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Agenda and draft minutes

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No. Item




Apologies for absence had been received from Heather Flinders, Divisional Director Children and Families and Grace Williams, Portfolio Lead Member - Children, Young People and Families.


All Members of the Committee were present. 



Members are required to declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest they or their spouse/partner may have in any matter that is to be considered at this meeting.  Interests are defined in the front cover of this agenda.


Councillor Richard Sweden declared a non-pecuniary interest for the reason that he was managed, but not employed, by the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT).


Notwithstanding his interest in this item Councillor Richard Sweden was able to remain in the room and participate in the debate.




To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 2018


Subject to Roni Weir, YIAG representative, being listed as present in the list of attendees, the minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 November 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 


The Members of the Committee expressed their thanks to Roni Weir for chairing the last meeting as part of the Youth Takeover.




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Andy Spragg, Scrutiny officer introduced his report.


The Committee asked questions about the following actions

Action 4:  That young people are involved in defining the measures of success for the Council’s Life Chances Commission

Jane Brueseke advised that the Life Chances Commission had made a commitment to recruit a young person for the programme and Roni Weir had been recruited for that purpose and she had been working in post since10 December.  Her tasks had included recruiting 4 other young people for the life chances task force and she had been working on several actions. 

Action 5: That services collaborate with the SEND user group to ensure that young people with SEND are able to engage in the events 

Jane Brueseke added that the Youth Takeover took place in November, and SEND groups had been involved with the forum.   

The Committee acknowledged that Borough of Culture events were taking place and asked for further information on involvement with young people in the project and whether the events were aimed at young people

Action 17: That the committee receives an update on the work undertaken in respect to children educated away from education settings including in relation to the Department for Education; and Action 18: That the committee receives a summary of the figures related to the children educated away from education settings

Daniel Phelps stated that information on that piece of work would be available at the end of March when the project concludes.

Action 31:  That a report on good practice in schools and voluntary sector organisations supported by the authority around universal parenting support for children over 5 is provided to the committee.

Daniel Phelps advised that a workshop had been organised for 29 January and further information would be available after that date.

Action 33:  JSNA chapter on childhood obesity to be circulated to the committee

The Committee expressed concern about the statistics circulated with regards to this action and asked that the Committee receive further updates to scrutinise whether improvements had been made. Andy Spragg advised that this fell under the responsibility of the Heath Scrutiny Committee and the Chair asked if the item could be looked at jointly with the Health Scrutiny Committee. 


Actions Tracker:

·         Request update on Life Chances Commission measures (Action 4)

·         Request update on action 5

·         Scrutiny officer update on how Borough of Culture team is involving young people and making it relevant to them (action 6)

·         Information available after March (Action 17 and 18)

·         Update on action 31 requested

·         Update on action 33 – item on childhood obesity to be discussed with Health Scrutiny Chair, and opportunities for joint scrutiny to be explored.


The Committee noted the report



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For the benefit of the external guests, the Chair gave a brief introduction into the scope of the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee and gave information regarding the launch of the Life Chances Commission and the Big Youth Conversation.  She added that the Life Chances report and Think Family Strategy had led them to look at support available for parents of older children as part of their themed review this year.  The Committee was interested in good practice examples of other organisations particularly in supporting parents of older children and supporting men and the LBGT community in a parenting role.


The Chair welcomed the guests to the meeting and asked them to state their respective areas of work and how they support parents; what was shown to work well in respect of improving family resilience and promoting good parenting skills.


Anne McPherson, gave information on the Functional Family Therapy (FFT) stating that it was a strength and evidenced-based family therapy approach working with children aged 10-18 and the service had been available in borough for four years.  Issues dealt with included substance misuse and family conflict. FFT was seen as flexible, home based intervention with therapist visits taking place at the family home or other convenient community locations at a time which worked best for the family including evenings and weekends.  The aim was to ensure that both the parent and young person are equally valued.  FFT worked in a three stage model, firstly engaging and motivating; then looking at behaviour change; and finally looking at sustainability and who could help the family once the therapy had concluded. 


Intervention was time limited, usually 3–6 months and started intensely with three sessions taking place within ten days, then sessions would become weekly, moving on to once a fortnight.   The sessions explored what was working well within the family and built strategies for family challenges based on family strengths.  The work had become more complex however it had been seen as effective and successful.


Julia Britton and Alex Desatnik gave information on the Open Door organisation and its Approach to Parenting Teenagers (APT) project.  The Committee noted that the Open Door organisation specialised in working with and supporting young people aged 12 - 24 years living in Haringey. It was set up in 1976 to help parents with adolescents engaged in certain behaviours such as problems with drugs or alcohol, gangs, risky sexual behaviour and violence.


The APT intervention was established in 2008.  Parents were offered 6 sessions with a parent therapist.  It was an evidence based service that had been effective in engaging with adolescents.  The therapy was tailor made, specific and relevant to the family.  A Randomised Controlled Trial research project was underway to test the value of the APT programme against other parenting programmes.


Philomena Egan and Anne Cullinan from St Mary’s Catholic School gave information how their school supports parents with primary school aged children.

The School ensured engagement with parents starting with prospective parents evenings.  Home  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.




Angela Wellings supported by Barbara Thurogood and Julius Zormelo introduced the report and drew the Committee’s attention to the how the council supports young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) as they prepare for adulthood. She explained that the Council fulfils a statutory function to support young people with SEND who are moving through their teenage years into adulthood.


The Committee noted that the Local Authority delivered this work in partnership with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) started after the young person’s 13th birthday and can continue up to the age of 25 and is referred to as transition.


Angela Wellings also stated that support around community involvement, employment /training, housing and health assessment is provided.  The Committee noted the Council’s offer and the current challenges the service faced including the significant rise in requests for assessments.


Abdur-Raheem Modan asked what was being done to let children with complex needs know about university options as he was concerned that children were either not given the information or finding out too late. 

Barbara Thurogood advised that there is range of information available from schools and if a child had an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) they should also be given information about the university grants that can be accessed.  If a child has complex care needs and goes out of borough at 18, the council still has a duty to provide a care assessment and adult social care support.


Abdur-Raheem Modan acknowledged that there is a lot of support available, however children with complex needs are focussing on other day to day problems or exams so they do not have time to find out about options that are available to them after they leave school, therefore events and workshops are very useful. Julius Zormelo added that reviews and discussions should be happening at an early age at school when a child is 13 or 16 so that the pathway is clear and they know what they will be doing when they are 18.


Cllr Sweden, asked when an EHCP ceases and whether the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014 and Care Act 2014 had made the transition easier to offer support.

Barbara Thurogood stated that EHCP support is available up to the age of 25 years old but not a mandatory process.  Referral is made to adult social care with a transition plan and formal handover is undertaken.  The Committee were told that the 2014 Acts had helped clarify the transition processes.


Cllr Pye asked how the team dealt with the transition of young people that are moving from childhood, and classified in school as having a Special Educational Need, to adulthood, and being classified as having a disability.

Barbara Thurogood advised that they ensure that there is a range of services available when transitioning, so if a young person at college can take part in social activities.  An EHCP and annual review is maintained even if a child is not in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.