Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 7:00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking

Contact: Leanna McPherson, Principal Governance Officer & Statutory Scrutiny Officer 


No. Item


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 (24th January 2024 and 13th March 2024) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes for the meeting held on 24th January 2024 subject to amendments to included omitted information regarding item 34 (Budget Strategy 2024/25 and 2025/26) and 13th March 2024 were confirmed as correct.


London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Local Government Association led Public Health Peer Review pdf icon PDF 97 KB

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The Director of Public Health and the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration presented a report on a Public Health Peer Review for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.


In February 2024, the Local Government Association (LGA) conducted a Public Health peer challenge which focused on how partnership working, vision and strategy, and the use of resources was used to improve the health and wellbeing of Barking and Dagenham residents.


The LGA produced the following recommendations as a result of the public health peer challenge:


·  Help to support cross-council work on the wider determinants of health by developing a health in all policies approach;

·  Reflect on executive place leadership arrangements as the Council developed;

·  Rationalised strategies, commitments, and priorities into one smart Barking and Dagenham prioritised delivery plan;

·  Agree on a model of joint commissioning including procurement considering where Public Health can best add value in needs analysis and evaluation;

·  Create a single team for data intelligence and modelling demand across council and partners; and

·  Design and embed a joint vision for integrated locality working.


Health in All Policies (HiAP) was  key in acting on wider determinants of health such as inequalities and climate change. There needed to be a collaborative approach for HiAP by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across all sectors and policy areas.


The Marmot Review 2010 highlighted the need for action against six policy areas that would address health inequalities which were reflexed in the Council’s Corporate Plan Priorities; however, there was an ongoing challenge for the Council to bring the Corporate Plan into reality.


The Council was working on three key areas of practice which were:


·  A focus on a specific public health issue;

·  A focus on a key policy area; and

·  Embedding health and equalities in wider council processes


The Committees in Common allowed GP’s and NHS staff to sit in a collaborative partnership with the Council over decisions on health across the Borough and had signed up with the HiAP.


A question was posed by the Committee on an estimated timescale for delivering the recommendations. The Cabinet Member advised the committee that the Council would be undertaking a huge amount of work to deliver the recommendations.


Currently there were 33 GP practices within the borough and a question was raised on whether the voluntary sector had played a role in easing the pressures on practices across the Borough. The Committee was informed that there were monthly pop-up sessions across the Borough which allowed residents to get greater access to healthcare. Most of the GP’s within the Borough had already signed up to do the pop-up health sessions.


A question was raised on what the Council had done to prevent childhood obesity. The Council introduced a program called Henry that was designed to tackle childhood obesity which involved work with the whole family. The Council was taking a new approached by decommissioning a lot of previous programs that had little effect on childhood obesity. The Director of Public Health explained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.


Report on the OFSTED Inspection of Children's Services Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 133 KB

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The Commissioning Director for Care and Support, the Operational Director for Children’s Care and Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care & Disabilities presented a report on OFSTED Inspection of Children's Services Improvement Plan.


The Council was subjected to a Standard Inspection in July 2023 under the OFSTED Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Service (ILACS) framework. The result of the inspection suggested there needed to be improvements made on the Council’s Children’s Services. The Council was required to develop and publish an improvement plan which covered eight recommendations made by OFSTED.


There had been a vast improvement within the Children’s Services since the improvement plan was published on 11 December 2023; however, due to the current financial restraints faced by the Council, the improvement of the Children’s Services had slowed down. The Operational Director for Children’s care detailed improvements that had been made on the following OFSTED recommendations, which included:


1.  Timeliness of strategy meetings.

2.  The capacity, quality, consistency and impact of supervision and management oversight.

3.  Assessment and decision-making for children experiencing neglect.

4.  Timeliness of pre-proceedings pathways

5.  Consistency of response to 16 and 17-year-olds who presented as homeless.

6.  Oversight of children’s placements in unregistered children’s homes.

7.  Application of threshold in early help.

8.  Life-story work and permanence planning.


Once a year, children’s services had an annual engagement meeting with OFSTED where progress was discussed via a self-evaluation document. 


The Committee enquired on whether there would be any further improvements regarding placements and whether there were any plans going forward to ease the placement issues and cost. The Commissioning Director for Care and Support informed the Committee that there was a national crisis regarding children’s placements; however, there were several pathways that children’s services were taking to combat the issue. The Council and OFSTED had produced an efficiency plan which would detail family placements, outside family placements, and prevention.


Concerns were raised on how successful family hubs were in attracting families that need the assistance the hubs had to offer. The Commissioning Director for Care and Support explained that it was still early days for family hubs; however, there was early evidence that indicated family hubs were working with a reduction in the number of people needing further support. Advertisements detailing the family hubs had been placed around the borough as well as an online presence.


In response from a question asked by the committee regarding long-term child protection plans, the Operational Director for Children’s Care advised the committee that children in long-term child protection plans tended to have more complex needs who were in pre-proceeding and tended to be neglected. There was a difficulty with neglected children as often the family environment starts to improve under the supervision of children’s services before it starts declining again. The children’s services conduct monthly meetings reviewing children who had been on a child protection plan longer than nine months. 


There was an intensive supervision training for all managers within children’s services, along with meetings with principle social workers. There  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.