Agenda item

Refresh of the Children and Young People's Plan - update

To receive an update report from the Director of Children and Families on the preparations linked to the refresh of the Children and Young People’s Plan.


The Board received the report from the Director of Children and Families on the refresh of the Children and Young People’s Plan, and were invited to give views, specifically in three areas;


a) The content of the plan, especially the vision and the obsession.

b) The consultation and timetable for developing and approving the plan.

c) The implementation and monitoring of the plan


The following were in attendance for this item:


·  Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education

·  Councillor David Jenkins, Deputy Executive Member

·  Sal Tariq, Director Strengthening Families Protecting Children Programme

·  Ruth Terry, Chief Officer for Social Work

·  Chris Hudson, Policy, Planning and Procedures Leader

·  Dave Clark, Head of Service Learning Improvement

·  Erica Hiorns, Leadership and Management Lead


The following issues were raised during the Board’s discussion:


Ø  Revisiting the wording of the Vision – reflecting on its discussion in July, the Board particularly welcomed the proposal to change the wording of the vision to reference ‘play’ and ‘fun’.  In welcoming the new reference made to children living in ‘loving and nurturing’ families, it was suggested that this could be extended to include communities more broadly too.  Members also discussed the removal of the original reference made to improving outcomes faster for children and young people from vulnerable and deprived backgrounds, with some acknowledging that a perceived stigma of poverty may deter people from accessing services that would be beneficial to them.


Ø  Impact of poverty - the Board discussed the impact of poverty on the children of Leeds and how the emerging cost of living crisis will compound existing inequalities within the city. Particular reference was made to taking a Marmot approach to supporting families to give children the best start in life linked to the commitment of Leeds becoming a Marmot City.  It was noted that the Adults, Health and Active Lifestyles Scrutiny Board would be receiving an update surrounding the Marmot City commitment in October.


Ø  Refresh of the obsessions – the Board noted the proposed merging of two obsessions (improve achievement, attainment and attendance at school; reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training) into a new learning destinations obsession, and the introduction of a health-focused obsession.  The children looked after obsession would remain unchanged.


Ø  Supporting families in encouraging a love of reading – the Board discussed initiatives for supporting parents/carers – particularly those who are lacking in confidence with reading – to read with their children.  Reference was also made to maximising the use of technology and signposting families to free online services too.


Ø  Library provision – the Board recognised the importance of schools providing a library service for pupils and where this is not provided on site, then links with nearby library services should be made accessible. It was noted that partnerships have been made with the Leeds Libraries Services.


Ø  Reflecting and addressing the varying needs of children and young people across different community groups and areas – the Board stressed the importance of not adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach and for the Plan to be reflective of the varying needs of children and young people across different community groups and geographical areas.


Ø  Formal consultation process – the Board learned that the formal consultation exercise will commence in October 2022.  This will be an online questionnaire that will be shared with all Elected Members, as well as children and young people, council officers, members of the children’s partnership in Leeds and the general public.  The Board also encouraged direct engagement with Community Committees and Cluster Partnerships and advised that such engagement is tailored to identify and address the needs of their relevant areas.


Reflecting on the feedback of Board Members, the Chair concluded that the Board was broadly supportive of the proposed direction of travel for the refreshed plan and that it would continue to maintain a watching brief, with the draft plan expected to come back to the Board at its January 2023 meeting.  


RESOLVED: That the report and comments raised by the Board be noted.


Supporting documents: