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To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2018 as an accurate record.
The minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2018 were agreed as an accurate record.
Disclosure of Interests
In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.
There were none.
Urgent Business (if any)
To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no items of urgent business.
To update the Committee on the Improvement Plan
The Executive Director of People and the Interim Director of Early Help and Children’s Social care were in attendance to provide an update on the progress of the Children’s Improvement Plan.
The Committee were provided with an update on ongoing activities since the last meeting, including partnership monitoring meetings with the Police and NHS, where discussions had taken place to assess the direction and pace of travel. There had also been also been mandatory training for managers and social workers on the Strengthening Families model that was due to be adopted across the whole service from April 2018. Good feedback on the training was received by those that had attended.
The Committee further learned that a detailed review of the Early Help service had taken place and they were currently working on developing the Early Help strategy with a view to implementing it later in the year. Officers had also explored the proportion of social worker tasks that could be undertaken by the early help team.
As part of the Quality Assurance framework, quarterly spotlight meetings had taken place with unit managers to ensure accountability was maintained and challenges were understood, in order to be clear on what was happening across frontline services. Important work around contextual safeguarding and how better multiagency partnerships could work to keep children safe was also ongoing.
The recording systems in the department were now aligned to the new model of working. Additionally, the Children’s services budget had been increased with £10.9m invested and agreed as the base budget for 2018/19.
The department continued to face many challenges, with high demand for assessment and pressures from high caseloads remaining prevalent. The service had also experience a considerable increase in complex needs cases. Caseload in the assessment team remained high with better stability seen in caseloads in care planning teams.
The Multi Agency Support Hub (MASH) team became the single point of contact as of 5 March 2018 and Ofsted acknowledged that this was the stronger part of the service. Early Help staff were being deployed to assist with some of the administrative tasks where possible.
There had been notable improvements in fostering reviews and pathway plans for care leavers had been consistently completed on time. There had also been improvements in the management of casework and outcomes for care leavers were satisfactory.
In recruitment and retention, 41% of the workforce were agency staff, however there had been a rise in social worker conversions to permanent contracts due to the effects of stability in leadership. A payments total rewards scheme was due to be launched in April 2018 to attract permanent staff which included a career development scheme. A recruitment package was in the process of being finalised to make Croydon financially attractive to prospective employees.
A Member questioned what short term measures were being put in place to support social workers and their caseloads whilst longer term solutions were being sought? Officers advised that this remained a key challenge and that the average caseload was ... view the full minutes text for item 12/18
Question time for the Cabinet Member for Communities, Safety and Justice, Councillor Hamida Ali.
Councillor Hamida Ali, Cabinet Member for Communities, Safety and Justice was in attendance to give a presentation on key areas of her portfolio.
To assist in improving Community Safety the Council had secured Section 106 funding to upgrade the boroughs CCTV systems. Tighter controls on drinking zones had been established and the Domestic Violence Strategy had also been upgraded.
In tackling youth crime there was a focus on addressing key issues including further community engagement, which was seen as the key to tackling issues. Other work streams included working with schools, continued multi agency working and working to secure more funding and resources for the borough.
A report has been considered at 19 March Cabinet meeting to detail how funds had been spent. Despite challenges, voluntary agencies had been able to deliver on services. The Cabinet Member expressed her pride on the achievements of the smaller voluntary agencies, the work they had completed and the services they had been able to deliver within the budget awarded.
Local Strategic Partnership
The LSP would be focusing exclusively on young people, the services that were being offered and their safety in the borough.
The department had continued to deliver high standards of service. In particular the work relating to Universal Credit and working closely with the community and partners to deliver preventative strategies.
Membership for Croydon Plus had increased by almost 50% and the Credit Union was now back in credit, with reserves up from £6k in 2015 to now approximately £112k.
In response to a Member’s question on what targets had been set to reduce serious violence and knife crime, the Cabinet Member responded that tackling these issues remained a high priority. The Mayor and Police Crime Plan detailed clear objectives which were a shift from the previous approach. There were planned reviews of the Safer Croydon Partnership to ensure that the infrastructure in place could adequately support action plans. In measuring progress, the Metropolitan Police had been given a clear performance data pack to ensure that they detailed all the work that had been completed and forensic data to be tracked.
Members expressed concern about the rise in violent crime and queried what analysis had been undertaken. The Committee were advised that large scale analysis of violent crime in the borough had been completed and the findings would be reported to a future Committee meeting. Clear patterns had been identified, with a prevalence noted in some geographical areas. There had been a substantial increase across the country in the last few years, with the London Assembly having recently completed a study which highlighted that although serious youth violence was on the increase, the majority was not necessarily connected to gang activity.
The Deputy Cabinet Member stated that officers had been working jointly with partners to come up with solutions through investigations and deep dives into specifics trends around incidences. The key priority of future campaigns was to tackle the issues surrounding ... view the full minutes text for item 13/18
To note the Work Programme for the 2017/2018 municipal year.
The Members agreed for the meeting on 17 April to be cancelled.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”
This was not required