Agenda item - Chair's Communications

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Agenda item

Chair's Communications

Minutes:

3.1      The Chair gave the following communication:

 

            I want to start by acknowledging this is a stranger committee than usual, as many of our colleagues and co-optees have agreed to limit their attendance at this meeting. You will be missed – and I look forward to a time when it is safe to have us all return to this chamber.

While some members are not attending, I have agreed to reflect some of their comments today, and thus there may be occasions where I am reading statements on behalf of other committee members.

We have had some changes in committee members and I therefore wanted to thank the following former committee members who no longer sit on Children, Young People and Skills,

Cllr Dee Simson

Cllr John Allcock

And my former Deputy Chair, Cllr Elaine Hills who is now Deputy Chair on housing Committee

And with this, also welcome our new committee members 

Cllr Anne Meadows

Cllr Jackie O’Quinn

And Cllr Joe John, who now serves as deputy on this committee. As she is not present at today’s committee, Zoe has asked me to say on her behalf:

Thank you Chair for reading my message to the Children’s, Young People and Skills Committee

 

I am thrilled to be able to join the committee as the Deputy Chair and Chair of Corporate Parenting and I am disappointed not to be able to join my first meeting in person.I want to thank Cllr Hills for all the work she has done, I am aware I have very big shoes to fill! I look forward to supporting The Chair and working with Officers and colleagues across parties to support our services and networks for the people of our city. For the Green Group of Councillors, our roles and responsibilities are as follows:

 

Cllr John will lead on safeguarding and care.

Cllr Lloyd will lead on health, SEN and disabilities

Cllr Nield will continue to lead on schools and early years

And alongside having an overview of the whole portfolio, I will lead on youth engagement, skills and employment.

 

I have a few matters to highlight before we move on to today’s agenda:

Firstly, I want to commend our social work team who are doing an incredible amount of work on anti-racist social work practice. The work was recently highlighted in a blog on the Government website, written by our Principal Social Worker Tom Stibbs.

 

Our Youth Offending Service, who recently had an inspection. The results of this will be published soon, and I want to congratulate you on the results ahead of publication.

 

On 30June, there will be an apprenticeship graduation ceremony for apprentices who have completed their apprenticeship in Brighton and Hove between 1 January 2020 and 31 May 2021. If this is you, or you know of a former apprentice who this relates to please do encourage them to book before 22 June. The Mayor will be speaking at the event on behalf of the city council.

 

A lot of work has continued on the SEND partnership board and SEND strategy. Thank you to all partners for their work on this and on improving outcomes for our young people with SEND.

 

On a matter of youth engagement, can I thank the Youth Council for inviting me to their recent meeting to listen to the work they’re doing on the environment. I’m also really excited that they’ve been working with Epping Forest Youth Council recently, which is supported by the youth worker who supported me as a young person. The pandemic has increased youth unemployment so I’m really pleased that our youth employment hub has got a step further to opening. I look forward to visiting it in July.

 

During this meeting, the Government may well be announcing their plans regarding re-opening next Monday. Since the last Committee, Government have changed their rules regarding the wearing of masks in schools to some criticism. Previously, our local public health teams had more of a role to issue advice on this but now we have to seek permission from the Department for Education if there’s an outbreak and we want to advise mask wearing again. While local public health teams, and local authorities like ours, who have challenged the Government previously are getting things right, the Government who are getting things wrong want to hold our hand through it.

 

This week is refugee week and today Kent County Council have stopped supporting UASCs who arrive at their ports. I wanted to reassure committee members of our commitment to take young people through the national transfer scheme and that we will continue to support them. Sadly, last week the government announced they would not make participation in the NTS mandatory so local councils who do not support refugees will continue to get away without doing so. As a city of sanctuary, we remain open.

 

I’d like to end by talking about One World Nursery–and the campaign to save it. One World Nursery is well regarded – it is a nursery of sanctuary and in the University of Brighton’s Bronze Athena Swan award for equalities, One World is particularly highlighted. So it seems wrong that the University of Brighton is pressing ahead with the closure of this valued provision in the Moulsecoomb community.The One World Nursery campaign has the full support of the Green Group of councillors.

 

There has always been a need in our city for high quality nursery provision, but this has never been more important coming out of the pandemic. The government themselves have highlighted the need for good early years support. This is in part why we will be discussing our early help review later on the agenda but for One World, it doesn’t seem like the decision has been made on the basis of the real quality of the provision.

 

It’s been made due to the financial cost to the university of Brighton of the provision, ignoring the support it provides to staff & students who need care for their children and ignoring the links created to the community through having One World Nursery there. I would like to urge the university to reconsider, and keep One World open.

 


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