Councillor Halden introduced
the report and stated that this was the first step to improve
mental health services for children and young people across the
borough. He felt the current process was slow to respond and
focussed on formal therapy and the use of pharmaceuticals, which
made the service too clinical and focussed on those with more
severe mental health needs. He added that the current offer was not
locally accountable and Thurrock lacked the ability to measure
success. He explained that this report would maintain
Thurrock’s current place in the commissioning group,
alongside Council’s such as Southend, but would give Thurrock
better value for money and a more local arrangement. He stated that
it would allow seconded workers from Thurrock Council to work on
the contract and would break down silo working patterns. He added
that the Brighter Futures team would also provide a local
prevention offer as part of the Essex County Council contract, but
would be accountable to Thurrock. He stated that these proposals
had been accepted by the wider partnership and would ensure that
Thurrock’s voice was heard. He thanked Teresa Salami-Oru,
Catherine Wilson and Michele Lucas for their hard work on this
report, and felt it was the first step in changing the service and
providing a solution for Thurrock.
Councillor Mayes echoed Councillor Halden’s comments and stated that his first conversation as Portfolio Holder had been regarding mental health, and how to improve the service and support young people. He highlighted the new Mental Health Group which had been set up under the Health and Wellbeing Board to work on mental health transformation for young people, and would in turn support schools. He thanked officers and NHS partners for their support on this scheme and felt that the proposals would help children and young people, particularly post-COVID, when young people could experience an increased number of mental health crises.
The Leader thanked Councillors Halden and Mayes for their work on the report, and felt they had worked tirelessly to implement this change and help the service work better for Thurrock. He agreed that children and young people could experience mental health crises post-COVID and felt this report aimed the service in the right direction, by providing early intervention support. Councillor Jefferies supported the recommendations within the report as he felt children and young people would need additional mental health support in the coming months.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Agreed to the continuation of the collaborative commissioning arrangements and supported the financial contribution from Thurrock Council as set out in the report.
2. Agreed to the re-procurement of the tier two and tier three Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service through the collaborative commissioning arrangements.
3. Agreed the development of a local service response through the Brighter Futures strategy to address the mental health and emotional needs of young people in Thurrock, in collaboration with partners and the Collaborative Commissioning Forum, encompassing the core elements of the Thurrock specific plan listed above.
4. Agreed that the contract award be delegated to the Corporate Director of Children’s Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services and Adult Social Care, in line with current procedures.
Reason for decision: as outlined in report.
This decision is subject to call-in.