Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Services Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 24th September, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual meeting with restricted public access

Contact: Ann Little on 033 022 22654  Email:


No. Item


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.

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17.1     No declarations of interest were declared.


Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 143 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2020 (cream paper).

Additional documents:


18.1     Resolved – that the minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2020 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.


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.

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19.1     The Chairman asked the Cabinet Member for Education & Skills for an update on the return of children to school. The Cabinet Member said that: -


·         Average attendance in west Sussex schools was above 90% (more than the national average)

·         There had been some anxiety amongst parents, but confidence was building

·         Incidents of Covid amongst staff and pupils was very low at present; two in Early Years/Family Centres, twelve in primary/secondary schools, two in further education settings and none in universities – this was expected to rise


19.2     The Director for Education & Skills added that single school years in four schools had had to isolate with home learning being provided.



Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Extract fromthe ForwardPlan dated 10 September 2020.


Anextract fromanyForwardPlan publishedbetween the date of despatchof the agenda and the date of the meetingwill be tabled at the meeting.


The Committee is asked to consider whetheritwishes to enquireinto any of the forthcoming decisions withinits portfolio.

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20.1     Resolved – that the Committee notes the Forward Plan of Key Decisions.


Children First Improvement - Service Update pdf icon PDF 183 KB

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


The report updates the Committee on developments in the Children First programme since its last update in June.


Additional documents:


21.1     The Committee considered a report and presentation by the Executive Director of Children, Young People and Learning (copies appended to the signed minutes). The item was introduced by Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People who told the Committee that: -


·         The development of Children’s Services was accelerating with three new permanent assistant directors joining the service over the next few weeks. This would be supported by some interim staff staying in post to lead on the transformation work, creating a structure that will clearly define people's roles and responsibilities and make them more effective

·         A new service model recognised as best practice nationally was being put in place

·         A new social worker model was embedding best practice for the new family safeguarding model


21.2     Lucy Butler, Executive Director of Children, Young People and Learning and Vince Clark, Children First Transformation Director talked through a presentation on the Children’s Services Transformation programme.


21.3     Summary of responses to committee members’ questions and comments: -


·         It was anticipated that the new service model would be in place in the next twelve months

·         Government decided that a Trust would take responsibility for the delivery of Children’s Services in West Sussex – the scope of the Trust was yet to be agreed and would be the subject of a Scrutiny Task & Finish Group and decision by Cabinet on 20 October 2020 

·         It was possible that at some point the Commissioner might decide that a Trust was not necessary, but until then work towards one had to continue

·         The Risk Register could be reviewed to see if educational matters should be included

·         The Health & Wellbeing Board was establishing a sub-group to look at Children’s Services which would help strengthen partnerships with the Police, NHS and Adults’ Services.  The Local Safeguarding Children Board work would sit alongside this. 

·         The Committee could hear the voice of young people by inviting members of the Youth Cabinet to future meetings

·         The Service was confident that its leadership team had the capacity to deliver the new practice model

·         The current social worker offer has been extended to June 2021, with a revised, more comprehensive offer being developed, which would be progressed through the budget setting process

·         The new offer would also provide more opportunities for career progression

·         All managers would have access to assistance and development programmes

·         Staff engagement sessions had provided positive feedback with a commitment to the new service model, and further formal staff consultation would take place as the model progressed 

·         The Family Safeguarding Model will include support for parents recognising this as a key area to address to improve outcomes for children 


21.4    Resolved that – the Committee: -


                     i.        Welcomes the service redesign proposals and the very positive direction of travel on the improvement journey and congratulates officers for driving this forward

                    ii.        Welcomes the extension of the social worker offer and supports the need to explore a broader offer

                   iii.        Requests continued work to ensure the voice and experiences of children and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Education and Skills Annual Report Task and Finish Group Recommendations pdf icon PDF 86 KB

The Education and Skills Annual Report provides an overview of the main outcomes achieved by West Sussex learners, highlights strengths and indicates areas for improvement. 


Scrutiny of the 2019 report was undertaken by a Task and Finish Group of Committee members in July 2020.  Attached are: -


a) Education and Skills Annual Report Task and Finish Group Recommendations


b) Response from the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills


c) Draft 2020 Education and Skills Annual Report


The Committee is asked to note the recommendations of the TFG and Cabinet Member response.

Additional documents:


22.1     The Committee considered the Education and Skills Annual Report Task and Finish Group Recommendations, Response from the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills and the Draft 2020 Education and Skills Annual Report (copies appended to the signed minutes).


22.2     Paul Wagstaff, Director of Education & Skills told the Committee: -


·         A meeting was planned for November to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on pupils

·         A key priority for the service was reducing the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their peers – increased capacity and working with the research school would help realise this.  The Committee’s Business Planning Group would be kept updated on this work. The Cabinet Member for Education & Skills informed the Committee that the report on attainment of disadvantaged children was targeted to be published in December 2020/January 2021

·         There would be a thorough analysis across the county to identify variations in achievement and address them


22.3     Resolved – that the Committee notes the Education and Skills Annual Report Task and Finish Group Recommendations, Response from the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills and the Draft 2020 Education and Skills Annual Report.


Business Planning Group Report pdf icon PDF 67 KB

The report informs the Committee of the Business Planning Group meetings held on 9 March 2020 and 25 June 2020, setting out the key issues discussed.


The Committee is asked to endorse the contents of this report, and particularly the Committee’s Work Programme revised to reflect the Business Planning Group’s discussions (attached at Appendix A).

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23.1     Resolved – that the Committee notes the Business Planning Group report.


Appointments to the Business Planning Group

The Committee to make appointments to fill the vacancies on the Business Planning Group.

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24.1     As the current Chairman, Cllr Barling, was standing down following the meeting, the new Chairman, Cllr Hillier, would take his place on the Business Planning Group (BPG) and speak to committee members about filling the remaining Conservative and minority group vacancies on the BPG.


Possible Items for Future Scrutiny

Members to mention any items which they believe to be of relevance to the business of the Scrutiny Committee, and suitable for scrutiny, e.g. raised with them by constituents arising from central government initiatives etc.


If any member puts forward such an item, the Committee’s role at this meeting is just to assess, briefly, whether to refer the matter to its Business Planning Group to consider in detail.

Additional documents:


25.1     The following topics were suggested as possible items for future scrutiny: -


a.    The development of school federations, impact on small schools and how this affects the progress of the school effectiveness strategy

b.    Educational progress and attainment of disadvantaged children and children looked after

c.    Special guardianships – process and how they are monitored


25.2     Resolved – that topics a and b would be considered by the Business Planning Group and that c should be referred to the Corporate Parenting Panel.


Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 5 November at 10.30am.  Probable agenda items include:


·         Children First Improvement Programme

·         Fostering Service Review

·         Impact of Covid-19 on Educational Outcomes for Children and Young People


Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 21 October 2020.


Additional documents:


26.1     The Committee thanked the outgoing Chairman, Cllr Barling, for his chairmanship of the Committee.