Councillors and committees
Agenda, decisions and minutes
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Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall, Kingston KT1 1EU
Contact: Jean Cousens, Senior Democratic Services Officer Tel: 0208 547 5023/email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Additional meeting
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 question is preferred but not essential.
There were no public questions on items which were not on the agenda.
Apologies for Absence and Attendance of Substitute Members
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Christine Stuart, and on behalf of Councillor Mark Durrant for whom Councillor Lesley Heap attended as substitute Member.
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.
There were no petitions submitted.
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2018.
The minutes of the previous meeting on 7 February 2019 would be submitted for approval to the next meeting of the Committee on 21 March 2019.
To receive the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) 2017/18 Annual Report to be presented at the Committee meeting by the LSCB Chair, Chris Robson.
Resolved that -
1. the LSCB Annual Report for 2017/18 and safeguarding assessment is accepted and approved; and
2. the Committee’s comments on the priorities of the LSCB are referred to the Chair of the LSCB.
At the request of the Chair, the Committee agreed to the order of the agenda being changed to bring forward this item as it was to be co-presented by two young people.
Alice Bell and Hamish Fyfe (Year 10 students) presented to the Committee an easy-read version of the Local Safeguarding Children Board 2017/18 annual report (‘Keeping You Safe’) which had been produced by young people in order to help young people to understand the work of the Board and to contribute their views to it. Alice and Hamish were accompanied by Lucy MacArthur the LSCB Coordinator who had supported this project.
The Committee complimented the work which the young people had produced which vividly brought into focus the key themes of the LSCB’s annual report.
The detail of the report was presented by Chris Robson, the Chair of the independent Board, with Elisabeth Major, the Professional Adviser to the Board.
The report indicated that overall, there has been good local performance in services working to provide early help to local children and young people, child protection and looked after children support. There was a small reduction in local child deaths. There has been a rise in children becoming looked after in Kingston in 2017-18.
There are some persistent issues: workforce responses to situations of child neglect; resources to intervene in situations of risky behaviour and support to help with mental health concerns. The Chair of the LSCB has been working with local statutory and voluntary sector agencies to consider what further can be done to work together.
Young people have told the Board that their priorities are mental health and emotional wellbeing support; support around online safety and bullying; and safety on the streets, especially around knife crime.
The Government has outlined in ‘Working Together 2018’ the task for the three statutory partners (Health, Police and Local Authority) to create a new local safeguarding partnership and to review the current local arrangements. The Government requires a local response to be agreed with the DfE (Department for Education) by April 2019.
The LSCB has developed four priorities for 2018-19:
1) Neglect – the:LSCB Neglect Strategy was endorsed in June 2018; and was launched in autumn 2018 with a multi-agency conference on 13 November 2018. . Over 100 local practitioners attended. (Another Neglect Conference was to be offered free of charge on 14 March because of expressions of interest. The intention is for Neglect Champions to come forward in support from all agencies and sectors; providing further training and quality-assuring work in relation to working with neglect over time.
2) Risky behaviour, mental health and emotional wellbeing, and exploitation
3) Participation - to ensure we are hearing and acting on children’s voices in Kingston and Richmond, not only by the LSCB, but through local agencies and user groups;
4) Developing a strong safeguarding partnership to replace the LSCB in 2019, by maintaining our good local work and relationships.
Resolved that -
1. the LSCB Annual Report for 2017/18 and ... view the full minutes text for item 47.
To consider two travel options within the existing Home to School Travel Policy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) ie collection points on selected school routes; and targeted independent travel training. To agree a minor amendment to the existing policy in relation to an enhanced Parent Pay offer to those parents and carers who organise their child’s own transport to and from school.
Resolved that –
1. subject to consideration by the Director of Children’s Services (in consultation with the Portfolio Holder) of the responses from the targeted consultations referred to in paragraph 12 of the report, collection points are implemented on selected routes to improve efficiency and, wherever possible, reduce journey times for pupils;
2. targeted independent travel training is implemented for young people with SEND to promote independence, life skills and their future employability;
3. an enhanced parent pay offer is implemented which supports families to arrange transport between home and school for their own child, by increasing the payment rate from 47 pence per mile to £1 per mile where appropriate and agreed; and
4. it be noted that agreement to the recommendations above would create a stand-alone SEN Transport policy for the RB of Kingston upon Thames, replacing the existing AfC SEN Transport policy which covers the LB of Richmond also.
The Committee considered a report proposes the implementation of two travel options within the existing Home to School Travel Policy for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These are: collection points on selected school routes; and targeted independent travel training. The report also proposed a minor amendment to the existing policy in relation to an enhanced Parent Pay offer to those parents and carers who organise their child’s own transport to and from school.
The Council has a statutory duty under the Education Act 1996 to provide free home to school transport, where necessary, for pupils with SEND who are of compulsory school age (aged 5 to 16), where their nearest suitable school is beyond two miles (if they are under the age of eight) or beyond three miles (if they are between the aged of eight and 16). 410 children and young people are currently in receipt of SEND transport in Kingston under the eligibility criteria in the current SEND transport policy.
The Council set out its approach and eligibility criteria for the provision of home to school transport in its Home to School Travel Policy for pupils with SEND, which was approved at the Children’s and Adults’ Committee on 16 March 2016. The policy is attached to this report as Annex 1 of the report. The policy included the options to implement collection points on selected school routes, independent travel training, and an allowance for those parents wishing to transport their own child to and from school.
There has been significant financial pressure on the budget for home to school transport since 2014/15. There are three main reasons for this: the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014 which extended the eligible age range of children and young people with SEND for educational support from 19 to 25; the increasing complexity of children’s and young people’s needs and the requirement for individualised support and/or solo travel options; and an increase in the number of pupils educated at a distance from the borough based on their assessed needs. In 2017/18 there was a £369,000 overspend on home to school travel; in 2018/19 this is projected to be £357,000.
The Children and Families Act 2014 places a specific responsibility on Councils to promote the independence of children and young people with SEND. This includes promoting greater independence in travel to and from school. In order to better manage the financial pressures on the home to school travel budget, and to better promote the independence and life skills of young people with SEND, it is proposed to implement two options within the existing Home to School Travel Policy. These are: (i) the implementation of collection points on approximately 13 school transport routes for ambulant pupils subject to an assessment of their needs and consultation with their parents or carers; and (ii) the introduction of targeted independent travel training for pupils in Year 8 onwards where an assessment indicates that they would be able to complete the ... view the full minutes text for item 48.
1 - To transform the existing Council-operated Kingston Adult Education service in the
short to medium-term, in order to ensure key outcomes are met and to make the service
operationally more efficient and flexible.
2 - To scope and understand the potential for provider(s) to deliver adult education for
Kingston in the medium-term, with Committee approval to undertake a scoping exercise of
potential providers and opportunities.
Resolved that -
1. Officers take forward proposals in the short to medium-term to make the current Kingston Adult Education service more efficient and to continue to deliver effective learner outcomes (ref para 25 of the report);
2. a scoping exercise can be undertaken to understand adult education provider(s) for Kingston adult education over the medium-term; and
3. a detailed report with the findings is submitted to this Committee by June 2019 (subject to timeframes).
The Committee considered a report about transformation of the existing Council-operated Kingston Adult Education service in the short to medium-term, in order to ensure key outcomes are met and to make the service operationally more efficient and flexible. The proposal is to scope and understand the potential for provider(s) to deliver adult education for Kingston in the medium-term, seeking Committee approval to undertake a scoping exercise of potential providers and opportunities.
The Kingston Adult Education service (KAE) supports 2,832 learners a year (equating to around 6,000 enrolments) and generates a surplus of circa £300K per annum. It plays an important role in supporting healthy, independent and resilient residents. Outcomes for learners include gaining qualifications, improving employment skills, reducing social isolation and improving the mental health and wellbeing of individuals.
KAE is financially valuable to the Council, generating annual income of £2m and costing £1.7m to run. The service currently makes a controllable surplus of approximately £330K annually, which is less than the budget target of £560k, leaving a £230k gap. The gap is partly due to the removal of the apprenticeship grant by central government, for which KAE will receive growth of £150k in 2019/20.
The service can achieve £100K of savings over 2 years (£80k in 2019/20 and a further £20k in 2020/21) by continuing to deliver effective learner outcomes, reducing management costs and making service efficiencies, to close the remainder of the gap.
To make it a more dynamic, flexible and efficient service it is acknowledged that KAE needs to make changes to how it operates and delivers provision. In the short to medium term we will seek to achieve this by transforming the service to make it more efficient and modern, with digitised processes.
However, it is also important to explore other options for the longer term. One of the ways in which other councils have successfully delivered adult education in terms of outcomes for learners and efficiency, is through specialist providers to provide a service that also has the potential to save on management and accommodation costs. A first step in understanding the viability of this option is to undertake a scoping exercise of potential providers and opportunities.
The following approach is recommended:
a. 2019/20 and 2020/21 – To transform the existing service. To continue to deliver effective learner outcomes and refine and digitise processes to make the service more efficient. To remain aligned with national, regional and local needs. To ensure assets are used to their full potential. To deliver savings through efficiencies.
b. 2019/20 - To undertake a scoping exercise of potential providers and opportunities whilst continuing to transform the service. Future options will then be developed depending on the results of the scoping exercise. A business case will be brought back to the Committee with the findings of the scoping exercise which explores the benefits of external providers versus continuing as a Council-delivered service. Options and opportunities will be explored; it is anticipated that future options may involve delivery of adult education provision ... view the full minutes text for item 49.
To align fostering fees across Richmond, Kingston and Windsor and Maidenhead as part of the successful registration of the Independent Fostering Agency.
Resolved that the local offer (fees and allowances) to foster carers as set out in paragraph 13 of the report is approved to take effect from 1 April 2019.
The Committee considered a report about aligning fostering fees across Richmond, Kingston and Windsor and Maidenhead as part of the successful registration of an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA). Ofsted has required Achieving for Children (AfC) to register its fostering services as an IFA. AfC were granted registration in August 2018 and is aligning its operations to establish the IFA as a single service across all three AfC local authority areas by end of March 2019.
AfC’s operational areas currently structure foster carer remuneration in different ways. Fees paid are not always aligned to the skills of the carer or needs of the child. In Kingston and Richmond boroughs, a small proportion of foster carers are paid disproportionately more than other carers and the amounts paid are out of line with statistical neighbours. There are also wide variances in the training, development opportunities and the support provided to foster carers. AfC want to provide our foster carers with a fairer, more transparent offer that is better able to meet the needs of children who are placed in our care. AfC’s offer must also be competitive, supporting our strategic aim to recruit new local foster carers for local children so that AfC can reduce reliance on more expensive placements secured through other IFAs and residential care.
The proposed offer is based on the following principles:
· promoting the wellbeing of children and young people to improve children’s outcomes in adult life
· a single, fair and transparent offer for all AfC carers that distributes money according to the child’s needs and the carer’s skills and experience, including incentivising care for the most complex children and stepping down to less intensive support
· a competitive offer that supports the recruitment and retention of foster carers in line with our sufficiency strategy and offers value for money to the Councils
· an offer that minimises disruption to carers and potential risk to placement stability, including the number of carers who might see a decrease in their income.
The proposed offer to all approved foster carers, including connected persons’ carers, includes:
· a competency based training and development programme aligned to the fee bands recognising caring experience and professional expertise as well as training undertaken;
· a banded reward fee based on the experience and skill level of the carer;
· a supplementary fee, paid per child in placement if the child reaches a threshold level of need;
· an allowance based on the needs of the child, paid per child in placement; and
· continuing supervision and support from a supervising social worker, but expanded peer to peer and therapeutic support.
The following fee model was proposed:
To report progress on the development of a specialist dementia nursing home for older people to be built, subject to planning approval, by the Council in Brown’s Road, Surbiton, KT5 8SP and authorise further work to develop the options for a Council Owned trading company to operate the home.
Resolved that -
1. the Director of Adult Social Services is authorised to progress the project as described in paragraphs 8-29 of this report; and
2. the Finance and Contracts Committee is RECOMMENDED to approve additional capital funding of £5.26m (ref paras. G & H of the report) to support the project.
There is a pressing need in the borough, and across London, for affordable nursing beds in modern buildings that can be used to deliver high quality services safely and efficiently for those with dementia. There are estimated to be around 1,500 residents in Kingston living with dementia. It is predicted this figure will rise to over 2,100 people with dementia by the year 2027. To meet some of this future need, and to avoid strategic failure of supply, the Council proposes, subject to planning approval, to build an 80 bed, dementia nursing home in Brown’s Road, Surbiton KT5 8SP, on the site of the old Newent House Care Home.
The Committee considered a report which set out progress (since the last report to the Committee in September 2017) on the development of this specialist dementia nursing home. The report outlined the consultation timetable for planning and construction phases of the project, and sought the Committee’s approval for further work to develop the options for a Council-owned trading company to operate the home.
The home will be owned by the Council and run by a Council-owned, independent operating company which will deliver high quality nursing and care services. By investing in this way the Council can ensure that Kingston residents will have priority access to the very best in dementia care. As well as providing care for the increasing number of older people with dementia in the borough, the nursing home will also generate income from residents who are able to fund their own care to support the capital cost of the project.
Based on estimates for build, fit-out and project costs made in summer 2017, the Dementia Nursing Home project was allocated £10.29m capital funding for implementation, subject to procurement and gateway reviews at Concept Design (costed design meeting the Council's criteria), and Construction Stages.
The project is now at the end of the Concept Design stage. A concept design for the new home on the Brown’s Road site that meets the Council’s design criteria has been developed and costed (target cost subject to planning and procurement of subcontracted services). The target whole-project cost for design and build of the new home is £15.55m.
The increase in capital cost has arisen mainly from the increase in the cost of the building (bedroom size; increase in labour costs); additional project costs (some sunk costs arising from work with the previous design and build partner); and a 5% whole-project contingency (an additional 5% construction only contingency is built into the Design and Build cost):
Design & Build +£3.95m
Project costs +£0.570m
Contingency (5%) +£0.740m
Total Additional +£5.26m
The report recommended that the additional costs be approved as necessary for the delivery of a home that meets the highest design specification for delivery of higher acuity dementia care for residents.
In January 2019 the project, costs, and the financial business case for the home underwent a gateway review by the Corporate Resources Panel of the Council. The financial position for the Council as landlord ... view the full minutes text for item 51.
To fulfil the statutory duty for the local authority to approve school admission arrangements
Resolved that the proposed school admission arrangements for 2020-21, as set out in Annexes 1 to 4 to the report are agreed.
The Committee considered a report setting out the proposed school admission arrangements for 2020-2021 academic year in order for the Committee to fulfil the statutory duty for the local authority to approve school admission arrangements. Admission authorities are required to publish the arrangements which they will make to allocate places at schools if they are oversubscribed, i.e. where there are more applications than there are places available. Before these arrangements are determined and published the local authority is required to consult with other admission authorities, neighbouring Local Authorities, Diocesan Boards (for faith schools), relevant parents and the wider community. Admission authorities are required to consult every seven years unless the proposed admission arrangements are different from those determined in the previous year.
The report advised that for 2020/21 there are no proposed changes from those determined for the 2019/20 academic year. The proposed arrangements for 2020-21 are set out in Annexes 1 to 4 of the report as follows:
· the oversubscription criteria for community primary and secondary schools (set out in Annex 1 of the report);
· the scheme for the annual coordinated admission round for entry to Reception (set out in Annex 2 of the report);
· the scheme for the annual coordinated admission round for entry to Year 7 (set out in Annex 3 of the report); and
· the scheme for in-year admissions to state-funded primary and secondary schools within the borough, i.e. admissions made once the school year has started (set out in Annex 4 of the report).
(It was noted that these Annexes include dates which are Pan-London dates, within the secondary and primary schemes, and these may subsequently change.)
Because there are no proposed changes to the admissions arrangements for 2020-21, there has been no statutory wider consultation on the arrangements. However, a short consultation with all schools on the secondary, primary and in year schemes (attached as Annexes 2 to 4 of this report) had been carried out with all schools, to which no responses had been received.
Resolved that the proposed school admission arrangements for 2020-21, as set out in Annexes 1 to 4 of the report are agreed.
Voting - unanimous
Urgent Items authorised by the Chair
There were no urgent items authorised by the Chair.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following resolution is included as a standard item which will only be relevant if any exempt matter is to be considered at the meeting for which the Committee wish to resolve to exclude the press and public:
To exclude the public from the meeting under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it is likely that exempt information, as defined in paragraph x of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act, would be disclosed and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
In the event of exclusion being agreed, members of the public and press are to withdraw to the Reception on the ground floor of the Guildhall to await re-admission to the Chamber.