Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel - Monday, 23rd September, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Room 10

Contact: Mr A Roscoe  (01744) 676109


No. Item


Appointment of Chairman

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*           Resolved that Councillor T Long be appointed as Chairman for this meeting of the Panel.


Councillor T Long here took the Chair.


Apologies for Absence

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It was reported that there were no apologies for absence.


Minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

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*           Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2019, be approved and signed.



Declarations of Interests from Members

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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS)

Councillor C Preston

Declared a Personal Non- Pecuniary Interest



Scrutiny Review of the Outcome of Focussed Visit 2018 pdf icon PDF 49 KB

·         Sarah O’Brien, Strategic Director People’s Services/Clinical Accountable Officer has been invited to the meeting

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A report was presented to provide the Panel with an update to the Children and Young People’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel review of the Outcome of Focused Visit 2018.


The Children and Young People’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel review of the Outcome of Focused Visit 2018 was completed in June 2019 with various recommendations being made. The report was presented to Cabinet in July 2019.


A response from Cabinet in September 2019 outlined the agreed actions and the proposed implementation of the recommendations.


The action plan was attached to the report at Appendix 1 which provided the Panel with the agreed recommendations and agreed action and date of implementation.


Councillor Charlton, Cabinet Member Protecting Young People and the Strategic Director People’s Services / Clinical Accountable Officer was present at the meeting to present the action plan and progress made towards implementation and to answer questions from Members.


The Panel asked questions in relation to reviewing improvements and sustaining the new processes that had been put in place, if the Principal Social Worker had been appointed as a sole role or was an additional responsibility for an existing role, on the mechanisms in place for vulnerable children placed out of the borough and requested working examples of improvements in hearing the Voice of the Child in social work practice.

The Panel was advised of the procedures in place to ensure that improvement and new processes were effective and sustained, this included development of an Assurance Framework and partnership thematic audits. The Panel were also advised of the additional assurances that could be sought through undertaking a reassessment of the LGA
Children’s Peer Review after 12 months implementation, system surveys such as the Social Work Survey currently being undertaken and via the outcome of the Ofsted ILACS Inspection of Children’s Social Care Services which had commenced 23 September 2019 to 4 October 2019.

It was confirmed that the decision had been that the role of the Principal Social Worker should be a sole role and not an additional responsibility, given the breadth of the role. The Strategic Director People’s Services / Clinical Accountable Officer discussed how the Voice of the Child was influencing social work practice and of the wider schemes such as celebration events and of the refresh and relaunch of the Children’s Promise being shaped by children and young people’s involvement.


The Panel recognised the Councillors’ role as Corporate Parents and emphasized the importance of Members attending training on an annual basis regarding this responsibility.


*          Resolved that:


(1)          the report be noted;

(2)          details on the out of borough arrangements be reported to the Panel by the Strategic Director People’s Services / Clinical Accountable Office;

(3)          the outcomes of the Ofsted ILACS Inspection of Children’s Social Care Services be reported at the next meeting of the Panel scheduled for 9 December 2019; and

(4)          the results of the Social Work Survey be circulated to the Panel.



Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) pdf icon PDF 825 KB

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The Chair requested that the two items relating to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) be presented together.

The Assistant Director Children’s Integrated Commissioning Team, Head of Quality Children’s Services and Head of Operations, North West Borough Trust (NWBT) were present at the meeting to present their respective reports and answer questions from Members.


Update on Children and Young People Confidence and Resilience: Emotional and Mental Wellbeing

A report was presented to update the Panel on the developments within the Children and Young People confidence and resilience work stream.


The Panel was advised when reviewing the current provision of the commissioned CAMHS services, this should be undertaken in the wider context of:


  • The contributing factors that impacted on a child or young person’s emotional health and wellbeing, confidence, self-esteem and resilience such as family dynamics, adverse childhood experiences, poverty, lack of employment opportunities, lack of community cohesion, peer pressures, education provision, low aspirations and lack of opportunities etc; and

  • The increasing number of referrals to ‘specialist’ services and the correlation with the availability of robust prevention and lower level advice, guidance and support.


Within St Helens it was appreciated that the People’s Board were championing the priority of addressing children and young people’s confidence and resilience. Under the People’s Plan and the St Helens Cares five-year Place Based Plan there was the recognition of the importance in developing a multi-agency, integrated approach to emotional and mental well-being.


It was noted that although the focus was on children and young people, there was a need to ensure a whole family approach was undertaken and therefore a robust collaboration between children’s and adult services was needed.


Through improving levels of provision and support delivered locally the Council aimed to reduce escalating need for specialist CAMHS and metal health support and thus provide better outcomes for children and young people in the Borough.


The report detailed the local developments to address prevention and support which included; Learning Partnership and Schools Effectiveness Strategy, 0-19 Healthy Child Programme, PATHS: Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies programme in schools and the BOSS programme locally offering mental health and therapeutic support, including early intervention, counselling, information, advice and guidance on recovering and rebuilding family relationships and the strengthening of local MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team) working

It was reported that as provisions and programmes embed and developed further it was anticipated that there would be a reduction in the number of referrals to specialist mental health services, improved attendance and attainment at school, greater achievable aspirations and a greater resilience in local young people.




Update on Children and Young People Mental Health Service


A report was presented to update the Panel on the developments in Children and Young People Mental Health Services.

In November 2018, St Helens CAMHS and Barnado’s went live with THRIVE service transformation. Both teams co-located on to one site at Birch Unit Peasley Cross. From January 2019 NWBH took over the sub-contract for Barnado’s to deliver a one service offer for children and young people.

At  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Education, Health and Care Plans for Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability pdf icon PDF 161 KB

·         Sharon Fryer, Assistant Director SEND has been invited to attend the meeting

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A report was presented by the Assistant Director, Integrated Children’s Health which provided an update on the current performance relating to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP).

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced a system of multi-agency planning and assessment across education, health and social care which increased the statutory requirements placed on the local authority.

The impact of this had been to:

  • Introduce a two-tier system of decision making with a more general initial test of “potentially” at the first stage;
  • Introduce more complexity into the system and to request and analyse reports and advice from a range of professionals (each child would on average have six professional reports);
  • Replace Statements of SEN with a more holistic Education, Health and Care Plan aimed at joining up the professional support required to meet the child’s outcomes;
  • Expand the eligibility for an ECHP to young people with SEND aged 19-25;
  • Introduce the requirement to co-produce, maintain and publish a “Local Offer” to all families with children with SEND;
  • require to ensure that parents and young people have access to independent medication;
  • Reduce the time required to reduce the plan from 26 weeks to 20 weeks; and
  • Expand the remit of the SEND Tribunal to legally challenge health and social care aspects of the ECHP (previously only applied to educational element).

The report also detailed comparative performance data in respect of the percentage of Education Health and Care (EHC) plans completed within 20 weeks for 2018/19 and 2019/20.

A section was also included in the report which detailed Voice of the Child involvement within the assessment process, to ensure that children’s views were being sought and captured in the EHCP plan.

Members raised questions in relation to the significant increase in ECHP’s and how
St Helens compared to other areas.

It was reported that historically low numbers of Statement of Educational Needs (SEN) had, in part, been due to the Local Authority funding support in schools without the need to complete a Statement to trigger and access additional funding. Increasing parental awareness alongside funding concerns for SEN support without an ECHP had resulted in a ‘levelling out’ which brought St Helens in line with national submissions.

It was noted that the Government had awarded St Helens £833k in capital to increase/improve local provision. Following questioning, the Panel was advised that the Council was awaiting clarity on whether the current years funding formed part of the overall pledged amount. It was reported that the St Helens allocation would be split; £500k for redevelopment of Penkford and £300k for capital improvements in other schools.

*           Resolved that:

            (1)        the report and progress update be noted;

            (2)        the Panel continue to monitor progress with regards to caseload; and

(3)        the Assistant Director, Integrated Children’s Health provide an update with regards to caseload activity and recruitment to the casework manager posts by the next meeting of the Panel scheduled for 9 December 2019.

Councillor Charlton here left the meeting.



School Funding pdf icon PDF 199 KB

·         Greg Tyrer, Business Support Manager has been invited to attend the meeting

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A report was provided by the Business Support Manager which informed the Panel on arrangements that were in place for the school funding system and to highlight a number of issues in respect of school budgets locally.

The sections of the report explained the national school funding system, local school funding arrangements and current issues.

The funding arrangements in respect of primary and secondary schools were the focus of the report as special schools were funded through a different formula mechanism to primary and secondary schools.

The report outlined the national funding system and explained the two main funding streams in respect of schools; Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and an annual pupil premium allocation which was then allocated to schools based on a Local Funding Formula.


Appendix 1 of the report provided information on School Budget Allocations by Primary, Secondary and Academy Sectors for 2019/20.


Members queried the Pupil Premiums definition of disadvantaged. It was reported that any child that had been eligible for Free School Meals, due to their parents being in receipt of certain benefits, would be identified as a Pupil Premium pupil for a period of six years regardless of whether they remain eligible for free school meals. Pupil Premium pupils were therefore often referred to as ‘Ever6’. 


*           Resolved that:


(1)                   the report be noted; and

(2)          an written update on the Pastoral Role within schools be provided by the next meeting of the Panel scheduled for 9 December 2019.



Scrutiny Work Programme 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

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A report was provided to outline the new Work Programme to the Panel for review and to prioritise items for future consideration.


A Work Programme document was attached which was designed to record and monitor the activity and plans for the Panel to effectively manage its workload and plan for future meetings.


Each of the items that fell within the remit of the Panel were listed and submitted for consideration during the work programme consultation process which was reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission at its meeting held on 15 July 2019.


The Panel was encouraged to review its work programme on a regular basis to ensure it remained relevant and achieved its outcomes. The report requested that the Panel reviewed the Children and Young Peoples Overview and Scrutiny Programme attached to the report and agree priorities and timescales.


Members discussed the work programme and it was proposed that in addition to the workstreams presented the Panel consider including vaccinations rates, particularly in relation to the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination.


The Panel discussed the work stream on SEND Transport Provision noting that the proposed date for consideration had been September 2019. The Senior Assistant Director, Education & Children's Health informed the Panel that the report had been prepared as it had been anticipated it would have been considered at this meeting of the Panel and could be distributed to the Panel if required.


*           Resolved that:


(1)          the report be noted;

(2)          Panel Members consider the Work Programme and email the Scrutiny Manager directly with their priorities; and

(3)          the report on SEND Transport Provision be circulated to the Panel.