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Declarations of Interest
There were none on this occasion.
That the minutes of the Safeguarding Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 24 October 2023 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.
Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People
[Natasha Moody, Assistant Director for Wellbeing and Partnerships, Sarah Edgerton, Family Hub Operational Lead, and Debbie Nash, Cannock Family Hub Manager, in attendance for this item.]
The Scrutiny Committee heard from the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and considered a presentation outlining developments within the Family Hub initiative.
The Family Hub model had evolved in Staffordshire and Members considered details of progress made to date regarding this model and the support it provided to families with children 0-19 (25 for those with SEND), including current staffing structures and the integration of priorities with the Early Help Strategy.
Whilst Staffordshire had not been one of the 75 local authorities allocated funding for the Family Hubs, they remained committed to delivering integrated services and support through a local Family Hub approach. In March 2022, Ofsted, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), announced the restart of their programme of Joint Targeted Area Inspections (JTAIs). Family Hubs will contribute to the inspection under this framework, particularly regarding the integrated Early Help Offer.
The Committee heard that since their last report on this topic a diverse workforce had been recruited within the Family Hubs, with a skill set that matched all aspects of the core delivery model. Governance structures had been aligned to contribute to those of the Health and Wellbeing Board, particularly around the Early Years Advisory Board and central Early Help Partnership Board. Eight multidisciplinary Family Improvement Boards had been established. These provided challenge, scrutiny and direction in each district to support priority achievement.
A consultation had been undertaken to rebrand the Children’s Centres as Family Hubs, including Basin Lane (Tamworth) and Faraday Road (Stafford) in the network of Children’s Centre assets. The Early Help Strategy had been launched in each district. A performance management framework was being developed to capture how success would be measured. A core virtual help service offer was also being produced through Staffordshire Connects and the County Council’s website to enable ease of accessibility.
Within Staffordshire’s Early Help Delivery Plan six “Priority Pillars” had been established, these being: access; family voice and experience; leadership and governance; communities; workforce development; and, data and delivering outcomes. Detail on work within each of these priority areas was shared with the Committee. This included:
a) work with Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS) towards a Staffordshire Co-production Promise and agreed way of working around hearing the voice of the family and the family experience. This was launched in October 2023 and Members were urged to become advocates for this and to pledge their support;
b) development and publication of the first virtual Bump to Toddler Pathway;
c) the first version of the Family Hub logo/brand created and shared for feedback.
In the next twelve months it was anticipated that:
a) the one brand for Staffordshire’s Family Hubs would be used by the wider Family Hub Network and be recognised by families;
b) there would be one referral form to ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Presentation on behalf of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture
[Catherine Mann, Interim Assistant Director for Culture, Rural and Safer Communities and Trish Caldwell, County Commissioner for Regulatory Services and Community Safety in attendance for this item]
The Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture introduced a presentation on the work of Trading Standards, explaining the varied nature of their work. Specific issues being considered at this meeting were around their work safeguarding vulnerable adults and safeguarding concerns of vaping when targeted at children.
Vulnerable adults were targeted through a range of scams, with the impact of these being much broader than financial loss, effecting health, wellbeing, family, loss of confidence and increased anxiety. Scams were any uninvited contact and could be via letter, telephone, cybercrime, and doorstep crimes. One in four of those who fell victim to a scam were likely to be repeat victims and studies showed that victims’ names were shared with other scammers. Older scam victims were shown to be 2.4 times more likely to move to assisted or supported living arrangements as a result.
Only between 10-20% of incidents were reported according to the Crime Survey. In the first 5 months of 2021, 36 million people had been targeted by a scam, with those over 55 most likely to be targeted via the telephone.
The City London Police managed Action Fraud, which was the Government funded body responsible for handling reports of fraud nationally. Action Fraud figures reported 342,000 scams in the last 13 months with £2billion worth of losses. The average age of victims had been 75years. In the same period to October 2023 Staffordshire Action Fraud data showed 5910 incidents of fraud or cybercrime, resulting in approximately £20million lost.
Local Trading Standards dealt with criminal activity and calculated that the amount they saved for Staffordshire consumers from scam frauds was £4.7 million. Members were urged to sign up to become scam champions to support this work.
Part of Trading Standards work to support vulnerable adults was through the installation of call blockers, which blocked recorded telephone messages and any numbers that were not pre-identified. Evidence showed that they were successful in blocking up to 95% of nuisance calls. Referrals for these products were made by GPs, voluntary agencies, social care and other partners. Trading Standards installed the blockers on a free loan basis. 208 call blocker installations had been made so far, with an estimated potential £118,000 fraud prevention as a result. Members heard details of a case study which highlighted the incredibly positive impact a call blocker installation could have.
Members asked how prevention work against scams could more effectively be shared. Partner organisations and community groups such as neighbourhood watch schemes should already be aware of this work. The Friends against scams initiative, becoming a scam Champion or scam Marshall, were all ways for individuals to highlight the issue in their locality. Links to a website detailing these initiatives, which also included helpful information around avoiding and identifying scams, could be found on the County Council website.
With regard to vaping the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Two pre-decision scrutiny items had been requested for inclusion on 4 January 2024 meeting agenda:
· The Family Help Pilot, and
· Provision of Services for Children and Young People
As a consequence, the MASH Children’s One Front Door item had been moved back to the February meeting.
Following the informal meeting with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners in October the Committee’s work on Right Care Right Person had included gathering information from those local authorities within the Humberside Policing area, looking at how this initiative worked from a local authority perspective. Detail had already been shared with Members from East Riding Council and the Chairman was contacting Paul Johnson, the Clinical Director for the Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, as the contact for Hull Council. It was anticipated that a report summarising this work would come to the Committee in the New Year.
The Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee ‘s Social Care Assurance Working Group would be meeting on 4 December looking at ensuring safety within the adult social care system. The Chairman had been invited to attend this meeting but was unavailable. Mrs Edgeller agreed to represent the Safeguarding Overview and Scrutiny Committee in his absence.
Members requested an additional item to their work programme on the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection of Children’s Services as soon as this was available.
Members also requested a further report on developments with the Family Hub Programme. The Chairman agreed to undertake discussions with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People on the most appropriate timing for this, possibly in 6 or 12 months.
Resolved: That the amendments to the work programme be agreed.