Agenda and minutes
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Contact: Jane Meller Democracy Officer
Declarations of Interest
At this point, Members are asked to declare:
· any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests
· any prejudicial interests or
· any disclosable pecuniary interests
which they may have in respect of business on this agenda
Members were asked to declare, at this point in the meeting, any personal interests, not included on the Register of Interests, or any prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests they may have in respect of business on the agenda.
None were declared.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 6 July 2021.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting of the committee held on 6 July 2021 be approved as a correct record and then signed by the Chair.
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It was reported that there had been no registrations to speak at the meeting under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme.
This paper provides a summary of Reducing Service Cost Boards across Education and Skills and Children’s Social Care. In particular to set out what the Reducing Cost Service Boards are, how they work, key financial pressures and what is being done to tackle these issues.
Members considered a report that provided a summary of Reducing Service Cost Boards across Education and Skills and Children’s Social Care. It was agreed that the meeting would focus primarily on the Children’s Social Care Reducing Service Costs Board, as this was the area that the Committee had been specifically asked to investigate.
It was noted that the Assistant Director of Adult Social Care was in attendance to present the report along with the Director of People, who had dialled into the meeting.
Officers explained the role of the Reducing Services Cost Board, highlighting how they worked, the key financial pressures and what was being done to tackle these issues. It was noted that:
· Each section of the People’s directorate had their own Reducing Cost Board which fed into a Cost Control Board chaired by the Director of People.
· The Cost Control Board met fortnightly to consider the Reducing Cost Boards plans and any issues that could not be managed by the individual Boards. This information was then fed back to Corporate Services and Corporate Management Team.
The Director of People invited questions in response to the written report, which included how the overspend was being mitigated in relation to Children’s Services. It was noted that:
· There had been a rise in demand of early help and mental health services. There was a cohort of young people that required residential care due to more complex needs.
· Early help services had been redesigned and families were receiving more targeted support earlier through children’s social care services. There were improved family early help assessments (FEHA’s) in place, which were used by other agencies to provide a more sufficient early help offer.
· There was a shortage of experienced social workers and the cost of agency staff was a challenge across the country. Officers had mirrored the approach around the region with ‘grow your own’ schemes such as the approved and supported year in employment (ASYE).
· A decision for referral to a social worker was made within 24 hours, although any urgent child protection matters, would quickly be addressed.
· There was a stable management team in place and fifteen Social Workers had been trained and were in post. Social Worker apprentices had been recruited and there was a social work academy in place.
· The agency market was lucrative and very attractive to experienced social workers. It continued to be very difficult to recruit and retain experienced social workers in the complex areas, such as child protection, so a career grade had been introduced and caseloads were kept low.
· The figures for the twelve month spend on agency staff were requested and the Director of People agreed to circulate these to Committee Members.
· Placement costs for children was high so there had been investment in a foster carer campaign, which had been successful in exceeding the target for recruitment.
· The annual review of fostering allowances would be reviewed and would take into account the national review.
· There was a crisis in the care provision for ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
To consider the Committee’s work plan.
Members considered the Committee’s draft work plan for the 2021/22 municipal year.
Following discussions, it was:
(i) That a finance first quarter monitoring report for children’s services be received at the next meeting.
(ii) That the new Director of Commissioning and Prevention be invited to the Forum on 7 December to discuss the Autism Strategy.
(iii) That the Early Help via CYC Local Area Teams update, including the Community Hubs scrutiny review interim report and the Holiday Activities and Food Programme 2021 update, including winter planning, be moved to 4 January 2022.
Reason: To keep the work plan updated.
Any other business which the Chair considers urgent under the Local Government Act 1972.
There was a request made by Cllr Webb to discuss the departure of two senior members of staff.
This was rejected by the Chair who noted that Staffing Matters and Urgency Committee would consider this on 18 October. The Chair confirmed she was content that interim measures were in place.