Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Services Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 5th November, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: a virtual meeting with restricted public access

Contact: Ann Little on 033 022 22654  Email:  ann.little@westsussex.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

27.

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:

Minutes:

27.1   No declarations of interest were declared.

28.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 133 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2020 (cream paper).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

28.1     Resolved – that the minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2020 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

29.

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:

Minutes:

29.1     No urgent matters were raised.

30.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Schools and the Educational Outcomes of Children and Young People in West Sussex pdf icon PDF 483 KB

Report by Director of Education and Skills

 

The report outlines how the County Council has been supporting schools and pupils during the pandemic and the work that is underway to prepare for any future lockdowns. 

 

The Committee will hear from a range of witnesses and members of the Youth Cabinet. 

 

The Committee is asked to consider and comment on the report and the evidence provided.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

30.1     The Committee considered a report by the Director of Education and Skills setting out the support provided to schools and children during the lockdown and the return to school in September.

 

30.2     The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills introduced the item confirming that there had been considerable effort by the Education and Skills service, school’s leadership, governors and headteachers, particularly in communications, in what had been unchartered territory.  He thanked them all for their hard work.

 

30.3     The Director of Education and Skills introduced the report saying that the period since March had been unprecedented, with practice, policy and procedures having to be created from scratch and from the ground up, around a rapid response to an ever-changing situation.  More recently challenges had been dealing with the return to school and the health and wellbeing of student, headteachers, teachers and staff.  The impact of the work by all partners was reflected in the high levels of school attendance throughout the period and the management of positive Covid-19 cases had been dealt with robustly by schools meaning there had been no surge of cases.

 

30.4     The Youth Cabinet report at Appendix 1 was introduced by Harley Collins.  He reported that a survey had been taken among young people on the impact of lockdown and the return to school.  The following are answers to questions raised by the Committee Members:

 

·       It was agreed that 16-18 year olds needed career guidance and upskilling to deal with any future unemployment gap. 

·       Students did experience difficulty in completing course work during the first lockdown.

·       Whilst young people were not in classrooms together during lockdown many used social media to communicate with their peers.

 

30.5     The Committee then heard from witnesses from the schools within West Sussex.

 

a)   Mr Phillip Potter, Headteacher at Oak Grove College, who made the following points:

 

§  There had been woefully inadequate information from the Department for Education (DfE) on special school guidance.

§  Staff, teaching assistants, business staff, support staff, medical staff including therapists, cleaners, caterers and teachers etc had done an incredibly good job over this period by completely changing the way in which they worked.

§  Converting to home learning had been challenging for the special school. Packs had been delivered or posted to families. Online work had not been considered.

§  DfE guidance on PPE had been confusing.  PPE is reasonably well sourced now but remains an ongoing challenge particularly from a financial view.

§  Some young people who require aerosol generating procedures had not been able to return to school. The County Council was working with special schools and Public Health England to escalate this issue.

§  The County Council’s leadership advisory team had been incredibly supportive and responsive to the school during the pandemic.

§  An ongoing challenge existed around laptops and access to learning for students who had not been in school.

 

b)   Mr Mark Anstiss, Headteacher at Felpham Community College secondary school, who made the following points:

 

§  The County Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

1.38pm Cllr Bridges left the meeting.

1.41pm Mr Christin left the meeting.

31.

Children First Improvement Programme Update pdf icon PDF 144 KB

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

 

The report updates the Committee on the developments and progress made in the Children First Programme since its last update in September. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

31.1     The Committee considered a report by the Executive Director of Children, Young People and Learning.  The item was introduced by Cllr Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, who told the Committee that:

 

·       The establishment of a Children’s Trust had been agreed by Cabinet on 20 October and she thanked the Committee for their input on this matter.

·       The findings of the focussed visit by Ofsted would be available on 4 December.

·       The report showed that the transformation work was continuing at pace despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

31.2     Mr Clark, Children First Transformation Director, introduced the report and highlighted the following key areas:

 

·       Following the Cabinet decision in October on the Children’s Trust, work was progressing with Mutual Ventures on detailed workstreams to establish the Trust.  The Trust was due to be in operation by 1 October 2021.

·       The three-week Ofsted focussed visit looking at leadership, the service response to Covid-19, looked after children and care and protection had taken place and the outcome was expected on 4 December.

 

31.3     Summary of responses to Committee members’ questions and comments:

 

·       Good multi agency working arrangements were essential and the safeguarding model was about building and expanding those links.  It was also hoped the ways of working in the Pause project could be expanded and embedded in the service.  The Committee were reminded that the Children First Board had 30-35 members encompassing all areas of partnership including district and borough councils.

·       Demand on service was being monitored and since the return to school the numbers of referrals had risen back in line with where they would be expected to be.  Resource had been taken up with more complex cases leading to higher levels of intervention.  The service was able to move staff to support front line service teams where needed.

·       There are still levels of risk in the service, but the service is doing its best to keep children safe.  Work includes internal auditing of cases as well as external auditing by Hampshire County Council where highlighted issues of practice can be attended to.

·       Around 450 staff had taken part in staff engagement sessions to outline plans for the transformation work including the Children’s Trust, and it had given staff an opportunity to provide their views and insights.  It was hoped to build a more mature and open dialogue with staff enhancing the cascading information and regular feedback from staff.   A staff engagement policy was being developed and Mr Clark would look at giving the Committee the opportunity to review some of the feedback from staff.

·       Work was progressing on the Family Safeguarding Model. In-depth work was taking place to explore how teams are set up and how staffing resources could be changed to position and locate teams in the best way. It was expected that the new Model would to be in place by October 2021. 

·       The Mind of My Own (MOMO) app has had an increased uptake by children, young people and staff and increased marketing was planned  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

2.20pm Cllr Oxlade left the meeting.

2.50pm Mr Lozzi left the meeting.

32.

Appointments to Business Planning Group pdf icon PDF 66 KB

The Committee is asked to appoint five of its members to its Business Planning Group, to include the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committee, with two of the five being minority party members.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

32.1     Resolved – that the Committee agreed the appointments to the Business Planning Group as outlined in the report by the Director of Law and Assurance.

33.

Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 225 KB

Extract fromthe ForwardPlan dated 22 October 2020 – attached.

 

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

33.1     The Committee reviewed the Forward Plan dated 2 November 2020 and Members raised:

 

·       Woodlands Meed: The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills confirmed that the project was going ahead as programmed, that the architect’s designs were in the public arena and that members of the public would have the opportunity to review them before the planning application was submitted on 20 November.

34.

Possible Items for Future Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The Committee is asked to review its draft work programme and to mention any further 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 (BPG) to consider in detail.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

34.1     No further items were raised for future scrutiny.

35.

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:

Minutes:

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

36.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 7 January 2021 at 10.30 am.  Probable agenda items include:

 

·       Children First Improvement Programme Performance Monitor

·       SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and Inclusion Strategy

·       Fostering Service Review

·       Support for School Governors

 

Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 18 December 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

36.1     The next meeting of the committee will be held on 7 January 2021.