Agenda and minutes

Children, Young People and Schools Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 9 January 2020 5:30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room G.01, Ground Floor, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ

Contact: Jerry Connolly, Scrutiny Support Officer, tel: 0116 454 6343  Jason Tyler, Democratic Support Officer, tel: 0116 454 6359

Items
No. Item

40.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Cole (Vice-Chair) and Councillor Rahman.

 

41.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Dawood, declared an interest in item 9 “Position of Academies in the City” (Minute 45 refers) as his daughter works at an academy school in the city.  It was not considered that the interest was significant enough to preclude Councillor Dawood from discussing the item.

 

42.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 94 KB

The minutes of the meeting of the Children, Young People and Schools Scrutiny Commission held on 31October 2019 are attached and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record.

 

Minutes:

AGREED:

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 31 October 2019 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

43.

PETITIONS

The Monitoring Officer to report on the receipt of any petitions received.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer reported that no Petitions had been received in accordance with the Council’s procedures.

44.

QUESTIONS, REPRESENTATIONS AND STATEMENTS OF CASE

The Monitoring Officer to report on the receipt of any questions, representations or statements of case received.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer reported that no Questions, Representations or Statements of Case had been received in accordance with the Council’s procedures.

 

 

The Chair indicated that items would be considered out of the order listed on the Agenda, as follows:

 

 

 

45.

POSITION OF ACADEMIES IN THE CITY pdf icon PDF 118 KB

The Director of Children’s Social Care and Education submits a report, which provides an update on the impact of the academisation agenda on Leicester.

 

Minutes:

The Director of Childrens Social care and Education submitted a report which provided an update on the impact of academisation, including the risks, challenges, opportunities and financial impact.

 

The report also provided context around the reasons for schools becoming academies and the nature of Multi-Agency Trusts (MATs), the impact on educational performance, and the terms of engagement with academies in the city.

 

The Assistant City Mayor (Education and Housing) commented on the main impacts of academisation on the influence of the Council over the quality of education.  It was noted that a significant challenge had been realised where there was no longer a statutory duty for the Council to intervene where it deemed that children and young people were not receiving a good quality teaching and learning experience. 

 

It was reported that in terms of engagement and working with academies local authority support continued in relation to educational attainment of looked after children, support for excluded and ‘at risk’ pupils, and pupil numbers and admissions.

 

The financial impacts and challenges relating to the expectations on the Council’s financial support was noted, with the significantly lower levels of funding received from the new Dedicated Schools Grant.

The positive work in partnership with schools, particularly with primaries, was recognised and the opportunity to further develop a trading services model of support and enhanced work with secondaries was noted.

 

The Assistant City Mayor (Education and Housing) reported that the offer of support to academies was regularly reviewed and proposals would be made in the next few months.

 

The Commission was invited to ask questions concerning report and the following issues were raised and discussed:

 

  • In respect of the trading services model it was noted that the services included data sharing agreements, frees school meals, building services, health and safety advice.

 

  • In terms of admissions it was noted that the impact was relatively minimal as places were allocated according to existing criteria, policies and code.  It was confirmed that the Council continued to oversee the waiting list and that schools were unable to arrange their own admissions.  It was suggested that the member training and explanation of the operation of the code could be refreshed.

 

  • The impact of the withdrawal of payroll from the trading model was noted and it was clarified that this decision had been made independently from the educational support team by the finance team.  It was accepted that the communication of some decisions could be improved to help to manage future expectations.

 

  • In respect of the concerns on standards and the statutory duty to report issues, further information concerning the Regional Schools Commissioner was provided.  The methods employed to regularly meet to discuss standards complaints and the monitoring of cases were noted.  The need to maintain the existing strong and effective working relationships with partners was recognised.

 

  • The process to scrutinise the achievement and attainment levels of academies was noted, with regular Ofsted reports and school improvement reports being assessed.  It was further noted that educational outcomes reports were regularly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

QUARTERS 1 & 2 QUALITY ASSURANCE REPORT pdf icon PDF 663 KB

The Director of Social Care and Early Help will give a presentation on the Quality Assurance Report for Quarters 1 & 2 - April to September 2019.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Service (Child Safeguarding and Quality Assurance) gave a presentation which provided details on the impact of the service in quarters 1 and 2 (April to September 2019).

 

Information included the evaluation of the service and inspection reports of Children’s Services, Children’s Homes, and the HMIP Youth Justice Service.  The encouraging results were welcomed, particularly in relation to Children’s Homes inspections, with each category being rated as good or outstanding.

 

Commission members commented on the data submitted and welcomed the positive impacts on teams and leadership, through enhanced liaison and engagement at all levels.  It was considered that staff morale had been greatly improved during the period and recent Ofsted inspections and comments made by the Independent Chair of the Improvement Board supported this view.  

 

In response to a question, the Deputy City Mayor (Social Care and Anti-Poverty) advised that arrangements could be made for Commission members to informally visit the service, by invitation.

 

In discussing the data, clarification was sought on the ‘edge of care’ definition and the important and valuable work of the Early Help team was noted in this respect.  The work involving child protection pans and targeted efforts across many services were also reported and noted.  It was noted that although the number of child protection plans was reducing, the consistent repeat referral rate remained a significant concern.  It was suggested that the dedicated work and details of concerning domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and other cases involving vulnerable children could be provided in due course.

 

In response to a further question, the Deputy City Mayor (Social Care and Anti-Poverty) confirmed that data was shared on a regional basis with partners and professionals from external agencies. It was considered that improvements were being recognised and the service was moving towards a stronger position, although the continual challenges on capacity were emphasised and noted.

 

AGREED:
That the presentation and results for the period be noted.

 

47.

YOUTH JUSTICE INSPECTION pdf icon PDF 382 KB

The Director of Children’s Social Care and Education submits a report, which provides

a summary of the inspection outcome for the Leicester City Children and Young

People’s Justice Service (CYPJS) formally referred to as the Youth Offending Service.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Children’s Social Care and Education submitted a report, which provided a summary of the inspection outcome for the Children and Young Peoples Justice Service.  A full copy of the inspection report of HM Inspectorate of Probation was appended to the report.

 

The report detailed the six recommendations arising from the inspection and the work undertaken to address each of these was explained and noted.

 

In response to a question, the consultation on the future of educational welfare, Connexions, psychology support and other services was discussed.  Support was provided for the continuation of the roles of these important services and that adequate resources should be retained.

 

The Chair and Commission members congratulated those involved with the service on the positive outcomes of the Ofsted inspection.

 

AGREED:

That the report be noted.

 

 

48.

YOUNG PEOPLE'S SCRUTINY ENGAGEMENT

The Director of Social Care and Early Help will provide a verbal update on young people’s engagement in the scrutiny process.

 

Minutes:

It was reported that the representations received including those from the youth participation service were currently being considered.

 

The Director of Children’s Social Care and Education asked that a representative from the Commission be nominated to progress the issue. 

 

It was noted that there was also an intention to involve the Chair of Overview Select Committee alongside scrutiny support. 

 

Commission members would be requested to indicate their willingness by email in due course.

 

AGREED:

That the position and update be noted.

 

49.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 199 KB

The current Work Programme for the Commission is attached for information and comment.

 

Minutes:

The Commission’s Work Programme was submitted for information and comment.

 

The Chair commented on the need to conduct a review related to Children’s Mental Health which was a growing area of concern nationally. It was reported that a scoping document would be brought to the Commission at its next meeting for ratification.

 

AGREED:

That the Work Programme be noted.

 

50.

CLOSE OF MEETING

Minutes:

The meeting closed at 7.16pm.