To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on potential sources of work for the Scrutiny Board.
The Report of the Head of Democratic Services provided information and guidance about potential sources of work and areas of priority within the Scrutiny Board’s Terms of Reference.
In attendance for this item were:
· Cllr Fiona Venner – Executive Member for Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Cllr Jonathan Pryor – Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education
· Julie Longworth – Director of Children and Families
· Shaheen Myers – Deputy Director of Learning
· Val Waite – Chief Officer Learning Inclusion
· Dave Clark – Chief Officer Learning Improvement
· Farrah Khan – Chief Officer Family Help
Members were informed that the Children and Young Peoples Plan is currently being refreshed and this would be circulated to the Board following approval at full Council as a potential source of work for the Board.
The Executive Members and the Director of Children and Families were invited to share their views on potential areas of work for the Board.
Cllr Pryor suggested EHCP’s as the numbers had increased since Covid and there had been changes to legislation. He informed the Board that the Council had been working hard to process all the EHCP’s it had received and was able to report that all the EHCP’s had now been processed. However, lessons to be learned and work was being done on this. He would be happy to bring this to the Board as soon as possible.
Cllr Venner explained that the Josh McAlistair Independent Review of social care had informed the priorities of Government. It would be important to keep checking the review as it was implemented.
Cllr Venner also listed Thriving -The Child Poverty Strategy and Future Mind Strategy were important and work on these should continue. It was noted that the impact of poverty and increase in mental health issues in children and young people were top priorities for the directorate.
The Director of Children and Families supported the proposed work sources of the Executive Members and suggested the Board invite the Voice Influence Team to come to Scrutiny Board, so Members could see what they do and ensure the voice of young people is heard.
The Director also said work was needed to continue to deliver efficiencies and use the resources to the best effect to continue a culture of excellence and respond to emerging needs. Work on the Transformation agenda and delivery board was therefore suggested as a possible work item.
Members were of the view that changes to asylum rules may impact children and had concerns that unaccompanied children could be trafficked. It was the view that it was important to keep Leeds as a safe sanctuary for them.
The Chair informed the Executive Members and Officers that during the pre-meet Members had highlighted potential work sources, many of which matched the suggestions made by the Director and Executive Board Members, which had included:
· It was the proposal that an in depth, end to end approach should be looked at. It was suggested that a full report be brought to the September meeting to begin consideration of this item.
· Members had suggested attendance as there were concerns that this was an issue for the city and not just at secondary school level, but also at primary school level. It was recognised that after Covid with school routines affected some children were struggling to cope with the school environment. Members discussed potential support groups for parents whose children were struggling to attend school and sharing of best practice across the city.
· Members had also suggested partnership working to address attendance to involve young people, with Leeds Rhinos, Opera North as suggested partners. It was the view that young people should be consulted and involved in this as to what they wanted.
· Behaviour Hub could be paired up with schools to address attendance issues.
· Members were of the view that the Community Committee Youth Summits had been successful and engaged with the young people to find out what they wanted. It was suggested the information from these events could feed into this work.
Vaping among Children and Young People
· A letter to the Board was read out which suggested that Scrutiny Boards Children and Families and Adults, Health and Active Lifestyles should consider this as a potential area for work due to the concerns of the number of children and young people vaping was increasing and the affects this could have on them. It was suggested a report should be brought to the Scrutiny Board and would be facilitated as soon as possible.
The Chair provided a summary of the potential sources of work which included:
· Transformation agenda
· Looked after children and foster children
· MacAlistair Review
· Future in Mind and child poverty
· Changes in asylum rules
a) To reflect on the information and guidance provided within the submitted report when considering potential areas for scrutiny for the forthcoming municipal year.
b) That a revised work programme will come to the July Board reflecting this discussion for further comment from Board members.