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Welcome and Introductions
The Chair welcomed members of the panel and participants to the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Taylor Price.
Southwark Serious Youth Panel Update
Councillor Evelyn Akoto
Caroline Thwaites and Sharon Ogden presented the report – Southwark Serious Youth Panel Update.
The panel discussed issues around youth violence during the Covid-19 period and the impact of falling employment and increased poverty. The panel talked about apprenticeships, Police stop and search, and the importance of retaining various funding / grant opportunities.
Education and Business Scrutiny Commission
Councillor Peter Babudu
Councillor Peter Babudu gave an overview.
The panel discussion was around school exclusions and off-rolling. The commission had looked at the prospect for a borough wide charter / partnership with schools. Home schooling had doubled in recent years. It needed to be a choice for parents rather than them being compelled to do it to avoid exclusion.
The panel discussed the detrimental impacts of exclusions on young people and how lives can spiral out of control afterwards.
Some schools took their responsibilities seriously and tried to address the problem whilst others passed the problem on to pupil referral units.
Positive Futures Fund
· Carl Konadu, 2-3 degrees
· Doreen Sinclair-McCollin, Identity project
· Nigel Scott-Dickenson, InSpire project
Doreen Sinclair-McCollin, Identity project
Doreen talked about local victims of knife and gun crime and the idea of mentoring victims and perpetrators of crime. Carrying out risk assessments and offering advice and counselling. After the support programme the individual would be referred to the Identity project. Doreen explained that early intervention and self-awareness was key to enable young people to achieve.
Carl Konadu, 2-3 degrees
Carl explained that 2-3 degrees runs a confidence and self-esteem programme. It helps change the narrative that young people have of themselves through engagement. The group partnered with a range of employers to make the working environment more familiar and be seen as the norm. It also helped young people develop their interview skills and business ideas.
Nigel Scott-Dickenson, InSpire project
Nigel outlined some of the positive activities that took place at InSpire. These were primarily for young people from the Aylsebury estate. There were youth club activities throughout the week. During lockdown there had been online activities including fitness on Zoom. Out of the positive futures, there were group activities outside the borough in the countryside where young people took part in swimming and canoeing and experience new things.
The Chair paid tribute to all the positive futures groups and all the grass roots work being undertaken.
Community Harm and Exploitation Hub
Caroline Thwaites / Bethan West
Bethan West, from the Community Harm and Exploitation Hub, gave a powerpoint presentation.
• The role of the Community Harm & Exploitation Hub (CHEH) is to help to reduce and tackle contextual safeguarding and exploitation issues for young people, vulnerable adults and their families in Southwark, aged 16 plus.
• The CHEH is Southwark’s Violence Reduction Unit with an extended remit to include exploitation, both sexual and criminal.
• The CHEH will be a co-located, multiagency, integrated team made up from statutory agencies and voluntary organisations who will hold casework and meet with clients directly. Initially, the team will include young people and residents as CHEH Champions with other roles identified as the work develops.
• The team includes staff from Community Safety, Housing, SASBU, YOS, Education, Public Health, Social Care, Early Help, Probation, DWP, NHS, Community Southwark, Young Advisors, St Giles Trust, Oasis, Rescue and Response, Together, Southwark Works, Safer London, Abianda, Victim Support, YGAM, Shian Housing, family Information, advice and guidance, legal advocacy project and Trailblazers.
• Other partners who are funded and based in Southwark will be invited to join the CHEH partnership to support clients in a more joined-up way.
• Referral pathway will be through partners but self or family referrals will be possible.
The Chair added that Southwark’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) was comprehensive. It looked at supporting families rather than just individuals and indoor problems as well as those outside in the community.
The panel discussed how the success of the hub was monitored and how useful information was shared with local partners within protocols that were regularly reviewed.
Next Steps / Reflections on the panel recommendations
Given the current environment and contextual backdrop to this difficult work area, the panel reflected on progress to date along with the following questions:
1. Are all of the recommendations still relevant?
2. Are there areas that need amplifying?
3. Are there any new recommendations to be considered?
The panel discussed adding to the recommendations to cover:
· Improving digital access and bridging that divide. Young people need access to the tech that enables them to engage at home.
· Strong effort needed to track and evaluate data and plug any gaps.
· Strengthening parents who want to self-organise and help make better use of that resource
· Funding to open experiences for young people
· Advice for young people on Police Stop and Search. Knowledge of their rights and advice on how to respond to this
· The education section should be tweaked to facilitate a local forum for all schools expected to attend to meet regularly and share best practice
· Consider ring-fencing some CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) funding for projects for young people
· More support for parents who want / need it. Some TRAs are active and know what to do others do not. Key TRAs should work with the Community and Exploitation Hub on issues like referrals.
The Chair summarised that the recommendations should be tracked to monitor progress whilst some things do need to be tweaked / adapted to the current Covid world.
The Chair recommended that the panel meet again next year to look at progress and see how things are.
Caroline said that officers would look at what was needed to get the recommendations (with some tweaks) over the line (move to a Green rag rating), whilst being mindful of resources. Officers would revise and circulate to members for electronic sign off. She added that pressure could be put on central and regional Government for continued funding of key initiatives.
The Chair thanked everyone for their work and contributions to the meeting.