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25 July 2022

Report from the Chairperson

Significant inflation issues, new CEO for London Borough of Richmond and Royal Borough Windsor and Maidenhead in the Autumn, Ownership Board taking place in September.

CYP Board Engagement

Meeting held with the Director of Children’s Services for all three boroughs about CYP engagement with the Board who are supportive to the plan and the following recommendations:

  • Board to have joined up CYP meetings once a term 3 x per year across the three local authorities to have a synchronised approach from September 2022 from the nine CYP groups across the three boroughs.
  • To hold an annual half day event for CYP to celebrate achievements etc and going forward will be more inclusive in the coming years.
  • Full board meetings to include 5-10 minute messages from the CYP directly.
  • The Buddy system - more clarity is needed; to be put on hold until 2023.

Updates from Board members and safeguarding

  • Board members continue to liaise with staff and be informed of work practices for their areas of responsibility. 
  • Safeguarding contingency plan in place along with a business continuity plan for RBWM.
  • Safeguarding updates for Kingston and Richmond and the SEND Partnership Board work were provided to the Board.
  • Sufficiency planning, mapping and best practice working continues.

Audit and Risk Committee update

The Audit and Risk Committee met in March 2022 and the following was highlighted:

  • Sufficiency Strategy was reviewed
  • Signed-off annual reports and accounts to come to this board 
  • The external audit report by CROWE was positive 
  • Reviewed internal audit plan for year coming up 
  • Risk register and business assurance framework was discussed 
  • Looked into cyber security and approved a proposed plan going forward to review our approach to cyber security across AfC. 

Quarterly Business Plan and Project update

A quarterly update was well-received by the Board. Board members requested the following for future updates:

  • Commentary in future of direction of travel 
  • Colour coding for savings targets if at risk of being achieved
  • Progress of updates to be shown in a new column with a route from amber to green / amber to red etc.
  • Savings targets with risk of delivery for future updates.

Children’s Home Business Case

Business case was presented to the Board for a second provision for RBK - a three bedroom smaller residential purpose built for children with complex needs working in conjunction with Hope House as the level of need has increased by 14% over the last four years. 

A detailed discussion took place and it was agreed that more details about the delivery model, sufficient strategy and occupancy is required over the coming months.

Updates from Directors of Children’s Services for RBWM and Kingston and Richmond

Updates were provided to the Board and covered:

  • JTAI action plan, recruitment and retention continues to be a challenge.

Safeguarding Annual Reports

RBWM - partnership annual report for 21/22 was distributed to Board members. RBWM has adopted the Berkshire method dealing with the contextual model across oversight and overview. LBR and RBK have a similar model in what’s gone well and priorities with similar themes; a report will be available later this year.

COFO Executive update

Recruitment and retention remains a focus with a social media campaign. Inflation and cost of living continue to make managing budgets difficult. Level of need and complexity is increasing social workers caseloads and impacting on performance. New AfC intranet has been launched, is proving popular and being used by staff. 

 AfC has three websites

  •  1. RBK and LBR on the service users side for parents and young people 
  •  2. Corporate website - for partners i.e. IFA 
  •  3. RBWM children and young people /families

Annual reports and accounts 

The Chief Operating and Finance Officer reported a good closing year for accounts; the Board agreed the accounts. Next steps are for the accounts to be signed off, sent to Companies House and published on the website.