Hounslow Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Da Spot, Balfour Road, Hounslow.

Contact: Bill Lee on 0208 583 2068 or Email: william.lee@hounslow.gov.uk 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Alan Adams and Cllrs Daanish Saeed and Paul Lynch.


Minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2015 and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 65 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2015 were agreed to be an accurate record and signed.


Matters Arising:


Minute 54: The Chair, Cllr Tom Bruce, referred to the problem of care leavers finding themselves suddenly unsupported with regard to housing issues. Cllr Bruce advised that he had discussed the matter with Jacqui McShannon, Director, Safeguarding & Specialist Services; Martin Waddington, Assistant Director, Joint Commissioning; Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Housing, Equalities and Inclusion and Housing Officers and there were plans to take the issue forward. Ms McShannon advised that there was a great deal of detail to establish but good progress was being made on the best way to address needs.



Items from Young People

Adriana Thomas and Emma Worthington.


The co-chair of the Children in Care Council (CiCC) advised that the CiCC was working with managers and had conducted a survey of young people in care between the ages of 13 and 21; another survey of 6 to 13 year olds was contemplated, including those placed out of borough. Among ideas discussed had been a Dignated Point of Contact and formal handover meetings between outgoing and incoming social workers. Fact files for social workers, including note of temporary or permanent employment status, length of service, caseload, a photo etc had been suggested.   The CiCC intended to carry out a lot of work over the next few months and the co-chair advised that he would keep the Panel updated.


A young person who had been a resident at the Ride for just over a year stated that he had completed the National Citizen Service (NCS) Challenge during the summer. The challenge was all about building strength and making friends, coming out from behind phone and computer screens. A member of staff from the Ride had accompanied him and the course had involved around 50 young people between the ages of 15 and 17, lasting three weeks, one of which was residential in Wolverhampton.  None of the young people had known each other to begin with and they had engaged in challenging activities including rock climbing and caving. Mentors had taken them on the activities where they had learned to deal with unfamiliar situations, such as a five hour hike incorporating an overnight camp where they built their own campfires; the event had been great fun. Participants had stayed at student flats at the local university for one night also. For the third week participants had been placed in groups of 12 and been tasked with creating a campaign; his group had focussed on Alzheimer’s awareness.  After careful planning at Southall College they had carried out the awareness campaign in Ealing where they had given out leaflets.  Jacqui McShannon stated that she had spoken to staff about the young person’s role at the NCS, where he had very bravely been one of the few looked after children attending. Everyone had given excellent feedback about him, describing him as incredibly impressive. The Panel and Cllr John Todd offered their congratulations to the young person for an excellent and well presented report.


Emma Worthington introduced young people’s feedback on two reports, one on health and one on the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) service. Young people read a selection of comments as follows:


The health report:


All young people agreed that having the gym and/or swim passes was very helpful for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle and afford to look after themselves.

What’s your experience of having a health assessment?


· Most young people said that they liked having their health assessment and felt comfortable with the nurse.

· 1:1 is more comfortable

· One out of borough young person – I always had different doctors for my health assessment

· “It brings in your  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.


Exclusion of Public and Press

To resolve that the public and press be asked to leave the meeting during discussions of the remaining items of business because exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12 A of the Local Government Act 1972 is likely to be made known.


Jacqui McShannon, Director, Children's Safeguarding and Specialist Services, advised that following discussion with the clerk she had decided to make the following reports confidential and ask for the exclusion of press and public as they contained information that would potentially enable young people to be identified. The matter had been discussed with the Chair and monitoring officer to ensure that the decision was within the constitution and it was agreed that the meeting would proceed in private.



LAC Health Annual Report pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Anne Fitzpatrick and Vicky Fraser.

Additional documents:


Please see the report by Fiona Simmons, Designated Nurse for Looked After Children and Vicky Fraser, Specialist Nurse for Looked After Children (agenda item 5).


Ms Fraser advised that she had been in post for just over a year. The health team had undergone changes in that time following recruiting difficulties but now included a dedicated doctor, nurse and administrative staff, supported by two part time community paediatricians, all based at the Heart of Hounslow Centre for Health. A great deal of audit and quality assurance work had been undertaken and some issues had been identified and were being addressed. One such was the quality of health assessment, which Ms Simmons was currently working on.  Guidance from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) had been looked at  and indicated that the borough was under resourced; for example other authorities provided nurses to see children placed out of borough. Ways of improving and growing the service were being examined. Ms Fraser believed the key was the development of an integrated care pathway, making procedures more robust for example creating a seamless transition when people left.  It was hoped that admin could be improved. One of the findings of the Children in Care Council (CiCC) was that many looked after young people found it very difficult to register with a GP or dentist and Ms Fraser advised that service improvements would assist. As part of the public health function a vaccination programme was being developed along with sexual health services at Da Spot. Screening and condom provision were offered as part of the sexual health service along with advice to ensure that young people recognised healthy relationships.


Cllr John Todd offered his congratulations on the good work carried out by the service. He said that young people had mentioned embarrassment around the subject of contraception and asked if the nurse could deal with it alone. Ms Fraser advised that the nurse carried out a patient assessment, consulting their full medical history to ascertain if any particular form of contraception may pose a risk. Regarding confidentiality the service worked within Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines (referring to Gillick v West Norfolk 1982 and the  subsequent judgement at appeal to the House of Lords 1985) where Lord Fraser stated that a doctor could proceed to give advice and treatment:

"provided he is satisfied in the following criteria:

  1. that the girl (although under the age of 16 years of age) will understand his advice;
  2. that he cannot persuade her to inform her parents or to allow him to inform the parents that she is seeking contraceptive advice;
  3. that she is very likely to continue having sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive treatment;
  4. that unless she receives contraceptive advice or treatment her physical or mental health or both are likely to suffer;
  5. that her best interests require him to give her contraceptive advice, treatment or both without the parental consent." 


Cllr Todd asked if the service referred young people to a dentist. Ms Fraser  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.


Fostering Recruitment pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Bob Spencer and Mary-Patricia Flynn.


Additional documents:


Please see the report by Bob Spencer, Head of Placements and Looked After Children’s Resources (agenda item 6).


After talking members through the report, Mr Spencer advised that officers had held a large number of meetings with the Corporate Communications Team to discuss publicity; local radio advertisements reached a surprisingly large number of people and home visits to people who had enquired about becoming foster carers were very effective in moving from enquiry to full assessment. Communications Manager Mary-Patricia Flynn said that barriers to recruitment would be examined and a larger, sustained campaign would take place in 2016. The campaign would be focussed to target people better, for example stressing from the outset that a spare room was essential.  


Jacqui McShannon asked if the recruitment campaign would look outside the borough and Ms Flynn advised that social media advertising would look at neighbouring boroughs as well as Surrey.  Cllr John Todd was unimpressed with the very low number of approvals and asked why there were so few. Ms McShannon stated that it was average for west London. Foster carer Maureen Simpson felt that lots of people applied to be carers for the wrong reasons; social workers did not want people to fail and worked very hard to identify suitable candidates.  Ms McShannon said that each borough within the West London Alliance would host a recruitment event on a rota basis to share and speed up the process. Mr Spencer advised that detailed statistics were kept on enquiries and why they tailed off.  He agreed with Cllr Todd that higher numbers would be preferable but stressed that it was essential to ensure that carers were suitable before children were placed and unfortunately a significant number of people who enquired were not suitable for a variety of reasons.  The same situation applied to adoption where far more people expressed an interest than were willing and able to adopt.


Cllr Candice Atterton said that the London Borough of Ealing paid £25,000 to a volunteer bureau that offered help with recruitment of foster carers and she had heard the initiative was successful; Mr Spencer said officers would enquire into rates of recruitment as value for money was dependent on numbers. Ms McShannon agreed and welcomed the involvement of the Communications Team to recruitment.   Mr Spencer observed that it was relatively easy to recruit foster carers for babies but that was not where there was need.  Foster carers had to be very good at dealing with teenagers, who could be very challenging, as well as mother and baby placements, siblings etc.





IRO Annual Report pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Steve Liddicott and Melissa Goodman.


Additional documents:


Please see the report by Steve Liddicott, Interim Safeguarding Children and Quality Assurance and Melissa Goodman, Independent Reviewing Officer Team Manager (agenda item 7).


Ms Goodman presented the report. Cllr John Todd referred to a resident at the Ride who had stated that he didn’t know his Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). Ms Goodman believed that if that was the case it would be either because the child was newly in care or because the IRO had recently changed. Cllr Todd felt that when an IRO left there seemed to be a ‘vacuum’ until they were replaced and he asked if anything could be done to address this. Ms Goodman said it would be looked into. Cllr Todd asked if the twenty cases of child sexual exploitation (CSE) being reviewed by the Multi-Agency Sexual Exploitation (MASE) Panel (page 49, para 3.12) had been referred on suspicion. Ms Goodman advised that IROs used a risk analysis process and  social workers made an assessment on the IRO’s recommendation to ascertain if a young person was at risk or already subject to CSE. The social worker was the frontline officer but the IRO recommendation was helpful. Jacquie McShannon advised that the expectation was that the social worker did risk assessments and the IRO double checked. The officers did not know what percentage of investigations  into CSE proved to be founded.


Cllr Todd asked about technical assistance. Ms Goodman stated that the service was taking part in a Worksmart pilot which had offered a major improvement; officers could use 4G Smartphones to work remotely while reports were written on laptops with confidential screens.


The Chair raised the earlier point about the young person who did not know his IRO, adding that young people had said that they would like to be able to contact their IRO when needed, which he felt would be ideal. Cllr Candice Atterton asked if it was the case that some young people had good relationships with their IRO while another may not even know the same officer. Ms Goodman accepted that some children did have better abilities to get to know people but IROs did all possible to get to know their charges, and all were heavily invested in the looked after young people.




Update: Duty Service.

Anne Fitz-Patrick



Please see the report by Anne Fitz-Patrick, Head of Corporate Parenting (agenda item 8).


Ms Fitz-Patrick presented the report. There were no questions.



Update: The Ride & Westbrook Ofsted Inspections

Report by Jacqui McShannon and Bob Spencer


Please see the report by Jacqui McShannon, Director Safeguarding and Specialist Services and Bob Spencer, Head of Placements & Looked After Resources (agenda item 9).


Ms McShannon presented the report. She advised that the service was extremely pleased with the outcome and a link would be provided to enable members to read the reports when they were published. Cllr John Todd asked if there were any areas to review. Ms McShannon acknowledged that there were some at Westbrook but none were a cause for concern.



Performance analysis (Q2) pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Including Youth Offending and Missing Children.


Donal Fernandes.

Additional documents:


Please see the report by Donal Fernandes, Planning and Performance Officer, Children’s Services (agenda item 10).


Mr Fernandes presented the report accompanied by slides.


Jacqui McShannon advised that there had been a low number of adoptions and so the end of year figures would show a depressed performance. The Chair referred to a widespread feeling that courts were slowing the process.


Ms McShannon stated that there had been an increase in the number of serious offences across the criminal justice system but Hounslow’s rate was at the high end. Cllr Candice Atterton said that offenders were often victims of crime too and other boroughs analysed figures by, for example, looking at the hundred most vulnerable young people. Cllr Atterton stressed the importance of prevention. Mr Fernandes advised that 25 young people were responsible for around 70% of all youth crime in the borough and so it was possible that intervention could be targeted.


Cllr John Todd asked about the risk of missed dental attendance. Ms McShannon advised that the matter was being addressed by a Strategic Group that had been established for the purpose.


Cllr Tom Bruce asked if data could be presented earlier in the agenda in future, which Ms McShannon agreed.


Any Other Business


The Chair, Cllr Tom Bruce, expressed the heartfelt thanks of the Panel for all the good work carried out by foster carer Maureen Simpson, who was attending the Panel for the last time as she was moving away from the borough. A letter of thanks was read out and flowers and a gift were presented.