Agenda and minutes

Venue: Online Meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Richard Woodford - Committee Services Email:  (richard.woodford@reading.gov.uk)  0118 937 2332

Link: Link to observe meeting

Media

Items
No. Item

23.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

24.

Questions from Members of the Public and Councillors pdf icon PDF 499 KB

Questions submitted pursuant to Standing Order 36 in relation to matters falling within the Committee’s Powers & Duties which have been submitted in writing and received by the Head of Legal & Democratic Services no later than four clear working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

Questions on the following matters were submitted:

 

Questioner

Subject

Reply

Rob Bishop

Pupil Product Ratio

Councillor Pearce

Rob Bishop

Primary School Places

Councillor Pearce

Rob Bishop

Emmer Green Primary School

Councillor Pearce

(The full text of the questions and replies was made available on the Reading Borough Council website).

 

25.

Growing up in Reading pdf icon PDF 2 MB

A report by Reading Voluntary Action’s Youth Social Action Team and the University of Reading Participation Lab.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rachel Spencer, Chief Executive, Reading Voluntary Action (RVA), Sam Lloyd, Project Manager, Starting Point, and Carly Newman, Operations Manager at No5, gave a series of presentations on Growing up in Reading.  A copy of the RVA report on Growing Up in Reading and a copy of the No5 report on The Impact of Covid-19 had been included in the papers for the meeting.

Rachel Spencer told the Committee that the research for the report had taken place between November 2019 and February 2020, finishing just before the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown, and had been shaped and carried out by a Youth Social Action Team, supported by RVA and the University of Reading Participation Lab.  There had been 12 RVA Youth Leaders, 608 questionnaires had been completed, 13 schools and colleges had taken part and eight locations had been used for focus groups with 94 young people.  The age range of the young people had been between 11 and 18 and 41% of them had self-described as being from BAME heritage.  The key issues that had emerged from the research were as follows:

·         Being and feeling safe;

·         Mental Health and Wellbeing, especially tackling loneliness;

·         Creating a sense of community;

·         Widen the diversity of activities and opportunities available for young people.

Sam Lloyd began his presentation by explaining Starting Point’s approach and the three mentoring programmes they offered which aimed to create opportunities for young people who faced disadvantage and help them overcome any barriers.  There was also a young person led production company, Action Media, that made documentaries about young people.  During 2020 Starting Point had supported 125 young people, of which 58% had mental health struggles, 34.5% had learning difficulties/disabilities, 58% had low/no qualifications and 10% had a criminal record.  In the first 3 months of 2021 they had mentored 116 young people and had seen a 300% increase in referrals since before the first lockdown.  With regard to need, young people said that little had changed since lockdown as they had stayed at home doing nothing before and were doing the same in lockdown, They were also anxious about going out and talking to people and worried about knives and not being safe and some young people said that gaming was the only time they talked to people.  A lack of support for parents had been highlighted and there was no where for young people to go where they felt safe or where they could talk to peers, there was also a lack of belief and aspiration.  Looking at the solution, there were three key areas as follows:

·         Long-Term Relationship – Someone who would listen, won’t judge and believed in the young person;

·         Journeying, not just signposting;

·         Ownership and Empowerment to Shape Provision.

The Committee then heard from Ryan, a young person who was a mentor for Starting Point and who had been mentored by them in the past.  Ryan said that having just left university he was struggling to find direction in terms of his  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Childcare sufficiency assessment 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 152 KB

The annual assessment of the provision of quality, accessible and affordable childcare provision for under 5s.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC), submitted a report sharing the 2020/21 Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA).  A copy of the BFfC Reading Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2020/21 was appended to the report.

The report explained that under Section 6 of The Childcare Act 2006 there was a requirement on local authorities to produce an annual sufficiency assessment on the availability and sufficiency of childcare in their area.  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector had created challenges in producing meaningful data and analysis of the childcare market in the Borough.  However, the CSA did provide an indication of trends or areas for further investigation and action, and the tools used in the production of the assessment enabled ongoing analysis and monitoring of the childcare data for future planning.

The main findings were as follows:

·         There were no sufficiency issues related to quality of childcare provision, as 97% of providers in the Borough had been judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted at their most recent inspection (Ofsted inspection of Early Years provision had been suspended throughout lockdown);

·         There were currently sufficient childcare places for 0 to 4 year olds, including funded early education entitlement places for two, three and four year olds, albeit that some might not be in the area preferred;

·         The town centre and Whitely had been identified as areas to monitor regarding future growth where the number of families was anticipated to increase over the next few years in line with housing development; sessional care in Whitley was particularly low;

·         Parents had a varied choice of childcare providers in most areas of the Borough.

In response to a question about the impact of the pandemic on nurseries and the support being offered, Corinne Dishington – Service Manager 0 to 5’s, BfFC, explained that the Council had had various schemes over the previous year that had been open for nurseries to apply for which had included holidays on business rates and grants that could be applied for.  The entitlement funding from the DfE had been paid for the summer and autumn terms and providers had been funded to at least their Autumn 2019 funded places, so if they had fewer children than they had in autumn 2019 they had been funded to that level.  From January 2021 for the spring term the funding had been based on actual numbers however, the government had committed to top-up, if the uptake of places increased through the term, to 85%.  The resilience of the sector was good, although it was fairly fragile.  Entitlement funding would be increased from 1 April 2021 by 6p per hour for three and four year olds and by 8p per hour for two year old places.  In addition, the government had published a policy paper, “The Best Start for Life: A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days”, which had been developed as part of the Early Years healthy development  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

One Reading Children's and Young People's Partnership: Early Help Strategy pdf icon PDF 222 KB

A report sharing the draft One Reading Children and Young People’s Partnership Early Help Strategy 2021-2023 and providing an opportunity for comment prior to finalisation of the Strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, BFfC, submitted a report sharing the draft One Reading Children and Young People’s Partnership Early Help Strategy 2021-2023.  A copy of the draft BFfC One Reading Early Help Partnership Strategy 2021/23 was appended to the report.  The Committee was invited to comment on the Strategy prior to its finalisation.Anna Batty, Strategic Lead for Partnership and Prevention, BFfC, and Kirsten Carr, Strategic Lead, Early Help, BFfC, attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the Strategy.

The report explained that the One Reading CYP Partnership had been formed in 2019 with a vision for all sectors working together towards a shared goal of improving life quality for children, young people and families, underpinned by a shared accountability for early intervention and prevention.  A key role for its Board was to oversee the implementation and review of the Partnership Early Help Strategy.  The aims were to:

·         Improve outcomes for children, young people and families;

·         Reduce demand on high cost services;

·         Build resilient communities and a thriving voluntary sector.

Local data and collective understanding of the current and emerging needs had informed priority areas, these were as follows:

·         Children under 5 years old;

·         Young people – adolescent risk;

·         Consistent approaches to emotional wellbeing and mental health.

The report explained that the One Reading Partnership Consensus outlined a set of agreed principles and shared commitment to a trauma-informed approach underpinning the work of the partnership.  Established workstreams would deliver plans to improve outcomes for each priority areas knowledge, integrated working and workforce development.  Impact would be measured through agreed performance indicators that would be linked to each priority area.  The Strategy interlinked with Strategies across the Borough and wider geographical footprints and the Board would ensure that its plans aligned where needed.

The Committee discussed the report and it was agreed that a progress report should be submitted to the October meeting.

Resolved –

(1)     That the One Reading Children and Young People’s Partnership Early Help Strategy be noted and endorsed;

(2)     That a progress report be submitted to the meeting on 20 October 2021.

 

28.

Ofsted Inspection Report of the Fostering Service pdf icon PDF 139 KB

A copy of Ofsted Inspection Report of the Fostering Service.

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, BfFC, submitted a copy of the Ofsted Inspection Report of the Fostering Service.

The inspection had taken place on 24 and 25 November 2020 and had been a virtual visit but, had been just as robust as an in-person inspection with 247 documents having been uploaded and shared with the inspectors over the two day period.  The inspectors evaluated the extent to which:

·         Children were well cared for;

·         Children were safe;

·         Leaders and managers were exercising strong leadership.

The inspectors had not identified any serious or widespread concerns in relation to the care or protection of children at the visit. 

The inspection found that children had been well supported by their carers through the pandemic and Foster Carers had helped children to understand and make sense of the world around them.  However, the information evidencing the care of children was not well reflected in written records or care reviews.  Foster Carers supported children to maintain relationships with their family and friends and there was good consideration or individual needs and wishes to ensure that time spent with family was child centred.  For some children there had been a negative impact on their well being and development where specialist therapies and support had been paused or delayed during the lockdown period.  Matching processes had improved through the development of more effective systems and better consideration of children’s needs.  However, there continued to be a high number of placement breakdowns.  While gaps in service provision to address children’s needs were identified, individual plans did not always thoroughly consider how to address these, particularly diversity issues.  Staff had carried out a review of children’s plans and had identified key contributing factors, although they had yet to implement effective strategies to improve placement stability and reduce placement breakdowns.  The newly developed Foster Carer profiles were child centred, helpful and informative and children could meet their carers before moving into the home, which helped them to settle in with their new foster families.

The report stated that children felt safe and secure while living with their Foster Carers and had a trusted adult they could confide in and seek help and advice from.  Foster Carers and staff also had a good understanding of risk and staff reported and responded promptly to safeguarding concerns.  Established systems were in place to ensure effective tracking and oversight of concerns, accidents and allegations but, identified actions were no consistently completed and Ofsted was not always informed of allegations that had been made against staff.  Some risks that had been identified within the matching processes and safer care plans were not thoroughly explored and not all risks that were identified included detailed or clear practical strategies, advice and guidance to support Foster Carers to be consistent in their response and management of risk.  Social workers and Foster Carers regularly discussed and explored risk and considered how to respond, but this was not consistently evidenced in plans.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Adult Social Care Performance Report March 2021 pdf icon PDF 243 KB

A report outlining the key areas of performance of Adult Social Care during 2019-2020 which is based on performance against the national Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework dataset which is monitored annually.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Social Care and Health submitted a report outlining the key areas of performance of Adult Social Care during 2019-2020 which was based on performance against the national Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) dataset which is monitored annually.  An overview of performance for Adult Social Care against all ASCOF measures in 2019-2020, as well as an update on current performance, was attached to the report at Appendix 1, an Action Plan addressing the areas for development for two key performance targets was attached at Appendix 2 and a visual representing a snapshot of Adult Social Care Performance was attached to the report at Appendix 3.  Melissa Wise, Assistant Director of Commissioning, Transformation and Performance, attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the performance report.

The report stated that key highlights included the Borough’s high performance compared to other local authorities with regard to the number of older people newly admitted to Residential and Nursing Care homes and the number of people with Learning Disabilities living in their home or with their family.  Reading performed less well in the measure of the number of people aged 18 to 64 who had been newly admitted to Residential and Nursing Care homes and the number of people using Direct Payment to pay for their care and support.

The report detailed two areas that had been selected where performance had been good in 2019-20 and a further two areas where there was a need to focus on improvements, as follows:

·         Long Terms Needs of Older Adults (aged over 65) met by Admission to Residential and Nursing Care Homes – Following a continued focus on supporting people to be independent in their own homes in-line with the Council’s ‘home first’ approach, Adult Social Care had continued to ensure that the number of older people (aged over 65) who had been placed in residential and nursing care homes in the previous year was reduced.  This strong performance had continued into the current year and the service now had the second lowest rate of new admissions to residential and nursing homes in the south east.

·         The proportion of Adults with a Learning Disability who live in their own Home or with Family – The service continued to work with people with a Learning Disability to ensure they were living in settled accommodation, ensuring that as far as possible people lived in their own home or with their family.

·         Long Term needs of Younger Adults (aged 18 to 64) met by Admission to Residential and Nursing Care Homes – Despite concentrated focus on keeping people in their own homes, there had been a very slight increase in the number of younger people who had been placed in residential and nursing care homes in the previous year.  This had been due to a lack of alternative options available to meet the needs of younger people and equated to 15 people a year in total.  Work on producing an Accommodation Strategy for vulnerable adults would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Shared Lives Expansion Update pdf icon PDF 287 KB

A report providing an update on the expansion of the Shared Lives scheme to support older people, including marketing plan and vision.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, Brighter Futures for Children, submitted a report providing the Committee with an update on the expansion of the Shared Lives scheme to support older people, including marketing plan and vision.  A copy of the Shared Lives Plan 2021 – 2024 was appended to the report.

The report explained that Shared Lives was a national scheme that had been created as an alternative to care homes or short by frequent care visits.  The scheme matched someone who needed care with an approved Shared Lives carer.  The carer was paid to open up their home, shared their family and community life and gave care and support to the person with care needs.  In Reading the scheme currently primarily supported those with Learning Disabilities but it was planned to expand support to older people also, either through full-time, day support, or respite placements.  The report explained the reasons for expanding the scheme to support older people, primarily as cost avoidance and to provide a preferable service to members of the public other than traditional alternatives.  The expansion required recruitment of extra carers to provide this care; a recruitment and marketing campaign had been carried out in July 2019 which had included marketing on social media, in print and on both the radio and television news.  The most significant marketing exercise had been advertisements that had been placed on the backs of Reading Buses.  The expansion aligned with the strategic direction of travel outlined in the Adult Social Care Transformation Strategy, to provide sustainable forms of care to benefit residents of the Borough.

Resolved –    That the Shared Lives Plan and continued planned expansion of the Shared Lives scheme to support Older People be noted.

31.

Brighter Futures for Children: Customer Services Annual Report 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 188 KB

A report providing an overview of complaints activity and performance for Children’s Services for the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, BFfC, submitted a report providing the Committee with an overview of complaints activity and performance for Children’s Services for the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.  A copy of the BFfC Customer Services Annual Report 2019-20 was appended to the report.

The report stated that during the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, the service had received 92 statutory complaints, which was a decrease of 4 (4.17%) compared to the 96 that had been received in 2018/19.  In the same period, 74 compliments had been received an increase of 51 compared to the previous year when 23 had been received.  Of the 92 complaints that had been received, 16 had been resolved through alternative dispute resolution by the social care teams and the remaining 76 had been progressed to a formal investigation, although nine of these had subsequently been withdrawn by the complainant once the investigation had commenced.

During the period, nine complaints had progressed to Stage 2 investigation and a further two had progressed to a Stage 3 investigation, although these had not all been progressions of Stage 1 complaints that had been received in the same period, as some had related to Stage 1 and 2 investigations that had been carried out in 2018/19.

The report explained that the Customer Relations Team had continued to raise awareness of the complaints process and in line with recommendations from Ofsted had worked with operational teams to encourage children and young people to submit complaints where they were dissatisfied with the service they had received.  The Council and BFfC had worked closely to drive improvement in the service for children.

The report included the intended actions for further improvement which were as follows:

·         The Council’s Customer Relations Team and BFfC would conduct a review of complaints, with specific emphasis on identifying learning points;

·         Learnings points would be more widely shared with BFfC staff through a dedicated section of BFfC’s intranet knowledge hub;

·         Complaints training for BFfC team and assistant manager would become mandatory;

·         An improved BFfC process for capturing learning from complaints would be mapped and embedded, so learning was more visible in future annual reports;

·         There would be improved Customer Relation Team recording, and BFfC oversight, of complaints which were reported to the Ombudsman and visible learning from outcomes would be reported in quarterly internal reports and externally in the annual report;

·         There would be greater oversight of Subject Access Requests (SARs) completed by the Customer Relations Team on behalf of BFfC, with more frequent reporting by the Team on open SARs status so that any issues with completing these within timescale were addressed at an earlier stage.

The Committee discussed the report and in answer to questions raised, Deborah Glassbrook, Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, BFfC, explained that a resource on learning from complaints was imbedded in BFfC quality assurance activities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Annual Complaints and Compliments Report 2019 - 2020 for Adult Social Care pdf icon PDF 284 KB

A report providing an overview of complaints and compliments activity and performance for Adult Social Care for the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Social Care and Health submitted a report providing the Committee with an overview of complaints and compliments activity and performance for Adult Social Care for the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.  A summary of Adult Social Care Complaints and Compliments 2019/20 was attached to the report at Appendix A.

The report stated that over the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 the service had received 13 corporate complaints, which was a 44.4% increase compared to the nine that had been received in 2018/19, and 84 statutory complaints, which was a 16.7% increase compared to the 72 that had been received in 2018/19.  During the same period a total of 28 compliments had also been received.

The main themes for the period 2019/20 for both corporate and statutory complaints were as follows:

·         Quality of service which had been provided;

·         Financial issues;

·         Staff conduct;

·         Communication.

Seona Douglas, Executive Director of Social Care and Health, told the Committee that learning events had been set up, to which over 100 staff had attended, to look at complaints and the main themes associated with the complaints and as a result the standard of complaint responses had improved.  The aim was for these events to be held annually.  Officers were also written to and thanked when compliments were received.

Resolved –    That the report be noted.

33.

Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 247 KB

A report recommending to Council the establishment of a Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System to consider any substantial development or variation in the provision of health services across the footprint of this area.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director of Social Care and Health and the Monitoring Officer submitted a report recommending to Council the establishment of a Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) Integrated Care System (ICS) to consider any substantial development or variation in the provision of health services across the footprint area.  A copy of the draft terms of reference for the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee was attached to the report at Appendix A.

The report explained that since the creation of the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Sustainability Transformation Plan in 2015, the health scrutiny leads from across the footprint had met, informally and on an ad hoc basis, with key health partners.  These meetings had been hosted by each authority with the last one having taken place in Buckinghamshire on 15 November 2019.  At that meeting, councillor health scrutiny leads (or representatives) and health scrutiny officers form across the footprint had heard from a number of BOB ICS Leads about the planned activity that was been carried out by the ICS.  It was at this meeting that the proposal to set up a joint health scrutiny committee had first been raised.  Health Services were required to consult a local authority’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee about any proposals they had for a substantial development or variation in the provision of health services in their area.  When these substantial developments or variations affected a geographical area that covered more than one authority, the local authorities were required to appoint a Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) for the purposes of the consultation.  The advice that had been received from the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) was that it endorsed the need for a joint health scrutiny committee and saw it as a key component of the work of the ICS.

The Council had adopted a Committee system of governance in May 2013 in place of the executive arrangements that had operated since May 2001.  Under the committee system the Council had chosen not to set up any scrutiny and overview Committees.  The statutory scrutiny responsibilities had been embedded in the terms of reference of the standing committees and the Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education Committee had Health scrutiny within its remit.

The Kings Fund had published a report in April 2020 “Integrated Care Systems explained: making sense of systems, places and neighbourhoods” which said that NHS England and NHS Improvement had adopted the terminology used in some systems to describe a three tiered model, System, Place and Neighbourhood:

System – Typically covering a population or 1-3 million people with key functions including setting and leading overall strategy, managing collective resources and performance, identifying and sharing best practice to reduce unwarranted variations in care, and leading changes that benefit from working at a larger scale such as digital, estates and workforce transformation.

Place – A town or district within an ICS, typically covering a population of 250-500,000.  This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Retiring Councillors

Minutes:

As this was the last meeting of the Committee prior to the local elections on 6 May 2021, the Chair and members of the Committee thanked Councillors Grashoff, Jones and McKenna who would not be standing for re-election.

 

(The meeting commenced at 6.30 pm and stopped at 7.13 pm due to a technical issue, it recommenced at 7.32pm and closed at 9.23pm).