Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre. View directions
Contact: Rosalyn Patterson - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors McHatton, Simcox and S Craig.
The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 11 January 2016 and 21 March 2016.
The minutes of the meetings held on 11 January 2016 and 21 March 2016 were agreed as a correct record.
The Constitution of the Committee and the appointment of the Chair and Vice Chair as approved by the Council for the current municipal year is as follows:-
Chair Councillor B Oliphant
Vice Chair Councillor S Green
Councillors J Adams
Anne Page – Foster Care Association
Julie McCartney – The Gateshead Housing Company
Sasha Ban – School Governor
John Wilkinson – Families OSC representative
Jeremy Cripps – Voluntary Sector representative
1 Vacancy – Care Leaver
The Committee agreed the constitution of the Committee and the appointment of the Chair and Vice Chair for the current municipal year.
Report of Service Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning
The Committee received a report on the Looked After Children Improvement Plan. It was noted that at its recent inspection Ofsted looked at the whole journey of a looked after child and the outcomes they achieve. Overall the service did well however, some areas were identified as requiring improvement. From these recommendations an improvement plan has been developed to address the issues.
The improvement plan highlights a number of key tasks and timescales. Key tasks include; improving the quality of children’s plans, including pathway plans; ensuring child protection conferences and reviews are used to drive forward progress and improving the attendance of education professionals at reviews to ensure focus is on the young person’s educational outcomes. In terms of health, the improvement plan looks to develop the support to care leavers to understand their health history and ensure they have regular and timely access to mental health services. It was reported that a Band 6 nurse has now been appointed so there is additional capacity to support care leavers. Through the transformation of mental health services there is additional counselling that LAC and care leavers can access.
In terms of educational attainment it was noted that there are challenges in relation to outcomes. It was noted that Gateshead figures are similar to the national picture and work is continuing to narrow the gap in attainment between LAC and other pupils. It was acknowledged that generally there are between 40-60% of the LAC cohort with some degree of special educational need which means that there is a difficult starting point initially. To improve the picture for LAC there is now tighter tracking and this coincides with the new national assessment system that looks at progress made.
A Learning Mentor has been appointed to work with those pupils who are at risk of exclusion and to ensure pupils are kept engaged and are sitting exams. It is hoped this appointment will help LAC pupils build self-esteem at a time when they are being challenged. This appointment has been made using Pupil Premium money.
Work is ongoing to establish a protocol for care leaver support, meetings have been held with education and training providers to look at what offer can be given to LAC. Bi-monthly meetings are being held between Connexions, REALAC team and LAC services to profile young people and identify what is best for each individual child.
Concerns were raised about the attendance at review meetings and what can be done to improve this, for example video conferencing. It was noted that officers are looking at different ways to hold review meetings, there are challenges in terms of teachers attending during the school day. Generally LAC reviews are held within school and discussions are ongoing around telephone conferences for Child Protection Conferences.
It was questioned what the issue is with care leavers access to mental health services. It was explained that this is due to care leavers falling into adult services, however the redesign of the mental health service, the EMIL ... view the full minutes text for item CP4
Exclusion of Press and Public
The Committee may wish to pass a resolution to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of the following item on the grounds indicated:
Item Paragraphs of Schedule 12A to the Local
Government Act 1972
Regulation 44 Report
The Committee received a report on the Ofsted inspection outcomes and regulation 44 independent visits carried out in the Council’s children’s homes. The reports written as a result of the visits are circulated to the Service Director, Social Work, Care Wellbeing and Learning, Service Manager for Looked After Children and the Registered Manager of each Home.