Agenda and minutes
Venue: Professional Excellence Centre, Acre Lane, Bromborough
Contact: Tracy Little Children and Young People's Department
09:15 Apologies and Introductions
M Parkinson noted that he was chairing the meeting on behalf of the Lead Member for Children’s Services Councillor T Smith and also the Acting Director of Children’s Services J Hassall; both of whom had sent their apologies.
09:15 Declarations of Interest
B Morgan declared an interest in 8 by virtue of commissioned service. Councillor Clements works in a preschool.
Resolved: The minutes were agreed as a true record.
E Hartley introduced the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) Annual Report. The report is published on Wirral Council's WSCB website and contains information on achievements made by the WSCB over 2011/2012, the business plan for 2012/13 and the changing landscape for safeguarding children.
The report outlines the strength in relationship between the WSCB and the Children’s Trust Board and notes that this relationship will continue to strengthen accountabilities throughout 2012/13.
E Hartley noted the Section 11 audit, a number of quality assurance audits and quarterly performance monitoring had been completed in 2011/12. The performance framework will continue to be developed across the partnership in 2012/13.
C McKenna noted that there had been a recent change in that Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) would now be submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) and not to Ofsted. Actions identified from SCRs will be assessed as part of the Ofsted inspection process.
The WSCB priorities as outlined in the Business Plan are:
Caroline added that there are further requirements around developing an action plan against sexual exploitation in response to the Rochdale case.
There has been development of joint working across children’s and adults safeguarding boards and some subcommittees have been merged. This will develop learning and provide efficiencies. A new tool will be developed to evaluate training. C McKenna added that the Pan Merseyside Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) has been formed to provide joint intelligence around child deaths and what can be done to reduce these.
In Wirral currently 335 children have a Child Protection plan. This is higher than expected for the area, some is multigenerational and mainly issues around neglect.
E Hartley noted that there has been a reduction in the number of allegations of sexual abuse over the last 12 months.
S Brown asked how the Intensive Family Intervention Programme (IFIP) would work with these children and families. T Coffey answered that the focus would be addressing working with these families through an early offer of support before an intervention is required.
M Parkinson asked if we should be looking to support children before they get to the Team Around the Child (TAC) threshold. T Coffey commented that research carried out showed that less than 1 in 10 children coming to social care have a previous Common Assessment Framework (CAF). Further work was underway in this area to focus early intervention work with the right families.
B Morgan thanked the WSCB for the training offered to the voluntary, community and faith (VCF) sector.
J Owens asked how the Council involved private and voluntary childcare providers in safeguarding training. M Parkinson noted that the relationship was good and that take up for safeguarding training was ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
09:45 Munro Implications
C McKenna gave an update regarding the Munro Review and the implications for Wirral. The work can be described in four themes:
· Valuing professional expertise
· Sharing responsibility for the provision of early help
· Developing social work expertise.
· Strengthening accountabilities and creating a learning system.
Pilot work is underway within the Wallasey District co-located team to evaluate the impact of the new proposals. The working group from this project have noted the following:
· More time with children to know their children’s needs.
· One assessment for each child to replace the Common Assessment Framework and initial and core assessments.
· Resources - how these are managed in a multi-agency approach.
· Are we making the most of the co-located teams, can we improve they way we work together in sharing assessments and knowledge effectively?
The next step is to ensure the findings from the pilot are fully evaluated in order to inform the development of new practice and processes.
V McGee noted that CAMHS partners support joint assessments and asked how well the partners share their information around families.
C McKenna replied that there is mixed practice and that aligning assessments into one common assessment would improve this.
T Coffey added that the levels of criteria for accessing services are different in different service areas and that the approach could be strengthened by focusing on family needs.
C McKenna added that a key would be to ensure that professionals maintain their expertise whilst providing an improved early intervention and support service.
The Munro action plan is under development and will he presented to the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board in September to develop an early offer approach and working together policy and procedure.
Resolved: The board endorsed the update and requested a further report at the November meeting.
10:05 Peer Challenge - Family Support
T Coffey gave a presentation regarding the recent Peer Challenge process carried out through the new Children’s Improvement Board approach. This was a useful opportunity for Wirral to identify an area where improvements could be made and to receive expert advice from other Local Authorities.
The peer challenge centred around the provision of family support services in Wirral with a focus on investment in early intervention, how to improve the service and remove potential duplication and budget pressures.
Key messages from the peer challenge will be incorporated into a review of family support services ensuring that services are aligned with new initiatives such as the IFIP programme.
Resolved: The board endorsed the presentation.
V Stafford presented the Social and Economic Well Being (SEWB) Strategy Group annual report. She reported that since taking the strategic leadership of the group a review had been undertaken and the group had been reformed to incorporate the existing 14-19 Partnership and the SEWB group. This has strengthened the group which is well attended with strong representation across the partnership.
The key SEWB performance indicators were outlined which provided a mixed picture. Challenges remain around ensuring young people access education, employment and training (EET) opportunities, Level 3 attainment and the attainment gap at Level 3 between young people eligible and not eligible for free school meals. The importance of Level 3 achievement at age 19 was stressed as this is a key factor for young people to progress to high level achievement and higher skilled jobs. The group are clearly focused on the challenges and activities underway are outlined in the Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP).
Work with the attainment of care leavers at 19 has been a focus for the team and a year on year increase has been achieved. The 2012/13 target is stretching at 65% but will bring Wirral in line with comparators. The 2012/13 cohort is significantly larger than in previous years which presents challenges but new tracking and assessment arrangements are in place.
The September Guarantee is currently the highest is has been for Wirral at this point in the year, which means all young people have a guaranteed place in learning in September 2012.
The local offer for young people with complex learning difficulties has improved and has reduced the numbers of young people sourcing provision out of borough.
The provision for NEET includes the ‘New Futures’ offer which is in place to encourage young people to learning. There is funding from New Horizons (Greater Merseyside Connexions Partnership) to deliver up to 4000 opportunities across the Liverpool City Region targeted at the hard to reach young people. A new contract has been secured to improve outcomes for young people aged 16-17 who have no GCSEs through the Youth Contract.
V Stafford reported that due to the different funding streams in operation there is now a national change in the landscape in the way that provision is being offered. As a result some local provision is being delivered via contractors and subcontractors that are not monitored via the 14-19 team.
M Parkinson added that the landscape could mean that a child has a number of key workers from different organisations. V Stafford noted that the outcome could be that a child is “in learning” but not progressing.
Councillor W Clements asked if we can engage with providers. V Stafford replied that they have been invited and are requested to engage with the SEWB team, thought this is not written into contracts. As the 14-19 partnership is no longer statutory there is no longer a requirement to write this into contracts.
A big challenge for the SEWB is the change in funding streams ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
11:15 Commissioning Update
M McDaid provided the update to the board. Contracts for the Early Intervention Grant (EIG) were initially awarded in July 2011 for a 12 month period with possible contract extension. Providers have now been advised of extensions
Planning of 2013-14 commissioning is underway incorporating a needs analysis, evaluation of outcomes from previous contracts and commissioning panel training. Documents will be available on the CHEST by the end of September.
Resolved: That the Board noted the report.
M McDaid updated that the Intensive Family Intervention Programme (IFIP) is the local name for the national Troubled Families Project. The new project manager has been appointed and will commence in September 2012.
The report updated the board on progress so far in the development of the programme, the approach to funding and the delivery model including secondment and commissioning options to optimise delivery and flexibility as required. Programme Board membership has been agreed and Wirral is continuing to work with Louise Casey and the national Troubled Families Team.
Resolved: The Board noted the report and requested a further progress report in six months.
11:45 Child Poverty
B Morgan updated that the Wirral Child Poverty Strategy is still in draft form.
The Liverpool City Region (LCR) child poverty work is underway and a website is being developed to share information and updating their needs assessments.
Key areas being reviewed by the LCR work includes:-
· School Readiness
· Breast Feeding
· Financial Inclusion
· Sustainable Transport
L Loughran updated that the Child Poverty e-learning module will be rolled out shortly through the Children’s Workforce Development Group.
Resolved: The board noted the update provided.
The board thanked M Parkinson for his substantial contribution during his time in Wirral and wished him well for the future.
The Board extended their thanks to Derek Kitchin and Andrew Davies for their work with the board over the last twelve months and wished them well for the future.
Date and Time of Next Meetings
Tuesday, 25th September 2012
Tuesday, 27th November 2012 (Rearranged from 20th November)
Tuesday, 22nd January 2013
Tuesday, 26th March 2013 (Rearranged from 19th March)
Tuesday, 21st May 2013
Tuesday, 16th July 2013