Agenda and minutes

Venue: This will be a Virtual Meeting. For the joining instructions please contact the Clerk for further details on attendance and/or public participation.

Contact: Wendy Simpson 01392 384383  Email:

Note: To be conducted in line with The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 


Note No. Item



Meeting Procedures - Briefing and Etiquette

Democratic Services Officer to present.

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The Committee and attendees received a presentation from the Democratic Services Officer on the process and etiquette for remote meetings.





Minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 March 2020 (previously circulated).

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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2020 be signed as a correct record.



Items Requiring Urgent Attention

Items which in the opinion of the Chair should be considered at the meeting as matters of urgency.

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There was no matter raised as a matter of urgency.



Public Participation

Members of the public may make representations/presentations on any substantive matter listed in the published agenda for this meeting, as set out hereunder, relating to a specific matter or an examination of services or facilities provided or to be provided.

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There were no oral representations from members of the public.





OFSTED Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 505 KB

Presentations attached.



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The Committee received the presentation from Ms V Lines, Improvement Director working closely with the Chief Officer for Children’s Services on the post-Ofsted Improvement Plan in the context of the current response to COVID 19 (the presentation had been circulated with the Agenda).


The Department for Education (DfE) had temporarily suspended its usual conventions in response to an inadequate judgment and had instead agreed that the Council should publish an Improvement plan in response to COVID 19 addressing the most immediate risks to children and young people identified in the Ofsted inspection; that the Devon Children and Families Partnership Executive would act as a temporary Improvement Board to check and challenge the Improvement Plan; and that the Council would secure an independent expert to provide consultancy to the Chief Officer of Children’s Services.


The following points were included in the presentation:


×          National Government had set clear priorities for local government that were shared across Children’s Services namely, to maintain the care system; to protect the most vulnerable; and to support the community;

×          arrangements were in place for identifying the most vulnerable groups of children, working closely with schools and public health partners;

×          there had been a high level of contact with vulnerable families, keeping in touch by using WhatsApp or video calls;

×          Schools were making contact daily, twice weekly, or weekly, depending on the RAG rating, providing valuable support for families and professionals alike;

×          close work was continuing with partners for those care leavers (currently seven) in unacceptable accommodation to ensure provision was in place to meet their needs;

×          additional Personal Advisors had been recruited to reduce caseloads and improve levels of support for care leavers;

×          there were currently two children in unregulated provision with high support needs and a national search was continuing to find appropriate provision;

×          additional Case Progression Workers had been recruited to support social workers in the neglect and emotional abuse priority group;

×          permanence planning had been prioritised with senior managers to ensure all children in care had an appropriate permanence plan in place; and

×          the next phase of improvement planning would be a shadow Improvement Board to be chaired by a Commissioner appointed by the DfE, with the first such meeting being on 22 June.


Officers responded to Members’ questions that covered:


×          one rapid review had been completed in respect of an infant injury, details of which the Chief Officer for Children’s Services would share with the Chair and Vice-Chair;

×          there had been a deficit in the number of infant referrals, but rates were now back to pre-COVID 19 levels, additionally, there had been an increase in referrals from the general public;

×          Public Health Nursing had continued to offer face to face contact for vulnerable families during the lockdown, but were now back as from 1 June delivering face to face contact for new-born babies;

×          that Councillor Dewhirst, as the Corporate Parent Member responsible for housing, be invited to a meeting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 172.



COVID-19 Response pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of Clinical Director, NHS Devon Local Maternity System (CS/20/07), attached.

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Maternity Services


The Committee received the Report of the Clinical Director of the Devon Local Maternity System (CS/20/07), which explained that the Devon Local Maternity System (LMS) was set up to develop and implement the NHS Five Year Forward View including the maternity strategy Better Births, with the aim of improving the safety, quality and outcomes of maternity services. It further explained how the LMS was responding across Devon during the COVID 19 period; and working in partnership with Public Health Nursing (PHN) and Children’s Centres.


Discussion points with Members and Officers included:


×          that Early Help across Devon during COVID 19 had developed daily triage meetings and weekly partnership meetings to co-ordinate multi-agency service responses; and

×          the Solihull Approach offered a nationally recognised parenting course that had been made available online to all parents across Devon.


The Committee welcomed the report.


Domestic Abuse


The Committee received a presentation (attached) from the Communities and Commissioning Manager of Devon County Council and the General Manager of Splitz Support Services on Domestic Abuse during COVID 19, which covered the service position as lockdown was imposed; changes in demand and need; service and wider system response; and learning and lessons for the future.


Discussion points with Members and Officers covered:


×          working with housing associations and providers for places of safety provision; and

×          working with Children’s Centres and other mental health professionals building specialist capacity and confidence across the system; and

×          the pilot to remove the ‘perpetrator’ from the family home included use of the Behaviour Change Programme which was a wraparound support intervention not only for families but for the ‘perpetrator’ also.











Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) Transitions Task Group pdf icon PDF 171 KB

Report of the Task Group, attached.

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The Committee considered the Report of the SEND Transitions Task Group which included themes and areas for development that aimed to support the Council, the NHS and other partners to develop further improvements and ultimately better outcomes for young people with SEND in Devon.


The Committee welcomed the report and wished to thank the Scrutiny Officer in the preparation of this comprehensive report.


The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services welcomed the report and agreed to take the Report to Cabinet in order to take forward the areas highlighted.


It was MOVED by Councillor Hannaford, SECONDED by Councillor Sellis and


RESOLVED that the key themes and potential areas for development contained in the Task Group report be commended to the Cabinet.







Children's Standing Overview Group pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Notes of the meetings held on 20 April and 19 May 2020, attached (latter notes to follow.)

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The Committee received the notes of the Standing Overview Group.