- Meeting of Transport, Environment and Communities Select Committee, Tuesday 6th November 2018 10.00 am (Item 7.)
Members will monitor and review the progress towards the implementation of the inquiry recommendations as agreed by Cabinet in March 2018.
Noel Brown, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement
Nigel Sims, Head of Community Wellbeing
Faye Blunstone, Community Safety Coordinator
The Chairman welcomed the Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Mr N Sims Head of Community Wellbeing and Mrs F Blunstone Community Safety Coordinator who introduced the item. The full discussion can be viewed on the webcast but included the following points:
· That significant progress and success had been made with the set up and successful start to the new victim service. There was a coordinator, 2 other posts and the programme manager in place.
· In September there was a hugely successful police raid. A number of victims of modern slavery were rescued. The victim service offered by the Willow Project was fundamental to this. Three perpetrators were arrested and six victims agreed to be referred through the National Referral Mechanism and agreed to go to court. This was an unprecedented level of support gained from victims.
· The Inquiry Chairman Mr S Lambert, told officers and the Cabinet Member he was hugely impressed with the progress that had been made and praised the officers for their hard work and dedication to driving forward the Committee’s recommendations and work within this important area.
Mrs F Blunstone then provided the Committee with an update on each recommendation in turn and Members asked questions. The full report can be found in the agenda pack and these minutes should be read alongside the detailed progress report.
The following points were raised:
Recommendation 1: Members were informed that this action had been fully implemented The Modern Slavery statement had been agreed by the Cabinet Member and would be published online imminently. Members agreed that this action had been completed to their satisfaction and praised the officers for their detailed response.
Recommendation 2: Members agreed that this recommendation was on track. They asked to see the wording that was due to be added to the business unit plans for both Adult Social Care and the Children Social Care Service areas.
ACTION: Mr Blunstone to provide Ms K Wager with the wording that would be added to the BU plans as required by recommendation 2. Ms Wager will then circulate this to Committee Members.
Recommendation 3: Members agreed that this was on track and they were impressed with the progress made to date. Members asked about the steps taken to increase the numbers of County Council staff and Members attending the training. Mr Reed and Mr Lambert offered to encourage Members through the Member Development Working Group to attend and Mr Lambert informed the Committee that a Member briefing on modern slavery was being scheduled.
Members were told that training leads within Adults and Children’s Social Care had been contacted to help encourage more staff from these important teams to sign up to training sessions. There would be another 50 County Council staff trained in November, the majority of which were social workers. The training had been marketed internally and with partners and the team would continue promoting the training sessions to ensure that it reached as many staff as possible. There would also be an E-learning package that would be ready in December. This would be twenty minutes long and all staff would be able to complete it and have a basic awareness of modern slavery, what to look out for and where to find further information and guidance. Managers would be expected to go on the face to face training delivered by the Willow Project.
Mr Lambert informed the Committee that he had attended the training delivered by the Willow Project and highly recommended it for all Members and Officers alike.
Recommendation 4: Members were impressed and reassured by the work that had taken place to implement this recommendation. Members were also informed that a video produced by the service on modern slavery was being shared with other councils. Members agreed that this recommendation was on track to be fully complete.
Recommendation 5: Members congratulated the officers for the detailed response and progress that had been made on this recommendation. The detail in the report on this recommendation demonstrated that it had been completed. Members would review how well the information available on the intranet had embedded when they review progress at the 12 month update.
Recommendation 6: Members heard how single points of contact had been identified and trained within children’s and adult social services. There was only one for children’s and three for adult social services. Members were told that as a result, the community safety team had liaised with children’s services and they had now identified a further three single points of contact who would be trained.
Members agreed that this recommendation was on track to be fully complete and it would be reviewed at the 12 month update.
Recommendation 7: Members asked about the low numbers of potential victims recorded on the adult social care system. Members heard that numbers remain low, and this was mainly due to training issues. As more people were trained this would impact on the numbers of potential victims recorded. The changes to the children’s social care recording system would be confirmed in the very near future. Members asked about how information would pass over from children’s to adults in transition from children to adult services. They were told that the new recording system will record both adult and children’s data to ensure information was not lost during transitions.
Members agreed that progress was on track and they would review this area again at the 12 month review to ensure that the recording of potential victims and referrals was robust.
Recommendation 8: Members heard about the delay to the victim service, but as mentioned above, the Willow Service set up in September 18 had been hugely successful so far and was having a significantly positive impact locally. The service would be in place until 2020 with the possibility to extend. The pilot was working very well; the recent police operation was testament to that. The success of the operation could not be underestimated and was down to partnership working and the support the service offered victims. The victim service and the community safety team were working closely with the police and crime commissioner who funded the victim service and provided the venue for the victim reception centre which perfectly supported victims.
Members agreed that this recommendation was on track and they looked forward to reviewing the evaluation of the pilot in 6 months’ time.
The Chairman told officers he was delighted with progress. He thanked the officers and the Willow Project (victim service) for the dedicated work that had taken place in this very important area. The Cabinet Member thanked the Committee for the interest and involvement they had in raising awareness of this issues, raising the profile of the work that had taken place and driving improvement in this area.