Councillor Mayes, Portfolio Holder for Health and Air Quality, presented the annual health report that considered the issue of Violence and Vulnerability in young people and how a public health approach could be used to improve outcomes for Thurrock residents. Councillor Mayes thanked the Director of Public Health, Ian Wake, and his team for this fantastic report. Members were referred to the four steps of the public health approach to violence which were (1) surveillance to identify the nature of the problem (2) identify the risk and preventative factors (3) develops and evaluates interventions to reduce the risk factors and improve protective factors and (4) implementation and scaling up of success.
Councillor Mayes stated the report aimed to deliver the first three steps and then to the point of implementation. Members were referred to the Public Health Approach in tackling serious violence and gang related activity and their characteristics, the methodology used as a framework in the understanding the issue of violence and vulnerability in Thurrock and proposed that multi-agency action was required to address this. The report also considered issues in detail on the context of the public health approach.
Councillor J Kent thanked the portfolio holder for the report and stated that the report was a fantastic piece of work that had been presented to the Cleaner Greener Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee in July. Councillor J Kent stated that when precious resources against violence and youth crime were required these should be at the head of the queue and made a plea that the recommendations be agreed with sufficient resources to see them succeed.
Councillor Kerin asked the portfolio holder to outline what he was doing to protect those children in care from gang related activities. Councillor Halden stated that a Gang Officer and the expansion of the Youth Offending Service was resourced and was already in place and secure. That investment to have additional adolescence mental health workers in schools and investments made into INSPIRE to ensure young people had a route into employment rather than into criminality. A task force was in place looking at employment and housing and how support structures could be put in place. That mental health and vulnerability health streams were being resourced and an update would be provided at the next Health and Wellbeing Board.
Councillor Ralph questioned with the changes in COVID with more children at home had the Council sought to employ more child psychologists in Thurrock. Councillor Halden stated that more work was being put into intervention with a psychologist team already in Thurrock but did not want an over clinical model that focused on medical intervention it was the preventative work that was required.
Councillor Redsell thanked the portfolio holder for the report and the brilliant work undertaken but stated it was vital to get to the children earlier say at primary school age.
Councillor Anderson stated the report had been successfully presented at the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee with good debate and discussion.
Councillor Massey echoed the comments already made that this was a fantastic report and it was good that issues were being tackled earlier before they became bigger problems.
Councillor Holloway also echoed the comments that this was a fantastic report prepared by Ian Wake and his team, and had a clear pathway going forward and hoped that the Portfolio Holder would ensure the recommendations were taken forward.
Councillor Okunade thanked Ian Wake for the detailed report and with the report being presented at the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee in July where members had found the report very useful and felt that this was the right way forward in particular the setting up of the locality based disciplinary panel. Councillor Okunade asked for assurance that the recommendations would be implemented and asked when this would take place. Councillor Mayes stated this report would be taken very seriously for the benefit of the young people of Thurrock and that costings around the recommendations would take place and would endeavour to do everything possible. Councillor Mayes assured members that these recommendations would not shelved, things may not happen straight away but there were things that could be done now and built upon.
Councillor Little firstly thanked Ian Wake for the report which were always so inclusive. Councillor Little reminded Members that they were in a unique position within their communities and it was vital that every Member played their part if they were to recognise something happening particularly with children or gang related. Members were reminded about the gang related training was available and encouraged all to sign up for it.
Councillor Spillman stated it was pleasing to see a wide range and challenging approach being undertaken by the Council to deal with these issues and thanked the portfolio holders and Ian Wake for the report and hoped that the recommendations came to fruition.
Councillor Mayes thanked Members for their questions and stated although the report may have been a difficult read it was a very important report.
1. That Council noted and commented on the content and recommendations contained within the report.
2. That Council considered how the findings and recommendations contained within the report can best be implemented and used to influence broader council strategy in this area.
At 8.36pm, Councillor Churchman left the meeting.