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22 May 2022

Chairperson’s update

Elections in Richmond and Kingstons took place at the beginning of May. 

Quality and safety

  • Children’s services in Kingston, Richmond and RBWM remain strong.
  • Richmond received a ‘good’ in January 2022 Ofsted’s inspection of children’s social care and early help.
  • ‘Good’ in RBWM and an ‘outstanding ' rating in Kingston. A huge achievement given the pressures of the last few years.
  • There are follow up inspections: Front door Kingston, focused inspection.
  • RBWM - the unexpected Joint Targeted Area Inspection which primarily found that children are safe. Send transformation has seen progress across the boroughs and in line with the safety value agreement for Richmond and Kingston. RBWM - a draft deficit management plan although a significant improvement. 
  • Children and young people we have a proposal from Nicky and Nathan to discuss and agree improvements in engagement 


  • Recruitment and retention remain one of the biggest challenges, although there has been a reduction this quarter in staff turnover and agency usage. Plans to mitigate.
  • Hybrid working model is in place. Covid recovery rainbow now in business as usual as the risks and mitigation is integrated in everything we do.

Financial sustainability and growth:

  • Financial position did improve in Q4 there were still significant overspends which have been fully-funded via the contract change controls.
  • Two significant risks are the impact of inflation and the ongoing recruitment and retention of staff.
  • Special projects to discuss. 
  • Implement the sufficient strategy

CYP Board engagement

Young people are keen to move forward with engagement by board members attending their meetings, board support with AfC and knowledge of what they are doing. The Board fully supports engagement and will work with Officers and Directors to progress this.

Board updates and safeguarding

Board members have attended the SEND Partnership Board and safeguarding meeting held in April. 

Serious incident case review has been completed and there is learning from this. A safeguarding plan will be considered to reassure Board members that there are appropriate procedures in place and being followed, and annual safeguarding reports to the Board.

Good discussions around the schools white paper plan, what would be AFC position around setting its own Multi Academy Trust for special education needs schools. Nothing was agreed as there are ongoing conversations and the consultations are ongoing until the end of July 2022.

HR transformation

HR transformation has been introduced and is now in-house. New system is working well. New occupational health provider and a managed payroll service is in place. Board members noted the hard work involved and echoed their thanks to all involved.

Director of Children’s Services updates

Windsor and Maidenhead highlights

  • A Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) was unexpectedly carried out which reviewed how the Single Point of Access / Front Door identifies and responds to risk and need at the front door. Areas for development have been identified and an action plan will be developed. 
  • Social Care performance - increases in contacts through the front door have increased which is increasing work for the Duty and Assessment team; staffing increased accordingly. 
  • Teaching training service secured a ‘good’ judgement.

Kingston and Richmond highlights

  • Two recent inspections with Richmond being ‘Good’ along with the two day inspection.
  • Significant shortage of therapies and therapists; looking to recruit from overseas as not only a national issue but an international issue.
  • Apprenticeships schemes commenced.
  • Workforce Strategy and success planning to be developed.
  • With Your Healthcare, looking to have shared posts and secondments to work in partnership in a multi-agency team i.e. speech and language therapy model works well so considering to replicate this in other health areas.

Quarterly Business Plan and Project update

Progress and monitoring takes place on the 84 projects across AfC. There is a framework and templates that the service works with effectively. More communication about project management needs to be cascaded throughout AfC.

Chief Operating and Finance Officer update

Report draws out the significant executive concerns, which mostly align with where we're not meeting the appropriate level of board assurance. The cost of living previously discussed is a new risk following the workshop has now been added to the board assurance framework. Recruitment and retention and the level of vacancies  There are significant overspends across sort of general fund areas as well as the dedicated schools grant areas. Although the overspends are significant, there was some improvement at the end of the year, which is a positive thing.