Agenda and minutes

Children & Learning Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee
Thursday, 31st August, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Town Hall

Contact: Taiwo Adeoye  Email:

No. Item



Members are invited to disclose any interests in any of the items on the agenda at this point of the meeting.  Members may still declare an interest in an item at any time prior to the consideration of the matter.



No interest was declared at the meeting.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 171 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 July 2017 and authorise the Chairman to sign them.


The minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2017 were agreed as correct records and signed by the Chairman.




Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee received twelve of the sixteen corporate performance indicators that fell under the remit of the Children & Learning Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee.


The Assistant Director of Policy, Performance and Community outlined that three (25%) of the indicators have a status of Green while the other nine (75%) have a status of Red following the withdrawal of tolerance for the ratings.


The update report outlined the following area of highlights:


      The percentage of early years providers judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted remains above target. Nine inspections occurred in the last quarter of which 6 were of new private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector providers.

      The number of new in-house foster carers was better than target.  There  have been 6 new in-house foster carers recruited which bodes well for reaching the full year target of 20 which should increase the total number of in-house foster carers going forward. The innovation programme would be officially launched in quarter two, it was projected that performance should improve further in Q3 and Q4.

The Sub-Committee noted the following areas where improvements were required:


      The percentage of young people leaving care who were in education, employment or training at ages 18 – 21; it was stated that the figure was  below target and worse than the previous quarter and the same time last year.  Additional staffing have been recruited specifically to help young people and care leavers plan their transitions to adulthood, including their education and employment route.  A number of care leavers were due to take up further education and university places in September 2017.

      The percentage of looked after children who ceased to be LAC as a result of permanency (adoption and special guardianship) was recorded as below target. The Families Together Team has expanded its remit to provide support to families and young people where a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) was the permanency plan. Members were informed that a greater expectation has been given to the use of Family Group Conferencing to explore family options as early as possible. 

      The percentage of looked after children placed in the authority’s foster care’ was below target.  The indicator was based on the total of in house and family & friend placements. It was stated that by reforming the in-house offer it was expected to bring an increase in performance throughout the year.

      The percentage of children becoming the subject of a child protection plan for a second or subsequent time within 2 years’ was above target (where smaller is better) and higher than last quarter. The Sub-Committee noted that the director had commissioned a review of child protection activity and processes within the service, along with the development of an action plan for improvement, to be completed over the summer.

      The percentage of care proceedings completed in less than 26 weeks’ was significantly below target. The Sub-Committee was informed that during June, two children’s completed cases which were not completed within the target timescale had impacted on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.



Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee received the annual report of Healthwatch Havering from one of the Executive Directors and Company Secretary.


The Sub-Committee was informed that Healthwatch Havering was a statutory organisation established by the Health and social care act 2012.


The Company Secretary highlighted that Healthwatch Havering had continued to work with various partners such as the newly formed Havering Locality Development Planning Group – a partnership between the Council and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


It was also noted that Healthwatch Havering involvement with partners had led to improving facilities and services for people with learning disabilities across the borough.


The Sub-Committee noted that Healthwatch Havering had continued to use its relationship with the range of partners as an opportunity to influence partner’s thinking and operational activity.


In response to an enquiry, the Sub-Committee was informed that nearly 50% of GP practises in the borough were requiring improvement following assessment and rating by the Care Quality Commission(CQC).


Healthwatch Havering’s view was that a poor GP practise equals a poor service to children.


The Sub-Committee were encouraged to review reports on patients’ experiences on the Healthwatch Havering website.


In response to the involvement of Healthwatch Havering inspecting GP practises, it was stated that Healthwatch Havering could make criticism in its report but it was the CCG and CQC who could take the appropriate action against the practise.


It was noted there was no mention of children in the report. It was requested that future reports mention children as part of Healthwatch’s remit, even if they have not undertaken any focused work during the year.


The Sub-Committee commended Healthwatch Havering and the Company Secretary for the annual report and noted it.








The Sub-Committee received a presentation from Police on Child Protection and how the service is organised to undertake such investigations


The Sub-Committee was informed that the role of the safeguarding officer was to attend the call and take control of the investigation.  The purpose of the safeguarding officer attending was to ensure that a high quality investigation was effected straight away whilst ensuring the victim was safeguarded from the outset.  It was stated that members of the Child Abuse team must prioritise getting control of and looking after the victim, whilst colleagues at the scene (under safeguarding direction) undertake other investigative duties.


The Sub-Committee was informed that the service operated two Child Abuse teams per shift, to be available to respond to a crime which fitted one of the following criteria:


Criteria 1 – Both Vulnerable Victim AND Serious Crime


Vulnerable Victim

Defined as:

·         The victim being a subject of Domestic Abuse

·         Vulnerable due to significant mental/physical impairment

·         Racially/Religiously Motivated or Homophobic or Transphobic


Serious Crime

Defined as:

·         Serious Injury

·         Lethal Barrelled Weapons

·         Knife Enabled

·         Substantial Loss to Victim

·         Blackmail

·         Rape or Serious Sexual Assault

·         Child Abuse (Intra-Familial, Professional, Carer, Historic)

·         Perverting Justice Offences

·         Professional Judgement


Domestic Abuse

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse was: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse could encompass, but was not limited to:


·         psychological

·         physical

·         sexual

·         financial

·         emotional


Criteria 2- Complex Incident

Defined as:

·         Sudden and unexpected deaths of children (U18)

·         Parental Child Abduction

·         Child Sexual Exploitation

·         Professional Judgement


The Sub-Committee noted that Police Constables in Safeguarding have been protected from abstraction to Emergency Response & Patrol Teams under the current arrangements. This would allow for the officers to concentrate on their core duties around safeguarding the borough’s most vulnerable.


The Acting Detective Chief Inspector informed the Sub-Committee that domestic abuse was a power and control issue, and in the absence of being able to prosecute the offender, a Domestic Violence Prevention Notice (DVPN) was a core tactic in providing safety to the victim. The DVPN provided a power vacuum for Domestic Abuse professionals to operate within, with the victim.


The Sub-Committee noted that three Community Safety Unit Detective Constables (DC’s) were seconded into the new, larger MASH (Multi Agency safeguarding Hub) teams. Their role was to support decision making in relation to Domestic Abuse specifically and to engage in strategy discussions as maybe required.


The Detective Chief Inspectors were dedicated to the teams following a recommendation resulting from a recent HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies) case examination.. The Detective Chief Inspector were due to start in September, 2017 and would operate from within one of the MASH departments in the boroughs. It was also stated that the Detective Chief Inspector would be rotated every three months.


The Sub-Committee was informed that the Police had recently recruited Sexual Offences Investigation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.




The Sub-Committee received an update report on the School expansion programme from the School Provision & Commissioning Manager.


The report informed the Sub-Committee on the progress of the school expansion programme since the last report in April 2017.


The report indicated that the Local Authority had a statutory duty to plan and secure sufficient school places for the area to meet the needs of its children and families. 


The Sub-Committee noted that since 2011, the Council had created an additional 3,500 primary school places through the expansion of 21 primary schools in the borough and the number of primary age pupils was expected to continue rising significantly from 2015/16 to 2020/21, with more than 4,000 extra pupils, and this would continue to rise further.


The report outlined that as Primary children move into the secondary sector, the number of secondary age pupils was expected to rise significantly from 2015/16 to 2022/23. It would cause the current surplus of places in the sector to be eroded and surpassed.


The Sub-Committee noted that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) live birth data for 2013 detailed that most London boroughs experienced a drop in their birth rate from 2013 to 2014, however, Havering had a 5% increase. While many London boroughs have already experienced the increase in birth rate which was now starting to plateau, in Havering we are still at the early stages of our increase in the birth rate.


The report detailed that there were planned major housing developments and regeneration schemes in Havering, and in addition some areas have seen rapid housing growth and other demographic changes that have led to more families with school age children moving into these areas, which in turn created an additional demand for school places.


The Sub-Committee noted the following next steps:


·         That the statutory process required for any school expansion including pre-consultation activity, publication of statutory notices and implementation of decisions. At the same time as the statutory process being conducted, any required planning permissions must be sought before the Local Authority could publish the statutory notices.


·         A further Cabinet report would be prepared for autumn 2017 which would provide an update to the current pupil projections and identify plans to meet the planned demand for school places up until 2020/21.


The Sub-Committee was informed that phase four programme was currently being implemented and planning for phase five was under way.


The Chairman requested that School Provision & Commissioning Manager formally invite the School’s Commissioner to the next meeting of the sub-committee.


The Sub-Committee noted the update report.




The Sub-Committee received an update report that outlined the plans to review services provided by the Local Authority to schools over the next academic year.


The report detailed that the relationship between Education Services and schools continues to evolve.


It was stated that against a backdrop of academisation and proposed changes to schools funding it was important for schools to receive timely, coherent and quality services from the borough to enable schools to deliver quality teaching, learning and support to children locally.


The Sub-Committee noted that traded services were experiencing challenging economic conditions and this was anticipated to continue. The Local Authority’s statutory duties to schools reduced further as more schools become academies.


The Sub-Committee was informed that it was imperative to find financial savings across Children’s Services and as such it was timely for the service to undertake a wholescale review of both statutory and traded services available to schools and reshape our relationship locally.


The Sub-Committee was informed that in order to develop new structures and models of service delivery, it was necessary to look at three broad groups of services during the period of the review:


Group 1: Services with exclusively statutory roles


In broad terms, the following education functions remain with the local authority on a statutory basis:


·         The provision of sufficient high quality early years and school places, and provision for vulnerable children and adults (up to the age of 25);

·         Appropriate assessment and support for the borough’s most vulnerable children and young people; and

·         Appropriate and prompt intervention to prevent school failure in respect of maintained schools.


Group 2: Services that have no statutory functions

These are (broadly) services where the local authority does not have a statutory duty to provide a function, for example the provision of school governor training to academies, or the provision of school improvement quality assurance services to academies.


Group 3: Services that have both statutory and non-statutory functions.

In broad terms, these are services and functions where the local authority has a duty and schools and / or the local authority fund services at or beyond a statutory minimum. For example, behavioural support to schools potentially falls into this category.


The following objectives of a review of education services were outlined:


The approach to reviewing education services is proposed to be conducted using the following objectives:

·         The reconfiguration and streamlining of statutory and essential in-house services will reflect a new role for the local authority at reduced cost and with increased efficiency. To achieve this objective we will look for greater synergy between some elements of children’s social care and education services, to be focused on the more vulnerable young people and families in the borough;


·         Ensure that schools in Havering continue to thrive by retaining/securing high-quality non-statutory services. This objective will be achieved at significantly reduced (or zero) cost to the authority by creating financially sustainable commercial services which could remain within the council, or be part of partnership arrangements with other local authorities or ‘spin  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.



To consider any other item in respect of which the Chairman is of the opinion, by reason of special circumstances which shall be specified in the minutes, that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.


The Chairman reminded the Sub-Committee that a meeting to discuss the issue of Foster Carers would be arranged in the near future, once formalised with officers an invitation would be sent to all Members of the sub-committee.