Agenda and draft minutes

Children,Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday, 10th March, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams Meeting

Contact: Earl Piggott-Smith  Tel: 01902 551251 or Email: earl.piggott-smith@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Introductions

[The Chair to welcome everyone to the meeting. The Scrutiny Officer will then read out a list of those invited to the meeting to confirm who is in attendance.]

Minutes:

Cllr Rita Potter, Chair, welcomed everyone to the virtual meeting and advised it was being live streamed to the press and public. Cllr Potter advised that she was not expecting any exempt or restricted items on the agenda. A recording of the meeting would be available for viewing on the Council’s website at a future date.

2.

Meeting procedures to be followed

[The Chair will explain how the meeting will proceed, how questions are to be asked and any matters of meeting etiquette.]

Minutes:

Cllr Potter explained the protocol to be followed during the meeting for asking questions and reminded everyone that microphones should be muted and cameras off, unless they have been invited to speak.

 

Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, confirmed all attendees present at the meeting.

 

3.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from the following members of the panel:

 

Cllr Rupinderjit Kaur

Cyril Randles

4.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest recorded.

 

5.

Minutes of the previous meeting (5.1.21) pdf icon PDF 457 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

 

Minutes:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 January 2021 be approved as a correct record.

 

6.

Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes]

 

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

 

7.

Minutes of the previous meeting (13.1.21) pdf icon PDF 551 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

Minutes:

 That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021be approved as a correct record.

8.

Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes]

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

9.

Spotlight Review - Supporting the Health and Wellbeing of children and young people (report to follow) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

[Andrew Wolverson, Head of Children’s Strategy and Partnerships, to present report]

Minutes:

Andrew Wolverson, Head of Children’s Strategy and Partnerships introduced the presentation detailing the range of work being done to improve the health and mental wellbeing of children young people and their families. The Head of Children’s Strategy outlined the specific aims of the presentation and the link to the overarching outcomes in the Council’s ‘Relighting Our City’ strategy.

 

The Head of Children’s Strategy commented on the importance of supporting the parents and adults within families as much as supporting the children and young people themselves.  The Head of Children’s Strategy listed the speakers who would be contributing to the presentation during the meeting. The importance of creating job opportunities for young people by supporting local businesses and stimulating our vibrant high streets and communities was highlighted.

 

Kush Patel, Children’s Innovation Lead, briefed the panel on the highlights of the Youth Engagement Strategy (#YES) programme and the work undertaken during 2020. The Children’s Innovation Lead commented on the next phase of the #YES programme and advised that future youth provision services to be commissioned would be based on three key themes, for example, delivering training on coproduction to key stakeholders.

 

The Children’s Innovation Lead commented on the work done to get young people involved in the implementation, delivery and monitoring of services aimed at supporting them during the pandemic. There are 18 members of the Youth Engagement Board and the level of participation has increased among young people wanting to get more involved through the establishment of locality boards. Each of the locality groups have started working on their respective work plans. The Children’s Innovation Lead commented on the current virtual offer and advised the panel that there had been 23,000 visits to the website and over 33,000 young people engaging with 100 activities online.

 

The Children’s Innovation Lead advised the panel that the rollout of health and wellbeing sessions continues, the offer includes face to face sessions in schools and online sessions. The service will continue to develop opportunities to further support young people.

 

Denise Williams, Partnership Manager Children's Services, commented on the parenting support offer and briefed the panel on work during 2020 and the plans for developing the service in the future. The Partnership Manager advised the panel that the provision of parenting support is available across the City, but it is variable, and the current offer is not considered to be co-ordinated. In response to this issue work is being done through the Strengthening Families Together Board to deliver services from the different service providers in a more consistent way. 

 

A task and finish group has been set you to review provision across the City and members of the group will be consulting with families to help the shape service delivery in the future. The group will be developing materials to ensure a more consistent approach that supports the current offer.

 

The Partnership Manager commented on the work being done to promote parenting across the city. A parenting coordinator role was created in February 2020 to support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Children's Workforce Health Check 2020 pdf icon PDF 219 KB

[Courtney Abbott, Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner for Children and Adults, to lead presentation]

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Courtney Abbott, Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner, introduced the report and presentation on the findings of the Children’s Social Work Workforce Health Check for 2020. The panel were invited to comment on proposed actions to improve the health of the social work workforce.

 

The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner advised the panel that the presentation is similar in content to the previous Social Work report.

There is no requirement to do an annual survey, but it was agreed last year to include the views of the general workforce as it was considered to be important. The survey uses similar questions to that used with social workers. In total 119 survey responses were received.

 

The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner gave details of main findings from the survey.

 

The panel were invited to comment on the findings. The panel discussed concerns highlighted in the survey about workload issues and how social work workforce was managing. The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner commented on the expectation that with training and the use of Eclipse and other tools will reduce admin workloads.

 

The panel queried the reasons for the low response to the survey. The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner responded that a possible reason for the low response rate could be linked to survey fatigue, as there were a number of other surveys being done at the time.

 

The start of the survey also coincided with start of the second lockdown. The findings from the survey will be discussed the workforce and during the visits questions about how to get better engagement to encourage more people to complete the survey form.

 

The panel queried the work being done to respond to the issues of where people have commented on the workload management issues. The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner commented on the importance of the current monthly supervision meetings with an employee’s line manager to raise any concerns about case workload issues. The panel queried if workload issues would create a situation where a worker was unable to take annual leave. 

 

The Andrew Wolverson, Head of Children’s Strategy and Partnerships responded that the Council’s position is that managers should be as flexible as possible, to allow people to take leave as booked, whilst acknowledging that social work is not 9-5 job and there may be occasions when leave granting booked leave may not be possible.

 

Andrew Wolverson, Head of Children’s Strategy and Partnerships was confident that everybody was able to take their leave entitlement during the year, while accepting that in certain situations it was not possible to take leave as booked.  The service will continue to work with managers to ensure the wellbeing of employees.

The Director of Children’s and Adults Services supported the comments and detailed the extra support such as counselling which has been offered in the past where there has been a particularly complex or upsetting incident involving the death of a child. In this situation the Council has commissioned or offered to commission or procured specific counselling  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

2020 Children's Social Work Health Check pdf icon PDF 352 KB

[Courtney Abbott,Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner for Children and Adults, to lead presentation]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Courtney Abbott, Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner, introduced the report and gave a presentation on the findings of the Children’s Social Work Health Check for 2020. The panel were invited to comment on proposed actions to improve the health of the social work workforce. 

 

The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner advised the panel that the Social Work Health Check is done annually as part of the self-assessment work. There is a focus on getting a better understanding of both the quality of social work practice and the conditions in which social work is being delivered. The information from the survey informs the Council’s workforce development planning and supports the continuous improvement of social and children's social work. The survey took place between the 2 November 2020 and 14 December 2020. The start of the survey occurred at the same time as the second lockdown which may have affected responses. In total 115 responses were received.

 

The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner commented on the main headline findings from the survey.

 

The panel queried the figure of 45 per cent of social workers reported stress levels and work done to identify the causes and the impact this was having on the quality of service. The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner responded that while stress levels have increased the level of stress related sickness has reduced. This year the figure was 5.2 per cent compare to 6.7 per cent reported last year and 11 per cent in 2018.

 

All social workers are aware of sources of help if they are experiencing work related stress and they can also discuss any concerns at their monthly supervision sessions.

 

The panel queried the finding in the main report which stated that in 2020 full time workers worked 9.6 hours over their contracted hours, which is higher than the figure when compared to previous years. The issue of extra admin work was given as a cause behind the increase. The panel discussed the impact of the introduction of Eclipse case recording system in reducing workloads. The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner advised the panel that the Eclipse system introduced in September 2020 is expected to reduce time practitioners spend on completing paperwork as they get more used to using the new system.

 

The Quality and Improvement Advanced Practitioner gave an overview of the work done to prepare and also involve frontline workers in the development of the system before going live. A practice lead supports provides ongoing support and guidance to practioners. In addition, there is an Eclipse user group, who are champions working across Children's Services, who get feedback from teams weekly. The feedback has been used to implement changes to the system.

 

 

 

Emma Bennett, Director of Children’s and Adults Services, reassured the panel that she was confident that frontline worker would feel able to report any concerns to either their line manager or someone else that could offer support if needed. There is a commitment from members of the senior management team  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.