Agenda and draft minutes

People Committee
Thursday, 4th July, 2019 7.00 pm, MOVED

Venue: Civic Offices - St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA. View directions

Contact: Cathy Hayward, Committee Services Officer  Tel.: 020 8770 4990, Email:  committeeservices@sutton.gov.uk

Note: This meeting was moved from the 13 June 2019. 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and introductions

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Marian James, welcomed those present.

2.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Moira Butt and Annie Moral with Councillors Tom Drummond and Barry Lewis attending as substitute members. Apologies were also received from Reverend Kevin Lewis.

3.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Agenda item 6. Update on the High Needs Block Review, Councillor Lily Bande, Non Pecuniary, as a teacher at Eagle House School.

.

 

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 14 March 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting held on 14 March 2019 be agreed as an accurate record.

5.

Report on Petition for an Independent Review of the Sutton EHCP process pdf icon PDF 171 KB

This report is in response to a petition submitted by parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs.  It links that petition to our programme of improvement as a local authority in the context of our ambitious for Sutton commitments to provide high quality services for our children and young people, and the many plans and actors involved in these services.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Marian James, Chair of the committee gave a statement outlining that: the SEND service was an improving service and not a failing service.  To add to the momentum of improvement Officers would be looking directly at the Council’s relationship with the external provider of the service with the Interim Strategic Director of People taking on a Non Executive Director role on the Cognus board along with other Officers of the Council. A review, supported by an independent expert, would focus on the progress of improvement plans, Cognus’ alignment with statutory services and whether the division of responsibilities between the Council and Cognus were the best operating model to deliver education services.

 

Mr Gill presented the petition on behalf of the petitioners. He stated that petitioners felt there had been leadership failures in the local authority and Cognus and he requested an independent review, including all decisions to reject applications for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment between Dec 2017 and March 2019. He raised concerns about the current ECHP processes and scrutiny of Cognus

 

In response to questions from Members Mr Gill added that plans were still being issued without all the information required and that a previously retracted policy document had yet to be replaced.

 

Fiona Phelps, Assistant Director Education and SEND outlined the Officer response to the petition stating: the contract management of Cognus has been strengthened, there were steps in place including review meetings, mediation and the right of appeal when parents and carers were concerned about decisions made. The Sutton Parent Forum and Sutton Information and Advice Support Service were additional support mechanisms available. The planned independent review will strengthen improvement work already being done together with a review of the Council’s relationship with Cognus and whether the current arrangements were the best operating model to deliver education services.

 

In response to questions from members the Assistant Director Education and SEND explained the feedback from the Department for Education and NHS England highlighted a demonstrable improvement and that leaders had shown a clear understanding of both the progress made and the further improvements required. Council Officers could be appointed to the Cognus board and this would ensure that the Council could direct the company in relation to statutory requirements. Officers advised that it was not an issue of volume and cost in reviewing the decisions requested by the petitioners but more the appropriateness considering the statutory time limit for appeal had passed and the relevancy of evidence considered at the time. This was considered in the continuum of SEN support and provisions. The Assistant Director recognised that this was an emotional process and difficult for parents and carers and that the service needed to work with parents and carers focusing on communication and co-production. It was acknowledged that improvements needed to continue and at pace.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That it be noted an independent expert will be appointed to support the Strategic Director of People on leading a review of Cognus activities as set out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Update on the High Needs Block Review pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Sutton is ambitious: it wants all of its residents and visitors to make informed choices about their lives, to stay active, to live well independently and to stay safe.  As part of this ambition, children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Sutton will have the right opportunities to be educated and to thrive in their local area. This means that our collective resources need to be utilised efficiently so that they achieve as much as possible for our community.

Minutes:

Fiona Phelps, Assistant Director Education and SEND introduced the report. A point of order was raised in relation to Article 2 of the Constitution, Decision Making. Members were advised that the report was for information and there was no procedural breach. An additional briefing on the specific findings of the review and the establishment of Sutton Education Partnership would be circulated to all members.

 

In response to questions members were advised that earlier intervention, both before and when at school, was key in supporting children and young people with high needs. The Education Partnership was being developed to support a joint understanding of, and responsibility for, the work required, focusing on the principles of co-production. The consultant headteacher role was predicted to be needed initially for up to 18 months to develop the plan and take forward necessary action. The High Needs Block Review had taken longer than anticipated due to the varied educational landscape in Sutton, the comprehensive level of engagement required to effectively review the use of the High Needs Block, and to bring all partners along in the journey.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the findings of the review and direction of travel as set out in the report be noted and that a further update report be received at the next People Committee in October.

 

Note: in accordance with committee procedure rule 15.4 Councillors Bande, Colburn and Drummond requested that their abstention from the vote be recorded.

 

7.

Update on the SEND Written Statement of Action pdf icon PDF 448 KB

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and / or Disabilities (SEND), and their families, are at the centre of Sutton’s ambition to ensure that its residents can make informed choices about their lives, to stay active, to live well independently and to stay safe.

 

Minutes:

Fiona Phelps, Assistant Director Education and SEND introduced the report.  In response to questions Officers committed to providing a breakdown of SENDIST appeals in terms of how they had been resolved. In terms of the 27 actions identified in the written statement of action it was only the high needs block review which was outstanding as explained in the previous item.

 

Members requested a presentation at the next meeting on the local offer, to which officers agreed to do. The Chair requested that it would be helpful to have the WSOA presented in table form.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the achievements to date be noted and the work that is being undertaken to deliver the Written Statement of Action since its publication on 23 July 2018 and since the last report in March 2019 be endorsed.

 

2.    That progress report / update be received at the next People Committee in October 2019 and in future meetings, to ensure oversight and scrutiny of the completion of the Written Statement of Action.

8.

Children’s Services Performance and Quality Assurance Report pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Sutton is ambitious: it wants all of its residents and visitors to make informed choices about their lives, to stay active, to live well independently and to stay safe. As part of this ambition, Children’s Social Services provides statutory support to children and young people to promote their well being, stay safe and support their developing independence. Whilst there are a range of facets that are critical to this ambition including efficient use of resources, it is necessary that there is a ‘performance indicator set’ by which to assess Children’s Social Services response to the needs of children and young people in Sutton.

 

See supplement for appendix A

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jonathan Williams, Assistant Director Children’s Services, introduced the report. Members discussed with Officers, the rate of children subject to Child Protection Section 47 investigations, child protection plan rate, whether there were any specific causes for reviews of child protection cases being rescheduled for key professionals to attend and the looked after children rate.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the information contained in the report and Appendix A be noted in order to inform and improve performance and practice.

9.

Sutton Local Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements pdf icon PDF 209 KB

The reports considers the Sutton Local Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements that have been agreed by the three statutory partners (Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Group, Police) as required under statutory Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 guidance. The arrangements will be reviewed by the Partnership at the end of business year 2019- 2020, and thereafter at a minimum of every three years. Any additional or amended statutory guidance will be responded to at the time of publication.

.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Emma Cockerell Head of Commissioning, Quality and Practice introduced the report. In response to questions Officers advised that member training on corporate parenting was planned for January.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the responsibility for the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements rests with the three safeguarding partners (Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Group, Police) who have a shared and equal duty under Working Together 2018 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the local area, be noted

 

2.    That the overview of changes in statutory responsibilities under Working Together 2018 guidance in the attached Local Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements be noted.

 

3.    That the new local child safeguarding partnership governance and organisational structure for the London Borough of Sutton to implement the local arrangements be noted.

 

4.    That it be noted the Sutton Local Safeguarding Children Board ceased to exist when the new Sutton Local Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements came into effect on 1 July 2019. Under the new arrangements, there is still a Board that has representation from the three statutory partners with education providers as the fourth partner, and relevant agencies as set out in Appendix A, (Sutton Local Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements under Working Together 2018).

10.

The Sutton Safeguarding Adults Peer Review 2019 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

This report on adult safeguarding focuses on the outcome of the adult safeguarding peer review which took place between 20 and 22 February 2019 and the actions taken in response to its suggestions and recommendations.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Luke Addams, Interim Assistant Director Adult Social Services introduced the report. It was noted that the Peer Review was positive and areas of development as set out by review team had in the main already been identified by the Board. The Chair wished to thank Patrick Hopkinson for all his work on the Review.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    To note the findings of the adult safeguarding peer review.

 

2.    To endorse the recommendations / actions that will be taken forward through delivery plans.

11.

Any urgent business

To consider any items which, in the view of the Chair, should be dealt with as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances (in accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972).

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.