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13.1 RESOLVED to agree as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 30 July 2021.
Apologies for absence
14.1 Apologies were receveid from Councillor Johnny Denis.
Disclosure of Interests
Disclosure by all members present of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.
15.1 There were no disclosures of interest.
Notification of items which the Chair considers to be urgent and proposes to take at the end of the appropriate part of the agenda. Any members who wish to raise urgent items are asked, wherever possible, to notify the Chair before the start of the meeting. In so doing, they must state the special circumstances which they consider justify the matter being considered urgently.
16.1 There were no urgent items.
Exclusion of Press and Public
To consider excluding the public and press from the meeting for the next two agenda items on the grounds that if the public and press were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as specified in Category 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), namely information relating to any individual.
17.1 RESOLVED - to exclude the public and press from the meeting for items 9 and 10 on the agenda (see minutes 26 and 27) on the grounds that if the public and press were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as specified in category 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), namely information relating to any individual. It was considered that the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
Ofsted Inspection reports
18.1 The Panel considered Ofsted Inspection reports for the following Children’s Homes:
· Brodrick House
· Homefield Cottage
18.2 The Panel welcomed the reports and received a verbal update from the Registered Homes’ Managers (RHM) regarding their Ofsted report.
18.3 RESOLVED – to note the reports.
Children's Home Regulations 2015, Regulation 44: Inspection reports
19.1 The Panel considered Regulation 44 Reports for the following Children’s Homes:
· Brodrick House
· Hazel Lodge
· Homefield Cottage
· Lansdowne Secure Unit
· The Bungalow
19.2 The Panel received a verbal update from each of the Registered Homes’ Managers (RHMs).
19.3 The Panel discussed a wide range of issues, including; the impact of Covid-19 on the Children’s Homes’, behaviour control techniques within the homes’, recruitment, retention and staff changes and building improvements within the homes
Any other exempt items considered urgent by the Chair.
20.1 There were none.
21.1 The Panel considered a report by the Director of Children’s Services which highlighted the work of the Virtual School for the period 1 September 2020 – 31 August 2021.
21.2 Mandy Lewis,
Head of the Virtual School, introduced the report and provided the
Panel with a detailed overview on the work of the Virtual School,
including: supporting 419 children who were looked after (LAC), and
a total of 732 children and young
people including Care Leavers (CL), a focus on educational support
with literacy and numeracy, continued partnership working between
the Virtual School and local providers, including Eggtooth and the Education Futures Trust and
funding of a 10 week training programme for foster carers, amongst
21.4 The Panel RESOLVED to note the report.
22.1 The Panel considered a report by the Director of Children’s Services which provided an update on the annual performance of the Looked After Children (LAC) Service for 2020-21.
22.3 The update provided detail about the achievements of the LAC service and the ongoing challenges it faces. This update included:
· Increase in Looked After Children (LAC): There was an increase of children in care compared to the previous year. The Panel heard that this was partly due to an increase of an additional 22 unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) in the care of ESCC and also due to more children entering care than leaving care.
· Adoption South East (ASE) Regional Adoption Agency: East Sussex County Council, West Sussex County Council, Surrey and Brighton and Hove launched ASE on 1st April 2020 and meets weekly to consider all children and available adopters in order to identify potential links.
· Fostering Recruitment and Retention: There were 20 fostering households approved during 2020/21 offering 30 placements and 277 initial fostering enquiries. 2 fostering households transferred from agency foster carers to become East Sussex foster carers.
Education of LAC:
School attendance remained high for LAC
during the Covid-19 lockdowns. There were no permanent exclusions
of LAC in 2020/21. Educational assessments and regulated tests were
determined by teaching staff, this data will not be published but
will used to identify patterns and trends.
22.4 The Panel discussed the development of the corporate grandparenting role and sought more information on this project. Teresa Lavelle-Hill, Head of Looked After Children’s Services, informed the Panel that that many of the care leavers become parents themselves and that the corporate grandparenting project is the Departments way of ensuring that these young people have the support and guidance in a similar way to that a grandparent would provide.
22.5 RESOLVED – to note the report.
Report by Director of Children's Services.
23.1 The Panel considered a report by the Director of Children’s Services which provided an update on Looked After Children (LAC) statistics.
23.2 Teresa Lavelle-Hill, Head of LAC Services updated the Panel on the latest data regarding LAC in East Sussex. Members heard that in the last quarter there has been a slight decrease in the numbers of children from 625 in June to 622 on the last day of September. A total of 343 children were in foster care at the end of September, with 269 of these children living with East Sussex County Council carers and 74 children living with agency carers. There has been an increase of 6 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) in the quarter bringing the total to 59 at the end of September.
23.3 RESOLVED: to note the report.
Any other non-exempt items considered urgent by the Chair.
24.1 There were none.