Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remotely via Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Liz Jordan 01792 637314 


No. Item


Disclosure of Personal and Prejudicial Interests.


No disclosures of interest were made.


Prohibition of Whipped Votes and Declaration of Party Whips


No declarations were made.


Minutes of Previous Meeting(s) pdf icon PDF 308 KB


No matters arising from Minutes of the Joint Social Services Panel meeting 15 February 2021.


Public Question Time

Questions must be submitted in writing, no later than noon on the working day prior to the meeting.  Questions must relate to items on the agenda.  Questions will be dealt with in a 10-minute period.


No questions submitted.


WAO Report: Tackling Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence pdf icon PDF 532 KB

Invited to attend:

Louise Gibbard, Cabinet Member - Supporting Communities

Julie Davies, Head of Child & Family Services

Jane Whitmore – Strategic Lead Partnership & Commissioning

Kelli Richards – Principal Officer, Child & Family Services

Megan Stevens – Practice Lead (VAWDASV Partnership Development)



Adult Services Panel Members invited for this item


Louise Gibbard, Cabinet Member for Supporting Communities, Jane Whitmore, Strategic Lead Partnership and Commissioning, Kelli Richards, Principal Officer CFS and Megan Stevens, Practice Lead (VAWDASV Partnership Development) attended to brief the Panel on this item.


Discussion Points:

·         This is a matter of concern to Adult Services and Child and Family Services. 

·         There is a range of work going on in this area despite the pandemic and there is a cross council approach involving Social Services, Housing, Tackling Poverty and Third Sector organisations.

·         Five generic recommendations came out of the WAO report.  The Council has met all five recommendations.  Swansea’s Domestic Abuse Hub also mentioned in the report as an innovative way of working.

·         There is an emphasis on developing work with perpetrators.

·         All the teams sit under one portfolio in Child and Family Services, making it a much smoother process. 

·         Report mentions a funding gap for prevention work.  We have had additional funding but there is still a gap. Funding is positive but comes with a risk as work is funded by grants that are uncertain going forward.  This issue is brought up with Welsh Government continually, as it needs to be mainstreamed.  

·         Panel queried if there is anything they can do to help with this situation.  Officers will come back with any suggestions of how scrutiny can help. 

·         Lots of support available for everyone affected by domestic abuse.  Go online to Council’s website if need help or worried about anyone else. 

·         Panel requested more information on prevention and work being done with children in particular, in respect of educating them as well as making them aware of support. Informed domestic abuse hub is preventative but is secondary.  New approach is primary prevention.  Welsh Government encourage ‘whole school’ approach.  It has been incorporated into school’s new curriculum. Panel felt their role as governor in schools was very important and queried if it was possible to arrange training for all councillors.  CM supported this suggestion and agreed, along with officers, to put this in place.

·         Panel raised the issue about men suffering from domestic abuse, and queried if we are making it just as easy for them to get support.  Informed men have access to services too.  Data shows majority are women but numbers have been increasing for men recently.

·         Officers believe male victims are under reported due to ego and stigma.  The numbers we know are probably far less for men and women. 

·         Panel very surprised to hear that 4,300 children are affected by domestic violence in Swansea. 



·         Information to be provided on how Panel can assist with lobbying Welsh Government regarding grant funding.

·         Training to be put in place for all councillors as governors to raise awareness.





Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Invited to attend:

Elliott King, Cabinet Member - Children’s Services

Dave Howes, Director of Social Services

Julie Davies, Head of Child & Family Services

Additional documents:


Julie Davies, Head of Child and Family Services briefed the Panel on the Performance Monitoring Report for January 2021 and informed the Panel that overall performance across CFS is very good. The main highlights: There are increasing referrals through Early Help Hubs.  Average caseloads have gone down but they are more complex, in part due to Covid restrictions.  Assessment timelines have improved.  Number of children on child protection register have slightly reduced.  LAC Reduction Strategy is working well in Swansea.  Placement stability very strong during pandemic due to good support provided through foster carers and social workers.  Youth Justice Service on improvement journey; targeted plan in place and in January, all assessments required to be achieved in 20 days were. All children and care leavers have a pathway plan.


Discussion Points:

·         Children in Need of Care and Support number dropped considerably in last few months.  Reduction is due to removing children who do not need to be there or due to stepping down.

·         Signs of Safety numbers low, partly due to pandemic but also there is an issue recording on PARIS system.  Panel was assured Signs of Safety work is happening and will be much simpler to record when new WCCIS system goes live on 12 April 2021. 

·         Discussed how relationship between CFS and schools is going and if CFS is getting level of co-operation needed to identify any problems.  Informed positive working relationship with some schools and strategically but they could do more.  Weekly meetings are held with Education and schools are engaging with CFS on ‘Threshold’. 

·         Supervision figures for Townhill Pod 1 quite low as there is a system recording issue and CFS has records that have not been uploaded yet.






Safeguarding Quality Unit Annual Report pdf icon PDF 197 KB

Invited to attend:

Elliott King, Cabinet Member - Children’s Services

Dave Howes, Director of Social Services

Julie Davies, Head of Child & Family Services

Damian Rees, Principal Officer Safeguarding Performance Quality

Additional documents:


Damian Rees, Principal Officer Safeguarding Performance Quality briefed the Panel on the Annual Report, which included an overview of the Service, Child Protection Conferences, and Looked after Children Reviews.


Discussion Points:

·         Education are involved in de-escalating child protection cases and their attendance is very good.  Panel pleased to hear this.

·         On the advocacy issue, Panel pleased to see an increase in number of children knowing what ‘advocacy’ means. 

·         Officers do not know why only a small number of children want to take up offer of advocacy.  This is something they need to look at.  They believe that take up is similar in other regions. Officers keen to hear from children themselves why not taking up advocacy service.

·         Panel queried if advocate is a consistent person.  Confirmed it should be same person with a child through the whole time.

·         Feedback from youngsters who have used advocacy has been positive.

·         Officers confirmed there is still work that needs to be done around Personal Education Plans (PEPs).  It is not just the social worker involved; have to work with the school.  Consistency needs to improve.

·         Panel queried if Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) involved with Health Assessments.  Informed it is not incorporated into these plans.  However they meet regularly with CAMHS and they are monitoring that children the Council looks after, has access to these services. 

·         Cabinet Member confirmed not all young children will need the primary help CAMHS provide.  Update on CAMHS is scheduled for discussion at May CFS Panel.

·         Officers confirmed an increase in completion of life story work to 60% but it needs to improve more.  It is at the forefront of the action plan.  There are some issues with recording on the system but WCCIS should address these issues.

·         Panel queried if the Directorate is satisfied with service they are getting from Barnardos and BAYS+.  Informed Directorate is doing a piece of work to look at this service and may make some changes.  A paper will be brought to the Panel on this in the future.

·         CM felt it was helpful for scrutiny to see this Annual Report and would like to bring it to the Panel again in the future.



·         Add ‘Adolescent Strategy and Action Plan’ to future work programme after September 2021.

·         Add ‘Safeguarding Quality Unit Annual Report 2020-21’ to future work programme.




Work Programme Timetable 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 298 KB


The Panel considered the work programme. 


Date of next meeting moved from 5 May to 25 May due to Senedd Elections.


Letters pdf icon PDF 217 KB


Letters received and considered by the Panel.

Letter to Cabinet Member EK (24 March 2021 meeting) pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Letter to Cabinet Member LG (24 March 2021 meeting) pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Response from Cabinet Member LG (24 March 2021 meeting) pdf icon PDF 320 KB