Report of the Service Director - Legal and
Business Operations, recommending that the Panel consider and
challenge the performance of Children and Learning Services in
The Panel considered the report of the Director, Legal and Business Operation which recommended that the Panel considered and challenged the performance of Children and Learning Services in Southampton.
Councillor J Baillie, Cabinet Member for Education, Robert Henderson, Executive Director Wellbeing (Children and Learning), Southampton City Council; and Phil Bullingham, Head of Service: Children’s Social Care, Southampton City Council; were present and, with the consent of the Chair, addressed the Panel.
In discussions with the officers, the Panel noted the following:
· There had been a significant increase in contact and referrals since February 2021.
· A move away from enforcement and legal action and towards supporting families to make a difference early was required to improve the referrals into the Early Help service.
· The impact on services and the budget pressure associated with the increase in demand
· The risk averse culture resulted in too many assessments of children being completed which concluded with no further action required.
· The recruitment challenges had improved with the recruitment of a number of new Social Workers.
· There had been activity nationally and regionally regarding the anticipated increase in the number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children to be looked after by Southampton City Council.
RESOLVED that the Panel would be provided with a report from the Executive Director Wellbeing (Children and Learning) which detailed the key actions, developments and milestones that were fundamental to the delivery of the stated ambition to realign the focus of our services from assessment to intervention.