Venue: Committee Room, County Hall, Lewes
Contact: Aaron Sams 01273 335274
14.1 RESOLVED: to agree as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2019.
Apologies for absence
15.1 Apologies were received from Councillor Kathryn Field and Councillor Charles Clark.
15.2 Councillor Martin Clarke was present as a substitute member for Councillor Chris Dowling.
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.
16.1 There were none.
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.
17.1 There were none.
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.
18.1 The Panel agreed to exclude the press and public for the next two agenda items on the basis that if they were present there would be disclosure to them of information considered to be exempt by virtue of Category 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), namely information relating to an individual.
Ofsted Inspection reports for the following: Brodrick House, Hazel Lodge and Homefield Cottage
19.1 The Panel received Ofsted reports on the following Children’s Homes:
· Brodrick House
· Hazel Lodge; and
The Panel discussed the impact that unannounced Ofsted inspections
have on the children in the Homes. The Panel were assured that
disruption to the children and their routines was kept to a minimum
and that the inspectors are accompanied by a member of staff during
The Panel welcomed the positive outcomes of the Ofsted
19.4 RESOLVED: to note the reports.
Children's Home Regulations 2015, Regulation 44: Inspection reports for July 2019 - September 2019:
The Panel considered Regulation 44 Reports for the period July 2019
to September 2019 for the following Children’s
a) Acorns at Dorset Road
b) Brodrick House
c) Hazel Lodge
d) Homefield Cottage
e) Lansdowne Secure Unit
f) The Bungalow, Sorrel Drive
20.2 Each Registered Home Manager (RHM) gave a verbal update on the activity at the homes covering the period since the last Panel meeting.
20.3 The Panel discussed staff recruitment at the Homes and asked the RHM’s whether recruiting staff to the Homes was an issue. The RHM’s informed the Panel that recruitment was an ongoing area of development and that in recent months there has been close work with the Human Resources (HR) department to improve the offer for staff and to review the pay grades for specific roles.
20.4 The Panel discussed ongoing building works at the Homes and the impact that these works have on the children at the Homes, specifically where it impacts the outdoor and garden areas of the Home. The RHM’s assured the Panel that disruption was always kept to a minimum and that there are provisions in place to ensure that the Children have access to outside space, for example a mobility programme at Lansdowne where the Children are taken outside of the Homes for walks on a more regular basis.
20.5 RESOLVED: to note the reports.
Any other exempt items considered urgent by the Chair.
21.1 There were none.
22.1 The Panel considered a report by the Director of Children’s Services which provided an updated on the annual performance of the Looked After Children’s Service for 2018 – 2019.
22.2 The Panel were informed that there has been a slight decrease in the overall numbers of LAC in East Sussex compared to the previous 3 years. The decrease in numbers of children coming into care were from the 0-12 year old age range, whereas there was an increase in children aged 13+ coming into care. The Panel were informed that the decrease in the lower age range group was due to local and national policy and practice change, and the increase in children aged 13+ was due to more a rigorous application of the Southwark Judgement whereby teenagers can be classified as LAC and offered accommodation rather than being viewed as homeless.
The Panel considered a
report by the Director of Children’s Services which
highlighted the word of the Virtual School for the period 1 April
2018 – 31 March 2019 and the educational outcomes for LAC in
East Sussex, as well as the use of the Pupil Premium.
24.4 The Panel were updated on the work of the East Sussex Virtual School, which included: supporting 445 LAC in schools; the appointment of a Primary Advisory Teacher to lead on the development of teaching intervention; the appointment of 17 additional casual Intervention Teachers; management of the PPG (Pupil Premium Grant) for LAC; appointment of 2 additional Personal Advisers (PA’S), one with a focus on NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) LAC and the other on UASC (Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children), amongst other work.
24.5 The Panel discussed the importance of supporting LAC with their mental health while they were in education. The Panel were informed by Mandy Lewis, Head of the Virtual School, that the Virtual School provides free training sessions to schools to support LAC who have experienced traumatic experiences. The Panel were also told of the work the Virtual School has taken forward with other educational and health services to develop a co-ordinated strategy for supporting mental health in schools. The Panel welcomed these positive pieces of work.
24.6 RESOLVED: to note the report.
Coram Voice Bright Spots Survey of Care Leavers - presentation
24.1 The Panel
received a presentation from Phil Smith, Practice Manager
–Through Care Service which detailed the responses to the
Bright Spots survey of care leavers which was commissioned by ESCC
and conducted in a partnership between the University of Oxford and
the children’s charity Coram Voice.
24.2 The Panel were informed that all 233 care leavers in East Sussex were offered a chance to complete the survey. The response rate was 35% which the Panel were informed accounted for 81 responses and that this was a high response rate for this type of survey.
· 76% of care leavers reported trusting their worker ‘all of most of the time’.
· 75% of care leavers reported feeling safe in their home.
· 70% of care leavers felt settled where they lived.
· Care leavers in East Sussex were almost as likely as individuals in the general population to be living in households with internet access (87% compared to 90%).
· 78% of care leavers reported feeling ‘very positive’ about their future.
· The survey responses included many positive comments regarding the advice, support and guidance that workers offer care leavers.
· General Wellbeing: The survey found that only 49% of care leavers reported high or very high levels of happiness the previous day and also that they were almost twice as likely as young people in the general population to report high levels of anxiety the previous day. The Panel discussed how many factors can play a role in these statistics and were informed that loneliness can be a factor in the general wellbeing of care leavers and that when care leavers have their own accommodation this brings many positives but also can lead, in some cases, to feeling socially isolated.
Finances: The survey found that compared to young
people in the general population, care leavers in East Sussex were
almost three times more likely to report financial difficulties.
The Panel were informed that the Department are working on
strategies to assist with the financial pressures the care leavers
reported, this includes: plans for free bus passes and free gym
memberships, and working closely with job centres to ensure that
care leavers are correctly supported with claiming the correct
benefits and finding work.
24.4 The Panel
welcomed the positive outcomes of the survey and noted the
Departments comments and actions towards the areas where it is
seeking to make improvements.
24.5 RESOLVED: to note the report.
Report by Director of Children's Services.
25.1 The Panel considered a report by the Director of Children’s Services which provided an update on Looked After Children Statistics.
Any other non-exempt items considered urgent by the Chair.
26.1 There were none.