Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board (Children and Families) - Wednesday, 8th July, 2020 11.00 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Angela Brogden (0113 37 88661)  Email:


No. Item



Mr A Graham – Church Representative (Church of England)

Mrs K Blacker – Parent Governor Representative (Primary)

Ms J Ward – Parent Governor Representative (Secondary)




Ms C Foote – Teacher Representative

Ms H Bellamy – Teacher Representative

Ms E Holmes – Young Lives Leeds

Ms D Reilly – Looked After Children and Care Leavers



Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).


(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).

Additional documents:


There were no appeals.




Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1.  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.


2.  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.


3.  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-


RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:


No exempt items have been identified.

Additional documents:


There was no exempt information.




Late Items

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.


(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Additional documents:


There were no late items.




Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Additional documents:


There were no declarations




Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Additional documents:


Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor K Renshaw and Mr T Britten.


Councillor D Ragan was in attendance as substitute.




Minutes - 4th March 2020 pdf icon PDF 887 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 4th March 2020.

Additional documents:


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2020 were confirmed as a correct record




Update on Coronavirus (COVID19) Pandemic – Response and Recovery Plan pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services in relation to the ongoing progress made by the council working with partners and communities in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional documents:


The Board was given a verbal update on the latest position with regard to those service areas that fall within the remit of the Children and Families Scrutiny Board.  In particular, the briefing covered the following areas:


·  Children’s Homes

·  Children’s Social Care

·  Early years/childcare provision

·  Schools


A copy of the Executive Board report considered at its meeting on 24th June 2020 on developments surrounding the Council’s Response and Recovery Plan had been appended to the Agenda.


The following were in attendance for this item:


-  Cllr Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Learning, Skills and Employment

-  Cllr Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children and Families

-  Sal Tariq, Director of Children and Families

-  Julie Longworth, Deputy Director Children and Families

-  Val Waite, Head of Service Learning Inclusion

-  Dave Clark, Head of Service Learning Improvement


Councillor Venner addressed the meeting and highlighted a number of key points relating to her portfolio, which included the following:


·  The outstanding status of Children’s Social Care in the city had been in evidence through the work carried out during the pandemic.

·  Work to support families with social care needs and the continued work to identify those in need.

·  Work with partners including schools and clusters.

·  Recovery position – children’s centres were gradually re-opening.

·  Redeployment of staff to work in children’s homes.

·  Free school meals provision.

·  Placements for looked after children had been sustained during the lockdown period.

·  Work in schools for vulnerable children and key worker’s children.

·  Online teaching.

·  Help provided for families for basic needs such as provision of food and how a multi-agency approach had supported this.

·  There had been an increase in referrals to Social Care.

·  Planning involved to keep critical services running throughout the pandemic. This included recruitment of staff.

·  Early Years provision – meetings had continued online with child minders and day care providers.

·  Creation of multi-agency Safeguarding Response teams.

·  Work to identify those who became vulnerable due to and during the pandemic.

·  Support for children and parents who were shielding.

·  Work with special schools, those with complex needs and engagement of specialists for substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health.


In response to comments and questions, the following was discussed:


·  Food deliveries were made to vulnerable children and families on a weekend.  This was supported by the voluntary sector and food was also delivered to care leavers.  There was a choice of hot and cold food available.

·  Children with care plans – there had been a focus with the clusters and a multi-agency approach to providing the necessary support. 

·  With regard to Education and Health Care Plans, there had been some relaxation in legislation to give flexibility.  All children with plans had been risk assessed as to whether their needs were best met at home or in school.

·  There would be measures in place to provide continued support over the summer holidays.

·  Work with the inclusion partnerships and children in danger of exclusion from school.

·  Arrangements for the summer to support those with plans and allow  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2020/21 municipal year.

Additional documents:


The report of the Head of Democratic Services presented the Board’s work schedule for the remainder of the current municipal year.


It was reported that there was a continuing uncertainty about how future meetings will be hosted – they may be hosted remotely, be buildings-based or involve a hybrid approach. However, all meetings have been scheduled in such a way as to ensure they can continue to be resourced remotely if that is the required approach.


For the Board’s next meeting in September, it was proposed that this includes a report summarising the evidence considered to-date on the Board’s Inquiry that commenced last year into Exclusions, Elective Home Education and Off-Rolling in order to determine next steps.


It was also proposed that the Board receives a further update surrounding the Council’s Covid-19 Response and Recovery Plan.  In preparation for this meeting, it was acknowledged that the Board may wish to reflect on today’s meeting to identify areas it would like to particularly focus its discussion on as part of the update in September, as well as considering potential areas of priority for future meetings too.


RESOLVED – That the work schedule (as presented at Appendix 1) as the basis for the Board’s work for the remainder of 2020/21 be agreed.



Date and Time of Next Meeting

Wednesday, 9th September 2020 at 10.00 am (premeeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am)

Additional documents:


There was a call in meeting of the Board to be held directly after this meeting at 1.00 p.m.


The next meeting to be held on Wednesday, 9 September 2020 at 10.00 a.m. (pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 a.m.)