Venue: County Hall, Worcester
Contact: Alyson Grice/Samantha Morris Overview & Scrutiny Officers
Apologies and Welcome
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies were received from Bryan Allbut.
Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip
Councillor Steve Mackay declared an interest that he had a close relative who was looked after but not by Worcestershire County Council.
Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 7 August 2018). Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.
Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 May 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families, the Director of Children, Families and Communities and the Assistant Director for Early Help and Commissioningwere invited to the meeting to update the Panel on next steps following the Cabinet decision on 12 July 2018 relating to the future provision of overnight unit-based short breaks for children with disabilities.
Members were reminded that there had been a consultation on proposals for the re-design of overnight unit-based short breaks for children with disabilities between 8 January 2018 and 19 February 2018 and a Scrutiny exercise about this.
A slide detailing the next steps of the process was circulated to the Panel. The Assistant Director advised that a Project Team had been established to take forward the recommendations from 12 July Cabinet Report which would cover the co-design activity, contractual matters, democratic process and research and intelligence to inform future decision making. It was noted that there were clear links between this work and the Worcestershire Local Area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Action Plan.
· The Director of Children, Families and Communities was working collaboratively with the Director of Adult Services to negotiate with the Worcestershire NHS Health and Care Trust a variation to their contract, effective from 1 August 2018 for the delivery of overnight provision at Osborne Court and Ludlow Road.
· It was confirmed that the next Report to Cabinet was likely to be December 2018.
· To inform the co-design process, there would be some further research during the autumn to look into the joint strategic needs and likely future demand for the overnight short break service. The research would take into account wider demographic changes and including trends in birth rates, data on numbers of children with disabilities in Worcestershire and nationally and trends in the number of young people transitioning to adult services.
· The numbers of children currently coming in and out of the system suggested that Worcestershire had a higher number of children accessing overnight unit-based short breaks in comparison to other local authorities, but in determining the future service offered, the Council needed to consider the changing nature of disability and the type of service required.
· Concern was expressed that it was still unclear what the future service demand was, especially as medical advances meant that there was likely to be more children surviving with disabilities and requiring ongoing care needs. It was confirmed that service demand information would be available by the autumn and would cover a 5 year period.
· A member asked about how the service was future proofing itself, given that demand was likely to grow and there were a number of families who weren’t aware of the support available but might become aware and might request it. The Panel was advised the SEND Action Plan (the next Agenda item) identified that there needed to be a graduated response to care needs to address this.
· It was confirmed that the Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) contribution to the Service in respect ... view the full minutes text for item 330.
The Cabinet Member with Responsibility (CMR) for Education and Skills, the Director of Children, Families and Communities (DCS), the Interim Assistant Director – Education & Skills, Children, Families and Communities Directorate, the Interim SEND Group Manager and the Chief Operating Officer and Lead Executive for Quality and Performance NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS South Worcestershire CCG and NHS Wyre Forest CCG attended the Meeting to discuss the Joint Local Area Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Inspection - Local Area Action Plan.
The CMR advised the Panel that between 5 March 2018 and 9 March 2018, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted a joint inspection of the Local Area of Worcestershire to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing the special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.
As a result of the findings of the Inspection and in accordance with the Children Act 2004 (Joint Area Reviews) Regulations 2015, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) determined that a Written Statement of Action was required because of significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice. HMCI also determined that the local authority and the area’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) were jointly responsible for submitting a written statement to Ofsted/CQC within 70 days of the publication of the Inspection Report (by 20 August 2018). In order to take into account the views of the Panel, the CMR was intending to make the decision to approve the written statement for submission to Ofsted/CQC around 9 August.
The CMR was currently receiving weekly briefings with the Assistant Director, Education and Skills on the progress of the Written Statement of Action, where he would explore any specific issues of concern. Update reports to the Cabinet and Council would follow a quarterly cycle for the first 12 months, supported with 6 monthly issue specific reports.
The Panel received a presentation and copies were circulated, which outlined:
· The Statement of Action
· Action Plans: Structure and Content
· Monitoring and accountability
· It was suggested that the term 'local offer' wasn't easily understood and confusing for people looking to access support. It was confirmed that this was a term from the Children and Families Act (March 2014) used by all local authorities.
· It was confirmed that this was the first Inspection since the 2014 SEND Reforms, however the Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Review, between the 4 and 7 December 2017 had already highlighted some areas of concern and work was already underway to address some of the issues.
· Between 60 and 70 out of 150 local authorities with a local offer of SEND had been inspected and approximately a third of those had received a letter requesting a written statement of action.
· It was suggested that key concern 1 "the safeguarding concerns around: children and young people from London boroughs who were housed locally; the use of long-term part-time timetables; children taken off roll and missing education;" was very ... view the full minutes text for item 331.