Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Services Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 30th June, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: County Hall, Chichester, PO19 1RQ

Contact: Ann Little on 033 022 22654  Email:


No. Item


Election of Chairman

The Committee’s membership is set out below:


Cllr Baldwin

Cllr Bennett

Cllr Burgess

Cllr Charles

Cllr Cherry

Cllr Cornell

Cllr Hall

Cllr Hillier

Cllr Linehan

Cllr Mercer

Cllr Smith

Cllr Sparkes


The Committee is asked to elect a Chairman for 2021/22. If the election is contested, a secret ballot will be held in accordance with Standing Order 2.15B

Additional documents:


1.1        Cllr Hillier was proposed for the position of Chairman for one year by Cllr Linehan and seconded by Cllr Sparkes.


1.2        Resolved – that Cllr Hillier is duly elected as Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee for a period of one year.


Election of Vice Chairman

The Committee is asked to elect a Vice-Chairman for 2021/22. If the election is contested, a secret ballot will be held in accordance with Standing Order 2.15B.

Additional documents:


2.1        Cllr Linehan was proposed for the position of Vice Chairman for one year by Cllr Hillier and seconded by Cllr Bennett.


2.2        Cllr Mercer was proposed for the position of Vice Chairman for one year by Cllr Cherry and seconded by Cllr Smith.


2.3        A secret ballot was held which was won by Cllr Linehan by seven votes to four.


2.4        Resolved – that Cllr Linehan is duly elected as Vice Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee for a period of one year.



Declarations of Interests

Members and officers must declare any pecuniary or personalinterest in any business on the agenda. They should also make declarations at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. Consideration should be given to leaving the meeting if the nature of the interest warrants it.  If in doubt please contact Democratic Services before the meeting.

Additional documents:


3.1     No declarations of interest were declared.


Urgent Matters

Items not on the agenda which the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency by reason of special circumstances, including cases where the Committee needs to be informed of budgetary or performance issues affecting matters within its terms of reference, which have emerged since the publication of the agenda.

Additional documents:


4.1     No urgent matters were raised.


Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 88 KB

The Committee is invited to note its terms of reference.


Additional documents:


5.1        Resolved – that the terms of reference were noted by the Committee.


Business Planning Group Membership pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance.


The Committee is asked to appoint five members to the Group, including the Committee’s Chairman, Vice-Chairman and at least two minority group members.

Additional documents:


6.1        Resolved – that the Committee appoints the following members to its Business Planning Group: Cllr Hillier, Cllr Linehan, Cllr Baldwin, Cllr Cornell and Cllr Cherry.


Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 145 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2021 (cream paper).

Additional documents:


7.1        Resolved – that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2021 are approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.


Responses to Recommendations pdf icon PDF 107 KB

The Committee is asked to note the responses to recommendations made at the 10 March 2021 meeting from:


a)   Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills;

b)   Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Additional documents:


8.1        The Committee welcomed the responses to the recommendations made by the meeting on 10 March 2021 and the information they contained.


8.2        Under the Inclusion in West Sussex recommendation 7 members of the Committee asked what the partnership looked like.  The Director of Education and Skills reported the programme was working with secondary schools to engage headteachers as well as with children, their parents and carers via the Fair Access, School Effectiveness and Special Educational Needs Assessment teams.


Children First Improvement Update pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Report by Executive Director of Children, Young People and Learning.


The report updates the Committee on:


a)   the developments and progress made in the Children First Programme since its last update in March 2021;

b)   the progress and plans of the Fostering initiative.

Additional documents:


9.1        The Cabinet Member for Children and Young, Cllr Russell, introduced the item giving the new Committee some background into what had happened over the last few years since the Ofsted inspection in 2019 which had rated Children Services inadequate.  She reported that a lot of progress had been made since that time but there was a lot still to do.


9.2        The Executive Director for Children, Young People and Learning, Ms Butler, reported that she expected the service to be on a three to five-year journey.  The new permanent management team had a clear understanding of how to improve the service.   The West Sussex Children’s Commissioner would be writing reports to the Department for Education in July and December on the progress of the service and his view on the need for the implementation of a separate Children’s Trust.


a)  Children First Programme Update


9.3        Ms Butler highlighted that the update report showed Children’s Services had worked well during the pandemic with all teams working in a Covid safe way.  The Children’s Service was still seeing a surge in demand following the relaxation of restrictions. 


9.4        Committee members asked for an explanation of the Ofsted visit arrangements.  Ms Butler reported that Ofsted monitoring visits take place on a three-monthly basis, the dates of which are known in advance.  The next visit date is 7 and 8 September 2021 and would focus on children with disabilities.   Additionally, all authorities have an annual conversation with Ofsted covering all aspects of the service, including interviewing the Lead Member for Children, Cllr Russell.  Ofsted then write a formal letter to the County Council.  Ms Butler was pleased to report that our most recent conversation on 16 June 2021 had given positive results and showed progress. 


9.5        Members of the committee then asked questions and a summary of those questions and answers follows:


·       Culture change is central to the service improvements that need to be made and the new permanent leadership team and service leads would help to filter this down through the service.  The strengths and weaknesses of managers was now understood which helped them know what good looks like and they can share that knowledge with other staff.  An example was the children with disabilities service which had now been remodelled and the quality and experience for children is now much improved.

·       More children are being brought into the room and involved in conversations.  The Corporate Parenting Panel now has young people co-chairing and co-facilitating.  Every Member and officer of the County Council is a corporate parent and has a responsibility to all our children.

·       Regular quality assurance by monthly audit and moderation of up to 40 children cases had been at a 100% rate since October 2020.  This gave a window into practice and enabled officers to put in place learning loops.  There were monthly performance management inspections which drilled down behind the data to understand what was going on. This meant staff could be held to account when performance was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Work Programme Planning and Possible Items for Future Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 86 KB

The Committee is asked to review its current draft work programme (Appendix A), which reflects the outcome of the discussions at the Committee’s Business Planning Group (BPG) meeting on 22 February 2021.


The Committee is asked to review the Forward Plan entries relevant to its remit (Appendix B) and mention any items which they believe to be of relevance to the business of the Scrutiny Committee.  If any member puts forward an item for scrutiny, the Committee’s role at this meeting is to assess, briefly, whether to refer the matter to its BPG to consider in detail.

Additional documents:


10.1     The Committee sought an update on the Woodlands Meed project from the Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, Cllr Jupp.  Cllr Jupp reported that since the last meeting in March the planning consent had been granted and work on more detailed items of design and specification and been running at pace.  Initial placement of the building contract was made with ISG and work had progressed through various stages.  Some legal issues were being worked through as the school foundation owned the freehold of the site.  In recent weeks the County Council had been in consultation with the college on late alterations they had requested, and these would be discussed this week.  It was anticipated the project would still meet the development date and there was no doubt about the commitment of the County Council towards the scheme.  The Cabinet Member would report further at the next meeting.


10.2     Committee members were pleased to see items on Elective Home Education and Post-16 and NEETs were on the Work Programme.


10.3     Committee members raised the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children entering the country via Kent and asked if the County Council had the resilience to handle a significant increase in numbers.  The Executive Director Children, Young People and Learning agreed it would be a good area for scrutiny to explore as the County Council had taken in 10 extra children in the last month.


Requests for Call-In

There have been no requests for call-in to the Scrutiny Committee and within its constitutional remit since the date of the last meeting.  The Director of Law and Assurance will report any requests since the publication of the agenda papers.

Additional documents:


11.1     There had been no request for call-in to the Scrutiny Committee within its constitutional remit since the date of the last meeting.


Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 20 July 2021 at 10.30 am, to consider the Early Help Redesign proposals.


Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 7 July 2021.

Additional documents:


12.1     The next meeting would be held on 20 July 2021 and would review the Early Help Redesign consultation outcomes and proposals.