Agenda for Children & Young People's Overview & Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, 28th January, 2009, 5.00pm
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Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Hove Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Sharmini Williams, Scrutiny Support Officer
38.1 Declaration of Substitutes
There were none.
38.2 Declaration of Interests
Dr. Carrie Britton (Co-optee for Children’s Health) declared a personal interest in Item 46 (Children with additional needs) as she is a Children’s Services Engagement Advisor, Brighton & Hove City PCT and carries out Development Work for the Parent Carers’ Council, Amaze, Brighton & Hove.
38.3 Declaration of Party Whip
There was none.
38.4 Exclusion of Press and Public
In accordance with section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, it was considered whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of any items contained in the agenda, having regard to the nature of the business to be transacted and the nature of the proceedings and the likelihood as to whether, if members of the press and public were present, there would be disclosure to them of confidential or exempt information as defined in section 100I (1) of the said Act.
38.5 RESOLVED – That the press and public not be excluded from the meeting.
Draft minutes of the meeting held on the 19 November, 2009 (copy attached).
39.1 It was noted that further information was required in relation to paragraph 30.4 as to when the PCT would take the Chair of the Trust Board again.
39.2 In relation to paragraph 30.6, on the ratio of Children to Social Workers, a response to this question was sent out with the agenda papers on Tuesday, 20 January 2009
In response to a question as to why there were 11 Social Worker vacancies and whether staff retention was an issue Liz Rugg (AD Specialist Services) informed Members that these figures were lower than other Local Authorities and that Social Services were confident that they could recruit these numbers and were managing this process.
Additionally, the service were trying out a range of different approaches to retain staff, however that the reality was that some staff would leave. It was also important that Social Workers had experience in a range of other services to build on their experience and this was something that the service was working on.
Further information on the how many qualified Social Workers had more than 5 years experience was requested.
(1) That the minutes of the meeting on the 19 November, 2008 be approved and signed by the Chairman.
Chairman' s Communications
40.1 Councillor Lynda Hyde and Jonathan Stearn send their apologies.
40.2 The Chairman of the Ad-hoc Panel, Councillor Ann Norman updated the Committee on – “Reducing alcohol related harm to children and young people” informing members that at the last meeting on the 22 January there were another 4 witnesses and the existing evidence was that there was so much work being done so far to tackle this issue. Most of the alcohol that young people were drinking was obtained at home and had been given to them by family members.
40.3 The Working Group for the Public Health Report met on 1st December and the group decided that there was a need to look into early years and understand further what the current pathway is for a couple visiting their GP, having a visit from a midwife, health visitor and then onto the school nurse. Additionally, how the medical records are shared and how do these services work with one another? In connection with this, in June 2009 the report on Sure Start Self Evaluation Form (SEF) will be presented to CYPOSC which will give the opportunity to examine the early years service and also it maybe an opportunity to have an Ad-hoc Panel leading on from this?
40.4 At the Chairs discretion the Agenda items were altered with items being tabled in the following order:
46, 47, 45, 49, 44, 48 & 50.
(The closing date of for receipt of public questions was 12 noon on the 20 January, 2009).
No public questions have been received.
41.1 There were none.
Questions and Letters from Councillors
No questions or letters have been received.
42.1 No letters or written questions were received.
Notice of Motion referred from Council
No Notices of motion have been received.
43.1 No notices or motion have been received.
Update on the Proposed Falmer Academy
44.1 This item was taken after Agenda Item 49.
44.2 Lorraine O’Reilly, Project Director for Falmer Academy presented a verbal report which was based on the “Falmer Newsletter January 009” handout.
44.3 Members were informed that:
· The Funding Agreement had been signed by the government.
· The Outline Business Case had been approved and the £28 million had been earmarked for the project.
· Two contractors were being considered for the building and the preferred bidder would be announced in May.
· The appointment of the Principal had been unsuccessful so far and the next round of interviews was in March.
· Falmer Parents’ Council was to be set up by Easter.
· Construction work is scheduled to start in Summer 2009.
· The Academy opens in September 2010.
· All the building work is to be finished by the end of 2011.
44.4 In response to a question on what parents views were taken into account, Members were advised that the Parents Council would enable them to give their views into the branding, school uniforms, bus routes, length of school day and the nutritional value of school meals.
44.5 In relation to a question as to what the Terms of Reference of the Parents Council consisted of, it was noted that any parent could join the Parents Council as they wanted to encourage parent engagement as much as possible and that the group itself would develop the Terms of Reference.
44.6 In answer to a question on why a Principal had not been selected, the Committee was told how broad the interview process was and that it had consisted of psychometric tests, educational representative panels, student and community panels. The final interview panel consisted of the Trustees and Di Smith (Director of Children’s Services) and a senior representative of the DCSF. It was noted that there was a shortage of headteachers but it was felt that Brighton & Hove would attract potential applicants.
44.7 Members were informed how the legal challenges within European Law would probably not affect the Academy in Brighton but future Academies may be affected if there was a breach of the procurement process.
44.8 RESOLVED – Members noted the update on the Falmer Academy.
Report of the Director of Children’s Services.
45.1 This item was taken after Agenda item 47.
45.2 Jo Lyons, AD Learning & Schools, Jackie Whitford, Co-ordinator of Traveller Education Team and Hilary Ferries, Acting Senior Adviser Early Year and Primary presented the report to Members and answered questions.
45.3 In answer to a question about the 50% of children engaged in appropriate education, it was explained how these families are highly mobile and can change location regularly making it difficult to maintain contact. Transport was frequently arranged to pick up these children from the sites and take them to the schools. Where the onward location of a family outside of Brighton and Hove was established, coordination between Local Authorities is undertaken to ensure future education provision is available.
45.4 Members were informed the current Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Brighton and Hove and East Sussex provided excellent value for money.
Having the SLA in place helps even out the peaks and troughs in of the service. Regular meetings are held to ensure adequate resource is being provided.
45.5 It was noted that percentage targets for the engagement of children were increasing. Where it was felt that children were at risk, assessments were taken and appropriate action agreed.
45.6 CYPOSC requested an annual report on the performance data of this issue along with more regular updates on issues arising throughout the year.
45.7 Members were informed how difficult it can be to prove that children have not attended the 200 half days a year and how it was very complex to prove that a legal arrangement had not been adhered to.
45.8 In answer to a question what support teachers received to deal with transient children, it was noted that a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) met the diverse needs of the children, bespoke training was offered to teachers and schools were advised on how to prepare for transient children.
45.9 RESOLVED –
(1) Members consulted and approved the report.
(2) That the Annual Report and an update on the work of the Traveller Education Service in Brighton & Hove with reference to the Achievement Programme Model in the Gypsy and Traveller Achievement Programme be brought to CYPOSC.
An update on children with additional needs.
46.1 This item was taken after Agenda Item 43.
46.2 Dr. Carrie Britton, CYPOSC Health Co-optee presented the report including a presentation on the “The local experience of families of children with additional needs” and answered questions.
46.3 In response to a question on whether the Parents Carers Council in Brighton and Hove reached out to wider areas it was confirmed that they did, that West Sussex had been going for longer and engagement with a wider group of Parents was important so as to make more people aware of the Parents Carers Council.
46.4 Members thanked Carrie on the report and for highlighting the issues raised by the Parent Carers Council.
46.5 The discussion on this is report was incorporated in Agenda Item 47.
(1) The Committee noted agenda items 46 and 47.
(2) The Committee thanked Dr. Carrie Britton and the Parents Carers Council
(3) It was agreed to receive a more in depth report from the Children and Young People’s Trust (CYPT) and it’s Partnership Boards at the 25 March CYPOSC meeting before addressing the recommendations within this report.
Report of the Director of Children’s Services.
47.1 This item was taken after Agenda Item 46.
47.2 The CYPT provided a short report to CYPOSC in response to the process issues raised by Dr Britton’s presentation and Liz Rugg (AD for Specialist Services) answered questions from members. The CYPT undertook to give a fuller written response to Dr Britton’s report at the next CYPOSC meeting
47.2 Members were assured that CYPT viewed the report on the Item 46 “Children with additional needs” as invaluable input into developing the service. Many of the issues raised are challenging and will need detailed discussion to respond to fully.
47.3 The issue of service users presenting directly to committee’s was discussed and whether they need to report their findings to CYPT and other partnerships first? Members agreed the service user feedback was useful but needs to be contextualised.
47.4 RESOLVED –
(1) Members requested a detailed response to the recommendations made in Agenda Item 46 “Children with additional needs” (page 34):
· Annually review delivery of protocols/charters that BHCC has signed up to
· Encourage better joint intelligence
· Widen evidence heard at CYPOSC
· Work with partners to consider reform and reconfiguration of services across hospital/community boundary for children with ongoing and complex health needs
· Seek and support representation from the Parents Carers’ Council
· Smarter use of consultation information from service user groups
· Look at further funding for the Parent Carer Council
(2) Additionally, a response is requested to include a view as to how CYPOSC can best engage with service users in the future.
Report of the Director of Children’s Services
48.1 Caroline Parker, Head of Service for City Early Years and Childcare presented the report to Members and answered questions.
48.2 In answer to a question as to how potential hosts for a Children Centre in Preston Park had been selected, it was explained that all childcare and education providers to the south of Preston Drove and east of London Road had been invited to express an interest. A paper had gone to the Children and Young People Trust Board in September 2008 which had noted that the Preston Circus area is in a worst 30% Super Output Area and that the centre would need to be accessible from London Road.
48.3 In response to a question on funding and whether it was secure, the Committee were informed that both the capital and revenue funding for Children’s Centres come in a ring-fenced grants from the Department for Children, Schools and Families which are announced in three year allocations. This is similar to the funding arrangements for schools. The Government has already legislated to give local authorities a duty to provide integrated early years services and are planning further legislation to make Children’s Centres permanent.
48.4 In answer to a question on the monitoring of Children’s Centres it was explained that progress on Children’s Centres is monitored by a government funded organisation called Together for Children who decide when a Children’s Centre is ready for full designation. Ofsted is piloting inspecting Children’s Centres and it is likely that these arrangements will be rolled out nationally.
48.5 Members noted that children with additional needs are included in one of the hard to reach groups who have to be monitored as part of the Self-Evaluation Framework. This should be noted in the equalities implications in future.
(1) The Committee noted the information in the report.
(2) To include children with additional needs in the equalities implications within any future reports.
Report of the Director of Children’s Services.
49.1 This item followed on after Agenda Item 45.
49.2 Jo Lyons, AD Learning & Schools, Linda Ellis, Senior Secondary and Special Schools Adviser and Hilary Ferries, Acting Senior Adviser Early Year and Primary, presented the report to Members and explained that it was “good news” and this report was a requirement and additional to the Ofsted reports.
49.3 It was noted that Carlton Hill School’s high performance and as a school in one of the most deprived super output areas; it was thought that it could be due to the neighbourhood management work that had been carried out on the area. However it wasn’t certain whether budgets would be continued for this work which may jeopardise any future good performance within schools in the Tarner area.
49.4 Members were informed that there were no fixed term exclusions at young ages.
49.5 Definitions of gifted and talented pupils were discussed. It was noted that all schools were required to identify at least their highest achieving 5% of pupils. Gifted is commonly used to refer to academic achievement, talented is used for areas such as the arts and sports. Every school in Brighton and Hove has a member of staff responsible for this area of development.
‘Although DCSF guidance suggests a norm of around 10% of learners per school should be regarded as gifted and talented, schools are free to determine the size of their gifted and talented population but this should be broadly representative of the whole school intake in terms of gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background, be justified as part of whole-school policy and understood by all staff, students and parents/carers.’ (from Brighton and Hove Gifted and Talented Policy 2008)
49.6 RESOLVED- The Committee noted and approved the report.
50.1 Members requested that the CYPOSC Work Programme connect more closely with the CYPT Board reports and have a link with the Children’s Trusts and Governance issues.
50.2 Additionally it was noted that the CYPOSC Work Programme needs to have more connection with the Forward Plan and have the capacity to respond to emerging issues/priorities e.g. “Stocktake of Safeguarding Service” due to a recent Council’s serious safeguarding case.
50.3 The “Brighton and Hove Admissions Forum Annual Report 2008” was handed to Members and to find out whether Members wanted further information on this, as it is on the Work Programme as “Primary Schools Admissions” for the 25 March 2009.
50.4 Officers to advise Members on what areas were covered in the “Child Poverty” report, which is due to CYPOSC on the 25 March 2009.
50.5 RESOLVED- The Work Programme to reflect and link closely with the Children’s Trust Board issues and to bring relevant items from the Governance Committee to CYPOSC.