Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel - Tuesday 17th January, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Mandela Room, Town Hall

Contact: Joanne Dixon 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no Declarations of Interest made by Members at this point in the meeting.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Children & Young People's Social Care & Services Scrutiny Panel held on 20 December 2022 pdf icon PDF 233 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting of the Children and Young People’s Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel held on 20 December 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


Preparing Young People for Adulthood and Independence - Further Information pdf icon PDF 76 KB

The Panel will receive further information in relation to its current scrutiny topic from Middlesbrough’s Community Learning Service.


J Earl, Alternative Provision Co-ordinator, and C Thorpe, Apprenticeships Co-ordinator, from Middlesbrough Community Learning Service (MCL), were in attendance at the meeting to provide the Panel with an insight into the work undertaken by the service in the context of the Panel’s current review and to explain how Community Learning supported vulnerable young people into further education, training or employment.


Middlesbrough Community Learning offered high quality learning opportunities for people of all ages and abilities and offered a wide number of courses.


The Middlesbrough Community Learning offer included:-


·        Programmes for young people, including supported internships and study programme

·        Apprenticeships

·        50 Futures

·        Youth Hub

·        Youth Employment Initiative

·        Support for Employers

·        Support for Learners

·        Information, advice and guidance for parents, carers, social workers and personal assistants.


J Earl, Alternative Provision Co-ordinator, advised that she ran post-16 provision for vulnerable young people, including those with Special Educational Needs.  This consisted of two programmes, both predominantly delivered from the Lingfield Learning Centre, Coulby Newham:-


·        Study Programme (for 16-19 year olds)

·        Supported Internships (for 16-24 year olds)


Study Programme


The Study programme was available to 16-19 year olds, or up to the age of 25 if the young person had an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).


The length of the programme was a full academic year (September to July) and its main aim was to enhance employability skills by ensuring students were ready for employment.  The programme was designed to engage with students who were not quite ready for the employment market - for whatever reason - and to support them in gaining work experience/vocational placements and enhance their chances in the employment market by developing their employability skills, including English and Maths qualifications where none had been gained previously.


Students needed to be aged between 16 – 19 years old and have left secondary school and not be 19 before 1st August within that calendar year.


The programme offered the following opportunities, all of which were tailored to suit the needs of the individual:-


·        Vocational Qualification & Vocational Placements (in the student’s desired vocation)

·        Employability Qualification

·        Personal and Social Development Qualification

·        Maths and English


This programme helped to reduce the number of young people who were NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) within Middlesbrough.  Community Learning worked with all aspects of children’s services to ensure Middlesbrough’s young people had access to the support and opportunities they needed to develop and progress.


Supported Internship


The main aim of the supported internship programme was to provide the learner with a meaningful work experience placement with a trusted local employer.  Participants must be aged 16-24 and have an EHCP.


Again, the programme ran from September to July and enabled access to:-


·        Work placement

·        Maths and English

·        Vocational Qualification

·        Employability Qualification

·        Preparation for Adulthood and Personal and Social Development – all of which were tailored to the individual.


Once students had successfully completed the assessment process, they were generally ready to work and there had been some amazing success stories from both programmes.


Some care experienced young  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/37


Preparing Young People for Adulthood and Independence - Further Information

The Panel will receive a verbal update from Public Health in relation to its current scrutiny topic.


G Nicholson, Advanced Health Practitioner, Public Health, was in attendance at the meeting to provide information in relation to how the physical and emotional health needs of young people, particularly those in care/care leavers, were met and the role health partners played in supporting young people to adulthood and independence.


The Panel heard that there was a very broad needs base and that a lot of work had been done to support children in schools in relation to mental health with the Headstart Programme now being delivered by Public Health in all Middlesbrough schools.  The programme aimed to develop resilience and emotional well-being through peer support, undertaking specific work in the classroom and in assemblies.


In terms of young people with care experience, Healthy Child programmes were in place run by the Children in Care Team in conjunction with Social Care.  This supported young people to plan for leaving care, undertaking health reviews and assessing the health needs of young people.  The team worked with appropriate support services where required to ensure all of the young person’s health needs were met and that appropriate services were put in place where required.


It was highlighted that the Children in Care Team provided a very specific service providing health assessments and reviews for care experienced young people and offered appropriate support to families and carers.  It was suggested that a representative from the Children in Care Team be invited to a future meeting to provide the Panel with a more focused overview of the pathways and support they offered families including outreach services to address reactive areas.


AGREED that arrangements be made for an appropriate representative from the Children in Care Team (Health) be invited to the next meeting of the Panel and that the information provided be noted and considered in the context of the Scrutiny Panel’s current scrutiny topic.


Update - Ofsted Monitoring Visit pdf icon PDF 145 KB

The Interim Executive Director of Children’s Services will be in attendance to provide the Panel with an update in relation to the Ofsted monitoring visit carried out 1-2 November 2022.

Additional documents:


C Sowerby, Director of Children’s Care, was in attendance at the meeting to provide the Panel with an update in relation to the findings of the most recent Ofsted Monitoring Visit to Children’s Services.


Ofsted had undertaken a sixth monitoring visit to Middlesbrough’s Children’s Services on 1 and 2 November 2022 with a focus on older children leaving care and care leavers.


The findings provided clarity on areas where progress had been made since the initial full inspection and areas requiring improvement.  The Panel was advised that some of the areas for improvement identified had already been acted upon and further actions had been added to the Improvement Plan.


The issues identified included:-




·        Since the last inspection, services for older children in care and care leavers had started to improve.


·        Most older children who were approaching leaving care were supported to develop the necessary independence skills needed to live alone.


·        Care leavers told inspectors that most of them had experienced a positive transition from care, including that they had been well supported by their social workers and their personal advisors.


·        Regular contact was maintained with most children and care leavers, with care leavers making use of the dedicated social media messenger page to stay in touch.


·        Independent advocates were offered to children and care leavers, and they had been actively involved in supporting them with their issues and concerns.


·        Those children and care leavers who benefitted from the supported living accommodation and the bespoke children’s home were well supported to prepare for independent living.  Staff provided them with opportunities to develop life skills and promoted resilience in preparation for living alone. It was clear that they had established trusting relationships with support staff who were attuned to their needs. It was a real positive that those children and care leavers who talked to inspectors, and who lived in those homes, were all either in education or work.


·        Return home interviews after children had been missing were undertaken in a timely way and information from the child or care staff provided a helpful insight to understand risk. Children had appropriate safety plans and oversight from the vulnerable exploited missing and trafficked (VEMT) Panel.  Consequently, children had reduced their missing episodes as well as their risks in the community.


Areas for Improvement


·        Transition planning for some children had not been as effective as it should have been. As a result, a small number of care leavers described: feeling rushed when moving out of care and this had resulted in a small number remaining as children in care post-18 due to a lack of planning with continued support in accommodation.


·        Some young people stated they needed more financial support to enable them to buy food and pay their energy bills.  Plans were in place to ensure the right level of support was in place.


·        Needs assessments and the resulting Pathway plans varied in quality.  Most plans required tighter target setting/smarter focus, however, the better plans and assessments included the clear voice of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/39


Overview and Scrutiny Board Update

The Chair will provide a verbal update on the business conducted at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 12 January 2023.


The Chair provided a verbal update in relation to the business conducted at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 12 January 2023, namely:-


·        Executive Forward Work Programme

·        Executive Member Update – Councillor Grainge, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Safety – provided an update on current and ongoing work within his portfolio.

·        Scrutiny Chairs’ Updates


Next OSB meeting – Wednesday, 22nd February 2023 at 10am.


Date and Time of Next Meeting - 14 February 2023, 10.00am


The next meeting of the Children and Young People’s Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 14 February 2023 at 10.00am, Mandela Room, Town Hall.