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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 05/12/2006
Surrey County Council Consultation on the Establishment of a Childrlen and Young People's Trust for Surrey



APPENDIX O
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE – 5th DECEMBER 2006

Title:
SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL CONSULTATION ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S TRUST FOR SURREY
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

Under the terms of the Children Act 2004 it is a Government requirement that every lead local authority for children (the County Council in the case of Surrey) develops Children and Young People’s Trust arrangements. This Report sets out how Surrey County Council proposes to lead on this and gives the Executive draft responses to the questions in the County’s Consultation document, which must be formally responded to by 22nd December 2006.

Environmental implications:

There are no environmental implications arising from this report.

Social / community implications:

The child protection agenda has been given ever greater prominence in recent years. The development of Children’s Trust arrangements are part of the response to the national agenda for both protecting children, but goes further in promoting the “Every Child Matters”, “Youth Matters”, the National Service Framework and government education reform programmes agenda. The Government is expecting statutory and voluntary organisations to provide opportunities for children to develop, learn, play, have hopes and aspirations, be safe and cared for. The legislative framework is the Children Act 2004.

E-Government implications:

There are no E-Government issues arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

Whilst there are no resource implications arising directly from this report, it is worth noting that developing more sophisticated partnership working requires increased officer time. There is likely to be an expectation by the membership of the new Children’s Trust arrangements that Waverley, along with other public authorities, will be contributing additional resources or using existing resources differently to meet the agenda of the Trust.

Introduction

1. The County Council issued a consultation paper in the autumn entitled “Consultation on the proposal to establish a Children and Young People’s Trust in Surrey” September to December 2006. This Council received the consultation paper in mid-October.
2. This report provides some background information about why the County Council is making its proposals; outlines the content of the consultation paper and suggests a response that the Council could use as its response.

Waverley’s Role With Children

3. By way of context, it is probably worth noting the areas where Borough and District Councils provide services for children and young people, either directly or indirectly, for example:

Play Areas
Sports Ground
Leisure Centres
Provision of Open Space and access to Countryside
Education Programmes (at the Museum of Farnham)
Housing (Waverley as landlord)
Homelessness and provision of Temporary Accommodation
Housing Advice
Housing and Council Tax Benefits
Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence
Support to Scouts and Guides Groups
Public Conveniences
Education Programmes through Museums supported by the Council
Sports programmes delivered by the Active Communities Officer

Nursery provision on Waverley premises
Taxi Licensing
Liquor Licensing

Background

4. The Government is requiring all local authorities with a Social Services function to make arrangements to put in place a Children’s Trust as part of the national “Change for Children” programme. The Change for Children requirements include the Every Child Matters, Youth Matters, National Service Framework and government education reform programmes. The Children Act 2004 provides the legislative spine on which Every Child Matters/Change for Children reform of children and young people’s services are based. Every Child Matters and Youth Matters require the following:

a. the development of children’s trust arrangements in every area by 2008 as part of the response to the statutory duty to co-operate between agencies
b. the development of a Children and Young People’s Plan
c. the introduction of the Common Assessment Framework and lead professional arrangements
d. the development of a multi-agency workforce strategy
e. a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and the establishment of a Local Safeguarding Children Board to replace Area Child Protection Committees
f. new powers and duties to share information across agencies
g. the appointment of a Director of Children’s Services and Lead Member who lead on partnership working across the children and young people’s sector
h. inspection arrangements through the Joint Area Review (JAR).

5. This means that local agencies have to make arrangements to work together in order to improve the quality of life and outcomes for children and young people, led by the lead Local Authority (SCC in our case). It has been left to the County Council to decide the best way of achieving this based on local circumstances. The approach proposed for Surrey builds on existing arrangements and creates a common approach for all partners, working together to plan for and provide high quality, effective and efficient services that improve outcomes for children and young people.

6. The Children and Young People’s Plan for Surrey April 2006 – March 2009 states: “Every child and young person will be safe, healthy, happy, creative and have the personal confidence, skills and opportunities to contribute and achieve more than they thought possible.”

7. This ambition was determined following a detailed analysis of Surrey’s needs and a wide-ranging consultation on the priorities for children and young people. The Surrey Children and Young People’s Trust proposal sets out how the various agencies in the county will work towards realising this ambition.

Children’s Trust Consultation Document

8. Surrey County Council’s consultation document has, itself, been developed by a partnership comprising: Surrey County Council, Connexions Surrey, the Learning and Skills Council and the Surrey PCT. The Consultation document the County Council states that:

9. Members will note that borough and district councils were not among the four initial partners whom it is proposed will integrate services further. Nevertheless, the work that this Council undertakes with children will be very much affected by the establishment of the Trust.

Benefits of the Trust

10. The consultation document suggests that, by working together, there is a range of benefits to children and young people and their families, organisations and professionals. Some of these benefits are outlined below:

11. Benefits for children and young people, parents and carers: a. Better personalised outcomes for all children and young people through seamless service provision
b. A single point of contact for children and young people and their families allowing easier access to the service required by individuals
c. More effective preventative services including support for parents and carers
d. Enabling all children and young people the opportunity to be more personally effective and economically secure in later life through providing the appropriate support in childhood
e. Children who are at risk can be provided with integrated support much earlier.

12. Benefits for organisations and professionals:
a. A focus on outcomes for children and young people not on structures and processes
b. Increased local knowledge of services with better information sharing between agencies, which will reduce the burden on providers and aid decision making
c. Simplified and common processes across all agencies allowing greater flexibility to respond quickly and more effectively to need
d. Improved skills and expertise of staff through joint training and development and enhanced career development opportunities
e. Improved performance for all organisations that work with children and young people
f. More effective use of joint resources by organisational sharing of effort

The Surrey Children And Young People’s Trust Proposal

13. The Trust will span the age range from pre-birth to adulthood – 19 years old for most young people but rising to age 25 for young people with learning and physical difficulties and young people who are leaving care. This is to ensure a smooth transition to adulthood for all young people including those with significant barriers to progression. The Trust will need to work across services for children and young people as well as those for adults where appropriate.

14. The County Council proposes three key elements of the Trust:

14.1 Co-ordinating local commissioning and provision of services

14.2 The co-ordination of services around children and young people, where they live and where they attend school, will involve:

establishing local partnerships to co-ordinate the provision and commissioning of services to children and young people
implementing integrated processes around children and young people, including the Common Assessment Framework, Lead Professional Arrangements and Information Sharing. These integrated processes are Government requirements

14.3 Co-ordinating the commissioning of countywide services

14.4 This will involve:

Establishing clear governance, accountability and management arrangements

14.5 In order to co-ordinate the commissioning and the provision of services there will need to be clear governance arrangements. Initial work will include: enhancing the role of the current Children and Young Peoples’ Strategic Partnership – CYPSP (on which the Chief Executive for Guildford Borough Council sits, representing the Surrey Districts Officers) to become the Trust Partnership as the formal accountable body for joint commissioning
establish age banded Advisory Boards involving all partners which will advise the CYPSP on its work. It is planned these will be formed from existing groups where possible
creating a single governance board for the four partners which are integrating some of their resources
developing local partnerships proposed on a borough and district basis to co-ordinate local arrangements
making a clear link to the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board which will monitor the effectiveness of the child safeguarding arrangements of the Trust.

Next Steps

15. The County Council is proposing a phased approach to the development of the Trust so that the partners can learn as the Trust progresses.

16. Phase 1 (April 2007 – March 2008) will build on existing strong and successful partnerships and consists of setting up arrangements to:

17. During this phase the Integrated Commissioning Partners Governance Body and the Advisory Boards will be established. The Integrated Commissioning Partners will start to identify and align resources, including their commissioning staff.

18. This means that local agencies have to make arrangements to work together in order to improve the quality of life and outcomes for children and young people, led by the lead Local Authority (SCC in our case). It has been left to the County Council to decide the best way of achieving this based on local circumstances. The approach proposed for Surrey builds on existing arrangements and creates a common approach for all partners, working together to plan for and provide high quality, effective and efficient services that improve outcomes for children and young people.

19. Phase 2 will start in April 2008, building on the learning from Phase 1. It will involve developing the Trust to include further services for children and young people and will see the roll out of Local Partnerships across Surrey. An ambition for the Trust is that all services to children and young people, where possible, will ultimately benefit from being within the Trust arrangements.

Waverley’s Response To The Consultation Document

20. The following paragraphs are suggested as a basis for the Council’s response to the County Council’s proposals for Children’s Trust arrangements.

21. Waverley Borough Council welcomes the proposal to develop a Children’s and Young People’s Trust in Surrey.

22. The Consultation Paper proposes that there should be eleven borough-based multi-agency partnerships across the County to help implement the work of the Trust. The Council considers this to be a retrograde step for the following reasons: first, because there is already good partnership working in respect of Children’s Services being carried out by the Guildford and Waverley Children’s Partnership Group. It is considered that this existing forum would be an excellent body to develop the Trust’ s work locally across South-West Surrey. Borough-based groups would mean that some organisations – the Police, Education Service for example, (which already work across the two boroughs) would have to attend two sets of similar meetings. Existing relationships and confidence in the present arrangements would be lost. The opportunity to undertake cross-Borough initiatives and achieve economies of scale would also be lost.

23. There needs to be greater clarity about the governance arrangements for the new Trust. It is not clear from the consultation paper how ‘Risk’ issues are to be managed. It is also felt that there needs to be more opportunity for various interests to be represented and a better articulation of how the Trust is to be accountable to the public.

24. Waverley understands that there is a need to focus on gaps in services and on areas of particular need and direct resources accordingly. It is noted with concern that there is no Paediatric Public Health Consultant in Surrey. Matching resources with service gaps will help to bring such matters into greater focus. However, it is not clear how the various partners will work together to realign their separate (often diminishing) budgets with one another.

25. There appears to be an emphasis on considering age structure and targeting services accordingly. Waverley considers that there needs to be a more rounded approach because sometimes providing services to the whole community can render benefit to the target audience in any event, whilst providing opportunities for all.

26. The Council appreciates the need to be careful stewards of finite resources and so the argument to target resources is understood. This, however, can lead to an approach where resources are targeted at high profile issues and good preventative and/or developmental work looses out. It is considered that the Trust would be well advised to pay particular attention to commissioning early preventative low-level family support for early years, as this is believed to reap long-term benefits.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive:

1. takes note of the consultation paper entitled “Consultation on the proposal to establish a Children and Young People’s Trust in Surrey” (September – December 2006); and

2. endorses paragraphs 21 – 26 as the basis of the Council’s formal response to the consultation paper.

Background Papers (DoEL)

Surrey Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership Plan

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Katie Webb Telephone: 01483 523340

E-mail: kwebb@waverley.gov.uk



Comms/exec/2006-07/212