was still a lack of awareness around sexual health in some girls. J Pryce noted that this area was also about conception related to the number who do not continue with pregnancy and that provision of information was important. F Allen noted that a study had been undertaken to ensure root causes could be addressed and that this would be produced as a report which could be provided to a future board meeting.


Cllr Meaden agreed that communication was important for children and young people and that providing aspiration and role models for families would help some young people.


Cllr T Smith noted that £22 m health funding was coming into the Local Authority and this provided an opportunity to ensure priority areas are clearly identified and that all partners were fully engaged.


Resolved: The board noted the good progress made as outlined in the update. The board agreed to continue to support the targeted reduction in the under-18 conception rate of 2-3% for 2013 to 2015 and would support ensuring this area remains a priority despite budget constraints.



10:40 Risk Taking Behaviour Intervention Tools


A presentation - brief intervention tools as a behavioural change method for use with young people around risk taking behaviour was presented to the board by Pat Rice - Response Manager and Jayne Price - Relationships and Sex Education Curriculum and Policy Lead, NHS Wirral.


Individual engagement in risky behaviours can be influenced by a number of factors including low self esteem, lack of knowledge about the risks, lack of skills (e.g. using condoms), lack of negotiation skills (e.g. refusing sexual activity, alcohol & drugs) and the attitudes and prejudices of society which can affect access to  services.


Brief, opportunistic interventions have been found to be successful in a range of areas including reducing excessive drinking and alcohol-related risk in young drinkers, reducing the incidence of STIs, increasing condom and contraception use, increasing the number of individuals screened for Chlamydia and reducing conceptions among under 18s.


The tools that have been developed not only address the consequences of risky sex and alcohol use, but also helps identify components of respectful relationships will also impact on young people’s vulnerability to sexual exploitation and abusive relationships. As the tools are for both alcohol, and sex and relationship health, frontline workers will link the two in their work with young people which gives a holistic approach to tacking these important areas.


Brief Interventions are based on motivational interviewing and positive psychology approaches which means the conversations are based on a positive discussion, rather than judgemental and negative approaches which do not engage young people. They provide an opportunity for young people to consider their lifestyle habits which could impact negatively on their health, provide advice and encouragement, involve support for those who want to change and are delivered in a short time and friendly style.


The tools had been very well received by young people and their feedback had developed their use. Further developments include a parent guide and smart phone applications. The importance of training staff to use the tools and ensuring the project is sustainable was also outlined.


Public money has been used to develop these evidence based tools-but there is a danger in the changing climate that such tools will be lost. Public Health has made a commitment that by May 2012 an external evaluation of the toolkits and how they are used by workers will be completed. This will inform a suggested action plan for future commissioning of brief interventions around risk taking for young people and suggest ways to embed the tools and training for frontline staff within practice and policy.


K Podmore wanted to ensure that the toolkits were used across all sixth forms and colleges


J Owens thought the toolkits were very useful and invited Jayne Price to address School Governors to ensure good communication about the tools across the whole school community.


Cllr Smith thanked Jayne and Pat for a very informative presentation and noted the good impact this work had delivered for Wirral’s young people.


Resolved: The presentation was noted.

Follow up work would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.


11:00 Enjoy and Achieve Annual Report pdf icon PDF 344 KB


S. Bellerby tabled the report, he noted that he would summarise key areas and referred the board to the full report which included more detail including case studies of good practice. The report was drawn from contributions from across the strategy group.


Focus was drawn to the educational attainment in all key indicators which had shown improvement in 2012, with the best ever Wirral results. Wirral had exceeded the Fischer Family Trust D level estimates (the top 25% nationally) for the first time at Key Stage Four. There were currently no Wirral schools in an OFSTED category which was a great achievement. In addition the Education Quality traded service set up in partnership with schools had gone from strength to strength, supporting schools to continue to maintain high standards.


There were also areas of continued focus regarding the attainment of Looked After Children and those eligible for free school meals. Behaviour issues in some primary schools had emerged and the Council was working with schools to develop a behaviour strategy, this would be presented at the next Board.


The changing national landscape regarding funding, the development of academies and the relationship of schools with the Local Authority were all areas that would require continuous scrutiny to ensure that the needs of all Wirral children were championed by the Local Authority.


Cllr T Smith thanked S Bellerby for the comprehensive report and was pleased to note the continued education progress made by Wirral’s children and the understanding of the challenges that remained.


K Podmore noted that it would be helpful to have some Key Stage Five analysis in future reports. S Bellerby agreed that could be added in the future.


Resolved:  The board endorsed the report.



11:15 2012-13 Quarter Two Performance Report pdf icon PDF 213 KB


N. Clarkson presented the report and drew attention to performance headlines including the best ever educational attainment results in 2012. In addition all Child Protection Plans were renewed within required timescales.


The indicators that had not achieved the quarter two targets were outlined and corrective action put in place to address areas of underperformance was highlighted.


Resolved: The report was noted.




11:25 Wirral Council Budget Options pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Additional documents:


J Hassall presented the paper to the board and outlined the serious budget position facing Wirral Council. A range of options had been put forward for consultation.


Cllr Meaden emphasised that the Council was very keen for all stakeholders to get involved in the consultation process to ensure all proposals were fully scrutinised before decisions were taken.


Due to the range of the proposals the board proposed that an additional session was arranged in order to fully discuss the proposals in more detail and to provide a Board response to the consultation. An early evening session would be arranged and the invitation circulated to the board.


Resolved: The board recognised the difficult decisions that would be required regarding the current budget situation and requested an additional board meeting was convened.