Agenda and minutes

Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 18th October, 2018 1.30 pm

Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Melvyn Mallam-Churchill - E-mail 

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors McHugh, P Craig, S Craig and Mullen. Additional apologies were received from co-opted members Maveen Pereira, Sasha Ban and Cheryl Lain.


Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 90 KB

The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting held on 13 September 2018.


The minutes of the last meeting held on 13 September 2018 were agreed as a correct record.


YOT Performance Update pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Strategic Director of Care, Wellbeing and Learning.


The Board received a report to provide an update on the Youth Offending Team (YOT) key priorities for 2018/19 and performance for the period of July 2018 to September 2018 for first time entrants and custody indicators.


From the report the Committee were advised that there is now a requirement for Youth Offending Teams to produce an Annual Youth Justice Plan as part of the grant conditions of Local Authorities.


The Committee were provided with a summary of the key priorities for the YOT. It was highlighted that improving access to general health assessments for young people who enter the criminal justice system was carried forward from the 2017/18 plan.


A further breakdown of new priorities was also presented to the Board as follows:


·         Explore with the Newcastle/Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to identify potential funding to introduce the Liaison and Diversion scheme within Gateshead.

·         Review Restorative Justice approaches within Gateshead and apply for renewal of the Restorative Justice Quality Mark (RJQM).

·         Explore alternative methods of funding with regional colleagues to deliver on Attachment Based Parenting Interventions for young people known to Youth Justice Services.

·         To embed the Enhanced Case Management (ECM) model and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research into every day practice which will aim to acknowledge and consider young people’s diverse needs in relation to trauma.

·         Ensure that relevant staff attend the 3 days – Trauma Recovery Training arranged for March 2019.

·         To develop preventative approaches to work with young people in the Looked After Child (LAC), Child In Need (CIN), Complex Child In Need (CCIN), and Child Protection arenas and those at risk of Civil Injunctions.

An overview of performance was provided from the report on first time entrants and custody. From the figures relating to first time entrants it was highlighted that there has been 9 during the period of July 2018 to September 2018. It was noted this is a 36% decrease on the previous quarter. It was also highlighted to the Committee that there had been no custodial sentences during the reporting period which is below the Northumbria PCC regional average and the National average.


The Committee were then provided with an overview of reoffending data from the Police National Computer noting that Gateshead’s binary percentage was 37% which was again, below the local and national averages. It was however highlighted that there are currently 124 young people being tracked by YOT, 23 young people went on to reoffend committing a total of 71 offences.


Hard copies of the Youth Justice Strategic Plan were handed out to Members present.


A question was asked regarding Liaison and Diversion funding for Gateshead, it was noted that this funding has not been made available to Gateshead previously but that it has with some neighbouring authorities. It was noted that it was not known why Gateshead had missed out on this grant previously, but it was clarified that Gateshead are part of a new funding bid. A comment was made stating that there may be a case for  ...  view the full minutes text for item F75


Safeguarding Children - LSCB Annual Report and Plans pdf icon PDF 980 KB

Additional documents:


The Board received a copy of the annual report of the Gateshead Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). It was highlighted that the report is not written by Gateshead Council and that it is a report of multiple agencies.


An overview of pupil exclusion figures was provided from the report noting that the increasing number of pupils being excluded from school is a national issue. It was further noted that following the LSCB Reducing Permanent Exclusions conference an action plan was devised and implemented from September 2017. It was highlighted that since the implementation of the action plan, there have been nine fewer permanent exclusions compared to last year.


A summary of the Missing, Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Sub Group (MSET) was also provided to the Committee. It was noted that referrals have increased to 63% as a result of the Board increasing awareness of the issue amongst partner agencies.


From the report it was noted that there have been ongoing regional collaborations with partners such as the CCG and Northumbria Police in order to streamline processes regarding the safeguarding of children. It was further noted that future priorities include raising awareness of the role of the LSCB and safeguarding with frontline staff across Gateshead.


The Board also received a demonstration of the new LSCB website – links were provided to the Committee within the report.


It was asked where the issue of domestic violence fits in with the LSCB; it was noted that domestic violence feeds up to the Community Safety Partnership. It was further noted that a report on the ‘Toxic Trio’ will be presented at a future Committee.


A question was asked regarding the impact on families following the nationwide welfare reform. It was acknowledged that there is evidence of families suffering as a result of the reforms and that the LSCB continues to have good working relationships with support organisations and third sector providers to support families in need such as the foodbank. It was noted that more specific research on the impact of welfare reform is underway and would be presented to the Committee once complete.


It was asked whether there is an issue in Gateshead around gangs – it was noted there is no evidence this is an issue within Gateshead specifically however there are issues around ‘County Lines’ in neighbouring authorities.


A query was raised regarding the logging of still born babies/child deaths. It was confirmed that for a child to be recorded as still born they must not have drawn breath following birth – these statistics are held by the Public Health Team.



(i)            The Committee noted the contents of the report.


Early Help - Progress Update pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Report of the Strategic Director of Care, Wellbeing and Learning.


The Committee received a report and presentation to provide an update on the newly implemented Early Help Service within Care, Wellbeing and Learning.


It was noted that the Early Help Service is made up of four teams – Targeted Family Support, Specialist Support, Early Help Hub and the Special Needs and Disabilities Team. It was further highlighted that the Domestic Abuse Service was also consolidated within the Early Help Service.


From the presentation an overview of the Gateshead Profile was provided as follows:


·         221 members of staff in Early Help excluding SEND and Children with Disabilities Team.

·         250 members of staff including SEND and Children with Disabilities Team.

·         54 Family Intervention Workers within Early Help.

·         Family Support Workers and Contact Workers will be transferring from children’s statutory service to Early Help in October 2018.


The Committee were also provided with an overview of Early Help caseload allocations in addition to a breakdown of where referrals have been received from. Of the referrals received it was noted that 56% of total referrals have come from Education and Referral & Assessment respectively.


It was noted that over the period 2010-2019, Early Help has made, or plans to make, a total of £12.1m in savings. It was also stated that overall the Council has made £156.9m of savings and Children’s Services £27.3m over that period, which represents 17% of the total savings. It was further noted that savings in 2018/19 for Early Help total £0.14m and that there is £0.5m of prior year savings of which c£0.4m is still to be delivered but will be by 2019/20. It was highlighted that budget proposals for 2019/20 total c£0.5m.


The Committee were then presented with a case study to illustrate the impact of the new service on a local family. In concluding, the Committee were advised that the Early Help Service continues to change and evolve to meet the needs to vulnerable residents in Gateshead.


It was asked how long a family/individual may be involved with the Early Help Service. It was noted this varies depending on the needs of the individuals referred however the service aim to have a case closed within 12 months.



(i)            The Committee noted the contents of the report and presentation.

(ii)           The Committee agreed to receive further updates on the Early Help Service at a future Committee.





School Exclusions - Performance Update pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Report of the Strategic Director of Care, Wellbeing and Learning.


The Committee received a report that detailed the position of Gateshead schools in relation to permanent exclusions for the academic year 2017/2018.


It was noted from the report that at the end of the Summer Term 2017 Gateshead’s LSCB and the Council’s Learning and Schools Service organised a summit to discuss ways forward to reduce the numbers of young people that were being permanently excluded from Gateshead secondary schools.


It was highlighted that a draft action plan was agreed at the summit and a steering group was formed. It was noted that data collected from the first full year following the implementation of the plan is promising.


The Board were then provided with an overview of exclusions for the 2018/19 academic year school by school.


A comment was made that is was good to see permanent exclusion figures decreasing. It was also noted that a recent announcement from the Education Secretary that the exam results of excluded pupils will be included as part of a school’s overall exam performance which is a welcomed change.


A question was asked regarding the use of Riverside Academy; it was noted that referrals are decreasing in line with the reduction in permanent exclusions. It was agreed that data for Gateshead pupils educated outside of ‘traditional’ school would be presented at a future board.



(i)            The Committee noted the contents of the presentation.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Joint report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director of Corporate Services and Governance.

Additional documents:


The Committee received the Work Programme report which sets out the provisional programme for the Committee for the year 2018/19.



(i)            The Committee noted the contents of the Work Programme report and appendix.