Agenda and minutes

Family Services Select Committee - Thursday, 8th February, 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX

Contact: Luke Curran 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Will Pascall.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Any member of the Council who has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a matter to be considered at the meeting is reminded to disclose the interest to the meeting and to leave the Chamber while any discussion or vote on the matter takes place.

 

Members are also reminded that if they have any other significant interest in a matter to be considered at the meeting, which they feel should be declared in the public interest, such interests should be declared to the meeting. In such circumstances Members should consider whether their continued participation, in the matter relating to the interest, would be reasonable in the circumstances, particularly if the interest may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interests, or whether they should leave the Chamber while any discussion or vote on the matter takes place.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

3.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The minutes of the Meeting held on 7 December 2023 are submitted for confirmation.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2023 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

4.

Bi-Borough School Inclusion Strategy pdf icon PDF 149 KB

This report provides details of the implementation of the Bi-borough School Inclusion Strategy, progress with the recommendations of the FSSC working group report in 2020 into school exclusion and the ongoing development of the alternative provision offer.

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the item and thanked officers for providing the report, but noted the report lacked detail on both the increasing roll, behaviour and resources challenges in schools, and the emerging good practice and forward planning shared between Borough Maintained Schools during 2023.

 

The Committee agreed to request the report be updated and presented for scrutiny at a later date, to be confirmed under agenda item 6, the Work Programme report.

5.

Local Offer for Care Leavers pdf icon PDF 74 KB

This report and attached appendix introduces and outlines information about the services and continued support that is available to care leavers, including information about both their statutory entitlements as well as any discretionary support that is provided, as they transition towards independence.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the item and invited officers to comment on the report. Officers highlighted the local offer for care leavers was a key element of the Council’s corporate parenting responsibilities and was due to be updated during 2024. The Committee was being invited to comment on the existing strategy as part of the process of developing the updated offer.

 

The Chair invited members of the Committee to comment or ask questions on the report. Members of the Committee:

 

  1. Asked how the existing strategy was developed. Officers advised the first version of the strategy was coproduced with young people, with further updates made based on gaps identified during rolling quarterly consultations with Care Leavers.

 

  1. Discussed financial support available to Care Leavers and questioned whether it was sufficient. Officers advised financial support was limited as care leavers over 18 were eligible for benefits, but the Council offered some support for 16-18 year-olds to help support independent living.

 

  1. Critiqued a lack of information on employment and training support within the information booklet. Officers outlined some of the support available, including ringfenced employment and training opportunities within the Council, and wraparound support from social workers, and welcomed the challenge to appropriately highlight that support in the updated offer.

 

  1. Requested further information on the Council’s objective to make care experience a protected characteristic. Officers explained a recent care review had recommended care experience be categorised as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. Whilst not endorsed by the Government, local authorities had implemented the change locally to ensure care leavers were considered more as a priority in the development of Council policies and strategies.

 

  1. Emphasised the importance of wraparound support including integrated health and social care package for the large number of care leavers that came into care as unaccompanied asylum seekers.

 

  1. Challenged the Council to signpost Care Leavers to local organisations in the Voluntary and Community Sector, including faith groups, rather than generic national organisations for additional support. Officers welcomed the feedback and resolved to ensure the signposted support was appropriately balanced in the future.

 

  1. Sought reassurance that appropriate due diligence was undertaken by the Council for all partner organisations. Officers confirmed that the Council would not signpost Care Leavers to any organisations where there were safeguarding concerns, but committed to signposting care leavers to organisations that could provide support on a broad range of issues and allow care leavers to make informed, independent choices as adults.

 

  1. Highlighted a lack of information within the care leavers information booklet on support for young women and girls, and issues such as sexual violence and exploitation.

 

The Chair summarised the discussion, thanked officers and members for their contributions, and requested that the final revised Care Offer be shared with the Committee when it was available.

6.

Work Programme Report pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the item and invited the Committee to discuss the Work Programme.

 

The Committee AGREED that the Bi-Borough School Inclusion Strategy be added to the agenda of the meeting scheduled for 27th June 2024.

 

Cllr David Lindsay provided an update on progress with the Committee’s Working Group on integrated 0-11 provision in the borough, and highlighted that the Working Group was focusing on the transition at around age five and school readiness.