Agenda for Children & Young People Committee on Monday, 13th January, 2014, 4.00pm
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Agenda, decisions and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Hove Town Hall
Contact: Penny Jennings Democratic Services Officer
(a) Declaration of Substitutes: Where Councillors are unable to attend a meeting, a substitute Member from the same Political Group may attend, speak and vote in their place for that meeting.
(b) Declarations of Interest:
(a) Disclosable pecuniary interests not registered on the register of interests;
(b) Any other interests required to be registered under the local code;
(c) Any other general interest as a result of which a decision on the matter might reasonably be regarded as affecting you or a partner more than a majority of other people or businesses in the ward/s affected by the decision.
In each case, you need to declare
(i) the item on the agenda the interest relates to;
(ii) the nature of the interest; and
(iii) whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest or some other interest.
If unsure, Members should seek advice from the committee lawyer or administrator preferably before the meeting.
(c) Exclusion of Press and Public: To consider whether, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, or the nature of the proceedings, the press and public should be excluded from the meeting when any of the following items are under consideration.
NOTE: Any item appearing in Part Two of the Agenda states in its heading the category under which the information disclosed in the report is exempt from disclosure and therefore not available to the public.
A list and description of the exempt categories is available for public inspection at Brighton and Hove Town Halls.
50(a) Declaration of Substitutes
50.1 There were none.
50(b) Declarations of interest
50.2 There were none.
50(c) Exclusion of Press and Public
50.3 In accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 (“the Act”), the Committee considered whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during an item of business on the grounds that it was likely, in view of the business to be transacted or the nature of proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present during that item, there would be disclosure to them of confidential information (as defined in section 100A(3) of the Act) or exempt information (as defined in section 100(I) of the Act).
50.4 RESOLVED- That the press and public be not excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the agenda.
To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2013 (copy attached).
51.1 RESOLVED – That the Chair be authorised to sign the minutes of the meeting of 18 November 2013 as a correct record.
Schools Capital Block Grant
52.1 The Chair stated that details of the grant settlement for 2015/16 had been notified recently by the office of Secretary of State for Education. The level of settlement was (thanks to the hard work by officers of the Department), significantly better than anticipated assist in funding the additional school places which were needed across the city.
Social Worker of the Year – Short Listing
52.2 The Chair was pleased to report that Jennifer Gander, Senior Social Worker had been shortlisted for the Social Worker of the Year Award. This was a testament to her dedicated work over a number of years.
52.3 The Chair confirmed that the above item formed the subject of a presentation to that days meeting and would as requested appear as a standing item on future agendas. It was very pleasing to note that overall results had been sustained or were improving and that measures were in place to support any schools whose results had been disappointing.
52.4 RESOLVED – That the contents of the Chair’s Communications be received and noted.
(a) Items (54 – 61) will be read out at the meeting and Members invited to reserve the items for consideration.
(b) Those items not reserved will be taken as having been received and the reports’ recommendations agreed.
53.1 All of the reports on the agenda were called for discussion.
To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:
(a) Petitions: to receive any petitions presented to the full council or at the meeting itself;
(b) Written Questions: to receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 6 January 2014;
(c) Deputations: to receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 6 January 2014.
51.1 There were none.
51b Written Questions
52.2 There were none.
52.3 There were none.
To consider the following matters raised by Councillors:
(a) Petitions: to receive any petitions submitted to the full Council or at the meeting itself;
(b) Written Questions: to consider any written questions;
(c) Letters: to consider any letters;
(d) Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Council or submitted directly to the Committee.
55.1 There were none.
55b Written Questions
55.2 There were none.
55.3There were none.
55d Notices of Motion
55.4 There were none.
Ofsted Reports Update
This is a Standing Item which provides the opportunity for officers to update the Committee on Ofsted reports received since the last meeting of the Committee and on other relevant issues.
This will take the form of a presentation and oral update.
56.1 The Head of Standards Achievement, Education and Inclusion gave a presentation providing an update on Ofsted inspections carried out during the Summer and Autumn terms of 2013 highlighting the headline results and future focus for the LA as outlined in the schedule circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting.
56.2 From September 2013 there had been an increased focus in all inspections on the attainment and progress of identified groups, including those in receipt of the pupil premium. Work to address those needs had been identified and set out as a stated priority in the LA’s recently published strategy “Closing the Gap in Educational Achievement”, had outlined the work that was being done to address this. Whilst the picture overall was positive, Brighton and Hove was now ranked third highest for good/outstanding results in the south east, those schools judged to be inadequate or where their results had been disappointing were highlighted as were the measures being taken to challenge and support those schools in order to improve the provision for all learners. An oral update was also given in respect of early years provision in the city in relation to private, voluntary and independent settings and it was agreed that this information would be circulated to members separately.
56.3 Councillor Pissaridou whilst pleased to note the very consistently good results for West Hove and Hangleton Infant schools respectively and the significant improvements achieved at Benfield Primary School considered that the outcome of the inspection carried out at Patcham Junior School in December 2013 was disappointing. Councillor Pissaridou asked whether this could have been foreseen. The Acting Assistant Director, Education and Inclusion confirmed that although disappointing it was acknowledged that the school had been through a period of change following the appointment of a new head and the imposition of a more rigorous inspection process. The LA was working with the school to address the issues raised and had put a range of support measures into place. It was explained that Ofsted had become more stringent in requiring evidence of progress for all vulnerable groups (not just achievement) and the Local Authority were therefore supporting schools with the Closing the Gap strategy/interventions. It was confirmed that that the school had not been placed in special measures.
56.4 Councillor Simson welcomed the report which she was pleased to note would (following her request) that regular updates detailing recent Ofsted inspections would be placed on future agendas as a “standing item”. It was very helpful for members of the committee and individual ward councillors to receive up to date information in respect of Ofsted inspections carried out at schools in their wards.
56.5 Ms Travers, the CEO of Amaze also welcomed the report which included data relating to schools such as the Cedar Centre and Patcham House and a focus going forward at Patcham Junior School on achievement for a programme to support the school with teaching and learning of pupils who had special educational needs.
56.6 RESOLVED – That the contents of the schedule be noted.
Work of the Youth Council
Brief Presentation by representatives of the Youth Council providing an update on their recent work.
57.1 Orla Byrne and James Holmes of the Youth Council were accompanied by Ms Owens, the Practice Manager, Participation and Mr Scoble an officer from the Participation Team who gave a presentation detailing the headline areas of work carried out 2013 and outlining further areas of work it was intended would be undertaken during 2014/15. A power point presentation explaining what Youth Council was, what it had achieved to date and setting out its involvement as part of Brighton & Hove Youth Voice Vehicles, which included the Youth Council (BHYC), the Disabled Young Peoples Council, the Children in Care Council and the Youth Mayor had been circulated to Members in advance of the meeting.
57.2 Orla Byrne explained that the BHYC had been started in 2006 as a way for the City Council to consult with children and Young people on issues that affected them and their community which would enable young people to have their voice and opinions heard by key decision makers in order to work as a vehicle for positive change and provided young people with an opportunity to experience democracy and to see it in action. The Youth Council worked improve the quality of life and opportunities for children and young people in Brighton and Hove and sought to facilitate participation through engaging young people aged 11 – 19 (up to 25 with special needs) from across the city in the Youth Council, Disabled Young People’s Council and the Children in Care Council: collectively these groups are known as Brighton & Hove Youth Voice Vehicles.
57.3 James Holmes went on to explain that the Youth Council worked collaboratively with organisations offering youth service provision, including all the secondary schools, special schools and colleges across the city, to provide positive engagement activities. It worked in partnership with Community Voluntary organisations, statutory services and East and West Sussex County Councils. Over the coming year the BHYC intended to focus on:
Transport – a fairer system for young people; and
A Curriculum for Life – they would be supporting the national UK Youth Parliament campaign,
57.4 Councillor Buckley welcomed the presentation and sought clarification of the links between the Youth Council and other young people’s groups across the city. The Participation Manager confirmed that these links were strong and that there were members of the Youth Council who had disabilities.
57.5 Mr Bartlett, Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board commended the presentation which had been very informative in outlining the breadth and depth of work carried out by the Youth Council .
57.5 Councillor Wealls considered that the presentation had effectively highlighted the Youth Council’s achievements to date and its focus for the year ahead. If Members received advance notification of the Youth Council’s scheduled meeting dates he was sure that a number of them try to attend meetings if they were free to do so. It was agreed that this information would be provided to members accompanied by more detailed information regarding the work of the Brighton and Hove Youth Voice Vehicles as a whole.
57.6 RESOLVED – That the content of the presentation from the Brighton and Hove Youth Council be noted and received.
Report of the Director of Public Health (copy attached)
RESOLVED - That the report be endorsed by the Children and Young People’s Committee.
58.1 The Committee considered a report of the Director of Public Health which provided details of bring the Public Health Schools’ Programme. It was noted that this report had also been considered by the attention of the Health and Wellbeing Board.
58.2 It was noted that the proposed Public Health Schools’ Programme took into account recent policy changes, the opportunity afforded by the arrival of Public Health in local authorities, the need to build on the good work of the Healthy Schools/Settings programme as well as the concerns of schools themselves. The programme reflected evidence based practice and would be offered to all state schools including academies and free schools. It was anticipated that in due course the programme would be rolled out to colleges. Mr Wilkinson, Deputy Head of Public Health was in attendance to present the report and to answer any questions members might have and was accompanied by Ms Lawrence, Public Health Programme Manager.
58.3 Councillor Wealls welcomed the report but enquired regarding the level of control that Public Health had in seeking to ensure that schools complied with their recommendations and also the delineation between public health and local authority responsibilities. Councillor Wealls also enquired whether potential mental health and wellbeing issues fell within the remit of this programme or were taken up separately.
58.4 The Executive Director of Children’s Services explained that the Public Health Schools’ Programme would form element of a wide range of information provided to schools which individual schools would be expected to prioritise and apply in a manner appropriate to their own circumstances. In the unlikely event that such information was ignored it would be a cause for concern and would be taken up.
58.5 Councillor Simson also enquired regarding budgetary pressures on schools to comply and the level of pupil engagement proposed. It was explained that the programme was at an early stage, it was intended to engage directly with young people as the programme rolled forward.
58.6 Councillor Buckley referred to the wrap around facilities such as breakfast clubs and referred to the need for them to provide balanced choices. A greater non-dairy vegetarian options needed to be provided.
58.7 In answer to questions by Ms Travers, CEO of Amaze it was explained that the council was currently engaged in carrying out a mapping exercise to identify the range of provision currently available, it was confirmed that this was not however, intended to assess what worked in terms of impact. Ms Travers requested that all Community Voluntary Groups were invited to supply information if this had not been done already.
58.8 Councillor A Kitcat enquired regarding the collection of data relating to absences from school and to the manner in which this information was used by individual schools. She was considered that children could feel under pressure to go to school when they were not well enough to do so in order to maintain an unbroken absence record. Schools seemed to respond negatively towards absences and very positively towards a 100% record. The Executive Director of Children’s Services stated that overall, attendance levels across city schools were quite poor and were being addressed. That was not due however to children being absent from school as a result of genuine illness, but to continuous/persistent absence by some children across the school year. Children should not attend school if they were ill or infectious and schools should have sufficient information to manage absence effectively.
58.9 RESOLVED - That the report be endorsed by the Children and Young People’s Committee.
Report of the Executive Director of Children’s Services (copy attached)
RESOLVED – (1) That the position on fees charged for nurseries as detailed in section 3.3 be agreed;
(2) That the position re Children’s Centres as detailed in section 3.4 be agreed re consulting on introducing charging for some Children Centre activities;
(3) That the position on fees charges for Childcare Workforce Development as detailed in section 3.5 be agreed;
(4) That the position on fees and charges for the Music and Arts Service as detailed in section 3.6 and Appendix 1 be noted;
(5) That the position on the charges for school meals as detailed in section 3.7 be noted; and
(6) That the position on fees charged by the Portslade Sports Centre in section 3.8 be agreed and the fees in Appendix 2 noted.
59.1 The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director of Children’s Services which reviewed the fees and charges for Children’s Services 2014/15 in accordance with corporate policy.
59.2 The Chair referred to amendments to the report which have been notified to Members in advance namely that, the final sentence of Paragraph 3.6.3 should be deleted as responsibility for this lay with the Music Service and fell outside the Committees’ remit. It was noted that each of the appropriate Assistant Directors was present to answer any questions relevant to their service area and that the Head of Music and Arts and the Early Years and Childcare Strategy Manager would also be available to answer any questions in respect of their respective service areas.
59.3 In answer to questions the Head of the Music Service explained how fees were set for that service and the measures undertaken to seek to ensure that access to the service was available to those of limited financial means.
59.4 Councillor Brown sought clarification regarding provision of “Stay and Play” and in answer to further questions it was confirmed that support to encourage take up of free school meals by all who were entitled to them would be carried forward as part of a wider package. Councillor A Kitcat sought confirmation regarding how the cost of providing school meals was covered she was concerned that this was not used to subside other provision. The Acting Assistant Director, Education and Inclusion stated that she would check on this matter and would respond to Councillor Kitcat separately.
59.5 Councillors Pissaridou and Gilbey referred to the proposed charges for Portslade Sports Centre and it was explained that they were shown as they were because this facility remained attached to Portslade Aldridge Community College (PACA).
59.6 RESOLVED – (1) That the position on fees charged for nurseries as detailed in section 3.3 of the report be agreed;
(2) That the position re Children’s Centres as detailed in section 3.4 of the report be agreed re consulting on introducing charging for some Children Centre activities;
(3) That the position on fees charges for Childcare Workforce Development as detailed in section 3.5 of the report be agreed;
(4) That the position on fees and charges for the Music and Arts Service as detailed in section 3.6 and Appendix 1 of the report be noted;
(5) That the position on the charges for school meals as detailed in section 3.7 of the report be noted; and
(6) That the position on fees charged by the Portslade Sports Centre in section 3.8 of the report be agreed and the fees in Appendix 2 noted.
Note: Councillors Gilbey, Lepper and Pissaridou abstained from voting in respect of the above.
Report of the Chairperson of the Local Safeguarding Children Board (copy attached)
60.1 The Committee considered the Annual Report for 2012/13 of the Local Safeguarding Children Board updating members on progress made during that year. The report was presented by Graham Bartlett the Chair of the Board who was also a co-opted Member of the Committee. It was noted that it was a statutory requirement for the LSCB to publish an annual report evaluating the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements for children and young people in the local area.
60.2 Mr Bartlett commended the work carried out by Alan Bedford, his predecessor, the report related to his final year as Chair and highlighted the key areas the Board had focused on during the period covered by the report. This report represented a historical “snapshot” but it was anticipated that with a full complement of staff now in place it would be possible to bring a report before the Committee in the providing a further update on the Boards recent activity in the Autumn of 2014.
60.3 The LSCB continued to work in partnership with member agencies to protect children from abuse and neglect, and to minimise any adverse consequences of abuse and the Annual Report provided an assessment of the effectiveness of local arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Safeguarding activity was progressing well in the area and the LSCB had a clear consensus on its strategic priorities for the coming year.
60.4 It was noted that in line with statutory requirements and as part of the LSCB’s commitment to engaging communities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, two Lay Members had been successfully recruited. Their role had been to bring a more ‘grass roots’ perspective to the work of the Board on safeguarding children; to provide a perspective from the point of a member of the public and to play a part in the oversight and scrutiny of decisions and policies made by the Board.
60.5 The Board was aware that its function was not well known in the wider community and in order to address this a Communications Task and Finish Group had been established which would enhance its opportunities for providing information regarding its role and work and in obtaining feedback from the public.
60.6 The Chair, Councillor Shanks welcomed the report which comprehensive and detailed. Councillor Pissaridou concurred stating that she had been struck by the spread of the work it undertook. She asked whether any elected Members had a seat on the Board and the Chair confirmed that she sat on this body.
60.7 Ms Travers, CEO, Amaze welcomed the report noting however that although there had been an increase in the numbers of initial referrals there had also been a reduction in the number of assessments, conferences and, child protection plans, enquiring whether this was due to inappropriate referrals or limited capacity in teams. Mr Bartlett explained that the number of Child Protection Plans had actually risen again to 320 for the current year but that he was hoping that this figure would reduce once the impact of the early help strategy was felt.
60.8 Councillor Brown sought clarification regarding appointment of the two Lay Members and it was explained that these appointments had been advertised widely and that the successful candidates had been subjected to a rigorous selection process.
60.9 RESOLVED – (1) That the Committee notes the report and supports the City Council in their contribution to keep children safe from abuse and neglect; and
(2) That the Committee notes the challenges identified by the Board to be addressed in 2013/14.
Report of the Executive Director of Children’s Services (copy attached)
RESOLVED – That the Committee notes the progress of the city council in recruiting young people to council apprenticeships.
61.1 The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director of Children’s Services updating members on the progress of creating apprenticeships for young people across the council and the success in recruiting young people to these apprenticeships.
61.2 Councillor Powell commended the report stating that she had been requesting this information for some time requesting that periodic updates could be provided.
61.3 In answer to questions it was explained that there was a commitment by the council to establish 70 apprenticeships by May 2014, most of which it was hoped would lead into paid employment. Although 46 opportunities had been identified to date it was acknowledged that the impetus for provision needed to be accelerated, although it was also recognised this could be difficult against the backdrop of current budgetary pressures. Ms Travers, CEO, Amaze suggested that some Community Voluntary Sector organisations might be interested in providing placements/apprenticeships if these could be supported by centralised council training/support. It was noted that 4 placements had been guaranteed for care-leavers and that £5,000 had been contributed to support internships for young people with SEN.
61.4 RESOLVED – That the Committee notes the progress of the city council in recruiting young people to council apprenticeships.
Young Carers in Brighton & Hove
Presentation including a short (15 minute) DVD by young carers in Brighton and Hove.
62.1 The Committee received a presentation (including a short DVD) from Clare McKinley, Transitions and Outreach Worker accompanied by two young carers, Mercedez Walshe and Aishah Bushara who detailed their experiences and those of other young carers in Brighton and Hove. The Committee watched edited highlights from the DVD relating the experiences of young carers supported by Carers Centre projects. It was agreed that following the meeting a link would be sent to all members to enable them to watch the DVD in full.
62.2 It was noted that some of the current issues were: supporting parents to complete financial/benefit forms and the need for accessible/inclusive.
62.3 Councillor Powell stated that as someone who had been a carer from a young age herself identification the varying needs of individual carers and of carers of differing ages as highlighted both in the DVD and by the input from the two young people who had attended the Committee was valuable. Councillors Lepper and Gilbey concurred in that view considering that the presentation had been moving and heartfelt as well as informative in showing that carers of different ages could have very different needs. The support which could be provided by the LA was noted but it was considered important that every effort was made to ensure that young carers and those advising them were fully aware of the assistance and support that was available to them and how that could be accessed., advice on filling in forms and how that could be accessed.
62.4 Councillor Wealls referred to the apparent lack of opportunities/reduced support for carers post 18, stating that he considered there needed to be a greater focus on the needs of this group to ensure that they did not become marginalised.
62.5 Ms Travers, CEO, Amaze stated that the Carers Centre was clearly doing a good and very important job in providing support to young carers. The council provided support to one of their age range projects and she considered that it was important for there to be a commitment for this funding to be protected. Ms Travers also asked if NEET and closing the gap figures could be provided for young carers.
62.6 The Executive Director of Children’s Services stated that it was apparent that information sharing was not as coordinated as it could be and that this needed to be addressed in concert with other partners.
62.7 RESOLVED – That the contents of the presentation be received and noted.
Items Referred For Council
To consider items to be submitted to the 30 January 2014 Council meeting for information.
In accordance with Procedure Rule 24.3a, the Committee may determine that any item is to be included in its report to Council. In addition, any Group may specify one further item to be included by notifying the Chief Executive no later than 10am on the eighth working day before the Council meeting at which the report is to be made, or if the Committee meeting take place after this deadline, immediately at the conclusion of the Committee meeting
63.1 There were none.