Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking
Contact: Claudia Wakefield, Senior Governance Officer
Declaration of Members' Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Members are asked to declare any interest they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes (9 March 2022) PDF 98 KB
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2022 were confirmed as correct.
New Chair and Deputy Chair of the Barking and Dagenham (BAD) Youth Forum
The Committee will be asked to note the new Chair and Deputy Chair of the BAD Youth Forum, who will be introduced by the Chair.
The Committee noted that Koryn Archer and Favour Onah had been elected to the positions of Chair and Deputy Chair of the BAD Youth Forum, respectively.
Early Help Improvement Progress Report PDF 119 KB
The Commissioning Director for Care and Support (CDCS) introduced a report on the progress made in improving the Council’s Targeted Early Help Service (TEHS), further to previous reports updating the Committee on challenges within the Service and actions being taken to improve it (minute 9, 7 July 2021, and minute 47, 2 February 2022 refer). He delivered a presentation, which covered the following areas of the Service’s improvement journey:
· The story so far;
· Progress – implementing the Target Operating Model (TOM) and practice improvement;
· Update on the Committee’s recommendations; and
· Next steps and the ‘Start for Life’ offer.
The Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care & Disabilities stated that she had recently met with staff who worked in the TEHS following her appointment to Cabinet, and moral appeared high. She assured the Committee that she felt confident that the Service would significantly improve moving forward, particularly, following the implementation of the new family hubs, as part of the Government’s Start for Life programme, which the Council had been selected to take part in.
In response to questions from the Committee, the CDCS stated that:
· Approximately half of the funding for the TEHS was comprised of government grant funding, and the other half came from the Council’s general fund (with the Cabinet agreeing to increase spending on the Service last year);
· He was confident that the TEHS had made key improvements, and if he was asked to guess what rating the service would receive at this time, if it was inspected by OFSTED, he would say that the Service would sit comfortably on the upper end of the ‘Requires Improvement’ rating. It was important that this was being considered in the context of unprecedented demand, with caseloads per member of staff remaining extremely high;
· The Service did continually look into different practices and models in other local authorities to see what it could learn from these; however, it was important to note that models that work in other areas, may not always work in Barking and Dagenham, due to its unique demographic;
· The delivery of the improvement programme for the Service was due to be completed by the end of the month; however, improvements would continue to be made as the Council worked through and implemented the Start for Life programme, with the Service now starting to consider the development of family hubs, and the infrastructure needed to make these operational;
· Whilst he hoped that the Service would get to a level where it would be rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted by Spring next year, it was difficult to predict when this outcome would be achieved, due to a wide range of potentially changing factors;
· The churn in social workers was a massive challenge for the Council, with the agency market still inflated. The Council was actively investing in the Service, with 80% of posts advertised as part of a new recruitment programme filled, and putting in place measures to retain staff. Staff were excited to join the Service with an enhanced ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Draft Work Programme 2022/23 PDF 85 KB
The Chair presented a report on the Committee’s Work Programme for 2022/23. She stated that following a recent meeting with the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration, she proposed to add an additional item on Care Costings to the 8 February 2022 agenda, which was agreed by the Committee.
The Committee noted the report, and requested that consideration be given to adding items to the Work Programme, on the following issues:
· The performance and cost effectiveness of the council-owned corporate companies;
· Sustainability and climate change; and
· An update on Reside (which was deferred twice last year as Reside representatives were unable to attend meetings they were invited to).
The Chair asked the Governance Officer to amend the Work Programme to reflect the above comments and share the updated version with her prior to the next meeting of the Committee.
During discussions regarding the possibility of undertaking a scrutiny review in 2022/23, it was noted that the Health Scrutiny Committee would be undertaking a scrutiny review this year on the potential of the Voluntary Sector to improve health and wellbeing, and that as a scrutiny review had not been undertaken since the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be beneficial to observe the progress of this review, with the Committee undertaking a scrutiny review in the next municipal year.