Agenda and minutes

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 26th November, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Suite, Civic Centre, Poole BH15 2RU. View directions

Contact: Louise Smith (01202 633023)  Email:


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence from Councillors.



Before the apologies, the Chairman welcomed and introduced the new Co-opted Members and the five young people who were in attendance.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Geary, Hall and Phillips.  Councillor Bagwell was absent.


Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.


Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications.




Councillor Dove substituted for Councillor Phillips and Councillor Hilliard substituted for Councillor Geary.


Declarations of Interests

Councillors are required to comply with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and the Council's Code of Conduct regarding Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.


Councillors are also required to disclose any other interests where a Councillor is a member of an external body or organisation where that membership involves a position of control or significant influence, including bodies to which the Council has made the appointment in line with the Council's Code of Conduct.


Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.






Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 211 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday 10 September 2019.

Additional documents:



RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 10 September 2019, having been previously circulated, be signed by the Chairman and confirmed as a correct record.


Public Issues

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution. Further information on the requirements for submitting these is available to view at the following link:- 

The deadline for the submission of public questions is Tuesday 19 November 2019.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is 12.00 noon, Monday 25 November 2019.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 12.00 noon, Monday 25 November 2019.



No public items had been received.


BCP's Children's Services Self-Assessment Quarter 2 October 2019 pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To consider and scrutinise the Self-Assessment of BCP’s Children’s Services baseline performance.

Additional documents:



The Service Director, Community Learning and Commissioning, advised that, in line with best practice expectations, BCP Council had produced an updated Quarter 2 Self Assessment of its current performance in delivering Children’s Services.  This would guide and inform service and practice improvement activity.


The Service Director provided a brief overview of the headlines highlighting areas of strength, as well as planned key areas which required focused development and improvement.


The Committee discussed the Report and comments were made as follows:


  • In response to a query regarding the 47 children in care identified as being at risk, the Committee was advised that regular reporting took place.  Meetings were held which considered higher risk young people and ensured clear individual action plans were implemented.  The Signs of Safety approach was being used by Children’s Services who worked with partner agencies for early intervention in order to reduce and prevent child exploitation
  • In response to a query about the return to home interviews for children who had been missing being low at 52% in 3 days, the Committee was advised that Children’s Services were aware significant improvement was required and policies and protocols had recently been reviewed to improve in this area.
  • The Corporate Director advised that a virtual school had been introduced to deal with the most vulnerable children.  It was hoped this would provide more positive educational outcomes for the children in care who were currently not on roll.  The Committee was reassured that any opportunity to get those children back in to full time education was being explored
  • It was clarified that at Appendix A: Permanence Scorecard, the reason for the not applicable (n/a) insertions was it was a set of indicators to manage and monitor performance and sometimes figures were not available as a comparator or the target was not appropriate to be ‘RAG’ (Red, Amber, Green) rated
  • The Committee was advised that prioritising in Children’s Services was a difficult challenge as not every indicator could be given priority, however it was important to check that the priorities being focused on were the right ones.  It was highlighted that managing the change for staff and service users was a priority together with the following areas:  MASH, adolescents, assessments and robustness of plans.
  • Regarding the reorganisation, the Committee was reassured that every effort was made to ensure consistency of social worker relationships with users and changes to this would only have been made if a social worker moved into a different area within the service
  • Clarity was given over the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) and the average number of social workers a child would have contact with in the service
  • The Committee was advised that the Early Help workforce were continuing to work through a significant period of change
  • In response to a query regarding the Amber ratings on the Children’s Services Development Improvement Plan (DIP) 2019/2020, the Committee was advised that they meant improvement was still ongoing and necessary.  The Service Director then explained each of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


Children's Social Care Workforce pdf icon PDF 258 KB

To receive an update on the progress of the implementation of Children’s Services Social Care restructure.



The Service Director, Children and Young People’s Social Care advised that the Report provided an update on the progress of implementing the Children’s Social Care restructure and a snapshot of the current profile of the workforce.


In response to a query from a Committee Member, it was noted that the one of the methods used to recruit and retain newly qualified staff was the ‘Step Up to Social Work’ programme.


RESOLVED that the Report be noted and the Committee be assured about the current workforce position and recruitment and retention activity.


BCP's Response to Child Exploitation (an update) pdf icon PDF 223 KB

To receive a report which provides the Committee with an update on recent and proposed arrangements to support children and young people at risk of exploitation.



The Service Director, Inclusion and Family Services advised that this Report provided an update on recent and proposed arrangements to support children and young people at risk of exploitation.  It was noted that this item was following a request from a Committee Member that county lines and knife crime within schools be reported on.


The Committee commented on the Report as follows:


  • Concern was shown over the fixed term and permanent exclusion rates detailed and the Chair advised that this was an area in which he wanted more in-depth scrutiny to take place.  The Service Director responded that work was needed with schools within BCP to understand and respond to children and that the reasons why the exclusion rates were so high required further investigation
  • The Councillor who requested this item expressed concern regarding the increase in county lines incidents and the number of children who carried knives within schools.  He felt that getting Police into schools to discuss these issues would be beneficial
  • Some of the young people in attendance provided their experiences and knowledge of young people carrying knives in local schools and the negative impact it can have to other students.  It was felt a clear message regarding not needing to carry knives to feel safe needed to be communicated to pupils
  • The Corporate Director advised that whilst the local authority could not prevent children carrying knives within local schools, helping to build good relationships between Dorset Police and local schools, focusing on promoting good ways of working and ensuring local information was shared with relevant partners could help tackle these issues.
  • Following a request, the Corporate Director advised she would discuss information sharing to help Councillors understand prevalence and specific areas of concern with the Community Safety Partnership and if this information could be shared, she would ensure it was
  • A young person in attendance felt an important message which needed to be conveyed to these young people was that actions do have consequences and if you carry a knife, the police have the power to arrest and charge you
  • Clarification was sought over the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ limits shown on the graphs and it was advised that these were the upper and lower limits for BCP.  It was noted that these were not useful and would be removed.  National and regional comparators were requested as it was felt they would be more informative
  • The Vice Chair advised she had attended a conference on knife crime and gave the title of a useful video on YouTube.


RECOMMENDED that the Committee note the contents of the Report and request an update on the proposals contained within it at an appropriate time.


Update on the development of the BCP Front Door Services following the Peer Review pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To consider a report which sets out the headline development plan for the committee the output of joint work to re design the front door services of the Local Authority, which will make the services more effective and impactful and be a better model for front line staff to work within.


Additional documents:



The Service Director, Children and Young People’s Social Care advised that BCP Council was invited to join the Partners in Practice program funded by the Department for Education (DfE) to support the Council regarding its front door services which included the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).  The review had identified strengths and areas for considered improvement and an action plan had been developed to progress this.


The Report set out the headline development plan of joint work to redesign the front door services in order to make it more efficient and effective.  The timescales for this work had already been highlighted at Agenda Item 7 above.


There was no Committee discussion on this item.


RECOMMENDED that the Report be noted and an update on the delivery of the development plan be provided to the next Meeting.


BCP Corporate Parenting Strategy pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To receive an update on the BCP Corporate Parenting Strategy recently considered by Cabinet.

Additional documents:



The Portfolio Holder for Children and Families advised that this item had been to Cabinet and was on this Agenda for information only.  She was pleased to highlight that as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP), there would be a discount on Council Tax for Care Leavers until the age of 25.


The Corporate Director, Children’s Services concluded that the Strategy detailed BCP Council’s aspirations, principles and provided a foundation for what could be delivered to ensure positive outcomes.


RECOMMENDED that the contents of the Cabinet report be noted.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To consider and amend the Committee’s Forward Plan as appropriate.



A Committee Member requested the addition of an item to scrutinise the in year budget position for Children’s Services.


Dates of Future Meetings

To note the future meeting dates and locations for the Committee as follows:

·       Tuesday 28 January 2020 – HMS Phoebe, Bournemouth Town Hall

·       Tuesday 10 March 2020 – Council Chamber, Christchurch Civic Offices



The dates and venues of the future meetings were noted.