Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 64.


There were no apologies for absence received.



Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda.


There were no declarations of interests.


Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.


There were no deputations received.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.



RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 19 September 2017, be approved as an accurate record of the meeting, subject to the following change:


·         Agenda Item 9, page 7 - the word ‘of’ be deleted from the phrase ‘a large of number of reports’.


Matters arising (if any)


A Member of the Committee commented that it would be helpful recommendations made by the Committee to specify the body they had been directed to and provide a timeframe for feedback. Pascoe Sawyers (the Council’s Head of Strategy and Partnerships) said that the request had been noted and action would be taken to ensure that relevant organisations were made aware of recommendations.



Local Area Inspection of SEND pdf icon PDF 255 KB

The Committee is asked to consider the Written Statement of Action, Written Statement of Action Monitoring Dashboard and progress following the local area SEND inspection in May 2017. 

Additional documents:


Gail Tolley (the Council’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People) introduced the paper which had been developed jointly with the Brent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The Committee heard that, in May 2017, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had conducted a joint inspection of Brent to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing the improvements within the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. Ms Tolley said that the inspection report had been complimentary of the strategic leadership at the Local Authority and the relationship between the Local Authority and schools in the area, which demonstrated the strong link between education and care outcomes. However, there were some areas where the inspection team felt there had been reasons for concern (page 12 to the Agenda pack). These had included concerns about a lack of strategic leadership within the CCG related to implementation of the SEND reforms and the fragmented approach to joint commissioning leading to gaps in services and separated commissioned services being delivered by the same provider. Having been invited to comment, Sheik Auladin (Interim Chief Operating Officer at Brent CCG) advised that deficits identified by the inspection were being addressed and approximately £1.2 million would be invested in integrating services and joint commissioning, with outcomes expected in a short period of time. In relation to a question about improvement of frontline services, Sarah Basham (Vice-Chair of the Children’s Trust and Co-Clinical Director at Brent CCG) said that therapists would be supported by the Designated Clinical Officer and the Council for Disabled Children to provide information in a format that would be compatible with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.


Ms Tolley added that an action plan, formally identified as a Written Statement of Action, had been agreed and it had been approved by Ofsted without comment. She informed the Committee that the monitoring dashboard had been updated, with the most recent version dated 3 November 2017. Furthermore, Sheik Auladin pointed out that ways to integrate health and Local Authority commissioning had been examined and work had begun on all actions included in the Written Statement of Action. The Committee heard that a further priority for the CCG would be to make joint commissioning arrangements work to address the issue of fragmented commissioning. 


A Member of the Committee and an appointed observer raised the issue of SEND provision in academies, given the difference in funding and terms of reference for admission. Ms Tolley assured the Committee that the inspection team had visited both maintained schools and academies and they had not pointed out any differences in terms of experience and outcomes for children based on the type of school. She explained that there were two academies and two maintained special schools in Brent, with the majority of young people with additional needs educated in mainstream schools. Ms Tolley said that one of the areas where improvements could be made was the provision of school support for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Effectiveness of Existing Support Arrangements for Care Leavers and Implications of Recent Legislative Changes pdf icon PDF 450 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide information to the Scrutiny Committee about the effectiveness of current services for care leavers and the implications of recent legislative changes introduced by the Children and Social Work Act.


Additional documents:


Councillor Mili Patel (Lead Member for Children and Young People) and Nigel Chapman (the Council’s Operational Director for Integration and Improved Outcomes) introduced the paper which informed the Committee about the effectiveness of current services for care leavers and the implications of recent legislative changes introduced by the Children and Social Work Act in April 2017. Mr Chapman explained that one of the key changes was that the duty and responsibility to all care leavers was extended to the age of 25, regardless of their education and employment status. He directed the Committee’s attention to section four of the report (page 35 to the Agenda pack) which provided information on the most recent Ofsted inspection that took place in September 2015. In response to the finding that the quality of support for care leavers required improvement, a specialist Leaving Care Team had been created, the number of Personal Advisers (PAs) had been increased and experienced managers had been recruited to support PAs. Nevertheless, the number of young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) remained a concern – although the proportion of care leavers in education, employment or training was above the national average (51% compared to 49%), it remained below the Borough’s statistical neighbours (56%) (paragraphs 4.2 to 4.8 on pages 36 and 37 to the Agenda pack). Onder Beter (the Council’s Head of Looked After Children and Permanency) said that the despite the fact that 45 young people were in higher education, the number of care leavers in vocational training (apprenticeships) had to be improved – currently, three care leavers were in an apprenticeship, 12 awaited next month’s allocation and eight had been supported into employment through the NEET panel, which would bring Brent to the national average.


A Member of the Committee asked how effective services for care leavers were and whether Brent Council followed the principles of corporate parenting. Mr Chapman said that this enquiry fell into the remit of the Corporate Parenting Committee and highlighted that key accomplishments had been the reduction of the ratio of cases to PAs, the increase in the number of young people accessing apprenticeships, and the provision of permanent accommodation to care leavers. Moreover, each care leaver had a pathway that addressed certain areas for support and guidance and  over 90% of pathways were being completed on time.


In relation to PAs’ workload, Mr Beter said that following the legislative changes, the Local Authority could support approximately 500 young people although the level of support could vary as often care leavers did not all want or need the same level of guidance. Nevertheless, support remained available, if required, and very experienced managers and PAs had been appointed to deliver services under the new arrangements. As far as contact with care leavers was concerned, Mr Beter said that the Local Authority was measured on the number of people it kept in touch with and it was a requirement to maintain contact with care leavers who had to be able to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Update on scrutiny work programme (If any) pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To update Members on the Committee’s Work Programme for 2017/18 and captures scrutiny activity which has taken place outside of its meetings.


James Diamond (the Council’s Scrutiny Officer) reminded Members that there would be a special meeting of the Committee on 6 December 2017 to consider a paper by the Brent Clinical Commissioning Group on access to General Practices in the Borough.





(i)    The contents of the Update on the Committee’s Work Programme 2017-18 report, be noted;


(ii)  The special meeting on 6 December would start at 6:30 pm;


(iii)The report on access to GP services by a former Task and Finish Group be made available before the meeting to Members; and


(iv)A member of the Council’s Planning service attend the meeting to assist Members with the discussion.



Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.