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24 October 2022

Update from the Chairperson

Numerous quality and safety inspections have taken place.

Big focus on recruitment and retention at the moment.

Inflation continues to have a big impact on meeting demands for young people and the workforce.

Virtual School

A presentation by the Virtual School was given to the Board highlighting 2020 and 2021 work.

Updates from Board members 

  • The Ofsted Inspection was held in Richmond during October. 
  • A SEND Futures Conference was held and attended by one of the Board Members.
  • Two board members continue to engage with the young people across the three boroughs; an information booklet has been produced which shows the likes and dislikes of the board members which will go out to the young people who are involved with the various Youth Councils, Children in Care Council, Young Girls Forum etc. 
  • One board member has been engaging with young people in Kingston to get their views on a design for a youth club. 
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Network organised a successful Black History Month with various events happening across the three boroughs with good engagement from staff.

Audit and Risk Committee update

Most of the Board members attended the last Audit and Risk Committee. A detailed discussion took place on budget setting. No issues to escalate.

Quarterly Business Plan and Project update

Amendments have been made to reporting as requested by Board members at the last Board meeting. This will enable monitoring of direction of travel and track progress. There are currently 78 projects overall being managed by the Projects Team with projects rated GRENN (46%) completed, AMBER (38%) on track to completion and RED (14%) where there are concerns and not on target. Projects that are currently of concern are; Financial and efficiency savings; SEND transport in Richmond; supported accommodation, reducing placements costs and procurement and commissioning of contracts in RBK and LBR; efficiency and best practice RBWM. These projects will be monitored closely.

Directors of Children’s Services updates

  • All children with complex needs and disabilities placed in residential specialist schools were reviewed and reported on as part of the requirement from the National Child Safeguarding Practice review. This work was carried out in all the three boroughs.
  • Corporate Parenting Forum in RBWM takes on a new format with five workstreams focusing on specific areas: your voice, your health, your education, your independence and your safety and stability.
  • Increased demand and complexity of cases, budgets and Issues with recruitment and retention continue to remain a concern for all through boroughs.
  • The SEND revisit noted significant progress has been made from the SEND Kingston inspection in 2018 
  • School places is an area of concern with a lot of movement into RBK and LBR of families and movement within the boroughs. 
  • RBK and LBR have had just under 700 new arrivals since 2021, from Hong Kong, which means it's really difficult to have any spare school places, putting pressure on the Admissions team.
  • In RBWM, a second refugee hotel has been identified and the council is now over its quota of taking young asylum seekers as part of the mandatory national transfer scheme.
  • High cost specialist placements for a small number of young people puts strain on the budget in RBK / LBR.