Agenda and minutes
Venue: Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE
Contact: Steve Tucker, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from the Leader of the Council Cllr D Hitchiner, and Cllr J Stone.
To receive details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interests in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.
To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.
To receive any written questions from members of the public.
Questions received and responses given are attached as Appendix 1 to the minutes.
Questions from members of the council
To receive any written questions from members of the council.
There were no questions received from Councillors.
To present the recently published report detailing the findings of the inspection by Ofsted inspectors of Herefordshire Council children’s services in July 2022 and to outline both the action taken immediately and since the inspection to address some of the concerns raised, and the implications of the Statutory Direction issued by the Secretary of State.
The Committee gave consideration to the report as set out on pages 13-36 of the agenda.
The Director for Children and Young People provided the Committee with a summary of the key findings arising from the Ofsted inspection of children’s services and outlined the actions undertaken during and in the immediate aftermath of the inspection to address key areas of concern. It was confirmed that development of the action plan in response to the report was progressing at pace and includes a number of engagement activities about to commence. The directorate were working closely with the appointed Children’s Commissioner, Eleanor Brazil, and were further developing their performance and management information systems, as well as preparing to undertake a self-evaluation of practice which it was intended will be completed by the end of January 2023, with a view to this to be presented to a future meeting of the Committee. Work remained ongoing to review and improve services for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, which had recently been the subject of a peer review to also be presented to a future meeting of the Committee. The directorate were working with partners to ensure that the response to Ofsted and the action plan were multi-agency led, and arrangements were being made to convene a summit of key partners in the near future.
The Committee sought assurances from the Executive and senior officers that key actions and improvements would be delivered in the following key areas:
(ii) Corporate Responsibility:
(iii) Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
(iv) Support Services
(v) Performance and Quality Assurance
(vi) Monitoring and Tracking
(vii) Voice of Children and Families
(viii) Quality of Practice
(ix) Management & Culture
(xi) Human Rights and Scrutiny
The Committee sought assurance, in light of previous reports having identified similar findings to the recent Ofsted report, on what would be done differently to ensure that failures were addressed and successes against key improvement measures could be sustained. Assurance was also sought that Human Resources support would be provided to sustain a stable and high performing workforce to deliver the necessary pace of change.
It was confirmed that the directorate now receives support from a dedicated senior HR officer exercising oversight of areas including contractual matters, performance, and recruitment and retention. The challenges of recruitment and retention in the social care sector were well documented and it was acknowledged that the recent Ofsted judgement had not helped in this regard, but significant effort was being made to try to improve the Council’s recruitment offer.
The Chief Executive acknowledged his personal responsibility for championing improvement across the organisation, but also stressed that there was a collective responsibility held by the Council and its partners to work together to navigate the improvement journey. It was confirmed that each member of the corporate leadership team (CLT) had been assigned a leadership role and would be personally leading on key individual areas of work, whilst the ... view the full minutes text for item 111.
This report provides a brief update on issues previously considered by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, including responses to information requests made by the committee, updates on resolutions made by the committee, including reports and recommendations to the executive and the Executive Response and executive decision made in respect of scrutiny reports and recommendations.
The Committee received the report as set out on pages 37-64 of the agenda, which provided a brief summary update on issues previously considered.
It was resolved that:
(i) The progress report on scrutiny information requests, scrutiny reports and recommendations and other matters raised by the committee be noted; and
(ii) Those information requests where a response has been received be agreed as completed, and any other outstanding items be requested for the next meeting.
Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 1 November 2022, 2.00pm.
13, December. Plough Lane. 2.00pm