Agenda and minutes

Contact: Claire Hendy - Senior Democratic Services Officer  01443 424081

Items
No. Item

11.

Declaration of Interest

To receive disclosures of personal interest from Members in accordance with the Code of Conduct

 

Note:

 

1.     Members are requested to identify the item number and subject matter that their interest relates to and signify the nature of the personal interest: and

2.   Where Members withdraw from a meeting as a consequence of the disclosure of a prejudicial interest they must notify the Chairman when they leave.

 

Minutes:

Cllr S Trask declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 7 (Kinship Care Notice of Motion) and withdrew from the meeting during the discussion of this item

 

Cllr S Evans declared a personal interest in Agenda item 5 (Gatsby Project report) due to her work at the University of South Wales.

 

Cllr M Powell declared a personal interest in Agenda item 7 as his wife works in children’s services

 

12.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 184 KB

To receive the minutes of the previous meeting of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee held on 21 July 2021

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the 21st July 2021 as an accurate reflection of the meeting.

13.

Consultation Links

Information is provided in respect of relevant consultations for consideration by the Committee.

Minutes:

Members were provided with information to consultations which may be of interest to them

14.

Scrutiny Research

A scrutiny research facility is available within the Council Business Unit to support Members’ scrutiny responsibilities and their roles as Elected Members. Such research strengthens scrutiny Committees work programmes to ensure outcome-based topics are identified. For any scrutiny research requirements please contact Scrutiny@rhonddacynon-taff.gov.uk

Minutes:

The Senior Scrutiny Officer reminded members of the Scrutiny research facility that was available to them and advised that members should email the scrutiny mailbox with any requests.

15.

Gatsby Project Report pdf icon PDF 332 KB

Minutes:

The Chairperson welcomed the officers to the meeting and invited them to present the report. 

 

The Gatsby Project Manager supported her report with a presentation to members, which gave an overview of the Gatsby Benchmark Good Career Pilot.  She explained that the pilot gives a commitment to each and every child within the RCTCBC area between the ages of 11-18, to receive the highest quality career experiences to provide them with the opportunity and confidence to achieve success and fulfilment in their working lives. 

 

The Gatsby Project Manager advised members that the benchmarks had been devised, arising from research from the Gatsby Foundation and they were:

 

  • A stable careers programme
  • Learning from career and labour market information
  • Addressing the needs of each pupil
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Experiences of workplaces
  • Encounters with further and higher education
  • Personal guidance

 

Upon conclusion of the presentation, the Chairperson invited members of the Committee to ask questions of the Gatsby Project Manager.

 

A member applauded the efforts of the Project Manager for her work on the pilot.  He added that the Committee should also recognise the accolade of Hayley Jacobs, Career Leader at Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive who had been shortlisted twice for the prestigious UK wide Career Development Institute Career Leader of the Year award and winning the title in 2021.  He recommended that a personal letter of congratulations from the Committee be sent to Hayley Jacobs and also Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive School who had featured in the BBC Teach programme.

 

Another member congratulated the Gatsby Project Manager on the work in the pilot and felt it captured many of the concerns and challenges that young people faced.  She asked for more information on the availability of good quality work placements for young people to support them in their aspirations.  She asked also if school staff were still able to provide a mentoring process to students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

The Gatsby Project Manager responded that the role of the career leader can be described as the career conductor of the school.  They work alongside herself to create a career plan that is individual and bespoke to each school and considering individuals that need to look outside of their own community for opportunities. She added that the Gatsby Benchmark plan ensured that the governing body and the senior leadership team at each of the schools involved were updated on the progress of the Gatsby profile on a termly basis.  She further added that the Employment, Education and Training team were also involved and had developed some bespoke mentoring for individuals. 

 

In terms of work experience placements, she informed members that they worked very closely with schools to offer and identify high-level placements for the young people in RCT, particularly throughout the pandemic where a number of virtual work experience placements were successfully delivered.    She added that whilst the country were going through the global pandemic, they didn’t feel it was fair that the class of 2020 were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) Report pdf icon PDF 310 KB

Minutes:

The Service Director Children’s Services presented the report to members to update them in relation to progress with action plans associated with Inspection of the Disabled Children’s Service and Focused Activity in the 16+ Service.

 

The Service Director also referred members to the appendices in the report which provided members with a “RAG” Status against the action plan that detailed areas that were doing well and areas that needed development, which the service area were committed to seeing through

 

A Member referred to the ALN programme and asked what the integration provision for disabled children and what schools provide looks like, particularly for those children that are disabled that may attend a mainstream school.  

 

The Service Manager Disabled Children responded that social workers within the disabled children’s service worked closely alongside education colleagues in both special and mainstream schools.  Moving forward with new act, the same officers are undertaking training and working alongside colleagues to take up the implementation of the IDPs and have already been part of some pilot programmes. 

 

The Service Manager Disabled Children added that some pilot programmes had also been undertaken in a special school in Ysgol Hen Felin to look how officers and social workers were also involved in the implementation.

She advised members that the Authority are not taking the disabled children’s service up to age 25, this was based on research from IPC and was also in line with the Additional Learning Needs act.  She added however, that they were working much more closely with 18-25 year olds who are looked after, in partnership with adult services to build on the transition protocol. 

 

A Member referred to the improvement plan where the RAG status for managers was indicating a red status in relation to considering reviewing capacity allocation and team development that had been halted due to vacancies.  She asked if members could be provided an update on that.  

 

The Service Director Children’s Services replied that recruitment had taken place and the service continued to manage throughout the very difficult pandemic period.  Now that staff had been inducted and settled into their roles the development workshop will take place in November 2021 as they considered it important that new staff had the opportunity to take part.

 

A Member asked what provisional care/ support is given in the Borough for young people up to the age of 25 who develop a disability in later childhood, and in particular from blindness.   He asked if there was any specific support in RCT for them. He asked this as there was a child in his ward who could not access braille books from their local library but instead got them from the RNIB

 

The Service Manager Disabled Services advised that a family member or a professional can make a referral to the Disabled Children’s Service team at any point and through that process a comprehensive assessment is undertaken to ascertain any additional needs and what specific support can be offered by the disabled children’s service.  She added  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Kinship Care (Notice of Motion) pdf icon PDF 861 KB

Minutes:

The Chairperson welcomed Lucy Peake, the Chief Executive of Kinship to the meeting who accepted the invitation to attend to support officers and contribute to the item. 

 

The Service Director Children’s Services presented the report to Members which was in response to a Notice of Motion from Council on the 13th January 2021.  The report detailed information received from a consultation exercise with connected person (kinship) foster carers to find out their thoughts and feelings in relation to the assessment and support provide by the service and to identify where improvements could be made.

 

The report also detailed the work of the Authority in collaboration with Kinship, formally called Grandparents Plus.

 

The Chairperson asked for more information on the working relationship with Kinship colleagues and asked if this was being developed.

 

The Director for Children’s Services advised that after the Committee previously considered this item, she asked her teams to develop those pathways with Kinship colleagues to ensure carers can access support that is available to them.  She added that she was really pleased that a number of carers had praised the support that was available to them. 

 

The Regional Development Manager advised that the response from the survey was positive with nearly 60% of Kinship carers responding to the survey.  The survey respondents gave some good, honest feedback which will be used to develop the service, he added that most of the responses were positive. 

 

The Chief Executive of Kinship commented that the Development Manager at Kinship for South Wales has advised of positive working relationships with various teams in RCT such as therapeutic family services, Looked After Children’s Service, schools and Educational Psychologists which, in turn gives Kinship carers trust in Kinship as a charity.  She added that as an organisation they could see the commitment from RCT in supporting Kinship carers.  She concluded that the outcomes for children were improved for children due to the continuity of carers and being able to stay within their family network, than they would be if they stayed within the foster care system, she hoped that they can continue to work together to build on the positive outcomes.

 

The Chairperson thanked the officers for their contributions and for Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Kinship for attending the meeting.

 

The Committee then considered their formal response to the Notice of Motion and recommended to Cabinet the following:

 

To endorse the three steps set out in the report to the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee in February 2021 which were:

 

  • To continue to develop and improve the support services available to Kinship foster carers
  • To continue to implement the Code of Practice for special guardians and improve the support available
  • To continue to collaborate with organisations to improve support to friends and family carers across RCTCBC

 

Members also recommended to Cabinet the following areas for development which were set out in the report to members which were:

 

18.

Information Reports

The following reports are provided for the information of Members:

 

School Holiday Enrichment Programme  

 

Corporate Parenting Board Annual Report

 

(For Members to acknowledge the information contained within these reports but any queries relating to the item can be directed to Scrutiny@rctcbc.gov.uk)

 

Minutes:

Members were advised of the reports that were for reported for information and were reminded if they had any queries in relation to them that they should contact the Scrutiny mailbox.

19.

Chair's Review and Close

To reflect on the meeting and actions to be taken forward.

Minutes:

The Chairperson thanked all for attending the meeting and looked forward to the Committee being able to meet on a hybrid basis in the future.

20.

Urgent Business

To consider any items, which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstances, is of the opinion should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency

 

Minutes:

None