Agenda item

Director's Update - Director of Children and Families

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



The Chief Officer for Service Transform & Partnership (Children’s and Families) provided the Committee with a verbal update on the work of the multitude of the services covered by the directorate.


Phil Evans, The Chief Officer for Service Transform & Partnership, presented the following information to Members:

  • The Children’s Mayor’s manifesto had primarily focused on climate change and was a positive indication for young people and their approach to making the world a better place.
  • The service was listening to children voices and had developed 12 wishes of Child Friendly Leeds. Wishes 5, everyone takes more action to protect the environment from climate change, and 6, children and young people can travel around the city safely and easily were most relevant to the Committee.
  • To achieve wish 5, long term and short term goals had been set in order to create an action plan, promote initiatives and establish targets and best practice, supporting provision within schools.
  • An Eco-Committee Conference, chaired by the Committee Chair, was scheduled for Monday the 25th of March from 10am to 2pm, which engaged with secondary schools to set priorities and provide resources. The Youth Summit on Climate 2020 had been attended by 100 school students and had help develop a tool kit for climate action for young people.
  • Vital Energi, a large Council contractor, had engaged with Strawberry Fields and Ireland Wood primary schools to deliver climate education workshops and was expected to engage with further schools in Leeds. The ‘get creative for climate’ project had been launched to all Leeds primary schools and projects were to be submitted by the 12th of July 2024 and were planned to be showcased to Members.
  • The Assets and Access team were working with the Department for Education to improve building sustainability and energy efficiency, assisted schools and relevant estates to create premises development and facilities management plans.
  • The climate impact of commuting to and from schools was considered and independent travel training was ongoing to provide diverse travel options to decrease carbon and transport needs, including plans for investing in specialist inclusive learning centres. It was noted there were limited options within social care.
  • The further work identified by the service was to decrease grey fleet milage as it was the highest out of all Council departments, link up with corporate travel plans, review travel arrangements for looked after children, provide travel training and provide ultra low emission vehicles; however, resource constraints and duty of care implications were noted.


The Committee’s discussions included the following matters:

  • With the vast distance travelled by the services vehicles, the methods for reducing the need to travel, through rotas and advanced planning, were queried. In response it was outlined that work on this was in liaison with Asset Management to ensure that sites were in the best locations and also providing a larger scope of options where people can access services, as well as home provision options and electric vehicles for social workers.
  • With reports of poor bus provision in West Yorkshire, the impact this had on younger people and their opportunities and attitudes was queried. It was noted that the evidence showed a wide scope of opinion, mostly anecdotal, and the main concerns were regarding safety and environmental issues, however, there was clear frustration with transport provision for outer areas.
  • Changes to improve transport sustainability were broadly supported and since wish 6 had been written a wider perspective had developed for travel options to cause less of a carbon output rather than solely safety and reliability.
  • It was agreed that information regarding social worker electric vehicle trials was to be provided back to Members. It was noted that responses had been broadly positive, but more work was required to capture data, however, financial and infrastructure challenges may limit provision.
  • Details regarding schools and other relevant sites adaptability to changes in climate, particularly heatwaves, was to be raised with the Assets and Access Team and provided back to Members. The approach was covered by the Department of Education and resource challenges were noted.
  • Teacher workshops and best practise discussions were ongoing and further information was to be provided back to the Committee. Members noted there was lots of positive work stemming from schools which could be shared with others and climate action groups maps could be extended across schools to network ideas.
  • Members were a good bridge to provide communication regarding the ‘get creative for the climate’ project to schools and encourage engagement.
  • It was noted that the Children’s Mayor was to attend a future Committee meeting.


RECOMMENDED – That the update, along with Members comments, be noted.