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Contact: Catherine Ziane-Pryor Governance Officer
Following the retirement of David Stewart, Cheryl Steele (Headteacher of Rosehill School) is now the Special Schools representative.
The Board noted that:
a) Alison Michalska, Corporate Director for Children and Families is leaving Nottingham City Council and will be replaced on the Board by Catherine Underwood, Corporate Director for People; and
b) Cheryl Steele had replaced David Stewart as the Special Schools representative.
Apologies for Absence
Councillor Neghat Khan
Minutes of the meeting held 26 June 2019, for confirmation
The Board confirmed the minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2019 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Alison Michalska, Corporate Director for Children and Adults, Nottingham City Council, gave an update on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. She highlighted the following information:
a) The Inquiry included looking into historic failures to protect children in the care of Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council. This part of the Inquiry focused on three areas:
i. Institutional responses to disclosures of allegations of sexual abuse in relation to Beechwood since 1967 to the present and the barriers to disclosure of such allegations;
ii. Institutional responses to disclosures of allegations of child sexual abuse by foster carers and the barriers to disclosure of such allegations; and
iii. Institutional responses to disclosures of allegations of sexual abuse carried out by children against other children in the care of the Councils and the barriers to disclosure of such allegations
b) The Inquiry’s report relating to historical failures to protect children in the care of Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council was published in July 2019 and contained two recommendations for Nottingham City Council;
c) The Council is required to publish its response to these recommendations within six months, which it will do;
d) The first recommendation relates to assessing the potential risk posed by current and former foster carers provided directly by the Council and those provided by external agencies in relation to sexual abuse of children. Progress on this is well under way and the Council is reviewing all allegations that it has dealt with to review what was done and whether the right steps were taken. Where is it identified that the Council’s response was not robust enough then that will be explored, with disclosure if necessary. The work required with independent fostering agencies is being done jointly with Nottinghamshire County Council. All agencies that have been used will be written to, requiring them to satisfy the local authorities on these issues;
e) The second recommendation relates to carrying out an independent, external evaluation of practices of the Council and its safeguarding partners concerning harmful sexual behaviour. Proposals for undertaking this work are being considered by the Safeguarding Partnership on 30 September 2019 and if approved the NSPCC will be commissioned to undertake the independent evaluation. Once the evaluation has been completed, arising recommendations will be reviewed by the Partnership;
f) The Council’s action plan will be wider than just the response to these two explicit recommendations and will reflect other areas for improvement identified;
g) The action plan will be considered by the Council’s Executive Board at its meeting in October 2019;
h) In addition, work continues to engage with victims and survivors of sexual abuse to ensure that they are able to get the right support and access their records;
i) The Council also continues to offer its apology to anyone harmed as a result of child sexual abuse whilst in the care of the Council;
j) With partners, the Council will explore the outcomes of the needs assessment being carried out by Lime Culture ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Report of the Director of Children’s Integrated Services
Sophie Russell, Head of Children’s Strategy and Improvement, Nottingham City Council introduced the report and gave a presentation updating on the ‘Empowering Families to be Strong and Achieve Economic Wellbeing’ priority of the Children and Young People’s Plan. She highlighted the following information:
a) ‘Priority Families’ is the Nottingham name for the national Troubled Families Programme. It works with families facing multiple and complex issues;
b) Colleagues from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are central to the delivery of the Programme and there have been significant improvements made in the relationships between the DWP and the wider partnership;
c) The Programme is funded through payment by results;
d) To date there have been 2833 claims, 680 of which have been for continuous employment and 2153 for significant and sustained improvement;
e) The 2833 families covers 15,250 individuals. From these individuals, 250,000 needs were identified and the Programme has been successful in meeting 77.6% of those needs;
f) The Programme is massively over-achieving against both national and local targets;
g) Funding for the Programme is due to end in March 2020. The recent Spending Review announced funding for the Troubled Families Programme for a further year but the allocation of that funding and priorities for 2020/21 haven’t been confirmed.
During the discussion that followed, the following points were made:
a) It is positive that funding has been extended for a further year but this still leaves uncertainty for the period beyond that;
b) It is important to continue raising the profile of this work with Government and lobbying for ongoing funding.
The Board noted the contents of the report.
(1) ask Board members to consider how they can continue to embed ‘whole family’ working beyond March 2020 and integrate it into their strategic plans; and
(2) ask Board members to utilise any opportunities to promote the positive impact of the Priority Families Programme to inform national decisions in relation to funding from March 2020 and beyond.
Rob Harrod, Troubled Families Employment Advisor, Monica Bryce, Troubled Families Employment Advisor, and Laura Jubb, Schools Advisor, all from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) gave a presentation about the DWP Partnership Team. They highlighted the following information:
a) With the introduction of Universal Credit, the client base that the Team works with is changing;
b) The role of Disability Employment Coaches is changing to take a more holistic approach for the whole family;
c) There are now eight fully trained safeguarding leads in City Job Centres, and another five individuals have just completed their training;
d) There is a fully trained domestic violence specialist in each Job Centre, who works in partnership with children’s social workers. It is intended to make connections with adult social care services;
e) The Team also works in prisons, mainly with short-term prisoners to identify barriers for them and ways that these barriers can be overcome;
f) The Troubled Families Programme focuses on employment as a way of easing other problems such as anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, debt;
g) There has been positive feedback from service users about the effectiveness of partnership working;
h) The role of Troubled Families Employment Advisors includes promoting DWP services, building partnerships, upskilling DWP staff and the staff of partner organisations, leading on safeguarding and domestic abuse issues within the DWP, helping to identify ‘troubled families’ and supporting Troubled Families Lead Workers and ‘troubled families’ themselves;
i) School Advisors assist schools to deliver high quality, independent and impartial careers advice to young people in years 8 to 13. The role includes providing advice on routes into traineeships and apprenticeships, providing advice on the local labour market and sourcing and advising on work experience opportunities;
j) Community Engagement Advisors work with young people in gangs and prolific young offenders to help them make the transition to work;
k) The uncertainty about the future of the Troubled Families Programme is a challenge and consideration needs to be given to maintaining relationships and partnerships when the Programme finishes.
l) Other challenges include getting employers to take on school children for work experience, especially for young people with specific needs and getting schools to advertise apprenticeships which can be the best route into employment for some young people;
m) There are lots of opportunities to build on the partnerships now in place, including counteracting the often negative impression of Job Centres and realising savings by upskilling staff and working in a more joined-up way.
The Board noted the presentation.
Children and Young People's Plan from 2020
The formal meeting will adjourn during a roundtable discussion for this agenda item. It will then reconvene to hear conclusions of discussions.
Sophie Russell, Head of Children’s Strategy and Improvement, Nottingham City Council reported that work was commencing on refreshing the Children and Young People’s Plan. She highlighted the following information:
a) The refreshed Plan needs to be in place for March 2020;
b) Children and families will be at the heart of the Plan;
c) The current Plan has four priorities and consideration will be given to whether these should remain the priorities going forward or whether there should be new priorities;
d) Colleagues leading on refreshing the Plan want to hear from stakeholders about what is working well; what the risks and threats are; what needs to happen next; and how opportunities can be maximised.
Board members were asked to identify other forums that could hold conversations about the refreshing the Plan.
Given the lack of time at the meeting to consider the item in detail, the Board decided to postpone consideration of this item until its next meeting.
The Board discussed its Forward Plan.
RESOLVED to add discussion about the new Children and Young People’s Plan from 2020 to the agenda for its next meeting.