Agenda item

Introduction to Children's Services

(To receive a presentation from Debbie Barnes, Executive Director of Children's Services about the work of Children's Services)


The Committee received a presentation from Debbie Barnes, Executive Director of Children's Services, which provided an overview of the Children's Services Directorate; which included:-


·         Statistical information relating to Lincolnshire, Schools in Lincolnshire, Children's Centres, Children's Social Care and targeted areas;

·         Children's Services Vision of 'Putting Children First – working together with families to enhance Children's present and future lives';

·         Children's Services five principles of: Early Intervention and Prevention; Safeguarding and Best Start in Life; Aspiration and Wellbeing; Learning and Achievement; and Best Use of Resources;

·         Services commissioned and delivered under universal/targeted and specialist areas;

·         Key Partnerships  - reference was made to partnerships with the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board, Joint Commissioning Board, Health and Wellbeing Board and the Lincolnshire Learning Partnership;

·         The County Council's achievements – these included recognition as a Good Local Authority with Adoption Outstanding, Strong Early Help through Children's Centres, the Council's Residential Homes being judged as being good or better; and that school performance was just below national level but was improving;

·         The priorities of Children's Services moving forward, these included 0 - 19 Public Health Nursing Transfer; Re-provision of specialist education; Review of supported accommodation for young people with risky and complex needs; and Partners in Practice; and

·         Financial information relating to the Children's Services Revenue Budgets, it was noted that this budget totalled £105.070m; and the 2017/18 Dedicated School Grant Allocations through the Schools, Early Years and High Needs Blocks.


During discussion, the Committee raised the following issues:-


·         One member felt that the Committee needed to be aware of the Team Around the Child (TAC).  The Assistant Director Children's - Lead Early Help, advised the Committee that TAC was an early help service geared to help children earlier, and involved a lot of working in partnership with agencies and schools.  It was highlighted that the TAC was working well in Lincolnshire and had been well received by Ofsted;

·         Children's Centres – The Committee was advised that Children's Centres were very important; and that evidence suggested that investing in early help was helping in preventing families' needs from escalating.  However, at the moment there was no certainty as to what settlement figures would be received;

·         The Committee was advised that Stuart Carlton, Assistant Director Children's Services was leaving the authority to take up a Director position in North Yorkshire.  The Committee extended their congratulations and expressed their thanks to the Assistant Director and wished him well in his new role.  It was highlighted that as a result of a change in the Children's Services Management Team, there would be interviews taking place for Interim cover, which would provide an opportunity for the current service managers.  One experienced member commended the adoption service as an excellent service; and offered to personally share experience and knowledge of the process of being an Adoption Panel member, with newly elected members on the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee;

·         The Committee was advised that the help Lincolnshire County Council had provided to Rotherham was progressing well; and that the most recent monitoring report from Ofsted had indicated that Rotherham was going in the right direction.  It was highlighted that the final decision regarding restoration of powers rested with the Secretary of State;

·         The definition of Child Poverty.  It was agreed that the definition would be circulated to all members of the Committee after the meeting.  Reference was also mentioned to the fact that an all-encompassing policy was adopted when considering potential adopters.  The Committee noted that the County Council had an outstanding Adoption Service, and part of that service ensured that comprehensive support was given to prospective parents throughout the whole process.  It was noted further that special guardianship orders were used when permanently placing with family members;

·         Working with Academies – The Committee was advised that the County Council did not have statutory powers relating to school improvement in relation to Academies.  The Council was able to challenge performance issues through the Regional Schools Commissioner.  It was noted that on the whole, most Academies wanted to work with the County Council;

·         It was highlighted that the sector led approach adopted by the Lincolnshire Learning Partnership ensured that schools helped each other by contributing support to each other, sharing good practice to improve learning; building up networks to serve children and their communities; and by challenging each other to ensure that no school was left behind;

·         The Chairman encouraged members of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee to visit the Lincolnshire Research Observatory website, as it contained a wealth of facts and figures which would help the Committee in their role.




That a copy of the presentation received relating to Children's Services should be circulated to all members of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.



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