Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Nichola Garner  Committee and Appellate Officer


No. Item

Available papers

The Members had before them:


A.    The Agenda papers (previously circulated); and


B.    The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2019 (previously circulated).

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Apologies and Declarations of Interest (Agenda item 1)

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Public Participation (Agenda item 2)

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating both the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case Wednesday 23 October 2019).  Further details are available on the Council's website.  Enquiries can also be made through the telephone number/e-mail address listed below.

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Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous meeting (Agenda item 3)

The Minutes of the meeting of 26 September 2019 have been previously circulated

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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Scrutiny Report: The Relationship between the Family Front Door and Schools (Agenda item 4) pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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Cabinet considered the Scrutiny Report: The Relationship between the Family Front Door and Schools.


The Lead Member of the Scrutiny Task Group introduced the Scrutiny Report. She thanked Catherine Driscoll and Tina Russell and their team for their work in improving services to children over the last three years. The Task and Finish Group had been established in response to concerns raised by local councillors about communication issues between schools and Children’s Services, particularly in respect of the Family Front Door (FFD) service. Responses to a survey had been received from 30 schools and members of the Task Group had visited 15 schools from all education levels. Although this was a small sample, schools expressed real concerns about the standard of communication. She thanked Denise Hannibal for her work providing support/training to schools to work more effectively with the FFD service. She outlined the key recommendations set out in the report in relation to consent, communication issues, the referral process and Community Social Workers. The Overview Scrutiny and Performance Board had supported these recommendations and added a timescale for their implementation within 6 months together with a yearly update.


The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families thanked the Lead Member for the Task Group’s report. The Children’s Services and the FFD service in particular had been under significant scrutiny from various inspection regimes over the last three years. The problem for the scrutiny was that the FFD service was constantly evolving. The latest Ofsted report referred to the strength of the FFD multi-agency response arrangements which ensured timely and effective intervention and it was important not to undermine this progress. The theme that underpinned the Report was the need to work together with the same shared values and objectives to provide an outstanding service. Some of the recommendations in the Scrutiny Report would not be adopted or were already in place. In particular in relation to recommendation 1 concerning consent, in all but the most extreme cases, parental consent was necessary and referral to families was an established part of the safeguarding process.


He acknowledged that communication with schools could be improved. Children’s Services did not have the budget or responsibility to provide further safeguarding advisor posts. Designated Safeguarding Leads could be offered time with social workers as part of their induction programme.  The role of Community Social Workers was under review. Training sessions would continue to be arranged for members.


He added that the Scrutiny Report had highlighted the important issue of safeguarding responsibilities in schools. He stressed that a school would fail its Ofsted inspection if it failed to meet its safeguarding responsibilities. Members of the Council, in particular those who acted as school governors, had an important role in bringing about change. It was not possible financially or operationally for every school to have its own social worker.


He concluded that everyone needed to work together to ensure the success of the service. He requested that a lighter touch approach for scrutinising the service, particularly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1939.


Use of Children's Centre Buildings - Transfer of the Centre at Abbey Park First and Middle Schools, Pershore (Agenda item 5) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

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Cabinet considered the use of Children's Centre Buildings - Transfer of the Centre at Abbey Park First and Middle Schools, Pershore.


The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families introduced the report and commented that he had visited the building. He had noted the enthusiastic nature of the First School headteacher and her staff, the new facilities at the site and that the staff were reaching out to the wider economy. He hoped that the issues raised by the local councillor about property rights had now been addressed.


The local councillor commented that the school had an excellent record for early years provision and was renown in Pershore for its level of pastoral care. She fully supported the proposal to transfer the Children’s Centre building known as Blossom Vale in Pershore to Abbey Park Schools Federation for the continued provision of early childhood services.


RESOLVED: that the Cabinet


a)    approved the proposals for the future use of the Children’s Centre building Blossom Vale at Abbey Park First and Middle Schools as outlined in paragraphs 6 - 10 below; and


b)   authorised the Director of Children’s Services to take all necessary steps to give effect to the above.


Chairman's Announcement

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Retirement of Interim Director of Adult Services

The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care expressed his gratitude to Avril Wilson for the dedication, vision, direction and order that she had brought to Adult Social Care in her role as Interim Director of Adult Services. The Chief Executive added his thanks from the officer corps for her contribution. The Leader of the Council echoed those sentiments.