Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 11 November 2019 6.30pm

Venue: Meeting Room 9 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR. View directions

Contact: Teri Reynolds, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

424.

Remembrance Day

Minutes:

A minute silence was held for those present to reflect and remember.

425.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ahmed, Barrett and Mahil, and Michelle Dewar (Medway Parent and Carer Forum).

426.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 357 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 3 October 2019.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 3 October 2019 were agreed and signed as a true record.

427.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report. 

Minutes:

There were none.

428.

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests and Whipping pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct. Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 4.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none.

429.

Call-in: Review of The Old Vicarage Children's Home Provision pdf icon PDF 218 KB

This report advises the Committee of a notice of call-in received from eight Members of the Council of the Cabinet decisions (123/2019 and 124/2019) relating to the future use of the Old Vicarage Children’s Home Provision.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Councillor Johnson introduced the report, explaining the reasons behind the call in of Cabinet decisions 123/2019 and 124/2019, as set out in the report. He expressed concern that, following the Ofsted inspection of Medway’s children’s social care service in July 2019, which had rated the service as ‘inadequate’, the Council was proposing the closure of an outstanding provision. The Old Vicarage children’s home has been a success for the current cohort of young people who have been placed there for four years. The report to Cabinet had indicated that there was a need for this provision and that spaces could be made available to others outside Medway, generating an income stream. There was also concern that, with the loss of the highly regarded staff at the home, it would be difficult to replace their particular skills. Therefore, closing the home would be counter intuitive.

 

Councillor Johnson recognised that the service should be allowed to evolve and considered that the nature of the Old Vicarage could be changed quickly by amending its Statement of Purpose. He expressed the view that the Council should be making a clear statement on its commitment to supporting Children’s Services by allocating significant resources to facilitate service improvement.  

 

In response, the Director of People – Children and Adults Services said that the current service model no longer met the more complex needs of service users and needed to be re-engineered for the children and young people who were currently presenting to the Council in need of statutory help. The Council needed to develop a provision to ensure that a greater number of young people received the right intervention at the right time. The changing profile of need no longer fitted the core purpose that the Old Vicarage was designed for and it was unable to meet this evolving demand. 

 

The four young people currently residing at the Old Vicarage would soon reach the age of 18 when they would be required to leave. There was a reducing number of young people accommodated at the facility and, over the past 12 months, there had been a pattern of very short-term placements, some of which were around two weeks. Some young people had not been accommodated at the Old Vicarage because it had not been able to meet their specific needs or the nature of the risk they presented meant it would be an unsuitable option. It was therefore timely to consider future options. It was envisaged that future provision would include caring for an increasing number of young people in a family situation, such as Foster Care. Specifically trained Foster Carers with a more diverse range of skills could offer that provision.  

 

The Director of People – Children and Adults Services praised the quality of staff at the Old Vicarage which had contributed to the outstanding status of the facility. Their skills in working with young people with difficulties was recognised and there would be opportunities for some staff to assist the proposals for future  ...  view the full minutes text for item 429.