To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 21st June 2023.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 21st June 2023 be approved as a correct record, subject to a matter of accuracy raised by Cllr Lamb, which was noted and with an undertaking being provided that this would be followed up. Specifically, the matter of accuracy related to a bullet point within Minute No. 6 (Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership Annual Report 2021/23) regarding the role of the Independent Scrutineer: ‘clarification was provided that the intention was for the partnership to continue to have an ‘independent scrutineer’ in place which would follow on from the role of the Independent Chair of the LSCP, with it being noted that the recruitment process for the new ‘scrutineer’ was underway’.
Referencing resolution (c) of Minute No. 8, 21 June 2023 (Report to Consider a Council Resolution agreed at a Meeting of Full Council on 22 March 2023) which states ‘That it be noted and endorsed that the Council is committed to continuing the current model of independent oversight, by having a role of Independent Scrutineer’, Cllr Lamb highlighted that the decision of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) Executive had been brought to his attention that moving forward the Independent Scrutineer would no longer chair the LSCP and the Review Advisory Group. Cllr Lamb raised a number of concerns. In doing so he highlighted that he deemed this to be a significant change to the model, a downgrading of that role, with a number of implications arising. He also noted that he had not been kept informed. Further to this, Cllr Lamb sought and received legal advice in relation to the matters discussed.
In response to the points raised, the Board discussed whether or not this signified a change to the current model of independent oversight when considering the role of the Independent Scrutineer, whether or not it could be argued that it marked a downgrading of that role and received further information regarding the process by which the current position had been reached. As part of that discussion, assurances were provided to the concerns raised, with the Director of Children and Families emphasising that this did not signify a change to the model. The Executive Member for Children Social Care and Health Partnerships provided assurance to the Board that this did not signify a downgrading of the role.
Separately, responding to an enquiry regarding Elected Member representation on related Outside Bodies, the Board received an update on such matters, with it being noted that the Executive Member (Children Social Care and Health Partnerships) continued to sit upon the Leeds Children and Young People’s Partnership.
Also in response to an enquiry, clarification was provided regarding the involvement of the Executive Member (Children Social Care and Health Partnerships) on the recruitment panel for the Independent Scrutineer, with it being noted that the Executive Member had been invited to be involved in that process by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership Executive, in her capacity as the Council’s relevant Executive Member.
Following the consideration of the issues raised, it was undertaken that the matter would be discussed further outside of the Board.