To consider report of the Chief Officer Social Services
The Chair advised that Item 5 would be heard first.
Annabel Lloyd introduced the item to the committee and explained that it is the first report of its type and highlighted the main points within the report and provided analysis of the data contained within the trend tables.
The following questions were raised by the committee and responded to in detail by the officer.
· Table two contained within the report shows that a greater number of children are placed out of county as at quarter 2 end 30/09/18 can you provide an explanation for this
· How do our figures compare with other local authorities in relation to the number of children being sent out of count
· Can you provide an explanation in relation to the figures involving agencies in table 5.8 on page 32
· Can you confirm that the figure of 100% in relation to the percentage of care leavers who are in education, employment or training 24 months after leaving care is correct
Councillor Rogers congratulated the officers on achieving this figure and their excellent work in relation to Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) care leavers.
· The report states that you have seen a 30% increase in care proceedings, can you confirm if the threshold where you would take proceedings has been lowered
· What are the actual figures that make up the 30% increase
· Table 1 (5.5) shows an increase in the number of looked after children up to December 2018, how much further do you expect these figures to rise
· Table 1 (5.5) shows a significant rise from 2016 to 2018, what do you feel is the biggest cause of this rise
· Are these increases caused by neglect through poverty
Councillor Jago thanked the officers for the report and the inclusion of figures and percentages.
· Under what we need to do next the report mentions implementing the Pathway to work, and employment options for care leavers within the Council. Can you elaborate on this and whether it involves apprenticeships schemes
· Can you confirm if work has started in this area or is it aimed more at 2019/2020
· It is clear that there are increased demands and pressure on the service, are there risks to the service area with the new way Welsh Government are awarding funding from 2019/2020 onwards (e.g. communities and children’s grants amalgamated) does this cause concern
· Are there designated officers within the department to attend all the necessary board meetings and is there capacity to carry out the duties
· Following on from the question in relation to poverty, do we provide support at the first point of contact with families to ensure they claiming the correct benefits and are not missing out on something they are entitled to claim
Scrutiny committee receive the report and raise any questions or challenge that may lead to improvements for care leavers.
The Chair thanked the officers for the excellent report and raised the query of whether the report could be six monthly rather than annually to allow accurate reporting and to provide the committee the opportunity to scrutinise during the current financial year.