Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Nassir Ali  Email: Nassir.Ali@royalgreenwich.gov.uk tel: 0208 921 6160

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

 

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Arrangements for Looked After Children placed out of Borough pdf icon PDF 135 KB

 

To note the process and considerations through which the local authority meets the needs of children who are looked after by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and placed in other boroughs.

 

To note the practice of children’s social care and partner agencies to ensure that children placed out of borough have the same level of care and opportunities as children placed in borough.

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the head of Permanance (childrens Services) who confirmed that Broadwalk Children’s Home had received an outstanding rating from Ofstead for the third time in a row. She stated they had received no requirments and only 3 recommentations which were currently being implemented.

 

The Head of Permanance (Children’s Services) gave an illustrated presentation showing slides mapping the concentrations of looked after children. She highlighted the placements outside of the Borough and explained that Kent had a high availability of carers which allowed for matching closer to the borough and in areas that were geographically easier to access. She added that areas like Thanet and Swales were areas of high deprivation where fostering is used as a form of income and could explain the high concentration of placements in these areas.

 

In response to questions, the head of Permanence explained that although some of the placement are outside of the Borough the looked after children remain the responsibility of the Council and are supported by our social workers. She added that as they become adults they may choose to live and settle in another area and are supported in doing this.

 

With regards to the education of the looked after children, the head of permanence stated that the children in Bexley are attending Greenwich schools and confirmed that the children in placements outside of the Borough still have access to resources in Greenwich i.e Virtual School. She added that the Education, Health and Care plans become the responsibility of the children are being educated however if the Borough is concerned as parents this can be reviewed via liaisons and consultation with colleagues.

 

The head of permanence confirmed that 90% of the Boroughs looked after children were in good or outstanding schools irrespective of the location. She added that this was the results of collaborative work between the commissioning team, childrens social care and the virtual schools.

 

In response to questions the head of permanence confirmed that there were currently 101 childrens being fostered 20 miles outside of the Borough and 56 of these were with family and friend carers. She also confirmed that the reasons some children were placed 20 miles outside of the borough was for their safety due to links to gangs and criminality and risks of sexual exploitation.

Members requested a London wide comparison on the number of looked after children placed over 20 miles outside of the respective Boroughs.

ACTION: DCS

 

In relation to the education of looked after children, the head of permanence confirmed that a high number of looked after children placed outside of the Borough still attend Greenwich schools. she added the reason for this was to maintain existing relationships and pastoral care. She also highlighted that 46 childrens that were looked after by other Boroughs attend Greenwich schools.

 

In response to questions, the head of permanence stated that the education of each child is treated on a case by case basis however the aim is to limit the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Children’s Services Complaints, Compliments and Representations Report 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

 

 

To Scrutinise the Children’s Services Complaints, Compliments and Representations Annual Report for 2016-17 (appended to this report).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Assistant Director Commissioning & Resources (childrens) who gave an illustrated presentation on the children’s act statutory complaints process highlighting an increase in the number of complaints resolved informally thus avoiding escalation to a formal investigation stage. 

 

In response to questions, the assistant director confirmed that the independent people mentioned in stage 3 of the process were people from other Boroughs who were completely independent from the authority. She added that stage 1 of the process was usually investigated by team leaders with additional support provided by the quality assurance team. The Director of Childrens services described each stage of the process and stated that they included statutory times frame for discussion and resolutions whilst highlighting the key figures as shown in the report.

 

With regards to the corporate complaints process, the assistant director explained that the increase in the number of complaints was primarily because there was a dip in 2015/16 and the figures for 2016/17 were not dissimilar to the other previous years. She added that the majority of the complaints related to school’s admissions and children’s safeguarding and social care which fell out of the children’s act statutory complaints criteria.

 

In response to questions, the assistant director stated that the increase in school admission complaints was a possible result of the growing population in the Borough. She confirmed that due to a previous review into the School banding system the authority sought to replace testing with teacher assessments as the banding system was found to be ineffective for oversubscribed schools. she continued that recently the Office of the School Adjudicator had determined that the process did not comply with the school admissions code and now only 2 secondary schools in the borough use a banding, albeit a different system.

 

The assistant director confirmed that the complaints manager decided which process a complaint is assigned to and was unaware of any cases of disagreement. In terms of the decrease in the percentage of young people who know how to make a complaint, the assistant director stated that children are made aware of their rights via the advocacy service run by Barnardos who assist in supporting the children in the mediation process and reduce the need for a formal complaints process.

Resolved –

 

That the annual complaints report be noted.

 

6.

Commissioning Future Reports pdf icon PDF 44 KB

 

 

To note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel on 8 November 2017 as outlined in the body of the report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel discussed the upcoming meeting schedule and work programme.

 

Resolved –

 

That the report be noted