Dan Atkins - Advanced Practitioner, presented the report to the Committee to bring elected members up to date with where Warwickshire County Council is within the transformation programme.
Members of the Committee were please to note that there has been progress despite challenging times. The Council is starting to see emerging benefits and investments delivered. The main focus now is that people and programmes are working as they were intended to and to look into what difference the programme has made.
The Committee noted the following information -
· There has been an increase in family meetings
· There has been a reduction in children placed into care
· There has been an increase in support around domestic abuse
· There has been an increase in the number of SGOs granted
Following a question from Councillor Jo Barker in relation to domestic abuse and the council’s relationship with alternative housing providers, John Coleman, Assistant Director – People Directorate confirmed that the council is working with the Sanctuary Scheme which focuses on the victim and if it safe for them to stay in their own home and remove the perpetrator. It was confirmed that there is also close working with the local heads of housing in the district and boroughs with a clear understanding of the urgency of the issue. The Committee noted that the council will always try to avoid having to use a B&B for victims but there is a housing supply concern in Warwickshire so sometimes that is the only solution. It was confirmed that Domestic abuse workers are being introduced into the children’s service teams and that officers are responding to an increase in demand since the start of the pandemic. Nigel Minns, Strategic Director – People Directorate confirmed that a detailed presentation on domestic abuse had been presented to the Adult Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee; it was agreed that the report would be shared with members of this committee.
Dan Akins informed the Committee of the Caring Dad Programme which is aimed at the perpetrator of domestic violence and supporting them to rebuild relationships. Predominately, men are the perpetrators and this programme identifies that we need to improve our relationship with men and ensure that engagement is with all members of the family, not just Mum and Dad but all connected people (e.g. Grandparents). There has been a lack of support for perpetrators in the past, there is progress in this area which is a positive thing.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse requested information in relation to the financial planning for services and resources. John Coleman confirmed that the sustainability of services is always a challenge and that recruitment has been affected by covid but that all services and resources are now up and running.
The Committee noted that there has been an increase in the number of children coming into care during covid, including afghan refugees and other unaccompanied asylum seekers. The placement mix means that more children are now with family. Warwickshire County Council recorded the highest amount of SGO’s (leaving care) in the last year. The pressure is with children placed in residential care – and there is a lack of stability for those children due in part to financial constraints.