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19 December 2022

Report from the Chairperson of the AfC Board

The chairperson reflected on 2022 which has been a very busy year for AfC with a huge amount of achievement. Thanks go to the whole of the Executive team, direct reports and all the teams. From reports received over the year, AfC are delivering a high quality service and keeping children safe. Thanks also go to the Board for continuing to be engaged, being involved and doing key pieces of work.

Health and Safety Review

The Board received the Health and Safety Review 2022 which looked back and evaluated what is currently in place at AfC. Health and Safety has a wide remit covering many subjects like, fire, building access, playground equipment and workforce safety. The Health and Safety Action Plan identified old and new tasks which will be taken forward into 2023 and beyond. A new team - Safety and Premises Management - is in place who are building up relationships with Facilities Management across all 3 boroughs and buildings where there are offices and venues/facilities used by the AfC workforce and children and families that we work with. There is a good level of assurance and checks happening and building lead personnel are carrying out audits and working through checklists. 

Updates from Board members

The chairperson of the Audit and Risk Committee gave an update on the committee’s activities from the last 3 months. A good internal audit update has been received from Kingston and Richmond Corporate Services. There will be an internal audit programme of activity for Windsor and Maidenhead from 2023. Business continuity and cyber security have interdependencies with the three councils that are intricate and further discussion will take place. 2023/24 budget setting activity is taking place across all three councils.

Each board member has made a short video about their role as a board member and their interests which has been shown at a number of young people engagement events and been well-received. The young people would like the board members to participate in their various events and forums and have asked to be more involved where decisions are made that impact children and young people. The Board recognised that communication and engagement is important for the young people but this can be in a variety of formats - i.e. engagement, consultation, co-production etc.

Updates from Directors of Children’s Services across Kingston, Richmond and Windsor and Maidenhead

  • Budget setting for 2023/24 continues to be a priority.
  • Significant challenges around recruitment and retention continue to be a concern with shortages of therapists, health visitors and social workers.
  • There is an increase in care placements with high complex needs, SEND specialist school placements, high number of admissions, complexities of cases i.e. mental health issues, higher court proceeding cases are all impacting on caseloads. 
  • Workloads are currently high due to post pandemic cases and team leaders holding some cases which is not an ideal situation to be in. Added to this is the cost of living pressures which results in families and young people reaching out / needing AfC support. Staff are getting support from colleagues and managers. AfC recognises that having high cases over a sustained period there needs to be support mechanisms in place and offered as much as possible.


Councils have been clear that the continued overspend in each year isn’t affordable and the councils have pushed AfC to the limit in this budget setting to find savings and reduce costs of children’s services. Whilst councils are supportive of investing in children’s services, the councils are in difficult financial situations and they have a legal requirement to balance budgets and children’s services falls within this remit.

The number of children and young people that AfC are supporting has increased and the brokerage teams are working hard on keeping inflation increases to a minimum with suppliers of placements. The pandemic, cost of living and buying more of a higher level of service for children and young people has impacted on growth projections. There have been lots of discussions with the councils about building in inflation costs.