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Agenda item

Transforming Children's Services Programme (report to follow)

[Andrew Wolverson, Head of Service People,to present report]



Andrew Wolverson, Head of Service People, introduced the report and gave an overview of the projects within the Transforming Children’s Service programme and an update on progress to date. The Head of Service People advised the panel that the children’s service authority was rated in 2016 as being “good” following an inspection and was the only authority in the region to achieve this rating. The work of the projects is overseen by members of the Programme Board.


The Head of Service People gave details of the impact of projects to date and further activities planned to support children and families. The panel were asked to consider questions listed in para 7 of the report and specifically 7.2 Is there a way of involving scrutiny differently in the oversight of the transformation programme going forward that brings it alive for them?


The panel queried the plans for the future of Troubled Families Programme and other projects which are due to end in March 2020, which have proven to be successful in meeting their objectives. The Head of Service People advised the panel that he attends Wolverhampton Regional Troubled Families Group and at a recent meeting of the group it was reported that the future funding of the programme is likely to be included in Governments Comprehensive Spending Review plans. The expectation is that the successful programmes will get further funding.


Emma Bennett, Director of Children's Services, commented that the Transforming Children’s Services Programme is one of a number of Payment by Results (PBR) funded programmes and the approach adopted in Wolverhampton has been to use the funding to change the ways services are delivered and as a means to invest to save.


The Director of Children’s Services has made the case with MCHLG in feedback that short term funded schemes are not helpful and argued for more long-term funding for such schemes. The panel commented on the positive progress made by the programme.


The panel queried if there were sufficient resources to meet the needs of the current number of looked after children in Wolverhampton and the impact of the programme in helping to reduce this figure. The Director of Children’s Services commented on the future of the Transforming Children’s Services Programme and the impact in the long term would be a reduction in the number of children and young people referred to social services, which will achieve savings to the Council. The panel discussed the changing number of looked after children in Wolverhampton. The Director of Children’s Services added that at its peak 807 children were on the looked after children list - the current target is 549 and is expected to reach 595 by March 2020. The panel were reassured by the Director that anything lower than a figure of 550 children would be a concern, however the current number would suggest that the service is getting the balance right and the panel should feel reassured.



The panel were reassured by the findings in the report and agreed future updates should be done by exception where there are concerns about progress towards delivering excellent services to children and families in Wolverhampton.



1.    The panel agreed to note the report and the progress made by projects and programmes aimed at reducing the high number of children and young people in care.

2.    The panel agreed to receive future reports on progress of Transforming Children’s Service by exception in order to meet its governance responsibilities as outlined in the report.

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