Councillors and committees
Agenda, decisions and minutes
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Venue: Guildhall, Kingston upon Thames. View directions
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Public Question Time
A period of up to 30 minutes for public questions on matters relevant to the Committee’s remit which are not related to items featuring on the agenda. Advance notice of questions is preferred but not essential.
The Committee dealt with questions and other matters raised by residents. A summary of the questions and answers is attached as an Annex but does not form part of the Minutes of the meeting.
Apologies for Absence and Attendance of Substitute Members
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mark Durrant for whom Councillor Liz Green attended as alternate Member and from Councillor Christine Stuart. Apologies for absence were also received from GP advisory members, Dr Naz Jivani and Dr Pete Smith.
Declarations of interest
Members are invited to declare any pecuniary interests and any non-pecuniary interests (personal interests) relevant to items on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
No petitions were submitted.
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meetings held on
(a) 7 February 2019 and
(b) 13 February 2019
Resolved that the minutes of the following meetings be confirmed as a correct record:
i) the meeting held on 7 February 2019; and
ii) the meeting held on 13 February 2019
To report on the outcomes of consultation on children’s centre provision in Kingston upon Thames and recommend future delivery model of children’s centre services in line with the Children’s Centres Strategy and in response to the feedback from the public consultation.
Resolved that –
1. the results of the public consultation (as set out in paragraphs 12-15 and Annex 1of the report) on the future direction for children’s centres provision in Kingston are noted and considered;
2. Norbiton and Surbiton Children’s Centres are remodelled from June 2019 and the provision of services will be offered through outreach into the local communities; and
3. New Malden and North Kingston Children centres are remodelled from April 2020 with a phased reduction in children centre activity to target those most in need (as set out in paragraph 10 of the report).
At its meeting on 20 September 2018, the Committee had received a report which provided an overview of Achieving for Children’s strategic vision and proposed a future direction for Children’s Centre provision in Kingston upon Thames. The strategy set out to strengthen outreach provision, maximise resources, and target the most vulnerable families in the deprived communities in Kingston.
The statutory definition of a children’s centre is a place or group of places:
i) which is managed by or on behalf of, or under arrangements with, the local authority with a view to securing that early childhood services in the local authority’s area are made available in an integrated way.
ii) through which early childhood services are made available (either by providing the services on site, or by providing advice and assistance on gaining access to services elsewhere); and
iii) at which activities for young children are provided.
The key focus of the above statutory definition is that children’s centres are as much about making appropriate and integrated services available, as about providing premises in particular geographical areas. The strategic aim is therefore for the Council to work with Achieving for Children (AfC) to identify further opportunities to use Children’s Centres as a focal point for services for the whole family and make them a multi-agency hub in the local community.
The Committee had endorsed the strategic vision as a basis for public consultation. The consultation included a proposal to continue to provide a core offer of children’s centre activities at: Chessington, Kingston Town, Old Malden and Tolworth and to decommission four children’s centres at: Norbiton, Surbiton, New Malden and North Kingston. The proposed remodelling of children centre provision reflected savings of £240,000 required as part of the £12.1m savings agreed within the Council’s budget setting process for 2019/20.
The public consultation was undertaken between 12 December 2018 and 4 February 2019. 744 responses were received, representing approximately 15.0% of service users who are currently accessing children’s centre provision. The Committee considered a report which set out the outcome of this consultation (summarised in paragraph 13 of the report and detailed in Annex 1 of the report). The Committee also heard representations at the meeting from members of the public including from Ms J Lister who presented a petition requesting that all of the children’s centres remain open. The petition (which had been submitted at the Council meeting on 26 February 2019) had received over 500 eligible signatures (345 online and 234 in hard copy) and would therefore be debated at full Council (on 24 April).
Responding to feedback from the consultation, the report recommended a revised option of a phased approach to the remodelling of the four children centres over 2019/20 and 2020/21. The Committee noted that the revised option created a funding gap of approximately £105k for 2019/20; the intention is to achieve the full required savings by 2020/21.
The Committee’s discussions included the following points:
· the children’s centre services are very highly regarded by ... view the full minutes text for item 59.
To inform the Committee of the performance and outcomes of statutory complaints for adult and children’s social care in 2017/18.
Resolved that the report (and Annexes) on annual statutory social care complaints for 2017/18 are formally received and that any comments from the Committee are referred to the relevant Directors to consider.
Complaints regarding services provided by adult and children’s social care are subject to statutory complaint procedures; an annual report is submitted to inform the Committee of the operation of this statutory process. The report covered the period 1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018, with the Adults Social Care Complaints report attached at Annex and the Children’s Social Care Complaints report attached at Annex 2 to the report.
Adult social care services are required to operate a statutory complaints procedure in accordance with the Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009 and the Local Authority Social Services Complaints (Amendment) Regulations 2009. Any complaint, which does not fall under these provisions will be considered under the Council’s corporate complaints procedure.
During the year a total of 65 complaints were received:
· 29 enquiries concerning Adult Social care, of which 11 were logged as stage 1 complaints (This compares to 42 complaints received in 2016/17)
· 36 enquiries concerning children’s social care, 22 of which were logged as complaints.
In relation to the cases referred to the Local Government Ombudsman:
· of the 9 Adult Social Care cases (same number as 2016/17): 3 were upheld, 2 not upheld and 4 referred back for local resolution
· of the 9 Education and Children’s Services cases (no cases in 2016/17): 2 were upheld, 4 closed and 3 referred back for local resolution.
There continues to be a determination on the part of those responsible for responding to complaints to ensure that a full and comprehensive response is provided at the initial stage and this is likely to be part of the reason for the comparatively low number of requests for formal investigations. There have been no Stage 3 Review Panels this year.
In response to the Committee’s questions about the methods used by the Customer Experience team to investigate complaints from residents who are not as able to articulate concerns and also in relation to residents suffering dementia, the Head of Service for Customer Experience described a range of approaches used including visits, facilitation by those with professional expertise, and advocacy and support.
Resolved that the report (and Annexes) on annual statutory social care complaints for 2017/18 are formally received.
Urgent Items authorised by the Chair
There was no urgent business authorised by the Chair.
Annex 1 - Public Questions
The following public questions (on items which were not on the agenda) were raised at the meeting:
1. Shop Mobility
Mr James Giles asked about the reliability of and publicity for the Shopmobility service.
Stephen Taylor, Director of Adult Social Care, replied that he was pleased to confirm that the manager of the service would be continuing in post; the Council would be investigating options for the service going forward in discussions with Staywell and Kingston Carers Network, to offer a more sustainable service.
Councillor Green commented that because there is only one member of staff, the plan is to ask the voluntary Councillor Green asked that the website should be kept up to date clearly advertised, for example by putting on a website the dates when the service is available, and would be more successful if the service could be coordinated with RAKAT or Dial a Ride to provide a link with transport to the Eden Walk shopping centre.
2. New PSHE/RE Curriculum Protests
Mr Giles also asked, in view of the increasing number of parent groups protesting against the new PSHE curriculum, what the Council would be doing to ensure an inclusive curriculum in its schools to promote tolerance in relation to LGBT issues.
Pauline Maddison, Interim Director of Children’s Services, replied that the borough’s schools are generally inclusive in their curriculum and policies. AfC are discussing with headteachers the training opportunities which could be provided to support the new curriculum. Councillor Foulder-Hughes added that much good work was already being done in the borough’s schools such as the recent LGBT history week in Hollyfield School. In relation to broader community acceptance, he had asked for a scheme to be investigated in licensed clubs for reporting potential hate crime to bar staff. The Chief Executive, Ian Thomas, added a reminder that the Council has a limited role in the delivery of the curriculum as most schools are now Academies (not under local authority control), though AfC and the Council can aim to influence through partnership working. Iona Lidington, Director of Public Health, referred to school health services organising teacher training and health days and a charter for schools to sign up to, to promote an inclusive ethos.