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 

Items
No. Item

72.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor John Todd and Alan Adams.

73.

Minutes of the meeting held on 1 December 2015 and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2016 were agreed as a true and accurate record and were signed by the Chair.

74.

Items from Young People

Minutes:

 

Ruth W had graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London with a 2:1, and had completed an MSc at the University of Birmingham.  Ruth was planning to work with the United Nations.  Ruth recorded her appreciation of the support given to her by Corinna Brown and her foster carer. 

 

The Chair asked if he could share this good news at Borough Council. Ms McShannon and Ms Thomas would check with Ruth W, and contact Councillor Bruce direct.

 

Sarah attended a meeting in North London with the Chair and Co-Chair of the Children In Care Council (CiCC) to hear how other CiCCs manage pocket money, trips, etc.  She reported that it was a good day, and there were no particular issues to be raised.

 

A new Co-Chair (Henry) of the CiCC  had been appointed, following the expiry of the current terms of office.  Mary would be the new set-up person, taking over from Jasmine.

75.

Out Of Borough Looked After Children pdf icon PDF 163 KB

Report by Anne Fitz-Patrick, Head of the Corporate Parenting Service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Report on out-of-borough Looked After Children (attached to Item 4 of the Agenda pack) was presented.

 

The following points were raised:

 

a)    Young people placed out of borough should be contacted and their views recorded

b)    The Annual Survey should be updated to monitor the Good Practice Protocol

c)    The CiCC has now signed off the Good Practice Protocol. The names of the Social Workers need to be changed; it can then be sent to the Departmental Leadership Team (DLT)

d)    All actions had been achieved within 8 months of the last survey

e)    Anne Fitz-Patrick advised that a format had been agreed for the survey with medical practitioners that was easy to use.

f)     Jacqui McShannon had attended the workshop, and thanked all the young people and practitioners who had taken part.  Emma Worthington would take this to the Managers Forum to be heard shortly.

g)    The Managers Forum had commented on the professionalism of the CiCC.

 

Ajay reported that the CiCC had recently met to discuss the new Annual Survey, and had come up with three questions that they would like to be included.  It was agreed to split into three groups to discuss these questions, then feedback would be taken.

 

1.    Do you find  your Personal Education Plan (PEP) helpful? 

2.    Name 3 things that make you feel this way

3.    What 3 things help you to be more prepared for independence?

 

The meeting split  into 3 groups at 5.25pm, returning at 5.35pm to give feedback.  (Martin Waddington arrived at 5.25pm)

 

Feedback:

Sarah’s group:

Ø  Does your Carer ask about your day?

Ø  Do you attend after school clubs?  If so, why?

 

Henry’s group:

Ø  Are all areas and activities that you want to do considered, ie other than education and attainment?  If you have other strengths, how can these areas be supported?

Ø  How happy are you at the moment (scale of 1-10)?

 

Ajay’s group:

Ø  Do you feel welcome and part of your foster family?

Ø  What helped to make you feel welcome?

Ø  Did you have any choice in your placement?

Ø  Do you have the opportunity to take part in clubs and activities outside school?

 

Emma Worthington agreed to take all the questions from both young people and the Management Forum and see how they can fit together.  The Chair asked whether the young people could be e-mailed if there is a crucial question.  Ms Worthington confirmed this.

 

[This item continued after item 5]

 

Members looked at the statistics in the report, noting the changes, including the following:

Ø  Out of borough trends mirrored in borough trends

Ø  Some out of borough placements were specialised, and some foster carers were located out of borough

Ø  The designated Nurse for LAC and the Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group were drawing up a new Service Level Agreement to ensure a higher quality of health assessments and access to health and support services for out of borough placements.

Ø  Kent County Council were reporting significant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.

76.

Housing for Looked After Children and Care Leavers pdf icon PDF 115 KB

 

Report by Martin Waddington - Director Joint Commissioning

Claire Smith - Joint Commissioning Manager for Children and Families

Jennifer Hopper - Resource Innovation Manager

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Martin Waddington presented the report, attached at item 5 of the Agenda.

 

Jacqui McShannon had looked at the route and service that young people receive at their point of crisis when they had been asked to leave the family home, or were made homeless. 

 

The report looked at how to ensure that there was good early information on how to obtain support,  and how to guarantee that the Housing Department and the Social Care Service treat young people as individuals, and that – where eligible – young people are given appropriate accommodation and advice on benefits and independent living.  It was important that officers checked that the level of accommodation offered met the needs of the young person within the borough.

 

When a young person was able to move to independent living (either Council or private landlord), floating support needed to be available to aid this big step, with daily visits in a first tenancy, gradually reducing in frequency. 

 

This piece of work is still in progress.  At the start of the process, there was no joint working: now Housing and Social Care are working together, and levels of support for young people are increasing.  Anne Fitz-Patrick was working with her team to think about the future needs of young people, so that there was more possibility of families staying together.

 

The Chair raised a concern that sometimes issues were missed (eg payments), with different departments blaming each other. It was also suggested that the move to independent living should be completed in stages, not straight from foster care to independence.

 

Members asked if  housing processes were strictly applied for vulnerable young people, eg in terms of non-payment of rent, etc.  Was there any flexibility?  Martin Waddington confirmed the Housing Department had become aware of the importance of looking after the Looked After young people, and staff had more accessibility to them.  Anne Fitz-Patrick was on the Tenancies Panel.  There was a definite culture change, with “joined-up” services to help young people leaving care.

 

There were some questions from the CiCC:

Q:  What is the service provided?

A:  There would be a rapid response service called FAST (the family and adolescent support team), to work with older young people and their families to help when severe problems occur to try to diffuse and resolve the issues.  Wherever it is safe to do so, the aim is to keep families together.

 

Q:  Could there be a weekly time slot for young people so that there could be joint meetings with the Council and Social Services?

A:  Martin Waddington advised that he was trying to organise this so that both Housing and Social Service Offices could see young people at the same time, in order that they were not sent from one place to another.  Mr Waddington asked that he be contacted if anyone was passed from place to place.

 

Jacqui McShannon reminded Members that there was a Duty Service, for young people presenting as homeless, and not as Looked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.

77.

Virtual College 2015 Annual Report pdf icon PDF 163 KB

Report by Penny Stephens, Senior Education Adviser (Vulnerable)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Penny Stephens led members through the Report (attached to the Agenda pack at item 6), highlighting the following points:

a)    The college was being restructured, including the provision of a Management Board

b)    The Board of Governors would challenge and support, as in a mainstream school.

c)    The Principal had the responsibility of getting the best education and job opportunities for every young person enrolled in the Virtual College, working with other teams and professionals, including transition and training for Further and Higher Education.

d)    Specialist staff were employed to support young people in their choice of GCSEs, based on their potential and desired career choice. 

e)    Post 16 provision offer, particularly for Care Leavers, focussing om employment opportunities and apprenticeships.

f)     Note that responsibility is for 0-25 year olds, not just those of statutory school age; including disadvantaged 2 year olds.

g)    The focus was to ensure that young people are prepared for work, including access to work coaches and mentors, wherever the young person is based.

h)   Engagement of experienced mentors for each age phase, to interact directly with young people, and ensure that schools and foster carers are also supported, using Pupil Premium grant funding where appropriate.

i)     The Virtual College had been ranked 3rd out of 152 Local Authorities.

j)      The accreditation process was changing from measuring 5 x A*-C grades to “Progress 8”, and Baccalaureate subjects, so the future is a little unknown at present.  What was important was to support schools to support the young people to obtain their best possible results.

k)    KS2 results did not look good at first sight, but 43% of children had special educational needs this year as opposed to 11% last year, which had a large impact on results.

l)     Members noted that young people often had breaks in their education, or had to move schools, which could lead to gaps in their knowledge.

m)  Funding was different for post-16 phase of education.

n)   A good, robust system of monitoring was in place, to challenge schools using designated teachers.  Schools had to explain how funds were spent and what benefits were reaped by young people.  Termly PEP meetings continue to monitor this, with two way dialogue taking place between designated teachers and young people.

o)    Cllr Bruce was the Chair of the Virtual College Management Board.

 

Questions were invited on the report.

Q: Could more information be given on who received Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) funding?

A: Looked After young people attract £1900 per year PPG.  This is linked to the young person’s PEP, and is given to the school to fund a variety of interventions or activities to boost the educational achievements of the young person.  Some examples would be extra-curricular activities, including transport if necessary, access to music tuition, visits to universities or other trips.  Spending is individual to each young person, and must be linked to educational outcomes.

 

Initiatives to be put in place in the near future:

Ø  Funding for Job Coaches

Ø  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

a)    The Ride Children’s Home

Jacqui McShannon circulated an interim independent inspection report on The Ride.  Feedback from young people had been positive.  An Open Day had taken place on 8 March 2016.  An update would be given at the next meeting.