Agenda item - Chair's Communications
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- Meeting of Children, Young People & Skills Committee, Monday, 16th September, 2019 4.00pm (Item 14.)
14.1 The Chair gave the following communications:
“I’d like to inform those present that this meeting will be webcast live and will be capable of repeated viewing.
I would like to welcome Edwyn Wilson-Verrall to the committee today who is a representative of the Youth Council.
As colleagues and members of the public will be aware, this is my first meeting as Chair of this committee and before making any of the comments that had previously been prepared and without in any way wanting to pre-empt further discussion, I want to make a direct and unreserved apology on behalf on the administration, for the distress, anxiety and stress that has been caused to the children, young people and families as a direct consequence of the change to Home to School Transport arrangements.
Members will have an opportunity during this meeting to ask questions and I know that there are a lot of parents here today, many of whom we have spoken to before this meeting, who will be listening very carefully to the answers given.
As our deputy chair, Cllr Knight said in her letter to parents, the absolute top priority at the moment is to ensure the wellbeing of the children and young people concerned and following an urgent meeting this morning I can advise people here that the following steps have been taken:
· Officers will phone all parents/carers affected, or have contacted the leader or the deputy chair over the next 24 hours to provide an update and listen to concerns
· Officers will write individually to every parent/carer whose child or young person who is in receipt of transport, to provide an update For those parents/carers whose issues are not yet resolved, the letter will deal with the specific problems facing their child or young person.
· Arrange a meeting with PaCC specifically to discuss concerns
· Once all arrangements are satisfactorily resolved, officers will be contacting those contractors that pulled out of routes, without providing the contractually agreed 30-day notice period.
But we MUST to do everything we can to ensure not only that nothing like this happens again, BUT that we learn from what has happened.
I do want to inform the meeting that the Executive Director for this committee has already been asked to seek an Independent Review of the entire process and last week approached another Local Authority in the region, with a request to undertake such a review.
This review will:
· Explore and report on what has gone wrong
· Why it went wrong
· Lessons we can learn
I want to give this assurance on behalf of the administration, that absolutely no stone will be left unturned and we will be inviting all involved (parents, schools, governors, parent associations, officers and suppliers) to contribute to that report.
This committee was already scheduled to receive a report in January 2020 to look at the new arrangements and this will now also include the learning from the review.
The agenda today includes an opportunity to consider the points raised in the letter from Cllrs Wares and Mears as a starting point but this committee will not be able to resolve or understand everything that has occurred, this afternoon.
I am grateful for the work of the Parent and Carers Council in supporting families and shining a light on the issues affecting them. They and other representative groups are essential in helping the city provide for what these children and young people need.
Once again, I would like to apologise on behalf of the administration for what has occurred.
As you will see on the agenda today there is a report on the initial assessment and examination results achieved by our children and young people. I would like to congratulate our schools, colleges and early years providers for the excellent results that were achieved at the end of the last academic year. Any council in the country would be proud to have these set of results.
Today we have an urgent notice of motion regarding the potential Academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary which can been seen in addendum 1. This item will be considered under item 6.”