Agenda and minutes


No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Brian Mansbridge.


Declarations of Interest (including whipping declarations)

Members of this Committee are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct.   In addition, Members must declare any prohibited party whip which the Member has been given in relation to the meeting as per the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011. 




a.    Members are reminded that they must identify the item number and subject matter that their interest relates to and signify the nature of the personal interest; and


b.    Where Members withdraw from a meeting as a consequence of the disclosure of a prejudicial interest they must notify the Chair when they leave.



No Declarations of Interest were made


Looked After Child Prevention Strategy pdf icon PDF 186 KB

See attached report


Councillor Linda Matthews introduced the report and highlighted that the Authority had already achieved the target set for 2018 by reducing the number of the looked after population to 138 and that a more ambitious target will now be set by the department.


The following questions were raised by the committee and were responded to in detail by the appropriate officer.


·         In relation to the budget cuts are we able to provide the same service in relation looked after children


·         Has the quality of living improved in the home environment thus reducing the number of looked after children


·         There is a mention that preparations are in place for an Information, Advice and Assistance Service, how will this work


·         In the last meeting relating to Looked After Children you mentioned you are considering allowing other authorities to make use of our surplus fosters carers. How does that link in with your comments that you now need to assess and approve more Merthyr Tydfil foster carers.


·         At the last meeting you mentioned high caseloads with Social Workers under strain as workloads increase, while local authority funding cuts continue to bite. How are this Authority’s social workers coping at the moment and are their caseloads under control


·         The report states that you were unable to place all children who have become looked after recently, with Merthyr Tydfil foster carers. What is the position with the numbers of Merthyr Tydfil foster carers


·         How closely does children services work with family officers and the schools within the Authority


The Chair thanked Annabel Lloyd for he attendance at the meeting. 


Resolved that:


Scrutiny Committee Members receive the report and raise questions and challenges that will support effective delivery and improvement in this area of work.



Fostering Service - Social Services response to CSSIW report pdf icon PDF 166 KB

See attached report

Additional documents:


Councillor Linda Matthew introduced the item to the Committee and gave a brief outlined of what was contained within the report.


The following questions were raised by the committee and responded to in detail by the appropriate officers.


·         There were 8 areas identified as having improved since the last inspection, can you assure this committee that where necessary these improvements are sustainable, bearing in mind the budget restraints we face


·         The report says that this inspection was a focused inspection. When is the next baseline inspection due and was the inspection carried out in response to concerns or was it merely routine


·         This is a positive inspection outcome, are you confident that you now have a stable workforce and appropriate budget to maintain the level of service that is currently being provided. Are there any concerns you wish to raise with the committee


·         Is it correct that there is a new policy being implemented that will allow young people at the age of 18 to remain with their foster parents


·         In relation to the three recommendations listed in the report, can you provide the committee with timescales of when they will be completed


·         In relation to the sustainability issues mentioned can you provide an update in relation to the 1st sector


The Chair thanked the officers for their attendance.


Resolved that:


The Scrutiny committee considers the report and raises questions and challenges that will improve practice and outcomes.



Looked After Children Strategy Implementation

See attached report


As agreed by the Chair this item was considered under Item 3.


Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

To receive updates as required.



An update was provided by Lisa Curtis Jones in relation to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.



Scrutiny Referrals, Feedback and Follow up Actions

To receive any referrals from the other Scrutiny Committees and Audit Committee; an update from the Chair on their attendance at the Service Performance Challenge Meetings and to consider any follow up actions from the previous Meeting(s).


The Chair advised that there were no referrals, feedback and follow up actions.



Reflection and Evaluation of Meeting

To receive an update from the Chair.


The Chair and the Committee reflected in detail on the issues that had been considered at the meeting.



Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To receive updates as appropriate.


Additional documents:


Howard Jones discussed the forward work programme and explained that the committee had come to the end of the current work programme and that there were a number of reports that need to be carried forward into the new work programme.


Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair


The Chair advised that there was no other business deemed urgent and closed the meeting.



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