Hounslow Council


Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Professional Development Centre, 78 St John's Road, Isleworth, TW7 6RU

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Candice Atterton, Manjit Buttar and Daanish Saeed.

2.

Welcome to New Members

5:25 – 5:35 pm

Minutes:

Cllr Bruce carried out introductions and welcomed new members.

3.

Looked After Children Psychology Service pdf icon PDF 256 KB

Shana Hoque and Jo Newbolt, Clinical Psychologists.

 

5:35 – 5:55 pm

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report and additional document at agenda item 6.

 

Shana Hoque and Jo Newbolt, Clinical Psychologists, presented the item. They advised that they saw people under the age of 18 (mostly 9 to 17), young people of 18 and over were seen elsewhere. The service overlapped with that provided by nurses and paediatricians to some extent and met every two weeks for referrals. Those meetings were primarily for social workers but there were also meetings with looked after children (LAC). Support was given to young people with mental health needs, emotional support, behavioural difficulties, a very broad remit. Young people could request an appointment but most referrals were from social workers. The service also tried to help with placement decisions and stability of placements. A girls’ group had been set up to help with anxieties regarding child sexual exploitation (CSE).

 

73 young people had been referred to the service over the past year for various reasons and 69 cases had been accepted; it had been found that the remaining four would be better dealt with elsewhere. 60 cases were currently open. Direct work was offered, with foster carers or individually. An assessment of mental health is carried out, to ascertain how well people were doing emotionally and behaviour wise. Coping strategy was looked at to promote better mental health regarding specific trauma and experience and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was offered where necessary. The team also worked indirectly, for example with foster carers, to work around issues such as attachment difficulties and there had been very good outcomes.

 

Ms Newbolt took members through some specific case examples (anonymised) showing that most did well, but not everyone improved, some had ongoing problems.

 

Chloe Sullivan asked what support was available for the under 5s. Ms Newbolt advised that the service worked with carers; the child would be the one referred but staff worked with carers for very young children. Training was offered to carers in addition.

 

The Chair asked how young people knew about the service to ask for help and was advised that all LAC saw a nurse at least once a year and reliance was also placed on colleagues to keep LAC informed. There was no formally established process for self-referral although it was acknowledged that there may be a case to set one up. There were large numbers of referrals from social workers. Ms McShannon advised that there were capacity issues and over reliance on self-referrals could lead to cases being wrongly put forward.

 

Ms Hoque felt that recruitment was an issue as a great deal of time needed to be put into the group. There was a waiting list to use the service and priority was given to those deemed to be at risk. The waiting time was not excessive, in some boroughs it could be as much as a year. Moksudda Uddin agreed that Hounslow’s service was very flexible in comparison to many others. Cllr John Todd asked about out of borough children and Ms  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Items from Young People

5:15 – 5:25pm

Minutes:

Members were invited by young people to tell them what the CPP meant to them.

 

Cllr John Todd advised that he believed very strongly that members needed to communicate effectively with looked after children (LAC) to learn what they wanted and to enable members to give the best help possible; that was why he attended CPP meetings and made a point of asking difficult questions. He wanted full equality for all children in care and passionately believed that the borough’s LAC should not be denied any of the advantages that any other young people had and was particularly concerned that those placed out of borough were not disadvantaged by that fact. He wished that 100% of LAC had responded to the questionnaire instead of 42% but was highly appreciative of the time and effort put in by the young people present towards helping themselves and their fellow LAC.  

 

The Chair, Cllr Tom Bruce, thanked the young people for giving up their time voluntarily and said how valuable their contribution was. He asked if they shared that sense of their presence being valuable and asked what could be done increase the meetings’ value. Young people responded that they felt matters discussed were important and they believed that they were there to represent all young people and hoped to help LAC with problems as much as possible. Communication was important too and they came to meetings partly to be able to share information with other youngsters.

 

Asked about services for over 18s, young people advised that leaving care was a very stressful prospect and although support was available ultimately it was all down to them. Credit was given to carers for help given with essential basics such as learning to cook. Cllr Bruce referred to a young man who had told the CPP about how he got evicted after forgetting to pay his rent, which demonstrated the vital importance of learning how to cope during a transitional stage. Moksudda Uddin spoke about the need to ensure that all the right people were in support, not just social workers and personal advisors.

 

Ms Uddin asked if the group’s composition was felt to be right and how meetings could be made more interesting. Young people felt that the CPP’s make-up was right but thought meetings were perhaps a little too formal, which some LAC may find off-putting.

 

Young people gave their request that all issues be treated seriously, staff be patient and understanding and that they ask LAC about concerns and don’t assume. They felt that CPP members had answered them well. Cllr Todd said that this showed the importance of the young people’s presence, as Councillors were there to challenge staff when necessary but the LAC themselves were far and away the most important ones there and their input was essential. Members were asked why they felt the CPP was important and Cllr Bruce advised that members had chosen to join the Panel to help LAC get the best service possible. Jacqui McShannon  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Educational Outcomes of looked After Children by Special Educational Needs 2015 - 16 pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Sean Hayes, Interim Head of Children’s Performance and Data.

 

5:55 – 6:15 pm

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report and slides at agenda item 7.

 

Sean Hayes presented the item.

 

Jacqui McShannon commented that there had been a real change and the figures showed that there was no real disadvantage academically to being in care in the borough. Mr Hayes advised that there was always a need to ensure that the Ofsted obligation to ensure LAC got equal opportunities was carried out.

 

6.

Participation Service Annual Report pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Moksudda Uddin, Head of Corporate Parenting/Chloe Sullivan, Participation Officer.

 

6:15 – 6:35 pm.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report and appendices (agenda item 8)

 

Chloe Sullivan presented the report. She advised that there had been a focus on building up attendance and the Children in Care Council was now well established. Adriana Thomas and Emma Worthington had left since the last meeting. The action plan had been written from the last annual survey which had been conducted just before Ms Sullivan started with the team. 84 young people had taken part and the actions agreed had since been developed.

 

Young people had participated in interviews with Moksudda Uddin and Ms Sullivan and had been consulted on what they felt was needed. The loss of the former Da Spot premises had been a major blow (along with the loss of Emma Worthington) and the current replacement building was felt to be too far “out of the way”, two bus rides from the town centre. Additionally young people did not feel it to be theirs in the way they had the old building but staff were working hard to change that and get young people to come. On average there were six youngsters using the drop in centre on any given day but the reality was that none were just passing as a special effort had to be made to get there.   A Wednesday drop in had been set up along with art, music and independence workshops. Independence training had been set up but it was proving difficult to get young people to attend, often only one or two turned up. Ms Sullivan felt that Da Spot’s new location was a real issue and a more central premises should be looked at.

 

The independence workshops were for over 14s and a full conversation was had with young people in the 14-18 age group to work towards independence. Keeping in contact with personal advisors was a key aspect of the transition from semi to full independence. Attendance was the main issue and it was essential that LAC could be persuaded to attend and attend consistently. She felt that progress was slowly being made; art and music were very important aspects.

 

There were three day workshops during school holidays and although the available space was insufficient for a real party the Christmas celebrations had nonetheless gone well. There was a very good residential group and services for unaccompanied asylum seekers (UAS) were very good too; youngsters who attended those went on to join in with other activities. A training event was attended by foster carers and LAC Health teams and was mandatory for social workers. Officers were examining the possibility of making it mandatory for personal advisors as well.

 

It was hoped to increase the recruitment of male staff and do more to encourage attendance from boys. A project for young girls, carried out in partnership with other agencies was progressing well but it was difficult to get boys to access the help they needed. Work was being carried out with the Virtual College regarding training and there was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Minutes of the meeting held on 13 March 2017 and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 March 2017 were agreed to be an accurate record. There were no matters arising.

8.

Forward Plan

Documents to follow.

Minutes:

The Forward Plan was not discussed because of lack of time.

9.

Any Other Business

6:35 – 6:40 pm.

Minutes:

There was no other business.