Agenda and minutes

Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee
Tuesday, 10th July, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford

Contact: Helen Phillips  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest at this meeting.


Minutes of the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee meeting held on 8 June 2018 pdf icon PDF 134 KB


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee held on 8 June 2018 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Provision of Places of Safety under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act pdf icon PDF 272 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Health, Care & Wellbeing


The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had previously raised concerns over individuals being detained under Section 136 (S136) of the Mental Health Act (MHA) being taken to Police Stations and retained in police cells rather than a health-based Place of Safety.  The Police and Crime Act 2017 made the use of Police Stations as Places of Safety a “never event”. Prior to this there had been a reliance on police stations to “hold” citizens awaiting a MHA assessment.

Staffordshire currently had two health based Places of Safety (PoS), one in Newcastle and one in Stafford, with a number of routes for individuals detained under S136. The main course of action would be for a Police Constable or Street Triage staff to bring the individual into the PoS.

The County Council has representation at S136 operational meetings. Through the Operational meetings it has been reported that, since December 2017, there has been no detentions under S136 in Police Custody Suites. There had been a reduction in the use of S136 over the last year, although there had been a slight increase in S136 for under 18s. Members also heard that on 14 May 2018 there had been a Police And Crime Act (PACA) review, at which point there had been no adults or children detained under S136 at a Police Station since the commencement of PACA. The Select Committee received details of the number of assessments undertaken each month since the introduction of PACA.

The Select Committee were reassured with the work undertaken to ensure those detained under S136 were taken to health based PoS and were never routinely retained in Police Custody. They agreed that the Chairman should write to the PCC on their behalf to allay his concerns.


RESOLVED – That the Select Committee Chairman write to the Staffordshire PCC advising him of their reassurance in the work undertaken to ensure those detained under S136 of the MHA are taken to health based PoS and never routinely retained in police custody.


Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Staffordshire, to include progress against the CSAF Action Plan pdf icon PDF 391 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children & Young People


[Robert Simpson, Customer Services Group Manager (Stafford Borough Council) and DCI Nicola Furlong (Staffordshire Police) also in attendance for this item]


The Select Committee has regularly received updates on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) since 2014. CSE continues to be a priority for Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) and its partners under their Child Sexual Abuse strategic priority. Members were updated on the work of the Child Sexual Abuse Forum (CSAF), its CSE Action Plan and the CSE Outcomes Framework and Risk Factor Matrix.


Policies and protocols for Staffordshire licensing authorities in terms of issuing taxi licenses had been agreed. This had included level 1 safeguarding training and enhanced DBS checks for all taxi drivers seeking a license within Staffordshire. A recent Staffordshire inter authority audit showed that all authorities were adhering to these policies and protocols. Some Councils were also requiring drivers to sign up to the CRB updating service, enabling information to be current rather than updated every three years. The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Responsible Bodies Group (SSRGB) were considering recommending that all Staffordshire licensing authorities make this a requirement.


Concerns were shared over Wolverhampton City Council taxi license charges. On average a license charge was between £190 to £220, however Wolverhampton were now charging £69. This had resulted in a significant increase in license applications to Wolverhampton, from 859 licenses last year to 9000 this year already. Concerns were raised as to whether the safeguarding standards and accountability were as stringent as those agreed within Staffordshire. There was an understanding that licenses were being awarded to drivers who may have a virtual base in Wolverhampton but who worked elsewhere. Representatives from Wolverhampton City Council were to be invited to the October meeting of the SSRBG to explain their licensing process and management. The Select Committee requested that they be informed of the outcome of this meeting. The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People suggested that there may be an opportunity for the Local Government Association (LGA) to bring together some national best practice guidelines which help address the concerns of inconsistency in licensing authority requirements. The Select Committee intends to write to the LGA  outlining their concerns over the inconsistency of licensing protocols across the Country and suggest good practice guidelines would be beneficial.


Taxi drivers used for school journeys for vulnerable young people underwent enhanced DBS checks and were included on an accredited framework of drivers. Members queried whether drivers and/or passenger assistants were required to have first aid training. This was not currently a requirement, although first aid kits were carried on all licensed vehicles. Members requested that the advise and guidance with respect to the use of first aid by taxi drivers/passenger assistants be clarified and this detail be shared with Members.


Members also discussed the potential difficulties and anxieties for parents of vulnerable young people who use the school taxi service. In particular their possible reluctance to challenge a driver if they had concerns because of the possible consequences for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 282 KB


The Scrutiny Manager informed the Select Committee of discussions at the 29 May Triangulation meeting and subsequent discussions with the Chairman and Vice Chairman to develop the work programme and to manage items. A further request was made for details of post 18 transition services and it was agreed that a briefing note would be produced and shared with members on this issue in the first instance.


RESOLVED – That the amended work programme be shared with Members after the meeting and that a briefing note on post 18 transition services be requested.


Exclusion of the Public

The Chairman to move:-


“That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972 indicated below”.



Part Two

(All reports in this section are exempt)


RESOLVED - That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 indicated below


The Committee then proceeded to consider reports on the following issues:





Child Sexual Exploitation Learning from Reviews - Briefing Note

(Exemption paragraph 7)



(exemption paragraph 7)


RESOLVED – That this item be deferred to the September Select Committee meeting.