Manchester City Council

Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 22nd July, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual meeting - Webcast at https://manchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/485326

Contact: Rachel McKeon 

Media

Items
No. Item

24.

Councillor McHale

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair informed the meeting that Councillor McHale was ill and that the Committee sent him its best wishes for a speedy recovery.

25.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 225 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair reported that, following the requests at the last meeting, an update on Newall Green High School had been circulated to all Members of the Committee and a letter had been sent to Marcus Rashford.

 

Decision

 

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2020.

26.

Manchester's Transformation Plan for Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Presentation of Michael Devine, Lead – Children and Young People, Manchester Health and Care Commissioning

 

This presentation provides an overview of the transformation plan for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation of Michael Devine, Lead – Children and Young People, Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (MHCC) which provided an overview of the transformation plan for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing.

 

Representatives from the MHCC and Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) referred to the main points and themes within the presentation which included:

 

·         The current situation, including access rates to children and young people’s mental health services, waiting times and presenting issues and outcomes;

·         Wider community children’s mental health developments;

·         The MHCC-commissioned grants programme to engage the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and schools in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in Manchester; and

·         M-thrive, the new delivery model of place-based care.

 

The Mental Health Champion shared her positive experiences of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and how the service had continued to operate through the COVID-19 pandemic.  She welcomed the M-thrive programme to improve mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people.  She highlighted that most mental ill health issues started before the age of 25 and advised that, therefore, work to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people would make a positive difference to their life chances, as well as preventing further costs later on.  She asked what percentage of the budget for mental health and wellbeing was allocated to services for children and young people, which Darren Parsonage from MHCC said he would look into.  She welcomed that waiting times were reducing and asked about the waiting time target. Maria Slater from MFT advised that the waiting time target was being reduced nationally to four weeks.  In response to a concern raised by the Mental Health Champion about the transition from children’s to adults’ mental health services, Maria Slater advised that an 18 to 25-year-old offer was being looked into so that young people would not have to transition directly for children’s to adults’ services.

 

Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:

 

·         That Catalyst, an organisation which provided mental health services to children and young people, had been producing a regular newsletter during the COVID-19 pandemic which included a lot of useful resources;

·         That young people trying to directly access support online needed a more user-friendly digital front door to help them to access services;

·         How this work fitted in with the work to become a trauma-informed city;

·         What was being done to support young people presenting with gender dysphoria; and

·         Support for young people leaving care.

 

Maria Slater agreed that a more youth-friendly digital front door was needed and advised that her service was currently working with a company to develop this.  She informed the Committee that the online support offer had been increased during the pandemic and that CAMHS had worked with Education Services and third-sector organisations to provide a leaflet to schools on support available.

 

Dr Paul Wallis from MFT assured Members that a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

5-Year Social Care Workforce Strategy pdf icon PDF 362 KB

Report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services Directorate

 

This report sets out the strategic direction of the service and its workforce plan, including an approach to recruitment and retention for the next five years.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services which set out the strategic direction of the service and its workforce plan, including an approach to recruitment and retention for the next five years.

 

Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report which included:

 

·         The five year strategy for recruiting and retaining qualified social workers;

·         The introduction of financial incentives for social work staff;

·         An update on the current recruitment campaign;

·         Performance management; and

·         Service redesign and development.

 

The Chair of the Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee informed Members that her Committee’s HR Subgroup had considered a report on this issue in October 2019.  She commented that officers had previously not been in favour of offering retention bonuses and asked why a decision had since been made for social workers to be offered financial incentives to stay with the Council.  She also asked how the workforce strategy would fit in with the work on racial equality. 

 

Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:

 

·         The use of agency staff;

·         Social work caseloads;

·         How many social work staff were shielding and what impact was that having on the service; and

·         Race equality in relation to the service’s staff and children and young people.

 

The Deputy Director of Children’s Services reported that there had been a significant reduction in the use of agency staff, which had included successfully recruiting a number of agency staff to become permanent Council employees.  He advised that reducing the number of agency staff was beneficial from a financial perspective and in enabling the service to build a different culture.  He informed Members that the strategy to retain social work staff was not just about financial incentives but about professional and organisational development and providing a career pathway.  He reported that, as the pandemic had resulted in more home working, it had highlighted more longer-term opportunities for the service to use agile working and that this would be useful in recruiting and retaining social workers with caring responsibilities, particularly women. 

 

The Strategic Director of Children and Education Services advised that the use of agency staff, staff retention and turnover would be used as measures of the strategy’s success and he suggested that the Committee might want to receive a further report on the impact of the strategy in 12 months’ time.  He reported that the proposed retention payment was different from that which had been previously proposed as it was on a sliding scale of payback and linked to the service’s ambitions.

 

The Deputy Director of Children’s Services advised that the average caseload across the locality and permanence teams was 18 and that very few social work staff had a caseload of over 23, although he acknowledged the complexity of some of the work staff were dealing with.  He reported that approximately 16 staff were shielding for medical reasons but advised that this was not impacting on the service’s ability to carry out its  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Children and Education Services response to COVID-19 pdf icon PDF 505 KB

Report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services

 

This report provides an update on the impact, progress and response of schools, children and education services to the presenting challenges of COVID-19; with a specific focus on the support being provided in respect of planning for the start of the new academic year in September 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services which provided an update on the impact, progress and response of schools, children and education services to the presenting challenges of COVID-19; with a specific focus on the support being provided in respect of planning for the start of thenew academic year in September 2020. 

 

In relation to the aim of becoming a zero carbon city, the report stated that, as part of the preparation for the start of the academic year in September 2020, parents and carers were being encouraged to walk, use public transport and cycle to work; making use of and accessing schemes that supported such approaches.

 

Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report which included:

 

·         Feedback and learning from schools as they had increased the number of pupils attending;

·         Government guidance on school attendance from September 2020;

·         Proposed approach for Manchester schools in September 2020;

·         Challenges; and

·         Children’s Services.

 

The Assistant Executive Member for Children and Schools provided an overview of the impact of the pandemic on schools, children and families and how the Council and schools had responded.  He advised that it was important to ensure that diverse communities across the city were aware of the guidelines on sending children back to school in September and that it was also important for schools to keep developing remote learning in order to be prepared for a possible second wave of infections.

 

Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:

 

·         Whether there was any data on children and families not engaging with schools during lockdown;

·         Whether the number of families choosing to home school might increase as a result of the lockdown period;

·         Recognising the hard work of schools and the support the Council had provided to them during the pandemic;

·         Concern about the additional financial costs for schools in responding to the pandemic; and

·         How information about the full re-opening of schools from September could be best communicated to families.

 

The Director of Education informed the Committee that the Council did not have figures on families not engaging but that schools were doing welfare checks and taking additional measures where necessary, including carrying out doorstep visits.  She reported that schools had been informed how to access information and advice where there were serious concerns about a family.  She informed Members that, where children were not on a school roll, for example because they had just moved into the area, welfare checks had been carried out by Council staff and, where requested, an education offer had been made available through One Education.  She reported that digital access, particularly access to wifi and data, was one of the biggest challenges, although schools had been working hard to enable their pupils to access education, including delivering work packs to pupils who could not access them online.  She informed Members that schools were being required to produce a business continuity plan by the end of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 419 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

This report provides the Committee with details of key decisions that fall within the Committee’s remit and an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to amend as appropriate and agree.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit was submitted. The overview report contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit, responses to previous recommendations and the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee was asked to approve.

 

Decision

 

To note the report.