Agenda item

Director's Update

To receive a verbal update from the Director Children and Families.


The Interim Director of Children and Families provided an update to the Committee regarding how the Directorate has responded to the Climate Emergency. This was a part of a year long programme of visits to the Committee by each of the Leeds City Council’s Directors.


Some of the key work undertaken within the Children and Families directorate included;


Voice of Children and Young People:

·  The February 2020 Leeds Youth Summit for Climate was attended by 114 students from 17 secondary schools. The students worked with elected councillors and decision makers to develop a young people’s toolkit to communicate opportunities for young people to get involved in combatting climate change, and to have their voice heard.

·  The climate emergency toolkit for children and young people which was developed at the summit has been promoted online and with a flyer. The intention is that children and young people can feel empowered and supported to take action, which will have a beneficial impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

·  The directorate has supported school leaders to promote high quality climate education.

·  July 2022 was the tenth anniversary of child friendly Leeds and using participation feedback of 80,000 children across the city, climate change was added to the Child Friendly Leeds wishes for the city.

·  There have been ten youth community summit events.

·  Get Creative For Climate in August 2020 in which primary schools were invited to produce a short video presentation on climate action. The three winning videos were shown at the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee in January 2021.


Children’s social work, early help and residential:

·  The Service has created climate awareness as a regular agenda item in its work by communicating ways in which colleagues can make both the workplace and their home lives more environmentally friendly.

·  Hybrid working has reduced the amount of car journeys colleagues have to take.

·  Asset and building sharing with partner organisations reduced the use of resources.

·  The Committee received an overview with specific examples of the ongoing work towards decarbonisation in residential care services. 


Learning Services:

·  There has been an increase in the amounts of meetings taking place virtually, including headteacher meetings.

·  An increase in web based online learning.

·  The Headteachers toolkit is now accessed as an electronic document, which also means that it can be updated regularly.

·  The My Health, My School survey included a section on climate change. This showed an 11% decrease in children knowing where to get advice on how to contribute to climate action and this knowledge has fed back into the Directorate’s work.

·  The Leeds School Uniform Exchange has facilitated and encouraged second hand uniform use and has reduced the stigma of wearing second hand clothes amongst pupils by engaging them on climate change.



·  Around £1million has so far been match funded by the directorate to assist schools install climate related improvements such as heat pumps.

·  School allocation funds from the Department for Education have had some used for decarbonisation schemes.

·  Schools have been supported to transition towards carbon neutrality, such as with guidance on how to save energy and decrease water usage.

·  The Assets and Access team will release new premises development plans to further develop the estate priorities.

·  Work within the Transport and Inclusion Team within Education has supported children with complex needs to utilise travel option other than private hire.

·  The directorate is a part of the wider corporate approach to commissioning, whereby social value including climate action is required from potential providers.


After the presentation the Committee discussed the work of the directorate with the Director. Highlights included;


Responding to Members’ comments, the Committee received an update regarding the work being undertaken, both corporately and by the directorate in terms of auditing the environmental impact of the directorate’s estate, which included liaison between the directorate and schools.


In response to a Member’s question, the Committee received further information on the holistic approach that was being taken to ensure that an appropriate balance was struck when discussing environmental matters with young people, so that it also incorporated economic and social factors. 


The reference of the Climate Emergency in the refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan and the 12 Child Friendly ‘Wishes’ was highlighted, whilst Members also specifically welcomed the value of the uniform exchange programme.


In conclusion, the Director offered to circulate to Committee Members the written information used as part of her presentation to the Committee, should Members find this useful. 


RESOLVED: The Committee thanked the Director for attending the Committee and noted the verbal update.