Agenda and minutes

Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 30th November, 2017 1.30 pm

Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Rosalyn Patterson TEL: (0191) 433 2088 EMAIL: 

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Caffrey, Cllr S Craig, Cllr P Craig and co-opted members Sasha Ban and Maveen Pereira.



Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 109 KB

The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 19 October 2017 and 1 November 2017

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 19 October 2017 and 1 November 2017 were agreed as a correct record.



OSC Review - Children on Edge of Care - Final Report pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning


The Committee received the final report on the review into support to young people and families with complex needs on the edge of care. 


The review looked at the challenges facing young people on the edge of care, as well as the key ingredients to successful approaches to supporting young people. There was also a focus on the elements of service design that will support best practice and strengthening service delivery to safely reduce the numbers of children coming into care.


During the review partners have been involved, including; health partners, housing, education, commissioning and mental health services.  The outcome of the review demonstrated that all partner agencies play a key role, partnership working is a strong element to reducing the number of looked after children and preventing children coming into care.


It was noted that the Committee recognised the importance of a responsive model, in terms of stable housing, housing for care leavers and supporting financial management. The Committee felt that it was important to support families to manage financial issues and the service has incorporated this into the overall service design.


The draft recommendations were outlined as;

·         The service to implement the complex child in need team and the rapid response service development by January 2018

·         The delivery of the rapid response service to strengthen links with benefits support services

·         The service will train staff in systemic approaches as a strengths based model best practice model

·         The committee acknowledged the importance of developing the housing options offer for care leavers and agreed that strengthening this offer during the next commissioning process

·         The committee agreed that continuing to build joint service delivery with partners is important and needs to continue within the edge of care service development work


In terms of working with partners to provide financial advice it was queried what the response has been from DWP. It was confirmed that there is good access as there is a named person in DWP for care leavers. Housing support has recognised the importance and there are additional opportunities to develop. In terms of private landlords there are links through The Gateshead Housing Company and there is confidence that financial and benefit advice will not be affected by the type of landlord.


RESOLVED    -           That the Committee agreed to the draft recommendations and

referred it to Cabinet on 19 December 2017.





The Council Plan - Six Monthly Assessment and Performance Delivery pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning

Additional documents:


Committee received the six monthly performance report which provided an overview of performance and highlighted trends that have improved and declined since the last report.


It was reported that there are seven indicators highlighted as exceptions as they have not improved. Overall performance trends are positive with 15 out of the 22 indicators showing improvement since the last report. 


It was noted that 7 out of 12 indicators under the Live Well Gateshead outcome have improved. This includes; an increase in the number of families engaged by the Troubled Families Gateshead programme; a reduction in the use of custody for 10-17 year olds; a reduction in the number of mothers smoking at the time of delivery; a reduction in 4-5 year olds with excess weight issues; a reduction in the number of children subject to a child protection plan and an increase in the proportion of care leavers in suitable accommodation and education, training and employment.


Committee was advised that eight out of 10 indicators under the Prosperous Gateshead outcome have shown improvement. It was reported that there has been an increase in the percentage of schools rated outstanding and the percentage of children offered their preferred primary school place. There has also been an increase in the percentage of children achieving a good level of development at age 5, and those achieving the expected standard at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.


In terms of those indicators that have declined these were outlined by service area. In relation to Learning and Schools there has been a reduction in the number of children offered a place at their preferred secondary school, although performance is 88% and is above the national average this is still a decline from last year. It is expected that this figure will continue to decrease in future years as capacity within the current secondary school system remains as it is.  In the Early Help service, performance has declined in relation to the number of eligible two year olds accessing free places, however it is likely that this will improve as information is still being collated. Also, there has been an increase in the number of first time entrants into the youth justice system aged 10-17 years, this is currently being investigated by the YOT Board and prevention staff have moved into Early Help to provide an early intervening co-ordinated service. There has also been a decline in performance in relation to the support for young carers.


In the Public Health service performance has declined in terms of the reduction of excess weight in 10-11 year olds, a Members Seminar has been arranged for January 2018 to look at this issue further. In addition, hospital admissions for self-harm rates have increased, a further report will be brought back to the Committee to look at local level data and analysis.  It was reported that there has also been an increase in the percentage of children in low income families, children in poverty, work is ongoing around financial  ...  view the full minutes text for item F32


Safeguarding Children LSCB Annual Report and Plans pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning

Additional documents:


Committee received the annual report and business plan from the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).


It was noted that new legislation states that there is no longer a requirement for an LSCB and sets out requirements for a new strategic partnership made up of the local authority, police and the CCG. The new arrangements will come into effect from April 2018 and preparation is already underway. It was noted that the challenge will be whether this has an impact on safeguarding.


It was reported that over the last year workloads have increased, early help has been reviewed and the LSCB has scrutinised those arrangements. A one year Business Plan has been agreed, however this will change as the future set up of the Board becomes clear.


It was questioned where the most common category of neglect sits within the new early help model. It was confirmed that the early help model runs across and includes various referrals, preventative work continues and in the main a lot of the referrals are due to neglect.


It was confirmed that child death figures include stillborn deaths and suicides.


RESOLVED    -           (i)         That the Committee noted the LSCB and partner

agency performance for 2016-2017 and noted and endorsed the proposed priorities and agreed to participate in future consultation around safeguarding priorities.


                                    (ii)        That the Committee agreed to receive updates in

relation to forthcoming changes to the LSCB and safeguarding arrangements as a result of new legislation and Government guidance.



Work Permits for the Employment of Children within the Borough pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning


A report was presented to Committee on the employment of children under the age of 16. In line with government guidance the Council has byelaws which set out the number of hours children and young people can work.


If a child wants to work the employer must request a work permit from the Council. The application submitted by the employer must set out the hours, days and type of work and officers will ensure it matches regulations.  A letter is then sent to the employer stating expectations, the child is also given the letter as well as the child’s school asking them to identify any educational impact of the employment. The parent of the child will also receive a letter which makes it clear that any issues as a result of the employment must be highlighted.


It was reported that in the year 2010-2011 110 permits were issued, however in 2016-2017 this figure was only 30. It was noted that this is because there is reduced capacity to send reminders to employers, however if any child employment is brought to the attention of officers they will investigate to ensure the environment is suitable for a child to work in.


It was suggested that the decrease in requests for permits could be because people are unaware of the need to have permits in place. 


It was questioned whether this applies to paid work only. It was confirmed that this applies to any occupation where the aim is to make a surplus profit, for example this would not apply to a voluntary position within a youth centre.


RESOLVED    -           (i)         That the Committee noted the contents of the report.


(ii)        That the comments of the Committee be noted.





Work Programme pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Joint Report of the Chief Executive and Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance

Additional documents:


The Committee received the work programme for the municipal year 2017/18, which is a standing item on the agenda.


It was noted that, following the last meeting, the Permanent Exclusion 14 Point Action Plan has been added to the work programme for March 2018.


RESOLVED    -           (i)         That the provisional work programme be noted.


                                    (ii)        That further reports on the work programme will be

brought to the Committee to identify any additional policy issues, which the Committee may be asked to consider.