Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Neil Barnett Scrutiny Adviser
Declarations of Interest
Natalie Poyner – Service Manager – Childrens Teams
Sally Ann Jenkins – Strategic Director – Social Services
The Strategic Director introduced the report to the Committee and the Service Manager provided a background to the work being done. The Service Manager explained the contribution of Newport City Council in supporting Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children entering care following being dispersed in line with the National Transfer Scheme (NTS), along with four case studies. The new national voluntary rota was part of a broader NTS package to remove barriers to local authority participation and increase their participation in the scheme and to ensure that there is a more equitable distribution of unaccompanied children across the regions.
In March 2021, lead officers from Newport and Cardiff made a pilot scheme to join the transfer scheme and are acting for the region of Wales. It has been agreed that they would take an annual allocation of 30 children per year, the estimate cut is meant to be 10 for Newport/20 for Cardiff. The Committee was advised that the region is in the seventh cycle of the rota, where they were originally looking at four cycles per annum, as noted in the report, Wales as a region will exceed the number of 30 children, the current situation in Afghanistan is going to impact that also. In terms of next steps, as a one off award; Newport and Cardiff have been given 1 million pounds which has to be spent by end of March 2022. Therefore the pause and plan stage has been requested, and they are putting together starter packs, training foster carers and social workers to accompany complex needs.
Members were advised they are collaborating with partners in Newport for a corporate response to develop an integrated one stop shop for asylum seekers and their families. This will be a multi-agency response and a strategic route to deliver on this has been developed.
The Committee asked the following:
· Members wished to ascertain how many Local Authorities are part of the voluntary scheme and how many of these are within Wales.
The Service Manager confirmed that Cardiff and Newport act for the 22 local authorities within Wales. The rationale is, is that they already are culturally different from the other authorities therefore already have the infrastructure to support a diverse demographic. Those who have been dispersed to other authorities tend to want to return to Newport or Cardiff as they have found their own communities. The officer could not confirm the exact number but data within the report shows further information. The Strategic Director clarified that England for example is divided into large regions of North, South, East and West and went on to confirm that with the voluntary scheme, the Home Office has made it a voluntary scheme initially but if not enough regions would take it up, the office would have to put in other methods.
Therefore it would be sensible for Newport and Cardiff to take part as they could control ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
a) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)
b) Actions Plan (Appendix 2)
c) Information Reports (Appendix 3)
d) Scrutiny Letters (Appendix 4)
- Neil Barnett – Scrutiny Adviser
a) Forward Work Programme Update
The Scrutiny Adviser presented the Forward Work Programme, and informed the Committee of the topics due to be discussed at the next two committee meetings:
Wednesday 1st December 2021 at 5pm, the agenda items;
· Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV)
· Shared Resource Services (SRS) Update
Wednesday 2nd February 2021 at 5pm, the agenda items;
· One Newport Wellbeing Plan 2021-22 Q2 Performance
· Education Achievement Services (EAS) Business Plan
The Committee were reminded that the Gwent Public Services Board are establishing regional Scrutiny for the new Well-Being Plan, however this has not yet happened. We therefore need local Scrutiny of the Gwent Well-being Assessment which has a statutory deadline. The Committee would be needed to consider the consultation draft during the consultation window, so this would be 2nd week of January 2022 to 1st week February 2022. An additional meeting to be held on Thursday 20th January 2022 at 5pm was suggested to accommodate this.
The Committee agreed for the additional meeting to be arranged for Thursday 20th January 2022 at 5pm. The Scrutiny Adviser agreed to send out diary appointments shortly.
b) Actions Sheet
The Scrutiny Adviser informed Members that the Committee’scomments to Norse and the Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing were passed on for review. The same was done for the comments to the EAS team and Head of Education.