Agenda item

Pre-Decision Scrutiny

To select appropriate items from the Cabinet Board agenda for Pre-Decision Scrutiny (Cabinet Board reports included for Scrutiny Members)


Final Letter and Joint Action Plan Following the Joint Inspection of Child Protection Arrangements (JICPA) Across Neath & Port Talbot (NPT)


The Chair welcomed and outlined the number of positives within the report. The positives outlined included the positive and proactive approach to safeguarding and also the share ethos with the third sector. The report refers to the good conduit of information flowing between Barnado’s, the police and social services. The staff are also reporting on good leadership within the service. The Local Authority is being described as being forward thinking and they are testing new ways of working.


Contextual safeguarding is an approach to understand and respond to a young person’s experiences of harm and risk outside the family home. It expands the objectives of the current child protection system which has been focused on harm and risk within the home. Contextual safeguarding recognises that this harm and risk can also occur outside the home and the approach does look beyond the parents.


The report highlighted the need to improve co-production of safety plans with young people, members asked this to be explained. A comprehensive action plan has been developed and there is a specific action plan to look at how to engage young people and parents as early as possible.


Page 26 of the report criticises the police for their use of ‘no apparent immediate risk (NAIRA)’ and it also refers to lack of communication. Members queried who is responsible for ensuring that the criticism of the police is addressed and will progress on this be reported back to the committee.  Detective Chief Inspector Llewelyn responded to the item. NAIRA is a category of missing to try and break demand and look at more effective ways of safe guarding young people. The pilot scheme in South Wales Police was a great success, but there are criticisms and areas for development. The NAIRA process and overarching response to missing is currently being considered. South Wales Police are assessing it, and also academic partners who are also experts in the field are looking at how this can be effectively developed and improved.


Members asked what was meant by coordinated police disruption tactics. It was confirmed these can be used to protect young people who the police consider may be at risk of exploitation and harm. It was confirmed that the police have been extremely proactive in identifying the adults who may cause the harm or exploitation and disrupting it by arresting them and enabling them to be removed from the community. This essentially assists in causing the disruption required. It is important that the young person has the opportunity to remain within the community where they can be supported.


Members queried how officers will address the concerns raised about the lack of evidence of the shared implementation and review of safety plans. Officers gave assurance to Members that all children’s plans are working live documents that involve children, families and partners that are being coproduced by them also. However officers confirmed that they will address the concerns raised as a priority.


Members asked if there are any plans to undertake the same type of review with adult services, in particular those who lack capacity or who have drug and/or alcohol dependency. Officers advised that the inspection was a pilot scheme undertaken in child protection. At this time officers are not aware of any plans to expand this to adult services at this time.


Members and officers commended the joint approach to working between the various organisations and agencies involved in childcare.

Members noted the training that staff have received across the various departments and organisations to assist with identifying vulnerable persons. Members queried specifically if call centre staff had received any training on this item. Officers confirmed that the Community Safety Partnership had met and discussed contextual safeguarding. The next step is now to roll out the training across the various departments in the local authority.

Officers confirmed that there is a good working relationship with the fire authority to provide assistance and the sharing of information as required.


The Committee and officers were thanked for their continued work and efforts within Children’s Services.

Officers noted that whilst the report presented was straight forward and easy to understand, the work that went into the report and the inspection was at the height of a pandemic. Five different inspectorates were welcomed into Children’s Services to undertake the inspection. This was a pilot inspection and had not been undertaken by the collaboratively by the five different inspectorates.

Officers from Education stressed the importance of training in relation to safeguarding. Also, how well Social Services and Education work together as a team with the children or the family being at the centre of the decision that is going to be made.

Following scrutiny the report was noted.


Children & Young People and Adult Services – 2nd Quarter (April 2021 – September 2021) Performance Report


The Chair highlighted a number of positives within the report. The number of chid assessments completed on time was higher than the national average, no complaints have been upheld and there has been an increase in the number of compliments in relation to children’s services, there has also been an increase in the participation and engagement activities with young people. It was also noted that NPT have the first outcome focused framework in Wales and that this is going to be rolled out nationally.


Members noted that the report identified that 101 people awaiting a care assessment. Members queried the communication that is maintained with the client awaiting the assessment as this would have a knock on affect with the third sector. Officers confirmed that there are a number of aspects in relation to this. Currently NPT are piloting a system through an external consultancy group. It’s a text message response system to keep individuals up to date on their referral. It start from the point contact officers receive the initial phone call. The pilot is currently in its second phase. The general feedback to date has been positive. Members queried how communication is undertaken with those who don’t have mobile phones. It was confirmed where there’s no communication, visits and telephone calls are made as appropriate.


Members were informed that a Principal Officer has now been appointed for Early Intervention Community Development so will pull together all the prevention services in adult services. A structure is currently being developed to pull this together. Regular updates will be provided to the committee. It is part of the phase 2 of the remodelling of adult services.


Members queried with regards to the social work vacancies. Currently there is 25% deficit in social workers across all teams in adult services and one agency worker currently employed.

Officers provide an update with regards to the position with children’s services.


Following scrutiny, the report was noted.


Implementation of a Quality Assurance Framework for the Provision of Learning Disability and Mental Health Supported Living Services in Neath Port Talbot


The Chair went through the positives outlined within the report.

Members clarified that the red items are amendments in response to the consultation.

The report noted family comments in relation to advocacy, whistle blowing and property maintenance. Members sought assurance that these items are being considered appropriately. Officers confirmed that they are being considered.

Following scrutiny, the committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by cabinet board.