Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel - Monday 21st February, 2022 4.00 pm

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Joanne Dixon 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Name of Member

Type of Interest

Item/Nature of Interest

Councillor Davison


Ag. Item 4 – Locality Working – Family member employed by Thirteen Housing



Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Children & Young People's Social Care & Services Scrutiny Panel held on 25 January 2022 pdf icon PDF 255 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting of the Children and Young People’s Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel held on 25 January 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


Locality Working from a Children's Services Perspective - Further Information pdf icon PDF 370 KB

The Panel will receive further information from partners working within the Locality Working pilots of Newport and North Ormesby, including how their service/organisation links into the locality working model to achieve better outcomes for children and young people within those communities.


The Panel will also receive further information around the resourcing and differences between the two pilot projects.

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed those present and provided background in relation to the Panel’s current scrutiny topic of Locality Working from a Children’s Services perspective.


The Chair explained that the Panel had been provided with information in relation to various partners working within the locality pilot areas of Newport and North Ormesby and had subsequently heard from some of the partner services/organisations working within the localities - in relation to their involvement in locality working and how a multi-agency approach was working to improve outcomes for children and families.


The following representatives were in attendance at the meeting to speak about their involvement in locality working:-


·        M Walker, Head of Stronger Communities

·        L Blagg, J Tickle – Assistant Team Managers, Education and Partnerships

·        Sergeant J Sproson – Cleveland Police (North Ormesby Neighbourhood Police Team)

·        J Pearce – Neighbourhood Safety Manager


Overview of Locality Working in North Ormesby


M Walker, Head of Stronger Communities, was in attendance to provide the Panel with an overview of the locality working pilot in North Ormesby, on behalf of the North Ormesby Neighbourhood Development Manager, and also to provide clarification on several issues raised by Panel Members.


The Head of Stronger Communities highlighted that a more in-depth presentation had been circulated to the Panel with the agenda, containing background information to the pilot projects and information previously provided to the Panel.  The presentation provided at the meeting had been condensed to focus on key questions/issues of most interest to the Panel.


Details of the governance structure for the standard locality working model were provided.  It was noted that Strategic direction was provided by the Project Executive Board and Corporate Management Team made up of senior managers within the Council.  A strategic Design and Implementation Group (DIG) was initially established until the projects were up and running and a Steering Group to monitor all locality Action Plans remained in place.  The strategic direction fed into the operational direction and action planning via the Operational Locality Working meeting with Managers and Supervisors and the development of issue-based action plans within the locality teams.  Finally, delivery and feedback was undertaken through the weekly or daily staff briefings with operational staff.


A list of some of the partners involved in both locality working pilots was provided and showed the wide range of Council Services and external partners working together in the localities, in addition to other bodies such as residents; schools; voluntary organisations; local businesses and faith groups.


The Panel was informed that each locality – North Ormesby and Newport – had nine Action Plans in place, with the aim being to improve life chances and life experiences.


One of those Action Plans was ‘Better Outcomes for Children’, with its key objectives being to create stronger families; increase educational attainment; reduce child sexual exploitation (CSE) and criminal exploitation and to reduce the numbers of children looked after.


It was highlighted that Children’s Services staff had been in-situ virtually within the localities for some time, including dedicated Officers from Children’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/44


Update - Covid Recovery in Children's Services

The Executive Director of Children’s Services will provide an update in relation to Covid recovery in Children’s Services, where appropriate.


The Executive Director of Children’s Services advised that Covid infection rates continued to decrease in the lead up to half term.  For Children’s Social Care, it was very much business as usual.  Ofsted were moving to face to face monitoring visits, rather than virtual, in the near future.


Schools were examining the impact of disruption to learning caused by Covid and this was impacting on workloads. 


It was highlighted that there had been a high number permanent school exclusions, with the period September 2021 to date, being higher than the whole of the previous year.  Attendance and oversight of vulnerable children (those children with a Social Worker) remained a key priority for the Council.


The Safeguarding Partnership continued to implement the challenges outlined in a letter from the DfE entitled ‘Keeping Children Safe in Winter’ which was about ensuring and monitoring the re-engagement of vulnerable children in education.  It was confirmed that processes were in place in relation to this and that attendance for vulnerable children was improving.  There was currently no cause for concern.


As the end of Covid restrictions were imminent, the Panel was asked whether it was happy to receive Covid recovery updates at every other meeting, rather than every meeting, unless there was a particular issue that needed to be reported.  There would be focus on vulnerable children, supporting families, with locality working being a key part of school readiness.  The importance of the Street Wardens engaging with some of the most disenfranchised young people was immeasurable.


A Panel Member commented that it was very concerning to hear that there had been more permanent exclusions since September than in the whole of the previous year.  It was acknowledged that keeping these children safe was a priority but also keeping them educated as they had already experienced disruption to their education through Covid.  It was queried whether there was a profile of the children who had been excluded and whether there were sufficient staff to support those children who were not being educated in school places.


The Executive Director advised that excluded pupils should receive 25 hours of education per week within six days of exclusion and it was acknowledged that this was putting pressure on the Council’s approved provision.  There were ongoing conversations to ascertain the reasons why children had been excluded and why on a permanent basis, rather than fixed term.  Schools had many issues to deal with including the impact of Covid on older children in terms of mental health.  Whilst there were pressures in the system, staff were working hard to ensure children were getting as solid an education as possible.


Concern was expressed that those excluded children entitled to 25 hours education provision, were less likely to engage in this provision and may be falling further behind.  The Executive Director assured Members that those who had been excluded would be provided with an alternative education provider and not left to drift.  It was acknowledged that some of the children were vulnerable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/45


Date and Time of Next Meeting - Monday, 21 March 2022 at 4.00pm


The next meeting of the Children and Young People’s Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel was scheduled for Monday, 21 March 2022 at 4.00pm.

The Chair made reference to a recent LGA workshop she had attended in relation to a whole-Council approach to Children’s Services and highlighted that she would like to invite one of the speakers to attend a future meeting of the Scrutiny Panel.