Education and Children’s Social Care O&S Committee – 01092021 at 1000 hours

Education and Children’s Social Care O&S Committee – 01092021 at 1000 hours

official last weekly meeting um face-to-face meeting that we’re having for the education and children’s social care operating scrutiny and so on to our dendriting one i’m just giving notice recording and just to advise everyone that this evening will be webcast for live at more subsequent broadcast by the council’s meeting youtube site and that members of the press will publish very importantly photographs except where there are confidential or exempt items okay so item two apologies um we have qualities from adam omar penny counselor um [Music] um [Music] do i need to try every single one here can i just send you them education and children’s social care in terms of reference those are being sent out and detached that’s just to know item six action notes and action tracker um our members of the committee um happy to agree the notes action notes and um the action tracker that’s been sent out thank you very much that brings us on to the children’s trust and we’ve had background information that’s been emailed after everyone so we’ll take that as read so i’m going to pass over to andrew christie the chair and andy caldrich the chief executive children’s trust in who’s also in kenya today so can i handle it um [Music] as it were subject to scrutiny from this committee i promised at the time [Music] which created considerable challenges for from school [Music] what happens going through um pandemic social workers were having families throughout as well as uh working with all of our partners to make sure that between us between that side the trust the council whose children um uh provided the most recent uh edition of the performance report that we report on a monthly basis to council through what’s called the operation commissioning group we and we’ve maintained uh that strong performance throughout the life of the trust at the moment we did on one indicator which relates to abortion agencies [Music] which is uh higher than it has been considerably lower than the regional average uh but nevertheless uh it grows because we needed to bring stuff in uh we’re in a process where we working hard to connect with local community organizations to build stronger networks of support for families essentially so that some of those families don’t end up needing social [Music] i think we’re at the beginning of that journey there’s some fantastic opportunities to do more to integrate and develop to bid for external funds to build on what we’re doing uh one of the areas we’re asked to pick up on was children in care so i’ll give you a kind of a summary about our care population one of the things that we’re really pleased about is the stability of our care population we all know that uh children thrive in stable environments or children care moving from placement to placement it has been too often too common experience so the fact that we’re doing as well as we are and for our own trust foster carers uh almost 90 percent of children in their care have done their care for every year so it’s a very uh stable care population and that is we continue to promote participation engagement through the children care council care leaders forum we have our first cohort kelly mostly worked through the traffic apprentices are now uh most of them have secured jobs in the trust so now on the payroll and actually absolutely where you want to go more about the council to we can be uh when we’re doing that i referenced in the report the spike in number one accompanied by the science speaking on people that’s contingent in the last month we’ve taken in uh 60 young people arriving but they’re also young people who were wrongly age assessed at port of entry and placed in learning in adult accommodation uh we’re asked to provide some information about missing children so i’ve gone into some some detail around that in terms of raw numbers uh on an average month we have about um 100 120 of children receiving care and that reflects about 50 50 and 60 children i think that’s because that’s a dramatic under reporting in terms of and it’s tied up with the uh the challenge that the city faces around exploitation uh i think i’ve reflected in the report uh transportation happening locally rather than our distance so what we’ve seen before the pandemic was our children being exploited to take drugs to childhood the glossary work is about uh young people it’s also about disrupting uh county land it’s about disrupting trafficking uh and it’s uh about understanding uh localities and areas and the last thing around the um uh children care is that we had two weeks ago we weren’t hospitalizing services inspected um cared for by family members and i’ve been just worth saying that our rate of increase of children care is very modest compared with the national picture so we’ve seen over the last months about three percent increase children care about even nationally that compares with an increase close to 11 or 12 percent so and we think that that’s the cost of the work through early health local authority strength trusts were required to uh establish to move our adoption service into all the regional adoption agencies of local authority adoption agencies working [Music] so we decided to go our own way and really find an approach time stage in the process of establishing our own engineering blockchains we think we keep successful and interested nationally uh i’ve never talked about uh exploitation uh the youth offending service the youth justice plan is working its way through the um uh political process ultimately being signed off by council uh the intervention service had a challenging inspection from hmip last year we’re working very hard to address all of the elements in that inspection and create a stronger more resilient um youth offending service and progress in that regardless and the key measures i’ve referred to there we want bring down uh the number of first-time entrants but it’s not a good measure for venues it’s a good measure of other things like youth engagement school attendance experience or things that make you more likely to offend as a young person and we want to continue to manage those who offend more than what that is i’ve referenced sc because social care is one of um i picked up recruitment of attention [Music] one of the mind rises in the way we’ve seen it before summer will be under significant pressure in terms of case websites etc we’re also seeing increasing complexity of need and we see nationally a reduction of about 100 number of tier four mental health benefits that drives um it means that a number of young people who we’re trying to find ways to support that we might previously found themselves in the mental health service aren’t challenged uh we continue to refine the way we work we can continue to work really hard to drive up our sufficiency that’s around bringing more foster carers completing more doctors and as best we can managing what is nationally acknowledged to be a broken market around residential care so so getting the very best we can from that for our children and um i think i think we believe that not everything we do should be oriented around uh offstead we want to be the very best that we can be with all about an offspring inspection but we think it probably is the best benchmark we get about the progress that we’re making and we think that we’re going to thank you very much any questions yes um andy thank you you know i was quite really refreshing to say to you actually because um i think you’re very impactful about what’s happening and and i have um confidence in what and one of the things that i’m really interested in is um what your feel on the ground is so we can read all the measurements and see whether it’s going up or down but what what do you think you know do you feel that the third whether we’re making progress or not you know the feel of it when you talk to the people out there that that will support the trajectory of improvement that the kpis show uh ideally i think that um our social workers on the ground and our family support workers have a level of kind of pride and commitment to work that is really refreshing for me to encounter i think that they uh they repeatedly demonstrate that they know their children so i feel you know the key to lost inspection when it comes is when the inspectors sit down alongside the social officers tell me about this child showing the record and i feel a higher level of confidence and people are anxious about going and if september to christmas get waves off through worse higher rates even higher rates of kodi and we’re going to see the kind of peaceful sort of rises in the complex results people know that they’ll be in the question in the same way you know i think what they’d say is that they still respond to that and put measures in place rather than just expect people to get so i think on the ground i i think we work really hard and we need to present things as it feels and i like when we get tests and on saturday morning 84 children and parents arrived from birmingham airport into one of our hotel in afghanistan and they [Music] we did so i guess the kind of the temperature test i would suggest to me when we’re in those uh appealing places at this point could i understand a couple of things in response to your question so another test i think which i’ve seen uh has been the kind of advanced surge of demand uh towards the internet last term which was really significant actually a long pressure the system and i have to say that again i was really impressed by the way that i kind of started involved in that social workers and managers kind of were able to respond to that because you know just a point of time that’s very critical um so going forward i think we will should be kind of concerned about um so have we seen a lot over the over the summer holiday period will be for us to look at the fostering inspection because although it’s essentially an inspect inspection of the kind of regulatory aspects of the fostering service they nonetheless deal with quite a lot of practice issues they do look at the kind of experience of children young people in possible placements um and so again i think that is a useful kind of sort of test as it were for us um and there’ll be some narrative i should think about that there is is is hugely concerning and how is that going to impact on the trust’s outcome it just needs a bit tragic from all the great work that the trust has done to move things forward that we’ve got this millstone of the sender which is not great obviously how does that how will that affect the outcome of the um it might prevent us from being should we understand but given that uh is what takes authorities from positions and in that sense but um if we were joined to be good having been you know we’ve had to work hard we are still working to improve the quality of our offer near cnd space and contributions we make to the hcp and in terms of the quality of our services for children with significant uh positioning so i don’t think it it hinders our progress at the point that we are i think uh it sharpens our focus as collaboratively as we can to collectively to improve the quality of those services as well thank you kevin you wanted to yeah so um so there’s much to do instead we know as we will discuss later and to shift the outcomes to be more positive for the majority of parents and carers and we don’t run all the time but clearly there’s a lot meeting up right some systems issues the first step in relation i think how would we judge is the conversation we will have when the commissioner arrives which is to quote the draft direction um what are the current leaderships plans for service so step one is to demonstrate we’ve got a clear address of the issues and that we’re putting in place the leadership and management and the co-production in place to move forward so i doubt it will shift all the outcomes in a very short period of time but the one thing we can shift is to clearly demonstrate what going to do about the service what time scale to what design impact that i think if australia came would be what would send it back slightly on a better footing than it has been illegal okay aware of kind of the department position on some of these issues and of course that would be influencing that kind of cost deposition but i think it’s exactly as kevin says so the offstar inspectors will come with our eyes wide open about this is an issue for us and we’ll be looking to see how it is affecting our importance and what our contribution is as sandy described as the the school uh that’s the phc um i think absolutely as kevin has put it and i think i’ve been direct and i think one of the issues perhaps was that he didn’t quite grasp it to kind of seriousness of its position uh and perhaps didn’t really death or wasn’t in the kind of right division of saying to inspectors about its sense services we know it’s a very bad state and of approach that ken is describing will be absolutely critical and one of the things that often does these they come in and they say well um first of all is the problem accepted second is there a kind of sensible plan in place to address it which is shared and understood by everything that confidence is so i think if the council’s got itself on the front foot in terms of what his plans and responses are that will that will kind of help kind of that essentially of course the best possible position for kind of covering obviously absolutely i think it’s key that we identify exactly what the issues and the barriers are so that we can then remove them or do something about it and acknowledge that we can make positive steps so i think you know conversations we’re going down the right they won’t expected to be fixed in six months time they will know it’s a probably a three year job just like it has been in separate care [Music] i want to sort of um down into how family support and social care support along the educational achievements of children how they interact with schools and with the education side of the service and some of my experience with um children who have been adopted and their families they have the right support from the children’s trust don’t get me wrong but the children’s trusted try to take the support worker has tried to take on the role of the education side of things council and i don’t believe that they’re qualified we’re not qualified but they have the right tools in place to make schools give the support for those children that that is required and that’s really what you know authorities should be doing i think there’s a bit of a little mis mismatch in some kind of way that needs to be tidied up to ensure that those kids who are under your care who are adopted have the right people supporting you that can talk to the right people in your policy with regard to getting that support in schools does that make sense yes and that’s a much strengthened arrangement over the course of the last year and it was previously i think you’re right i think i think i think one of the things uh i’m not going to recognize this is myself having once or social but you do try to compensate when other bits of the system aren’t working because you tend to be feeling like you’re holding baby method literally so uh it’s really important we work with our partners to support the whole system to improve and strengthen is that everybody can contribute to the bit that they’re absolutely equipped to do in the way that you describe school is much better at driving improvement with our children monitoring using data more intelligently and holding into account um schools for their delivery it’s still a concern to me if i’m not really honest that our children in care be better in school when they’re placed outside of the city so one of the streams there is the special educational needs and support that those children need um like your family support workers your social workers are in one of the best positions to assess you know what their mental health or their physical health support needs are they should be able to simply without any hdp support from the council to get those things put in place i think that’s the gap i’m referring to more than the vote yeah and i think i’ve tried to reference that in my report i think if if we can better join up our early help endeavors across the city that’s when that becomes absolutely possible at a local level you get people talking early to each other with parents about the needs of children but that can lead to services being employed in and through the schools have you said absolutely you know our system will work it seems to me better when there’s much less reliance on the piece of paper because the only reason that parents becomes they’re allowing a piece of paper is this becomes the only thing that they believe will deliver and support their child needs but that’s but it’s part [Music] um their personal journey and their educational journey and their social work journey but one of the really big sticking things which perhaps andrew christie could hardly like us about is them the notion that schools have quite a lot of autonomy to do whatever they like in terms of what they spend their notional budgets on et cetera and i think that’s something that we need to bring up with the government to make sure that we have more um sway as an authority to ensure that schools deliver what we need for our children because we will inevitably fail them if we don’t have any way to ensure that schools deliver what is actually um statutory their responsibility to do so and if we don’t have the government support behind that we’re never ever going to win and we’ve always found our children but this is not an excuse it’s just a statement of color position of fact uh whereas actually the kind of um uh those bits of a kind of dfe system that uh actually kind of you know overseeing the kind of the way kind of school policy issues uh uh are a bit more difficult to it but i mean what i would say though is that uh it’s interesting because you rightly made reference to i think that’s actually again something that uh and trust i think the bertrand school is as kind of started as it were and that they focus particularly on children care i think perhaps a lesson for those kind of some of those kind of degrees [Music] i feel actually the kind of scrutiny in in a school setting of the kind of uh performance in terms of children children of care to become kind of other other staff she’s quite intense enough when it comes to schools kind of direction and guidance are they’re telling they should be doing this but it’s whether or not they’re actually held to account that there’s various ways we can do that one of which is for example with the influence of the cancer that’s because you know you will have a lot of people seeing [Music] the other thing is to kind of draw the kind of school community closer into those early health arrangements back and say well actually the city council needs to kind of do more work because actually to kind of strengthen its engagement connection with the kind of old school community which is obviously getting the same agenda but it goes actually there’s some benefits because it goes beyond just the same activities stronger relationships and partnerships and so jenkins you’ve got a question so and honestly the brighter areas identified send approach was the development which is where birmingham has sought to engage in schools to take their responsibilities for inclusion wide assets more seriously and it’s backed by seven million pounds and each in two years was the highest blob which was a hard one argument two years seven million and then seven years old each two years fourteen million return and supposedly not roll back momentum because i think it’s part of addressing this agenda there’s still some work to go on with making part of the whole system i still think needs to be connected so so in that sense that that extreme is trying to address this the national context is where everyone i take everyone around the country even authorities that are running good sense services are struggling bearing strongly framework and we’re awaiting the dfe review and who knows what will come out premium for example i instead support greater emphasis on schools to make sure they weren’t using that money and they were being become more accountable by how they were using it so whether that’s something that might creep into the future framework i don’t know but certainly and i think everyone agrees that one of the best ways for women every head teacher and every school owned children in the area as opposed to the danger that they have trusted us would we would get a much better like working so dlp is is the possibility now is there enough we’re 700 enough there’s a question mark and so on but at least that’s going in trying to start this all this around exploitation so just a question around that because uh the local government association is flagged that there’s been a real rise in county lines exploitation with young people during the pandemic and they actually say they actually refer to it as a menace of county lines has been fueled by the pandemic um with ruthless gangs targeting young people and they’ve evidenced that in particular girls have been targeted um more specifically than um boys during his time so i just wondered um have you got any evidence that shows that with our young people um what is your understanding of the impact um in birmingham around county lines and our young people and the number of referrals that have been flagged as county lines had had those numbers reflect on previous numbers in perhaps non-coping times and you talk about additional talk about additional capacity and expertise that’s been provided to staff across the trust and across the city uh working with variable young people and what does that look like so what is that additional support and capacity and you know is that being seen on the ground at the moment right let me see if i can answer those questions uh what we experienced at the beginning of the pandemic was an ambiguous was a significant reduction and that’s because it became people training on their i think we feel that uh we we respond to that which is uh referred to us and we would say i think that there’s much more going on than we know about it it did remember it’s yep been a conversation previous meetings about these numbers and and when will they start going down i don’t want them to go up well [Music] i i will have to get back to all the specifics about girls versus boys i think i think our pattern has been pretty consistent and we haven’t seen that significance but i think our concern for girls is great of uh conjunction of criminal and sexual exploitation with girls precise just stay with me uh exploitation um [Music] uh in terms of gender is still very heavily male dominated but the thing that i had a reflective position earlier in the summer um we were in terms of the the number of young people who were holding strategy meetings at the meeting of ourselves and police and safeguard children and uh drug engagement through the tourism city um so we’re not we’re not seeing the uh that balancing just yet in terms this is about bringing together a multi-disciplinary service in the middle of the sits next to our multi-agency safeguarding website we have social workers from support workers health professionals police officers police intelligence officers voluntary organization partners so a wide and growing number of colleagues working together and increasingly uh representatives from the west midlands police series with no prime unions so they’re they’re looking at our cub as a as a means of processing all of those theories and organized crime because they see it as a an effective vehicle we’ve also got health exploitation nurses in there we’ve got faith-based representatives and community navigators who are there in part to help us to work with religious organizations and different faith groups around risks to their young don’t believe it’s people but we do believe that in relation to understanding the needs of these young people it is a particular task because what we’re asking people to do is to work in a situation social workers careers are spending focusing on the risks that children face within their family what we’re talking about now the risks that young people face outside of their families often outside of their communities where their parents have uh become as powerless as the rest of us and so it requires that we work in fundamentally different ways by attracting community level so for example our club colleagues are going out uh next week i think uh into one of our communities where they just walk around and they talk to people that they love into and they go into shops themselves and that’s what they seem so it’s about building resilience at every level as well as creating a more targeted response to the individuals but we’re absolutely clear into the working program i think there is a bit of a tendency sometimes in social work uh there’s an interesting initiative which i will address here rebound reports which is where the empire you have is actually working for example groups of parents because i think um if we’re going to effectively tackle these kind of issues um then helping parents as it were to kind of be in those kind of strong and bad positions i mean i do notice quite often yeah that’s that’s i mean my dissertation at university was on um had parents are not always a seamless part of the problem quite often because i’m a qualified social worker and i do work with children and families so it’s really interesting to me just talking about the the multi-disciplinary teams and you know and obviously we need that to happen but when you’re talking about social workers out on the street walking around communities you know are they with those other workers that are working directly with those young people you know so that multidisciplinary work is always being referred to across the council and sharing this cabinet member will know my frustrations that we often do lots of really good work but none of it’s really that well joined up so you know it’s making sure that social workers are with other workers working with young people that really know those communities inside out and that helps obviously our social workers as well um you know in those roles yeah and i’m increasingly confident in this space that the answer yes to other people who are leaving his work are prominent members of some of these communities are very well connected personally as well as professionally and are really what we want people to be are kind of resource weavers we want to knit together the things that already exist rather than reinvent them or operate unilaterally uh uh my own view is that claire graham and her team are doing that really successfully are connecting with the representatives in the youth service who are doing some of that work around interruption uh connecting with community groups with fakery voluntary organizations so clearly there’s a lot of little videos that go out for parents which will do with community representatives so i i think we we work really hard not reinventing [Music] figures from previous years just to see if there has been any real um difference during the fans emmy i mean i’m not expecting you to give them now but if you bring those back to us or have those at some point just because yeah okay i think what i’d say though is that judging it kind of free and post-pandemic is challenging because we’re also genuinely pre-employed so uh we’re generating more uh interest awareness understanding so um i think she’s always the best thing for me but also i think there’s a part of this that we also need to be having a conversation with andy and i touched on this yesterday when we met was around the sector someone talking about hospitality sectors and other places like that because actually we need to raise the awareness in those spaces because their staff are ultimately going to be seeing people brought into those places and they’re not social workers and they’re not in the community so the reality in fact also being in the community and doing the community grounding but also looking outside of the community because that’s where they’ve been moving to so we’ll be looking at holding some round table and meetings with that and having conversations with the chamber around the conversations around the other sectors particularly hospitality and you know tribal lodges and things like that and spaces so that’s really important it’s about thinking outside the box is absolute and not just the normal um areas that we look at and because i’m sure there are lots of children who are as you say being exploited on the radar and it’s about getting a message out there to those children as well to let them make them aware of the support that’s available um and that you know people are there to listen and support so i’m sure lots of children don’t engage with statutory services so they wouldn’t know how to get help apart from going to the police because you had your and yes mr chair and i really enjoyed your report andy thank you and i wanted to ask about missing children you’ve given some data in here and you gave some extra data during your talk and i was concerned by you know the number of well i just wanted to have an old data on it whether you know the number of children who have been missing and you talked about some children who were frequently um missing and how long they missed before and obviously most importantly what’s being done to make sure that they don’t go missing again and then also you talk about the um return home interviewedness and then a large proportion of the children don’t accept to do the um that that return home interview and i wondered why a lot of questions are australian since how that could be improved certainly so we can we can provide much more data around uh children in terms of children and care if but we’re seeing as i said earlier that we think some changing patterns in the way drugs are moved around more locally more is person’s property they use that as a base they sell the drugs they need to sell and they get trained three days away to cash with that business models changing the business model changes all the time um as i said earlier we would think that the number listed from home is greater essentially it’s about a random stranger speaking to a young person saying you know where he says this social workers is a we were together when we were setting up the trust for four or five years ago it wasn’t it was um quite a journey in terms of the numbers before you sort of say michelle shorten we’ve got to be mindful of the context in which the trust will set up in terms of the council being particularly a dark space and just coming in and uh taking it off council’s hands and setting up the independent uh trust format and changing accountability into structure um and uh i think in terms of all the kpis you know been holding you accountable in terms of the kpis and trying to push back on it for some time um sometimes we’ll get you moving my direction very pleased to see that um just want to touch with a couple of points in terms of the um the overspending budget so i know that usually you go over over spent by around 30 but i’m mindful that nationally i think the overspend is probably here towards nine percent so i think trust is around three nationalities around nine so i still feel that the trust demonstrates the value of numbers and you mentioned around increasing complexity need um increasing numbers of people who are entering the service and of course identifying that kind of thing as well so just curious if you have a lot about later um information around how the numbers are going on and certain numbers that happen through the interests are continually going up what else we’re doing to try and identify the need um i feel useful to say yourself for short on the agency staff um storming quest recently that customers are available with more wages than a solicitor or their drivers so there’s a national shortage of staff across the whole country and the numbers of agency staff are going to be driven down quite hard over a long period of time it is again a testament in services to how you change the the structure of the work ethic within the trust um i know that the case work per staff has already gone up i think target’s 15 it’s having around 20 at the moment so just want to see if there’s anything that you are doing to try and drive that down stability service again perhaps back to council later um the greatest cancer area called bringing up the missing children which i picked up on uh you mentioned around the shift in children who are missing from care to now children i think that again is worrying because of course these are children wrong jobs with services so these people who are new entrants um the declining number of people who want especially if they are repeat missing i was wondering if we could get together maybe saying get some more information on that especially if it’s a repeat missing and what we’re doing to try and address this early point to try and address the underlying causes of this and again what we did to try and break that cycle um youth defending is something which you just want to touch on very briefly um the youth defending documents that he sent over 79 of children um who are into the use of it so that the youth service have experienced some formal family abuse and 90 percent of given social care intervention placements are quite high um see if there’s anything that kind of uh says trust that council is doing proactively to try and bring that down and that sort of gives us back to my final points found of course we all started journey where we’ve got it five year contracted trust and sort of nearly towards the end of that i’m mindful that in terms of the overall stuff that we want to try and give them that stability to know that we’re hopefully going to need a trusted relationship and their instability in terms of funding arrangements as well and i want to see what we’re doing proactively to try and engage with these on an earlier level i understand that we sort of mostly deal with the you know the impacts and the step two step two you’re gonna see what we’re doing steps here step one we all talk about early intervention um and then finally just in terms of the kpis you know that always you know try to drive you down in terms of different guys for the contract manager do you feel that there are any kpis that are missing that you want to be brought in in any sort of future um contract arrangements and again this also thinks back to the staffing issue and the funding as well i don’t understand if there’s money in the highways block there’s money’s coming from dfe et cetera just want to make sure that you feel that you are properly funded because you’ve been increasingly increasing the demand as well and again increasing complexity until it’s important for the council to find yourselves properly just want to see where you’ll get yourself um probably not all points [Music] pleased that the council was able to invest in the trust this year but i don’t think any of us expect the kind of demand that we see in this year and that’s what’s called india pressure that we’re working on to try and manage um are you touched on the questions about early intervention work there’s a lot of work yeah [Music] some risk if we don’t uh support them well for now the school system for the clutches of seasonal crime um uh the caseload rise is a symptom of that bulge that we talked what i talked about and we’re we’re seeing that drop back down and hopefully that kpi will fall back in line um and around the offending service interventions from the earliest point um so that we can divert some of them more successfully but if you’ve experienced family breakdown huge family distress [Music] because there is still an improvement direction import it’s certainly you talk about children who’ve got care [Music] um can you share with us briefly um you know why children were seen to be going into a care plan for a second time but then in terms of learning to make sure there’s not a repeat of that um what actions have been taken to ensure that there’s not a repeat of this sort of issue um and in the business and challenges you talk about the shrinkage of mental health support even though there’s an increased risk um increased need and uh there’s more complexity in terms of the need that children have but there’s a decrease in the support so just briefly on those [Music] uh [Music] suggest is that our assessment got got skewed and blurred by the context of what was going on in the context of the pandemic and particularly around emotional abuse and neglect a number of children what you’ll often see and what we found that they’ve happened is that you make some progress and that progress is reported to the review conference the decisions taken uh the plan can come to an end but we we see a situation deteriorate again which we just need to step there are two measures that we need to look at always together one is the number of children who have child protection planned for a second time the other is how long a child has a child protection plan and i think that we’re slightly out of put when we have a very very low number of children where child protection is [Music] [Laughter] uh um [Music] uh these are arrivals on the south coast from there [Music] sometimes when it’s quite clear but they’re not so when they arrive in birmingham uh um the mental health issue is just the pressure that mental health services they were under pressure before the pandemic that’s grown because of the impact of the pandemic on children mental health and the reasons that aren’t clear to me have they’ve been a reduction nationally in the number of acute mental health beds that are available and it’s also the case that there aren’t sufficient welfare secure beds and some of the children and it drives some of the responses when the children are supporting we are literally supporting these four ratios of four adults to one child simply for the purposes of trying to make [Music] currently um and we worry that some of these children need better interventions [Music] thank you thank you to present um um but you know i have to say it has been a bit of a rollercoaster over four weeks to say the least but it has been incredibly good to work with um andy and kevin and some of the other officers and we’ve had regular contact over the last four weeks and there’s a number of things i thought was important coming into this actual portfolio um and it’s not just an extension of the previous portfolio that actually and kate booth held but also making sure that we’re brought in that real empathy surrounding families making sure that we bring that back to the heart and the whole point around an intervention and prevention which is something i’m really keen on which was another reason why we brought homelessness into it because of the families that have been temporary accommodation and the impact that has on their schooling and early years one of the things for me i didn’t want to build a perspective from inside the council i wanted to build a perspective from inside and outside the council and whether those views were positive and whether those views were negative i was willing to listen to all of those so that i can get more grounded perspective and i think a fresh pair of eyes is something that welcomed in this area because i know some people have been a part of this for a very long time and particularly with the issues around um sdnd and you know i think it is something that we needed to do and one of the things about listening to people has been the first thing that i did was actually join the and running in the square which was by saying that children save our schools and and you know parents were very frank and honest about how they were feeling and i appreciated that but it also highlighted the fact that we’ve got so much more to do and aware of the channels that we’ve got ahead of us and i’m going to say the challenge we all have ahead of us because actually we cannot fix this service without collaboration i’m very clear on that it’s not just council officers and members and parents and families it’s all of the partners that we’ve got across the city in terms of how we input into that and that’s why the co-production is going to be absolutely key and essential was the way that we move forward but there was something that i think it was kevin and andrew said earlier when they were speaking around leadership and the very first thing i actually did was write to the minister to invite her for a meeting with myself to talk about my perspectives how we wanted to move forward and actually lay out the stall of how birmingham wants to move forward in terms of our ambition and our ambition cannot just be simply to improve the service our ambition has to be to put the families at the heart of all the east and have that kind of service that is people and family centered children and families because of the impact it has on them so one of the things that has been absolutely crucial it has to be cons and engagement and i think it’s clear to say that we’ve been calling that in some areas the way that we’ve been speaking and communicating with families and also with elected members from what i’ve been hearing from across the chamber wanting to hear more of what’s going on so those are elected members and the chair of the parent care reform would have seen last week i’ll send out my first newsletter on the service of where we’re going where we are very open very transparent very frank about where he was and i think that’s important moving forward for all of us to have that kind of honest conversation and and just making sure that we remember that you know members and officers are not all the experts in this field parents and children are the experts by experience and their voices have to be heard us as members we are corporate parents and we have to take that seriously this journey so um you know we’ve been very transparent and honest about the challenges and where we failed in terms of that we bought and we’re all clear that we need to move forward and it has to be stakeholder again stakeholder led engagement moving forward and so one of the priorities obviously is around and making sure that we get center where it needs to be making sure that we’ve got a plan in place that’s co-produced and i think a copy of the draft plans actually circulated to this committee and then we’ve all had the chance to look at that as well i know one area that’s been particularly highlighted across the city at the moment is the home and curtis school transport that’s been highlighted in the press and it’s been highlighted through ourselves parents have been raising concerns and you know we need to make sure that we improve that service and get it right we need to do more of that and that’s why um kevin whether it’s a pleasure or not and we’ve been lucked in regular conversations and meetings pretty much daily i think we’ve had a fast track in our relationship in terms of looking at some of the key issues around that one of the things it was highlighted was that we terminated the contract for one particular provider and actually that was the right thing to do and we have to be great involved in our actions moving forward and we will continue to be growing involved because the ambition for me in terms of the service for our children is to make sure it’s child-centered and making sure that journeys are comfortable and secure for the children of this city so we have to take those steps now on a journey you know things get worse then they get better it’ll uncover things but we have to be prepared to mourn my sleeves and go through that difficult area but aside from send i think the wider portfolio as well there’s some great stuff going on in earlier in terms of other areas of the portfolio we have some staff that are working incredibly hard under incredibly difficult circumstances that’s not even including what’s gone through with the pandemic so i just want to publicly thank them for their hard work and commitment that they’ve been doing over this particular the last period essentially um and again you know we’ve heard the report that’s come through from andy and i’m glad that andy and andrew were here today as well and i’ve been able to listen to what they’ve said and andrew cordray and i’ve had a lot of meetings as well over the last four weeks and he’s heard me repeatedly say that corporate parenting has to be something that’s a priority for us to look at and i hope that this community will support us in that i know that there was a report that was done through overview and scrutiny previously but i still don’t feel like we’ve gone far enough as corporate parents particularly around elected members as well there’s so much more we need to do in terms of communication i think there’s so much more we can do in terms of helping people to understand what we can do as corporate parents yesterday and i had the pleasure of going along to an event and i had to speak and i’m used to speaking at events you know stakeholders and everything else but these were all five and six and seven and eight and nine and ten year olds and i got a mistake within the first time in a vote since 2014 of being an elected member i had this real nervous moment and i was like oh my gosh am i pitching it right this is what they want to hear am i boring with them and actually as a corporate parent we need to check and challenge ourselves so i want to make sure we get back to checking challenge and listening to young people to make sure we’re getting it right and challenging our services because we have to remember that children’s services don’t all just sit and in kenya sit across the whole council we’ve all got our responsibilities around that so and just to to really and finish off i guess um you know there’s so many different areas in the portfolio that we need to look at i know that we’re going to speak a little bit deeply around scent i’m assuming so that’ll be a big thing for us to look at exploitation i know that cancer jenkins has been very vocal on that and i think we need to look at that in a little bit more depth and give the support to the trust that the trust actually needs which isn’t always just the financial support and it’s making sure that we’re morally giving them support and challenging policies nationally and locally in that vein and one of the final things that i am going to be doing is i’m making contact with my equivalents in core cities and across the west midlands as well because i want to understand what their challenges are and where there are unique things that we’re doing differently looking at good practice but not reinventing the wheel but also as elected members have in that point of lobbying whether it’s in different parts when it comes to children’s services and the needs for young people and i think that’s where we need to get active and you know i welcome the fact that alex and i have had at least one conversation since i’ve been in post um as the shadow and the same counselor jan and i’m sure like in my previous portfolio i will be reaching out and you know providing those opportunities where we can do joint things together whether that’s writing to the government or meeting people and actually pushing forward because we all have to be in the same space which is looking at the best interests of the children young people and their families in this city thank you very much council council i mean one of the things actually i forgot to mention and i requested for information on the rights and um participation that actually service so thank you for sharing that andy um and and one of um and as you’ve highlighted that service is predominantly used by children in care but um because i work in the domestic violence sector and um and for me i’ve found that it’s been absolutely valuable now in other local authorities and children who are um in in family situations where there is things like abuse or you know other issues whether that’s abuse domestic abuse or whatever they also are unable to have their voices heard through an independent advocacy service so i have requested that that’s something that we look at more in depth in birmingham because we haven’t got that because although we do have the rights that’s predominantly used like antheista as informally by the um children in care and not so much by children who are in other sections that might um might be able to benefit from that whereas in the black country they do have an independent thank and of course we’ve passed forward of course we have experience here to do us a challenging time of course and um absolutely in terms of our dealings already great way for you sending things ahead of time you’ve got the the uh um in terms of taking things in your priorities so it’s great to see the value and i was there as well and i cancelled the walkway some parents who were physically sharing their frustrations and their desperation at times about how the service is continually going through constant change and it’s never getting to where it needs to be and of course we’ve got years now with promises changes um i think with september coming i know the council awards spent a lot of time working with his leaders passing the british group to try and get that public school transportation order i know [Music] and draw attention to it there’s something close around with the budget and the amount of money that we have i’m pretty sure piled in in the past six months just to try and get the service into a better space just to get some sort of idea around how that’s gone where it’s going how much you’ve gotten in uh for example let’s just do that perhaps we can keep an eye on that um eventually the white portfolio we’ve got the same strategy coming through as well and completely agreed with parenting when i was first on the screen back in 2015 under the debt sue thank you yes um councillor sue barnett she she made um corporal pouncing a as well those were huge champions we did a lot of work across the whole chamber to get councillors to stop and i would welcome that’s priority um early intervention convention and it’s great to see why you brought him homelessness in um i think for us i just kind of want to understand where your other qualities are once we get transports um sorted out as well um and i think for me as well the 365 program rolling out i know there’s been issues with letters communication wrong addresses we’ve got rooting still an issue you mentioned communication engagement i’ve always thought that a 365 application as conventional two years ago would be almost as little to try and sort everything out to get the data in one place really moving towards an effective manner and i just want to put it before your consideration that we do try and move that on as quickly as possible it could be quite essentially some of the things i’ve been very clear on my dealings with officers so far is um performance and finance are going to be sort of high on the agenda and we’ve already got regular meetings in the diary to have that conversation about performance and and the finances because we need to make sure we keep on top of that and the questions around the 365 and unaware breaches and everything issues where data’s gone you know letters have gone to the wrong household and then i can assure you that i’ve had conversations with officers and and everyone’s been very open and honest about the challenges around sort of the data breaches and also the pressures that are on the surface at the moment i do want to assure everybody that following them from the recent and letters that went out we all spoke everything was even over the weekend and to make sure that by one day there was extra capacity and provision put into place to make sure that that didn’t happen again moving forward and that there was a more robust quality check i should say in terms of what was sending that and making sure that we listened to clearance and as you know the 365 was started off where we were piloting it and before we go to look at rolling that out we are going to need to look at evaluation of that pilot and also we’ve had a conversation around and making sure that we conduct a real good data cleanse make sure that we’re getting the most up-to-date information from parents to make that system as robust as possible once it’s implemented so those things those things that you’ve talked about and already on the agenda they’ve already been spoken about even though i’ve only been in place for a couple of weeks and and the home to school transport although there has been issues with that and we’ve had very regular meetings and gone through tracking around those environments thank you any questions no okay thank you so um thank you council thompson for your update um and now on to a gender item nine percent uh review so papers were sent out to members yesterday um as alongside the background information from the july and 2021 and october 2018 so i’m now going to pass over to kevin now to give us an update and also for me as well he’s been really appointed as the interim assistant director for send and inclusion so um kevin during that period it’s been interesting and it’s challenging and i want to make it clear that no one is well i’m as happy as all men the quality of service with some parents i i’m sometimes aware as a professional you sometimes have been so relaxed about these things that’s not a great that’s just experience but i’m deeply disappointed that lettuce is going to be wrong it means a lot to me and it means a lot to my colleagues so we’re trying to fix it so i’ll come onto that shortly so so i think we are doing our best so first thing to update you uh on events with dfe we have not seen the dna says we’ve had uh google correspondence uh council thompson uh in her response mainly thanks to minister as we’ve had a discussion that trying to co-produce uh what will become known in their terms the accelerated progress plan the app and trying to co-produce such a document in a matter of weeks and during august when so many people are engaged the draft direction required was to make a response by the 25th of august that response is what i’ve circulated to you and finding this meeting all circulated i believe to all members having that sort of degrees of speed and we will be sharing it with special schools it’s been co-produced in the very minimalist sense of action that care reform has been engaged with us we’ve tried to do as much as cc given ourselves uh but that hasn’t been retired with the coverage plan so this is really a plan for a plan stating our intentions with one exception in that we have put in there this big commitment to the what we’re doing immediately and i refer to it’s getting back to basics from my analysis and a lot of colleagues some around this table um the fundamental issue is it was was sound the service that was the interface between parents children uh ehp age reviews and so on and for whatever reason we discussed at length um the the intended research of that service was people with popular staff and i very early on felt it was the wrong direction and that’s true to me i guess because it broke my view the link between parents and service and the second thing is it went on for so long and staff were moved into a shadow new structure so the immediate priority is to be trying to save the lines at the center and get that back on a steady basis and indeed it’s cherished supporting to join is delighted she’s here with all the experience and no pressure but you’re now working on stabilizing that service and i can already see this the small change the sense of direction where it sees the plane’s being now all the way some places and the service has been put back much more onto a case officer locality model now whether that’s the long-term wage from the service or not will be reviewed and paulie will be giving us her views on that new case and recommendations for the future that service is also i think about 18 i don’t think i’ve ever seen a service apart from a really fake youtuber so it’s so dependent on entering posts because that’s been another feature of the journey in waiting to put in the new restructure i think entries will be appointed on the basis that makes the restructure easier if it was both some that wouldn’t be people whether that was the case or not the only problem is is no single system impulse was being upgraded that 365 is being walked in my understanding is that is i’ve heard this multiverse 100 times on itune projects it’s in testing the data is migrating but it’s not there yet and it’s being rolled out slowly in the search so we want to accelerate that going forward and and that we hope will remove some of these multiple potential points of failure in the system there are germany situation where denture is manually transferred and that’s been one of the issues in the early school transport letters the data was actually as they check if the data is right the issue there was a male purge where an individual translated the data and the phrase into me was over sophisticated the transfer which meant some of the fields change that’s the explanation i’ve had we can look into that the immediate thing is to rectify so we’ll start the high school transport position regarding letters 3 400 letters arrived and from the evidence i’ve got arrived to the right address with the right information 130 personal transportation letters were not correct either in their content nor their arrival that has now been taken care of we’ve got extra resources from the contact center working with us customer contact centers working with us and we have an invite which means an outbound team so we’re improving the number of ways you can contact us the outbound team literally has been ringing parents and it’s been a difficult conversation in some cases because we’re actually looking up to say have we got the right information on you and 58 percent of the last time i heard guys have so with those we are actually talking to our special schools because they do have the contacts so that leaves about 700 people waiting to have the updated information on where they’re going [Music] mobilization of vehicles on monday sounds extremely professional um very good on tedious very hard very good partnership very traded so so going forward um so so we are doing the best to make sure we’ll be nice as successful as possible we’re also doing a great deal of work on the dbs situation it’s been a deep disappointment that a card tractor as you know should have failed to the intention of the variation is right and the evidence i’m getting is is the majority of our providers have abided by that in terms of that so we’ve done some work on it i i don’t want to to really i’ve got we’ve got three pieces of work going on one of which is a desktop has been completed but i would quite like to get all the figures in before we put out any numbers the only last thing i will say is the direct change services i think the risk to children is is being managed no dcs will ever say there’s no risk to any child i’m telling you that now because it wasn’t they chose to transport them one day either dcs is saying the risk is very minimum and the steps we’re taking like it’s safe and i i could say why at the moment i’ve been doing my risk assessment and i know parents will be reassuring and so so beyond that i think that introduction tries to give you a feel for where we are quite happy to take questions um so let’s take a look let’s do that for the chances actually broke something just before i came a here i broke my foot which i think shows the resilience i’ve got because you certainly need resilience in this job um so i’m first of all kind of not going to see any experts say that some staff are very disappointed in that i don’t think you need to see an expert to try and stabilize and move forward um but having an scn person 25 years ago shows my age and uh um you can fit very easily into the same world which i heard about but agreeing with kevin the big issue is undoubtedly um the the communication with finance um were too dependent on um emails going here and we’ll just do so seo is much bigger much bigger than and people tend to think sen is just that assessment review service it’s a huge information including as the counselors said what mainstream you’re doing for children with seo but if i just talk about so now um the structure has been wronged the system itself has been wrong as i said [Music] which is quite remarkable how they’ve even delivered anything like honest in that context and as a result of the chairman because what we have to be aware of as zombies and social workers is that right across the country um scn peace workers are worth their weight in gold [Music] they can charge anything on an agency basically people will go to them they are literally worth the wait they understand the legislature they have good communication skills and they can fight the corner of the local authority because lots of parents actually want schools that are far too expensive and it isn’t an efficient use of resource and that’s one of the things that council has got to be aware of among the two so those cases and they could go to any west midlands tomorrow which is and some of them don’t even live in the west woodlands they could go to an authority across the land for women so we have to be aware that one of the things we need to do is [Music] in terms of moving forward it’s supporting those good staff to move forward so we can really improve the service i haven’t yet met one who doesn’t want to improve the service but they are aware that it’s a long group to do it and we need to make some very quick wins um and we need to actually recognize what is going to take a lot longer a lot of that is the culture of the whole city [Music] that’s going to take i think three years at least to actually you know what that guess is thank you okay so i’ve got a number of uh people indicating to speak so first of all uh council scott um i’ve got quite a lot of time with regards to those last two comments uh i’m gonna first of all i’m gonna say um how confident now you are that by the end of this week every parent will know who is picking up their child that those providers have contacted those parents so not just the letters have gone out from us that the providers are doing their job correctly and that i won’t be seeing online parents complaining about how the services be delivered by those providers because i am still stealing that and um secondly and a chair allowed to come back to other points after everyone else’s have their chance to speak um i’d like to um with the new contractor that’s replaced among them that’s the right word um [Music] to deliver actually a good or outstanding service to our parents and one if we choose those choose them so sorry questions [Music] my question is about strategic leadership of this whole uh issue around senator and i’ve been involved with one of the successes i’ve seen is the way to trust the children to first have managed improvement so i was here when it was a disaster and i’ve seen and i like the reporting and my plea is can we learn from the way the trust has managed its improvement journey and the reporting to our committee for um the way we manage the send improvement and the reporting committee those those really clear tables with the um heavy eyes what good looks like what’s not working the transparency of reporting i think is excellent we’ve been lacking that for years in the sem field and i think let’s learn from what’s working from my point of view what’s working well in the way the strategic movement of it is which is a more dark and more high level conversation than obviously the immediate needs around the school can support which also is going to hit the fan on monday thank you very much for that question personally stable good leadership accountability to a board with some independent time i think there are things to learn about the process and and i think that focus on what the job is so yes you need to replicate that and i’ve said that really one of the biggest contributory factors is that journey i think that leadership sharing is sleeping very much and [Music] the other thing i think this time that needs to be done differently is there needs to be an improvement board and irrespective without a commissioning chain on the improvement board i would have advocated that as part of the process anyway indeed before we even use the commission we will talk about an independent check why because it’s trends accountability because if i look back it’s very easy if you have you don’t have enough challenge to sort of get group thing and see two morning positives and things that happened to challenge and then and im
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Education and Children\'s Social Care O&S Committee - 01092021 at 1000 hours

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