Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Children's Services and Safeguarding) on Tuesday 19th March, 2019, 6.30 pm

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room, Town Hall, Bootle

Contact: Debbie Campbell,  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

41.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Hands, Pitt and his Substitute Councillor Jones, Spencer, Webster and her Substitute Councillor Brennan; and Father Des Seddon.

 

42.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested at a meeting where a disclosable pecuniary interest or personal interest arises, which is not already included in their Register of Members' Interests, todeclare any interests that relate to an item on the agenda.

 

Where a Member discloses a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, he/she must withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest, except where he/she is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of a dispensation.

 

Where a Member discloses a personal interest he/she must seek advice from the Monitoring Officer or staff member representing the Monitoring Officer to determine whether the Member should withdraw from the meeting room, including from the public gallery, during the whole consideration of any item of business in which he/she has an interest or whether the Member can remain in the meeting or remain in the meeting and vote on the relevant decision.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of any disclosable pecuniary interests or personal interests were received.

 

43.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2019

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2019, be confirmed as a correct record.

 

44.

Matters Arising From the Previous Minutes

Minutes:

Review of Health Services for Children Looked After and Safeguarding in Sefton

 

Further to Minute No. 29 (3) of 29 January 2019, the Chair reported that the Sefton Clinical Commissioning Groups had not yet provided figures on prescribed waiting times for services, as they had offered to hold an informal briefing session for Members of the Committee, in order to explain the data within the context, and to address any questions arising.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Sefton Clinical Commissioning Groups be requested to provide the figures on prescribed waiting times for services, including where they had not been met, and forward these, in the first instance, to the Senior Democratic Services Officer, for circulation to Members of the Committee, as requested previously, and the possibility of a briefing session to explain the data be discussed further at the next meeting of the Committee, scheduled for 9 July 2019.

 

45.

Corporate Parenting Annual Review Report pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Report of the Head of Children’s Social Care

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 41 of 30 January 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Children’s Social Care on an evaluation of activities of the Sefton Corporate Parenting Board for 2018.

 

The report indicated that the Corporate Parenting Board was a multi-agency Board chaired by the Cabinet Member – Children, Schools and Families and focussed on improving the experiences of children who were looked after and also care leavers in Sefton. The evaluation report was produced on an annual basis and provided Members with an overview of the activities of the Sefton Corporate Parenting Board, in order to offer assurances that the Council was fulfilling its corporate parenting responsibilities. The Corporate Parenting Board Evaluation of Activities for 2018 was attached to the report.

 

The M.A.D. (Making a Difference) Group was fully engaged with the Board.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         Was the One Vision Housing Local Protocol monitored and were the outcomes successful?

 

This was offered to young care leavers who were ready to live independently. The Head of Children’s Social Care undertook to obtain additional information.

 

·         Was there any feedback available on outcomes for the University of Liverpool Looked After Children and Care Leavers’ Offer?

 

The Head of Children’s Social Care undertook to obtain additional information and to request greater detail within future Annual Reviews.

 

·         How many young people participated from the M.A.D. (Making a Difference) Group?

 

About 5-6 young people were very engaged and active from the Group, although there was a larger number behind regular attendees.

 

·         How were younger children represented?

 

A young people activity group was currently being engaged and the M.A.D. Group had met with them. Succession planning for representation had been discussed at the Corporate Parenting Board.

 

·         What other methods were adopted to reach a wider age range?

 

A variety of platforms and methods were employed to reach a wider age range including an annual pledge survey.

 

·         What was the age range for representation?

 

There was no age limit as such, rather engagement was roughly separated into secondary and primary school levels.

 

RESOLVED:             That

 

(1)       the contents of the report be noted; and

 

(2)       the Head of Children’s Social Care be requested to provide additional information to the Senior Democratic Services Officer, for circulation to Members of the Committee, on the following:-

 

·         the One Vision Housing Local Protocol; and

·         the University of Liverpool Looked After Children and Care Leavers’ Offer.

 

46.

Children and Young People's Plan Performance Dashboard pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Report of the Director of Social Care and Health

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 30 of 5 December 2017, the Committee considered the report of the Director of Social Care and Health updating Members on the performance aligned to actions in the Children and Young People’s Plan. The report indicated that performance was monitored in line with Council priorities and associated inspection frameworks and that the Dashboard was aligned to the Children and Young People’s Plan. The current operational Dashboard was attached to the report at Appendix 1 and illustrated Sefton’s performance compared to national (England), regional (North West) and Liverpool City Region averages against measures within the following priorities:-

 

·         Priority 1 – Ensure all children and young people have a positive educational experience;

·         Priority 2 – Ensure all children are supported to have a healthy start in life;

·         Priority 3 – Improving the quality of life of children with additional needs and vulnerabilities; and

·         Priority 4 – Ensure positive emotional health and wellbeing.

 

Performance improvements had been achieved in Sefton in certain areas. However, there were still particular areas where improvements needed to be made.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         The good level of development (GLD) for boys at Early Years’ Foundation Stage was 12 percentage points lower than for girls, which appeared to be a large gap.

 

The tendency was for a big gap in GLD between girls and boys at early years which broadened slightly over time. This could be discussed further under Minute No. 48 below.

 

·         Numbers of immunisations were decreasing.

 

Programmes of immunisations were commissioned by NHS England and it was necessary to maintain promotion and target vulnerable groups. Anti-vaccine campaigns appeared to play a part in the decline. The Council’s Public Health Team could analyse the issues behind the figures.

 

·         Breastfeeding rates appeared to be performing well and work was undertaken with Family Centres. Further information could be provided in due course.

 

·         The proportion of Looked After Children with dental checks could be improved.

 

There could be delays occurring in ensuring that checks were accurately recorded on the system. Some children had phobias about visiting a dentist and a lot of work was undertaken to ensure that they attended appointments.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Children and Young People’s Plan Performance Dashboard be received and the performance be noted.

 

47.

School Organisation and School Places pdf icon PDF 539 KB

Report of the Head of Education

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 49 of 20 March 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Education on school organisation and school places data by geographical area. The report set out the background to the matter, together with details of Government policy; local authority statutory duties; the Government’s vision for local authorities regarding school places; factors affecting pupil place planning; education reform; school funding reform; demographic issues; and planning areas based on geographical and ward boundaries.

 

Details of how pupil place planning numbers were determined and the next planning period projections were included within the Pupil Place Plan 2017/18 to 2022/23, attached to the report. The Plan set out the structure and characteristics of school provision; trends in pupil numbers; methodology used for forecasting pupil numbers; primary pupil numbers; secondary pupil numbers; Sefton’s planning areas; pupil projections by planning area; and empty places and surplus places.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         Pupil numbers at Formby primary schools were reducing. Could the schools concerned reduce their admission numbers?

 

Conversations would need to be held between the Local Authority and the schools concerned. Budgets for all schools were under pressure and any deficits in budgets would come back to the Authority. Any additional places available at Formby secondary schools in particular, could impact on preferences made for pupils from the Crosby and south Southport areas.

 

·         Was Brexit having an impact on reducing pupil numbers, particularly in Southport schools?

 

Rises in predicted pupil places were slowing, particularly in Southport, although there was a lack of data available regarding the impact of Brexit.

 

·         How quickly could schools amend their admission criteria arrangements?

 

Academies could increase their admission numbers. Consultations would need to take place to decrease admission numbers. The Local Authority held annual consultations on school admissions and schools were asked whether they wished to amend the admission criteria, etc. Any capital funding applications for growth had to go through the usual Council processes.

 

·         What formula was used to factor-in pupil yield from housing developments with planning permission?

 

The Council adopted a formula used by all Local Authorities where numbers of primary and secondary places required were calculated for every 100 houses. Types of housing developments were also factored-in.

 

·         How many schools had closed in Sefton?

 

In recent years St. Ambrose Barlow Catholic High School, Netherton, had closed, as had St. George of England High School, Bootle; and St. Wilfrid’s Catholic High School, Litherland. Bootle High School had closed, but pupils were merged with Litherland High School. Sand Dunes Nursery, Seaforth, was to close in August 2019.

 

·         With the drift towards Crosby schools by pupils in the Bootle area, were there plans to extend any of the Crosby schools?

 

Some work would be undertaken at Great Crosby Catholic Primary School. It was a difficult balance not to undermine other viable schools.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the information contained within the report be noted.

 

48.

School Performance Update pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Report of the Head of Education

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 39 of 30 January 2018, the Committee considered the report of the Head of Education, providing an overview of the performance in Sefton schools at key stages up to Key Stage 4 (KS4).

 

The report set out the background to the matter; the results of Ofsted inspections in both primary and secondary schools; the profile for the Early Years’ Foundation Stage (EYFS); the Year 1 phonics measure; outcomes for KS1, KS2 and KS4; key Local authority actions being undertaken at primary level; key Local Authority actions being undertaken at secondary level; and the school improvement support system in Sefton.

 

The report indicated that over 98% of primary school children in Sefton attended a “good” or “outstanding” school. In secondary schools, less than 45% of pupils attended a “good” or “outstanding” school and there were no “good” or “outstanding” Catholic secondary schools in Sefton. Local Authority school improvement funding had only been provided by the government until the end of the academic year and the future local authority role in school improvement was uncertain.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

  • Further to a matter raised under Minute No. 46 above, the difference in levels of achievement between boys and girls under the good level of development (GLD) at Early Years’ Foundation stage was discussed.

 

The Early Years Foundation Stage set standards for the learning, development and care of all children up to the age of 5. All staff would go through the same training. Ofsted inspected and regulated services, with a view to ensuring the required standards were achieved and maintained.

 

·         The majority of secondary schools in the Borough required improvement or were inadequate and pupil absence was a problem. How was the school-led improvement system, with schools working in clusters and stronger schools within the Borough supporting schools that required improvement, progressing?

 

A number of schools were linked together, although this had created some issues for leading schools. Attempts were being made to improve performance, particularly in schools in the south of the Borough. Parents tended to attempt to have their children admitted into nearby schools with “good” ratings.

 

In addition, persistent pupil absenteeism was an issue and a workshop had been held to share experience, with a view to producing a tool kit for schools. The Education Welfare Service carried out a lot of work with parents on this issue. Attempts were made to try to get children more engaged with school and to reduce bullying, in order to make pupils feel safe at school. Persistent absence could be considered as a potential topic for a working group review.

 

·         There was a need to retain good teachers.

 

The Year 1 phonics measure illustrated that the majority of Sefton children were meeting the expected standard. Key Stage 2 outcomes were also good. Data did not always reflect school performance.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

49.

Cabinet Member Report pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer – To Follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer in relation to the most recent report of the Cabinet Member – Children, Schools and Safeguarding for the period January - March 2019. The report outlined information on the following:-

 

·         Determination of the 2020 Admission Arrangements for Sefton Primary and Secondary Schools;

·         Identification of Schools for (Improvement) Support Consultation; and

·         Funding Bid – Supporting Families Against Youth Crime.

 

Councillor J.J. Kelly, Cabinet Member – Children, Schools and Safeguarding, was in attendance at the meeting to present his Update Report and highlight particular aspects of it.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Cabinet Member update report be noted.

 

50.

Work Programme Key Decision Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer (1) submitting the Committee’s Work Programme for the remainder of the Municipal Year 2018/19 and noting that any additional agenda items requested could be included within the Work Programme for 2019/20; (2) noting the progress to date regarding the Joint Working Group for Post-16 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision; and (3) noting that there were no items for pre-scrutiny within the current Key Decision Forward Plan that fell under the remit of the Committee, on this occasion.

 

A Work Programme for 2018/19 was set out at Appendix A to the report, to be considered, along with any additional items to be included and agreed.

 

The report set out progress to date made by the Joint Working Group for Post-16 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision, comprised of Members of this Committee and Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Regeneration and Skills).

 

There were no items for pre-scrutiny within the current Key Decision Forward Plan that fell under the remit of the Committee, on this occasion.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/raised matters on the following issues:-

 

·         Details of the site visit undertaken by the Joint Working Group for Post-16 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision, were reported to the Committee.

 

·         Further to Minute No. 20 of 25 September 2018, the Chair reported on a front-line visit she had undertaken, in order to enhance Members’ understanding of front-line delivery of Children’s Social Care.

 

·         Consideration could be given to a possible working group and the Work Programme for 2019/20.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)       the Work Programme for 2018/19, as set out in Appendix A to the report, be agreed;

 

(2)       the progress to date regarding the Joint Working Group for Post-16 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Provision be noted; and

 

(3)       the fact that there are no items for pre-scrutiny within the current Key Decision Forward Plan that fall under the remit of the Committee, on this occasion, be noted.