Agenda and minutes

People Scrutiny Commission - Monday, 13th December, 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: City Hall College Green Bristol BS1 5TR

Contact: Dan Berlin  0117 3525232

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 411 KB


The Chair welcomed all attendees to the meeting.



Apologies for Absence and Substitutions


There were none.


Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from the Councillors. They are asked to

indicate the relevant agenda item, the nature of the interest and in particular

whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.


Any declaration of interest made at the meeting which is not on the register of

interests should be notified to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion.


Councillor Wye declared that he is chair of West of England Friends Housing Society which provides 30 residential care home places, 5 of which residents are funded by the City Council.


The Chair, Councillor Kent, declared that his wife, Sally Kent, had made a Public Forum submission (Question 15 in the Public Forum pack).


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 511 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.


The minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2021 were agreed as a true record.


Chair's Business

To note any announcements from the Chair


There was no Chair’s Business.


Public Forum pdf icon PDF 324 KB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.


Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum.  The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda.  Public Forum items should be emailed to and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-


Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by 5pm on Tuesday 7 December.


Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12 noon on Friday 10 December.

Additional documents:






Qs 1 - 12

Clive Stevens

Adult Social Care

Qs 13 – 14

Kay Galpin

Special Educational Needs and Disability


Sally Kent

Special Educational Needs and Disability

Qs 16 - 17

Jen Smith

Special Educational Needs and Disability

Qs 18 - 19

Hayley Hemming

Special Educational Needs and Disability

Q 20

Clive Stevens


Q 21

Clive Stevens

Adult Social Care



Statements and Petitions





Hannah Summers



Clive Stevens

Adult Social Care


Hannah Summers



Jen Smith

Special Educational Needs and Disability


Jen Smith spoke to her statement.  


Cllr Edwards spoke on behalf of Hannah Summers statement and petition. 


Clive Stevens spoke to his statement. 

Supplementary questions: 


Jen Smith (Qs 16 & 17):  


Jen Smith asked that the issue and delay with Freedom of Information requests be looked into; and raised concerns about the number of children going through managed moves. 


The Chair requested the Freedom of Information (FOI) response to FOI request 16225729 be published. 


Clive Stevens – all responses from the Director of Adult Social Care; 


Q2:  Clive Stevens asked if any officer planned to visit Coventry Council to understand its approach, and was told that there was an interest in Coventry’s approach, it had not been practical to visit. Coventry used a higher number of Occupational Therapists than was available in Bristol. It was important to look at different models in different cities. There had been conversations with Plymouth and Swindon, and other local authorities in the Southwest.  


Q3: Supplementary question was whether the offer was open for the demonstration of the workflow accelerators to Scrutiny Members, and it was confirmed this could be provided. 


The Chair recommended that this was brought to a Leads meeting, and that Clive Stevens was also invited to the demonstration. 


Q5: Clive Stevens asked for confirmation that the backlog would be cleared as soon as possible and was told that the installation of aids and adaptations was managed by the Growth & Regeneration directorate, with whom Adult Social Care officers worked closely to address the backlog. 


The Chair asked for further information regarding the size and detail of the backlog  and it was agreed to request a written response from the Growth & Regeneration directorate to be published on the Action Tracker.  


Q20: Clive Stevens asked for reasons for long term increase in service user numbers; and whether mental health needs referred to aspects of Special Educational Needs as young people move to adulthood. The response was that the ratio between people under and over 65 had reversed itself (there has been a reduction in the number of over 65s and a general increase in the population preparing for adulthood), and there was a general increase in demand for people with mental health needs and a slight increase for people with learning disabilities throughout the pandemic (the impact of the pandemic meant fewer services being available to them)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Performance Report (Q1 & 2) pdf icon PDF 729 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Education & Skills introduced the report. 


·      There was a discussion around KPI BPB225e ‘Increase the percentage of Final EHCPs (Education Health and Care Plans) issued within 20 weeks excluding exception cases and Members were advised that the 42.7% of finalised plans within the 20-week timescale was a quarterly figure, and that a decline was expected due to increased requests.  


·      The Chair noted that there had been increased requests for plans which reflected a higher demand on the service.  


·      There was a discussion about how capacity could be increased to mitigate issues with processing EHCPs, and members were advised that there was an ongoing recruitment process to appoint additional educational psychologists over the next 12 months; and that the service had experienced a significant amount of pressure due to staff absence and staff retention had been a challenge; the dip in output due to a lack of staff capacity in the system had been mitigated by a salary review of case workers which had enabled better recruitment and retention.  


·      The Commission was advised that as well as a salary review and use of the Educational Transformation funding to assist in increased capacity, there had been a review of how staff could be supported within the end-to-end process, and that the increase in strategic management capacity had a positive effect. ? 


·      Members were advised that there were plans to provide increased support for early communication and family support to take pressure off later stages; and that this was part of a wider transformation project, and that the team was reliant on assessments from a wide range of professionals across the system whose services were also under significant pressure.  


·      The Deputy Mayor, Children Services, Education and Equalities, told the Commission that she had recently met withSpecial Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) staff and noted that the system was under pressure; and that she had met with Cabinet lead members across the country to discuss those issues, and good practice to increase capacity across the system; that everything was being done to reach the 20 week target; and that a move to prevention via planned services required better integration polices, which demanded accountability and engagement of school leaders and different ways of delivering Special Educational Needs services for young people.   


·      The Director of Education & Skills referred to the need for early identification and support which prevented needs from escalating; that the importance of the wider Education Transformation Programme was to ensure the system worked holistically and that the right support for children and families was identified and introduced before need escalated; and this, which included looking at school -based provision,  enabled staff to ensure children who required EHCPs received them in a timely manner 


·      The Commission was advised that the dip in August was due to the timing of the school year – comparative charts of previous year had the same dip. Staff were encouraged to take  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Risk Report (Q1) pdf icon PDF 727 KB

Additional documents:


·      The Vice-Chair stated that there was a need to clarify why school places were not referred to on the risk report (whilst leisure services were). 


·      The Commission was advised that, although a great deal of the Written Statement of Action (WSoA) was either completed or on track, the risk associated with the WSoA remained at a high level due to increased demand and COVID-associated system pressures it had been decided that the risk should remain high until there was more certainty regarding capacity and demand issues.  


·      The Chair noted that the Written Statement of Action was due to come to the Commission in March 2022, and so more detail would be available at that point. 


·      It was noted that BPB528 ‘Increase the percentage of employment offers made to people living in the 10% most deprived areas’ was under Workforce, which fell under the remit of the Resources Scrutiny 






·      Members be provided with an explanation as to why school places were not referred to on the risk report.  



Recruitment and Retention - Adult Social Care pdf icon PDF 932 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Adult Social Care introduced the report. 


·      The Director of Adult Social Care thanked care workers for their continued hard work, and recognised the excellent work they have done and continued to do.  


·      The Chair, on behalf of the Commission, thanked care workers, and commented that the work of carers, especially in the last two years, had been well above what they had been paid to do; and that many of our relatives and friends had been kept safe and alive through their efforts, skill and care.  


·      The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Integrated Care System thanked care workers, and commented that there was a huge debt owed to unpaid carers; and that Bristol was not unusual to have challenges in recruitment and retention in the sector, although not complacent. She advised Members that the winter would be very challenging, although some things were beginning to work and a wide range of partners continued to look at the situation to find solutions, which was incredible; for example 40 partners attended a productive round-table discussion earlier that morning.  


·      Cllr Massey stated that when she accessed the system earlier in the year she found everyone professional, responsive, and helpful, and thanked the care workers. 


·      The Chair commended the report, and commented that it had good detail and helpful infographics.  


·      David Smallacombe, Chief Executive, Care & Support West explained the organisation represented care providers, both regulated and non-regulated services, and welcomed the partnership working the Council had been involved in with the providers. He advised the Commission that care providers particularly welcomed the conversations which had taken place to address issues that affected recruitment, such as COVID and related issuesand cost of living; and providers had been able to influence some change and Care & Support West supported this approach 


·      The Director of Adult Social Care stated that there was a need to develop an action plan to respond to the challenges, to re-imagine social care for the future; that care partners were part of the solution; and that there was a need to be innovative and ensure the career paths within the sector were meaningful for people - in terms of pay, opportunities and development – and the work with the Ethical Care Charter and Proud to Care helped ensure this was the focus.  


·      There was a discussion about mental health, depression cited as a large factor for staff absence and reasons for leaving. Members were advised that counselling and psychological support was offered, butvaried across providers who had different approaches; that, with regard to wellbeing and work-life balance, working in the care profession offered flexibility, as it demanded a range of skills and choice of hours – this was promoted to attract people.  


·      The Deputy Mayor, Children Services, Education and Equalities advised Members that Thrive Bristol Mental Health  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Contextual Safeguarding pdf icon PDF 936 KB

Additional documents:


The Safer Options Manager and Strategic Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service Manager introduced the report. 


·      Members were advised Safer Options was the Bristol’s Violence Reduction Unit which responded to serious youth violence, child criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation, peer on peer abuse, knife crime and missing children; that the aim was to build an integrated system which prevented harm to children and young people.  


·      The Commission was told that the Council and Barnardo’s had developed a partnership to support this work.  


·      Duncan Stanway, Director (Barnardo’s)spoke to the slides in the pack. He explained that the reason Barnardo’s were involved in this work was to have an impact  that ‘Roots’ service was funded in partnership with the Council, delivered with Learning Partnership West, and had positive outcomes, which included an example of a 16 year old boy who had been referred in due to concerns about County Lines and relationship with his mother had broken down, that the intensive one-to-one support enabled changes that protected him and he was reintroduced to school, achieved GCSEs, was linked into employment and training opportunities, and his mum had a better relationship with him and no longer lived in fear for his safety at the level she did before.  


·      Duncan Stanway (Barnardo’s) advised the Commission that Bristol was the first local authority that Barnardo’s sought to partner to tackle the issue of exploitation of young people; and that Barnardo’s continued to invest its own charitable money into the city as tackling exploitation was a strategic priority for Barnardo’s,and proposed a piece of work around service design was carried out with the Council which would find solutions to support young people who faced harms from exploitation, co-designed with youth people, their families and communities as well as the professional network. 


·      The Deputy Mayor, Children Services, Education and Equalities, thanked all the teams and everyone who was engaged in this process. She advised Members that violence in the city was taken very seriously; and it was approximately 3 years ago when she and colleagues travelled to Glasgow to learn from their public health approach. The Safer Options approach was then set up with support from the Police & Crime Commissioner, the Police, and other agencies. She welcomed this approach, and that there was a need to understand what end-to-end services were available to support Bristol’s young people.


·      The Deputy Mayor advised that, although evidence was available to refer to, children and young people themselves needed to be central to how the issues were addressed; and that the Safer Options approach complimented the Mayor’s ongoing initiative to address those issues, and that with the concerted effort of all partners engaged in this workit was hoped that more deaths such as the sad passing of Dontae Davis, 18, in October 2021, could be prevented. 


·      There was a discussion around cost and eligibility criteria  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Sufficiency of Placements - Children's Homes, Foster Carers pdf icon PDF 873 KB

Additional documents:


The Service Manager for Fostering and Specialist Commissioning Manager introduced the report. 


·      The Deputy Mayor, Children Services, Education and Equalities paid tribute to foster carers in the city, who did a phenomenal job, and she had attended awards ceremonies in the city that thanked the children and carers.


·      The Deputy Mayor informed Members of her first-hand experience of a young person through the care system in Bristol who had gone on to become a qualified midwife and her foster family had done everything they could to ensure wider family connection was sustained, which was just one of the great examples of the role foster carers had played in the city; and she encouraged as many people as possible to consider the role; that people became foster carers as they cared.  


·      Members stated that foster caring was phenomenal, as were the people who did it. 


·      Members asked how long the foster care recruitment process took, and were advised 6 months, and it was the aim for this to be reduced to 4-5 months for a thorough process; that 25 were recruited last year, and the ideal was to recruit 30 households a year. 


·      There was a discussion around foster carers fees, and it was commented that it was positive they had gone up, and Members were advised that people’s motivation to foster was considered carefully when assessments were undertaken.  


·      There was a discussion around how the support to extend properties worked and the Commission was advised that there were checks and balances and strict criteria foster carers needed to have met to gain access to that.  


·      Care leavers’ access to recruitment or work experience was raised,and Members were advised that there was currently an apprenticeship scheme which employed care-experienced young people within the service; and other services in the city and the Council were encouragedto provide apprenticeships for care-experienced people.


·      Members heard that the apprenticeship scheme was positive and challenging  for the young people, although they were very committed and some had ambitions to be social workers. There were five apprentices in the service now. There had also been a recent recruitment within the service of a care leaver, and their drive, determination and personal experience and understanding was beneficial to the work of the service. 


·      Members commended the content of the report and highlighted the move to smaller homes as positive; and enquired whether children’s homewas an appropriate term to use. Members were advised that the team had carried out work on institutionalised language, which included changing terms such as ‘having contact’ to a more positive ‘having time with your family,’ and children’s homes were previously known as ‘units,’ and ‘group homes;’ that this was a conversation to have with the young people.  


·      There was a discussion around practicalities of fostering, which include people who wanted to foster but did not have an extra room, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 353 KB

For Information


The Work Programme was noted.


Action Tracker pdf icon PDF 378 KB

For Information


The Action Tracker was noted.