Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Children and Families)
Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

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

Items
No. Item

CO-OPTED MEMBERS (VOTING)

 

Mr E A Britten – Church Representative (Catholic)

Mrs K Blacker – Parent Governor Representative (Primary)

 

CO-OPTED MEMBERS (NON-VOTING)

 

Ms C Foote – Teacher Representative

Ms H Bellamy – Teacher Representative

Ms C Hopkins – Young Lives Leeds

Ms D Reilly – Looked After Children and Care Leavers

 

56.

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.

 

 

57.

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.

 

 

58.

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.

 

59.

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 declrations of disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

 

60.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Drinkwater and Councillor Gruen, with Councillor McKenna as substitute. Apologies were also received from co-opted Members Jackie Ward, Anne Kearsley, Andrew Graham and Viv Bryden.

 

The Board also noted that, due to family circumstances, co-opted Member Viv Bryden has decided not to continue as the Board’s Parent Governor (SEN) representative. Arrangements will therefore be made to fill this vacancy, and confirmed at a future meeting of the Board.

 

 

61.

Minutes - 24th October 2018 pdf icon PDF 307 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 24th October 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 24th October be agreed as a correct record.

 

 

62.

The Impact of Child Poverty on Achievement, Attainment and Attendance - Tracking of Scrutiny Recommendations pdf icon PDF 429 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support and Director of Children and Families presenting an update on the implementation of the recommendations arising from the previous Scrutiny inquiry into the impact of Child Poverty on Achievement, Attainment and Attendance.

Minutes:

The Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support and Director of Children and Families submitted a report that presented an update on the implementation of the recommendations arising from the previous Scrutiny inquiry into the impact of Child Poverty on Achievement, Attainment and Attendance.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

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

-  Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Children and Families

-  Steve Walker, Director of Children and Families

-  Sal Tariq, Deputy Director, Children and Families

-  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

-  Sue Rumbold, Chief Officer for Partnerships and Health

-  Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer for Resources and Strategy

-  Dave Roberts, Financial Inclusion Manager

 

The status of recommendations were agreed as follows:

 

-  Recommendation 1 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 2 – Achieved.

-  Recommendation 3 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 4 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 5 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 6 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 7 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 8 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 9 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 10 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 11 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 12 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 13 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 14 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

-  Recommendation 15 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

 

The following key points were also raised during consideration of this item:

 

·  Research with the University of Leeds. Members queried the progress of research undertaken alongside the University of Leeds into the impact of child poverty, and were informed that the research report was expected to be completed by Easter 2019.

·  Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) event. The Board requested circulation of the feedback from the OBA event held in October 2018 with council officers, elected members and partners from across the city to inform a new child poverty strategy. Members were assured that a report summarising the findings would be submitted to the Child Poverty Impact Board (CPIB), and following this would be provided to the Board for consideration.

·  Points of contact for families. Members were keen to understand how families were identified as requiring additional support from early help teams and were informed that the Children’s Centres work closely with the NHS Health Visitors, which together enable wider access to families across the city.

·  Free School Meals (FSM). Members were provided with an update regarding new guidance for Universal Credit and FSM. Members also noted that there is some confusion between universal FSM up to year two, and eligibility beyond  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

OfSTED Inspection Report pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support that introduces the findings of the recent OfSTED inspection of Children’s Services as presented to the Executive Board at its meeting on 19 December 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support submitted a report that introduced the findings of the recent OfSTED inspection of Children’s Services as presented to the Executive Board at its meeting on 19th December 2018.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

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

-  Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Children and Families

-  Steve Walker, Director of Children and Families

-  Sal Tariq, Deputy Director, Children and Families

-  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

-  Sue Rumbold, Chief Officer for Partnerships and Health

-  Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer for Resources and Strategy

 

The Executive Member for Children and Families introduced the report, noting the many years of hard work and paid testament to the social work teams working with families in Leeds. The Chair, on behalf of the Board, congratulated the Executive Members and Senior Officers present, along with all of the staff within the children and families directorate. Many Members joined the Chair in offering thanks and comments of support for the progress made to reach the ‘outstanding’ judgement.

 

Members commented that the only domain which achieved a ‘good’ rather than ‘outstanding’ rating in the OfSTED report was in relation to children looked-after and care leavers. Members requested more information around projects undertaken to improve this aspect, and were informed that the ‘good’ rating was largely due to the use of external residential placements which was being addressed. Members sought clarity as to whether the directorate work in partnership with Adult Social Care for care leavers for the transitional period leading up to and beyond the 25th birthday of a care leaver, and were assured that partnership work was ongoing.

 

RESOLVED – That the contents of the report and appendices be noted.

 

64.

Performance update for March 2018 to September 2018 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families presenting a summary of performance information relating to outcomes for Leeds children and young people.

Minutes:

The Director of Children and Families presented a summary of performance information relating to outcomes for Leeds children and young people.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

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

-  Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Children and Families

-  Steve Walker, Director of Children and Families

-  Sal Tariq, Deputy Director, Children and Families

-  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

-  Sue Rumbold, Chief Officer for Partnerships and Health

-  Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer for Resources and Strategy

 

The Director of Children and Families introduced the report, informing the Board of the intention to share the recently updated service plan with the Board following agreement at Executive Board in March 2019.

 

Members discussed a number of matters, including:

 

·  Special Guardianship Orders. Members sought more clarity on the Leeds approach to Special Guardianship Orders, and were informed that there is a large cost associated with the legal process, compared to kinship caring arrangements. However, Members were assured that both areas benefit from continued investment and are considered based on the needs of the child.

·  Number of parents who have had more than one child enter the care system. Members noted that this indicator had only referenced mothers and that future reports should be reflective of both parents.

·  Young people who are NEET or ‘not known’. Members requested more information around the patterns for those who are NEET or ‘not known’, and were informed that some of the figures are expected to be impacted by the summer period between pupils being offered places at college or sixth form, and whether or not they enrol in September.

·  Persistent absence. Members expressed concerns about the number of children in need who were persistently absent, and were assured that a range of initiatives were in place to address the issue, such as the Families First programme to encourage school attendance and support for education, and individual visits to pupils in secondary schools who are regularly absent.

·  Care Leavers. Members enquired as to whether the affordable transport initiative set out in the report would be available to Care Leavers, and were informed that support is provided dependant on the needs of the individual, which will often but not always include affordable transport provision.

·  Exclusions. There was some concern about the number of fixed term exclusions, which members heard was likely to, in part, be due to the reduction in permanent exclusions. Members felt that more support is necessary for schools, to ensure that they adhere to recently released national guidance for exclusions. Members heard that one school accounted for a large proportion of exclusions in the reporting period, but that this school had now changed academy provider and the figures had significantly reduced.

 

RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.

 

Councillors Stephenson and Renshaw left the meeting at 11:50 am during the discussion of this item.

 

65.

Financial Health Monitoring pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To consider a report from the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support that introduces the Financial Health Monitoring 2018/19 (Month 7) report presented to the Executive Board at its meeting on 19 December 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support submitted a report that introduced the Financial Health Monitoring 2018/19 (Month 7) report presented to the Executive Board at its meeting on 19 December 2018.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

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

-  Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Children and Families

-  Steve Walker, Director of Children and Families

-  Sal Tariq, Deputy Director, Children and Families

-  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

-  Sue Rumbold, Chief Officer for Partnerships and Health

-  Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer for Resources and Strategy

-  Simon Criddle, Head of Finance, Children and Families

 

The Chair requested that Items 10 and 11 be discussed together to allow for discussions around the financial health monitoring to feed into comments on the initial budget prooposals.

 

RESOLVED – That the contents of the report and appendices be noted.

 

66.

Initial 2019/20 Budget Proposals pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To consider a report from the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support that introduces details of the initial 2019/20 budget proposals presented to the

Executive Board at its meeting on 19 December 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support submitted a report that introduced details of the initial 2019/20 budget proposals presented to the Executive Board at its meeting on 19 December 2018. 

 

The following were in attendance:

 

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

-  Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Executive Member for Children and Families

-  Steve Walker, Director of Children and Families

-  Sal Tariq, Deputy Director, Children and Families

-  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

-  Sue Rumbold, Chief Officer for Partnerships and Health

-  Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer for Resources and Strategy

-  Simon Criddle, Head of Finance, Children and Families

 

The Chief Officer for Resources and Strategy introduced the initial budget proposals and the Board noted the context of the projected overspend within the 2018/19 C&F budget and the continuing challenges for 2019/20 which were planned for – inflation, particularly pay inflation; and demand and demography challenges associated with children looked after and transport.

 

Members discussed a number of matters, including:

 

·  Funding provision for SEND. Members expressed concerns around the level of funding available to support children with special educational needs and disabilities. Members heard that following recognition from the government that the High Needs Block was significantly underfunded, some additional funding was received in December 2018. However, Members heard that the funding was only confirmed for 2018/19 and 2019/20, with £1.76m allocated to each year.  Whilst noting that the Department of Education was complimentary in terms of how the High Needs Block had been managed in Leeds, no further funding commitment had been forthcoming.

·  External Legal Dispersement costs. There was some discussion around the use and cost of external legal dispersement costs. It was noted that the use of the West Yorkshire Legal Framework in future would aim to achieve a reduction in external legal costs – which were dependent on the complexity of the cases dealt with by external legal service suppliers.

 

RESOLVED –

(a)  That the 2019/20 budget proposals as presented be noted.

(b)  That the Board’s comments are reflected as part of the Scrutiny submission to Executive Board for its consideration.

 

67.

Best Council Plan Refresh 2019/20 - 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To consider a report from the Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support that introduces the Executive Board report from 19 December 2018, presenting

proposals to refresh the Best Council Plan for the period 2019/20 – 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support submitted a report that introduced the Executive Board report from 19th December 2018, presenting proposals to refresh the Best Council Plan for the period 2019/20 – 2020/21.

 

The following were in attendance:

 

-  Councillor James Lewis, Executive Member for Resources and Sustainability

-  Tim Rollett, Intelligence and Policy Manager

 

The Executive Member for Resources and Sustainability introduced the item, informing the Board that the priorities for 2019/20 – 2020/21 had largely remained the same, with the addition of the recently developed Inclusive Growth Strategy.

 

The Chair made particular reference to the recommendation put forward by Scrutiny last year in terms of making ‘supporting healthy, active lifestyles’ a Best Council Plan priority or city-wide obsession in accordance with existing efforts to develop a sustainable whole systems approach towards physical activity for Leeds.  Other Members also supported the suggestion that ‘active lifestyles’ should be a future relentless focus which therefore warrants more prominence as part of the Best Council Plan.

 

Discussion identified the challenges which prevented the take up of activities – such as cost, access and availability – and the disparity of leisure centre/activity provision across the city, particularly in areas of high housing density.

 

Members also noted the importance of good air quality in the more deprived areas of the city when ‘free’ forms of exercise, such as walking and running outside, are encouraged. The Executive Member for Resources and Sustainability noted the introduction of the Clean Air Zone, to address the environmental issues with outdoor activity, along with the Council’s commitment to investing in leisure centres, and suggested that the Health and Wellbeing Strategy could be more prominent in the plan.  The Board also identified the need for a review to better communicate the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and to seek to identify and address the barriers to activity.

 

RESOLVED –

(a)  That the Best Council Plan Refresh initial proposals be noted.

(b)  That the Board’s comments are reflected as part of the Scrutiny submission to Executive Board for its consideration.

 

Councillors Cohen and Kidger left the meeting at 12:20pm during discussion of this item.

 

68.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2018/19 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Governance and Scrutiny Support submitted a report which invited Members to consider the Board’s Work Schedule for the remainder of the current municipal year.  In doing so, Members agreed to hold an additional meeting of the Board and for this to be scheduled for 24th April 2019 at 10 am.  At that stage, the Chair advised that the need to also hold a meeting in May was still yet to be determined.

 

RESOLVED –

(a)  That the outline work schedule, as presented, be agreed.

(b)  That an additional meeting of the Board is scheduled for Wednesday 24th April 2019 at 10.00 am.

 

69.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Wednesday, 6th March 2019 at 10.00 am (pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am)

Minutes:

Wednesday, 6th March 2019 at 10.00 am (pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am). 

(The meeting concluded at 12:45 pm).