Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Board on Monday 23rd April 2018, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board - Monday 23rd April 2018 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside. View directions

Contact: Amanda Scarce  and Jess Bayley

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Named Substitutes


Apologies were received from Councillors L.C.R Mallet (Chairman) and Councillor C. J Spencer. In the absence of the Chairman, Councillor S.A Webb (Vice Chairman), chaired the meeting.


Declarations of Interest and Whipping Arrangements

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.


There were no Declarations of Interest.


To confirm the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 11th April 2018 (to follow) pdf icon PDF 153 KB



That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on the 11 April 2018 be approved as an accurate record.  


Districts and County Safeguarding and Early Help - Presentation


Tina Russell, Assistant Director Social Work Safeguarding Services, Worcestershire County Council and Sarah Wilkins, Assistant Director for Early Help and Commissioning, Worcestershire County Council provided a presentation.


In the course of the presentation, the Assistant Director Social Work Safeguarding Services highlighted the following;

·         In October/November 2016 an Ofsted inspection had identified significant widespread failings. This was of concern to everyone.

·         The Ofsted report was generally felt not unfair. There was evidence within some case files that a poor level of service had been in existence for some time.

·         As the County Council’s Children’s Services were rated inadequate again, the Department for Education had had concerns about the ability of the Council to sustain good quality services.

·         Progress monitoring visits by Ofsted were now undertaken on a three monthly basis. A Department for Education Commissioner had been appointed to monitor progress.

·         There were moves towards an Alternative Delivery Model, where by the Council would remain responsible for children’s services, but the services would be run by a separate entity.

·         In May 2017 it had been suggested that the Council focus on one particular area of improvement and make sure that this was being done well. It was difficult however to choose which service to prioritise as all children needed quality services. Areas had been prioritised but there was continued focus on the wider Improvement Plan.

·         In January 2018 inspectors had considered the ‘family front door’, care proceedings and quality assurance. Feedback was that there was continued progress.

·         The latest monitoring visit took place in April 2018. The report was not yet available but the Council was continuing along the right trajectory and there was a whole service approach to improvement.

·         The Council had demonstrated in the past that it could make improvements but needed to show that they were sustainable.

·         Council Leaders could clearly articulate the improvements that had to be made and there had been significant financial investment.

·         Safeguarding was not just a social work issue, everyone needed to be involved. This was understood at a strategic level but partnership working was more challenging at an operational level.

·         The consistent application of thresholds was challenging for local authorities. It was difficult to get this right but it had improved. Although there was still some inconsistency this had not had an adverse impact, if social workers needed to be involved they were.

·         The ‘Signs of Safety’ Model was a simplistic but effective way of working with families. It promoted and strengthened families.

·         Staffing and workforce issues continued to be a priority. Recruiting good, experienced staff was challenging. There were opportunities for social workers to report back but this had not always been recorded adequately in case files.

·         Some caseloads per staff member remained higher than what was desired. Social work teams had however reduced in size so Team Managers oversaw a smaller number of cases.

·         Supervision was process and task focussed but this had not been evidenced effectively enough.

·         There was fit for purpose data available at every level.

·         There was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116/17


Overview and Scrutiny Draft Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 883 KB

Members are asked to consider the work of the Board and review the associated Working Groups to ensure that they are meeting the terms of reference set by the Board.  Consideration should also be given to the future role of the Board and those Groups.




RESOLVED: That the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report be approved for submission to Council subject to the acronym on page 5 of the report being amended from F&BWG to read FBWG. 


Finance and Budget Working Group - Update


The Senior Democratic Services Officer confirmed that at the last meeting Members had reflected on what the Working Group had done before and what could be done better. The Work Programme going forward had also been considered.


Measures Dashboard Working Group - Update


Councillor S. Webb, Chairman of the Working Group confirmed that the Group had met the previous week and discussed with the Chief Executive the vision for the Measures Dashboard going forward. A number of suggestions had been made for consideration, including reviewing the terms of reference and inviting the Heads of Service and Portfolio Holders to the meetings. The Work Programme was being revised as a result.


Task Group Updates

·         CCTV Short Sharp Review

·         Road Safety Around Schools Task Group

·         Hospital Car Parking Charges – Board Investigation





CCTV Short Sharp Review


The Senior Democratic Services Officer explained that the work had been delayed due to external factors. The Group was likely to report back to the Board in July.


Parking Around Schools Task and Finish Group


Councillor C. Bloore (Chairman of the Group), confirmed that first and middle schools in the District had been written to regarding the issue. There had been a good public response to the Press Release regarding the matter. An Officer from the County Council would be attending the next meeting of the Group to discuss possible parking restriction measures outside schools.


Hospital Carparking Task and Finish Group


Councillor C. Bloore (Chairman of the Group), confirmed that a representative of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust had sent through some details and had offered to attend the next meeting of the Group which would be arranged shortly.


Task and Finish Group Proposal


Councillor C. Bloore explained that he had sent a Task and Finish Group proposal regarding the Sports Hall to Councillor Baxter for consideration.  


Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Update


The Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee had not met since the previous Board meeting so there were no further updates.


Cabinet Work Programme pdf icon PDF 78 KB


There were no items suggested for the Work Programme.


RESOLVED: that the Cabinet Work Programme be noted.


Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme pdf icon PDF 273 KB


There were no comments or suggestions for additional items to be added.


RESOLVED: that the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s Work Programme be noted.