Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Children and Families) - Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Angela Brogden (0113 37 88661)  Email: Angela.brogden@leeds.gov.uk

Link: to View Meeting Recording

Items
No. Item

CO-OPTED MEMBERS (VOTING)

 

Mr E A Britten - Church Representative (Catholic)

Mrs K Blacker – Parent Governor Representative (Primary)

Ms J Ward – Parent Governor Representative (Secondary)

 

CO-OPTED MEMBERS (NON-VOTING)

 

Ms H Bellamy - Teacher Representative

Ms C Foote – Teacher Representative

Mr C Dixon – Young Lives Leeds Representative

Ms D Reilly – Looked After Children / Care Leavers Representative

60.

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).

Minutes:

There were no appeals.

 

 

61.

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.

Minutes:

There were no exempt items.

 

 

62.

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.)

Minutes:

There were no late items.

 

 

63.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary or other interests.

 

 

 

 

64.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from co-opted member Andrew Graham.

 

 

65.

Minutes - 6th January 2021 pdf icon PDF 235 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 6th January 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 6th January 2021 be approved as an accurate record.

 

Matters arising

 

Minute 56 - Initial Budget Proposals for 2021/22

 

Further to the last meeting, it was noted that a ‘phase 2’ Scrutiny Statement had been produced in consultation with Scrutiny Chairs and now forms part of the latest Budget Report that has been prepared for the Executive Board’s next meeting on 10th February 2021. The Chair then invited the Director of Children and Families to confirm the current position of the Children and Families directorate. Members were advised that no additional proposals or significant changes had been made by the directorate since the Board considered the budget proposals last month.

 

 

66.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic - Response and Recovery Planning Update pdf icon PDF 445 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families presenting an update on the ongoing progress made by Children and Families Services, working with partners and communities, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minutes:

The Director of Children and Families submitted a report that presented an update on the ongoing progress made by Children and Families Services, working with partners and communities, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  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 of Children and Families

-  Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer, Resources and Strategy

-  Val Waite, Head of Service Learning Inclusion

-  Dave Clark, Head of Service Learning Improvement

-  Erica Hiorns, Senior Secondary Improvement Advisor

 

The Executive Member for Children and Families introduced the report, noting her thanks to those working to support children and families across the city during very challenging circumstances, and provided assurance that the directorate will continue to support the wellbeing of staff. Members were advised that Early Years providers have reported concerns about staff safety at work, and as a result, the Executive Members and the Leader of Council have written to Government on behalf of the sector, recommending that all provision is closed to most children in line with schools, and that all education staff are considered for the next phase of the vaccination programme.

 

The Executive Member for Learning, Skills and Employment highlighted continued conversations with schools, during which, schools have reported a greater number of parents requesting a place for their child on the grounds that they are a critical worker. This has led to concern from school leaders that they cannot safely accommodate the high numbers of children whose parents require a place nor reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus if large numbers of children remain in school. Additionally, schools have reported pupil anxiety around exams in 2022, which colleagues are working to address alongside the support for schools with assessments this academic year. The Executive Member recognised the recent media attention of the differential provision for free school meals during school closures and assured the Board that Leeds City Council is providing food support to all children living in food poverty in Leeds over February half term (this is around 35,000 children).

 

 

Members discussed a number of matters, including:

 

·  Vaccinations for school and early years staff. Members recognised the importance of school and early years staff feeling safe whilst working, and sought more information on the recent request to Government seeking consideration of priority vaccination. Members were advised that in line with the scientific evidence, the request did not dispute that groups most at risk of fatality should remain top priority for vaccination. However, it was noted that education and child care staff are a relatively small cohort in comparison to the scale of the current vaccination roll-out, as well as the impact of transmission from schools to the wider community, and therefore should be considered as early as possible in the vaccination programme to enable educational settings to function more smoothly.

·  Resources for school  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

Leeds Child Poverty Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 288 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families which presents a brief overview of ‘Thriving – The Leeds Child Poverty Strategy’.

Minutes:

The Director of Children and Families submitted a report, which presented a brief overview of ‘Thriving – The Leeds Child Poverty Strategy’.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  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 of Children and Families

-  Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer, Resources and Strategy

-  Val Waite, Head of Service Learning Inclusion

-  Dave Clark, Head of Service Learning Improvement

 

The Executive Member for Children and Families introduced the report, highlighting the summary of work set out in the report. Members were advised that pre-pandemic, there were approximately 34,000 children living in poverty in the city.  It was also reported that the Children’s Commissioner has estimated that, as a direct result of the pandemic, 300,000 additional children have been pushed into poverty nationally.  Members were advised that throughout the pandemic, the Child Poverty Impact Board have continued to develop the six work streams set out in the report and that a detailed update on the Strategy is scheduled for submission to the Executive Board in April 2021 and then again in October 2021.

 

Members discussed a number of matters, including:

 

·  Lead officer for child poverty. It was confirmed thatJulie Longworth had been appointed as the lead officer with responsibility for overseeing the child poverty agenda in Leeds, and that experienced leads have also been identified for each of the Child Poverty Impact Board’s work streams across the Council.

·  Council housing. Members recognised that a broader approach is necessary to improve the quality of life of the most deprived families in Leeds, and that good quality social housing is fundamental to this approach. Members were advised that the Council house building programme is ongoing and that good-quality affordable housing continues to be a key priority.

·  Climate emergency. In response to a query, Members were advised that the climate emergency is a feature of all work streams and is recognised as essential to the whole child poverty agenda.

 

RESOLVED –

 

a)  That the contents of the report, along with Members comments, be noted;

b)  That a more detailed report be scheduled for consideration at the Scrutiny Board’s meeting in September 2021 to enable the views of Scrutiny to be reflected as part of the planned update for the Executive Board in October 2021.

 

68.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 154 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which invited Members to consider the Board’s Work Schedule for the remainder of the current municipal year.

 

RESOLVED – That the work schedule be approved.

 

 

69.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021 at 10.00 am (pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am)

Minutes:

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021 at 10.00 am (pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am)