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30 June 2021

The Achieving for Children (AfC) Board of Directors met on 30 June 2021.

The following substantive items were considered:

Young person feedback

The Board heard from the Chair of the Youth Council who gave feedback on the young people’s involvement in the recruitment of the new Board non-executive directors. They reported that it was a positive experience and the relationship between the Board and the young people would continue to be built upon. There is currently a lot of engagement with young people across the three boroughs at operational level and discussion will continue on further engagement of young people with the Board.

Report from the Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

The Committee recommended to the Board that the annual report and accounts be agreed. The Board were updated on the level of risk on information governance, fire assurance and risk management. They were informed that the 2020/21 internal audit plan had been delivered despite Covid. The end of year opinion was that there is a positive level of internal control in AfC.

Voice of children and young people

The Board were presented with the youth needs analysis and this was discussed. The work of the report explored the needs of young people and the provision of youth services and includes a number of recommendations which will require a whole partnership approach with other agencies and how the recommendations are best taken forward is the subject of ongoing discussions.

SEND Futures update

The recent LGA review in Kingston had confirmed that the SEND Transformation Plan is a good plan. SEND transformation remains challenging and funds have been provided for two additional posts to add capacity. The Board noted the increase in needs assessments for which there is no funding. Partnership working is key to delivering the plan and conversations are ongoing to progress.

Health recruitment and retention

It was reported that challenges in recruiting to health service roles remain. It was agreed that further discussion around the AfC’s health strategy would take place in a separate meeting along with discussion on the pay differentials of NHS staff and AfC staff delivering the same health services.

Director of Children’s Services updates

Richmond and Kingston

The Board were notified that the recent local SEND inspection had taken place and the report is expected to be published in August.

A progress inspection on apprenticeships has also taken place.

The Board noted that significant pressure remains on waiting times for CAMHS particularly for autism spectrum conditions diagnosis and the eating disorder service.

Windsor and Maidenhead

An Ofsted SEND inspection revisit had taken place and the progress made on the majority of the remaining few actions from the written statement of action were judged as making sufficient progress.

Waiting times for occupational therapy are very high and, as a result of recommendation from independent OTs, costs for the service are rising. A model of delivery is being worked on and RBWM will be testing the model and, if successful, this could be rolled out to other therapy services.

Requests for foster placements in RBWM are continuing to rise with a number due to moves from current placements.

Chief Operating Officer’s report

Financial pressures on service delivery are still a challenge and are being looked at by the senior leadership team and finance colleagues.

The Impact Report has been finalised and this has been shared through the usual channels and social media will also be used to promote the report.