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Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.
Appointment of substitutes
To be informed of the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.
There were no substitute members
To receive any declarations of interest
You are invited to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests in matters appearing on the agenda, and the nature of that interest.
You are also requested to complete the Declarations of Interests card available at the meeting and return it to the Democratic Services Officer before leaving the meeting.
You are also invited to disclose any dispensation from the requirement to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests that have been granted to you in respect of any matters appearing on the agenda
Declarations of interest were reported as follows;
Councillor M Murphy – Item 4 – Non registerable personal interest as his wife is employed by a Learning Trust Special School and has been trained as a Mental Health First Aider
Councillor E P Leonard – Item 4 – Non Registerable personal interest as her wife is employed by Mind.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24 March 2022.
Resolved that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 24 March 2022 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.
The Sub-Committee received a report which provided members with an update on the universal mental health offer and the impact of this to date.
Two years of pandemic living had exacerbated the demand for an effective and impactful approach to positive mental health in Education settings. A team of Local Authority Officers devised a project to enhance the universal offer across education settings by embedding a whole school approach to promoting good mental health. Taking an evidence-based approach to equip senior leaders with practical and sustainable approaches, that would put mental health at the heart of strategic school improvement.
The ambition in the first phase was toupskill, support and train all adults who work in schools with children and young people to have competence and confidence to discuss mental health and to better listen, reassure and respond to children, young people and their families.
Education North Tyneside were successful in bidding for funding from the Barnardo’s Strategic Alliance to fund a universal mental health offer to schools in North Tyneside over a three year period.
Support would include early identification of needs and the ability to signpost to local support to achieve early intervention. Key to the success of the approach was the change in language used to tackle the stigma associated with mental health disorders.
A successful pilot was completed with 15 schools between October 2020 and July 2021 which drew from a range of types of settings in North Tyneside.
In Year 1 of the Project, trainers from MHFA England were used to deliver the training, they were both current senior leaders and had excellent advice on how to develop the approach in settings.
Impact evidence was collected through the mental health surveys, network meetings and school visits. The Local Authority drew on the evidence to inform how they recruited schools and how to sustain their engagement with the approach.
Staff from schools completed the Mental Health Awareness half day and MHFA first aid two day training courses and many schools went on to access further mental health training from other charities such as Anna Freud to have more skilled staff on site.
Three schools have contributed to network meetings for subsequent cohorts.
In Year 2, Cohort 2 began the project in September 2021 in 16 schools. They have completed School Audits, Baseline Surveys, initial training, action plans, 6 network meetings and a review of progress.
Cohort 3 began the project in November 2021 in 13 schools. They have completed School Audits, Baseline Surveys, initial training, action plans and 3 network meetings.
The project will be offered out to schools for Cohort 4 in September 2022.
The Baseline Surveys for the pilot group identified the need to work on Active
listening skills and improve communication about the mental health offer in schools.
This was a key finding for surveys completed by Cohort 2 and 3
In year 2 of the Project from September 2021 – July 2022, Education North Tyneside
officers have delivered:
- Half day Mental ... view the full minutes text for item CES5
The Committee considered a report on a focused visit carried out by Ofsted to North Tyneside’s Children’s services in April 2022 in line with the inspection of local authority children's services (ILACS) framework. Two Inspectors looked at the local authority’s arrangements for the ‘front door’ through the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and Social Work Assessment Teams (SWAT).
The inspection visit concluded that there is a good range of early help support for children and their families. Stringent efforts are made to work with families at an early stage by social care and the wider partnership which is providing support to children and their families as soon as problems start. This enables families to become involved in the decision’s which affect them at the earliest opportunity. When families no longer need interventions from social care, decisions to step down to early help are timely and appropriate. When needed, families continue to receive support that meets their needs at the right level. This means that families are not subject to statutory interventions for unnecessary periods of time and for many families this prevents concerns re-emerging.
The Assistant Director Safeguarding and Children’s Services gave an outline of the main findings of the Report. There is a clear commitment to working with families and their support networks. Social workers effectively analyse risk and protective factors to inform future planning and have a good understanding of children’s identity and cultural needs. When child protection concerns are identified, strategy meetings are timely and are well attended by the relevant agencies. Multi-agency information sharing is highly effective and leads to a good understanding of risks and children’s lived experiences. Direct work captures what children think is working well for them and their family and what worries they have. This provides social workers with a good understanding of children’s experiences and influences planning and interventions.
The Designated Local Authority Officer (LADO) service provides a robust response to concerns and allegations about individuals working with children and young people.
Strong and effective senior leadership has led to sustained improvements in both the quality, and impact of social work practice at the front door. A wide range of performance data is used effectively to monitor and scrutinise ‘front door’ activity. This assists senior managers to understand children’s experiences and improve practice.
The inspectors made no recommendations for improvement to practice with regard to the Front Door arrangements in North Tyneside. However, Front Door arrangements are a critical part of the system for meeting the needs of children and keeping them safe. As such the senior manager team continue to meet every fortnight to review and analyse data, performance information and quality of practice. This enables the team to continue to be responsive to issues and understand the practice and areas for improvement
A Member asked how social work staff were supported in their demanding and stressful roles and it was noted that many teams had arranged informal breakfast meetings to support teamwork during the pandemic and a social work supervision ... view the full minutes text for item CES6
To receive a proposed outline work programme for 2022/2023
The Sub-committee received a report which asked Members to consider and agree a work programme for the municipal year 2022/2023.
Members of the Sub-committee were invited to raise any other topics relevant to the remit of the Sub-committee that they thought should be included in the work programme and the following were suggested:
- How are social work staff supported to fulfil the professional and organisational requirements placed upon them by their work roles and what support is provided for the emotional, health and well-being of staff
- Independent review of children’s social care led by Josh MacAlister and implications for social care
- Update on the outcomes of the Children, Education and Skills Working Group recommendations to Cabinet in June 2017 in relation to Elective Home Education
- How are Foster Carers coping with the cost of living crisis
- How are schools dealing with gender-specific and gender-neutral toilets provision
It was agreed that these topics would be scheduled accordingly in consultation with the Chair and Deputy Chair.