Wrexham Council homepage

Advertising

Agenda and minutes

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall

Contact: Suzanne Price  Scrutiny Facilitator

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Russell Gilmartin.

2.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 15 May 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Amendment to Minutes -

Minute 48 – Confirmation of Minutes

 

The following sentence be included under matters arising:

 

The Safeguarding, Communities and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee recognise the value of skills that service users have gained at both the Erlas Centre and Cunliffe Centre.

 

AGREED – That the Minutes of the Safeguarding, Communities and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee held on 15 May 2019 be agreed, subject to the aforementioned amendment.

3.

Declarations of personal interests, if any

Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were reminded of their responsibility, under Article 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare any interests in relation to any of the business to be transacted at this meeting. The following declarations was made:

 

Agenda Item 5 –  Children's Social Care Departmental Service Activity & Performance Half Yearly Update (Quarters 3-4) for 2018/2019.

Councillor Krista Childs – Personal non prejudicial  – Family member is kinship carer and friend is agency social worker. The Councillor remained in the meeting taking part in the discussion and voting thereon.

4.

Timing of Meetings

To consider the start times of Meetings of this Committee, giving consideration to the resources available for webcasting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED – That meetings of the Safeguarding, Communities and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee/Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee should commence at 4.00 pm.

5.

Children's Social Care Departmental Service Activity & Performance Half Yearly Update (Quarters 3-4) for 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Children’s Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Members declarations of interest in relation to this item are set out in Minute 3 above).

 

The Lead Member for People – Children’s Services submitted a report COSC/07/19s advising elected members of the Safeguarding Communities & Well Being Scrutiny Committee of key performance management information within Children’s Social Care Services for the period 1 October 2018 – 31 March 2019.  Where appropriate, comparison data such as Welsh averages had also been included.  In introducing his report, the Lead Member stressed that the data provided elected members with the opportunity to monitor performance and discuss any issues to which the information related.

 

During the discussion, the following points were noted in particular:

 

·         In response to concerns raised by Members regarding the rise in the number of Looked after Children, officers advised that these increases were in line with what was happening across England and Wales. 

·         It was noted that the demand for services could be partly attributed to the rise in population and also the improvements in terms of advertisement and signposting towards early support services.  It was important to note that not all referrals would materialise into child protection or social care cases but that every referral had a direct impact on staff workload.  The relevant staff were required to log and risk assess all referrals.  A number of these referrals would be directed towards advisory services whilst others would be allocated for an assessment or strategy meeting for immediate response.

·         Confirmation that due to a recent change in law, care proceedings did not always allow a sufficient amount of time to allow families to evidence that the changes required were being sustained, and that his had led to an increase in Full Care orders.

·         The need to be mindful of the cuts to services over the years that would ordinarily have supported Social Services.  A % of individuals who contacted the service were re-directed to other services which the Local Authority commissioned such as Flying Start and Family First.

·         Caseloads were monitored on a weekly basis and a recent reduction could be evidenced.  A high % were re-directed to early help services i.e. family information services.

·         A number of children placed on Full Care Orders were placed with Kinship carers, family members and individuals known to the family.  Those children placed directly in our care were placed in foster care or residential care and a high level of support was provided. 

·         There had been a recent improvement in staff recruitment and retention.  Part of this improvement could be attributed to the appointment of agency staff to permanent posts within the Local Authority.  It was noted that the need to use agency staff to cover maternity and long term sickness would remain.

·         Acknowledgment that the Childcare Offer which had been introduced in certain wards would be rolled out across Wrexham.  A Member requested further information regarding this.

·         There had been a national decrease in the number of potential adopters and this could partly be attributed to the improvements in fertility treatment.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Looked After Children - Out of County Placements pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Children’s Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Member for People – Children’s Services submitted a report COSC/06/19s allowing Members to consider detail regarding the current situation relating to Looked After Children (LAC) who are placed ‘out of county’.  This was in relation to increasing numbers of LAC and out of county placements and the resultant budget overspend.

 

During discussion the following points were noted in particular:

 

·         A number of children with complex needs were better suited to residential care, rather than foster care.  However, specialist therapeutic foster carers who could manage complex needs would enable more children to be cared for with in-house foster carers.

·         Officers confirmed that an additional placement officer post was being sought.  Whilst there was no budget for this post there was a requirement to invest to save.  There was a need to ensure that carers were retained through the provision of appropriate support.

·         All local authorities had a duty of care to ensure that children were safe and free from risk and an automatic referral was received for those children who went missing from neighbouring authorities.

·         Confirmation that WG were considering regional provision for those children who presented with serious behavioural issues e.g. sexualised behaviour, mental health issues

·         Suggestion from one Member that there should be a central fund provided by Local Government to assist in the appropriate management and support of looked after children.

 

Agreed:

(i)            The committee thank all for their presentations and enlightening the committee of the realities of Looked After Children and request a further update in 12 months.  We fully support the actions being taken to reduce the overspend while still keeping children’s welfare the first priority.

 

(ii)          The committee supports the Chief Officer’s decision not to support Welsh Government proposals to introduce targets to reduce Looked After Children.

7.

Exclusion of Press and Public

In considering whether to exclude the press and public from the next part of the meeting, Members are asked to consider the following factors when determining the public interest test.

 

Agenda Item 8:  The Proper Officer has determined in considering this report that Paragraphs 12 and 13 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) should apply.  Her view on the public interest test was that to make this information public would disclose personal data relating to an individual in contravention of the principles of the Data Protection Act.  The individuals involved are entitled to privacy.  Because of this and since there did not appear to be an overwhelming public interest requiring the disclosure of personal data she felt that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

It is therefore recommended that the press and public be excluded from the Meeting during consideration of the following items as it is likely that, if they were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 12 and 13 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED - That the press and public be excluded from the Meeting during consideration of the following item as it is likely that, if they were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 12 and 13 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

8.

Looked After Children - Out of County Placements - Presentation

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation which provided additional information relation got out of county placements including a number of case studies relating to out of county placements.

 

AGREED - The committee thanked the officers for the information which had been extremely useful in understanding the pressures on both the staff and the budget.