Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room One, County Offices, Newland, Lincoln LN1 1YL

Contact: Katrina Cope  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

47.

Apologies for Absence / Replacement Members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor A P Maughan, Mr S C Rudman (Church Representative) and Mrs P J Barnett (Parent Governor Representative).

 

An apology for absence had also been received from Councillor Mrs P A Bradwell OBE, Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services.

48.

Declarations of Members' Interests

Minutes:

Reverend P A Johnson (Church Representative) wished it to be noted that he was the Chairman of a Multi-Academy Trust, which had two Grammar Schools as part of its Trust.

 

Councillor M A Whittington wished it to be noted that he had a 23 year old adopted son who was potentially able to receive support up to the age of 25 under the Barnardo's scheme.

49.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee held on 30 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 30 November 2018 be agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

50.

Announcements by the Chairman, Executive Councillor for Adult Care, Health and Children's Services and the Acting Executive Directors of Children's Services

Minutes:

The Chairman advised the Committee that Councillor A Maughan had recently visited the Swingbridge Children's Centre in Grantham; and had been very impressed with the facilities available and the range of services provided to support the most vulnerable of families.  Councillor Maughan had also been very impressed by the dedication of the Children's Services Team.

 

The Chairman invited the Executive Support Councillor and Senior Officers to update the Committee.

 

Councillor D Brailsford, Executive Support Councillor for Children's Services advised that work was currently being undertaken to review the Corporate Parenting Sub-Group, which could include amending the name to the Corporate Parenting Panel; and increasing the number of meetings per year from four to six.

 

The Committee was also advised that the Executive Support Councillor was due to have a meeting with the Corporate Parenting Manager, to discuss better promotion of Looked After Children and Care Leavers.

 

Janice Spencer OBE, Interim Director for Children's Services explained to the Committee the interim staffing arrangements that had been put in place for Children's Services.  These were as follows:-

 

·            Debbie Barnes OBE, was now the Head of Paid Services;

·            Janice Spencer OBE, was acting up as the Interim Director of Children's Services, which included Safeguarding, Early Help and Regulated Services.  Janice would be supported by Roz Cordy, Interim Assistant Director for Safeguarding and Jo Kavanagh, Assistant Director Early Help and Youth Offending Services. It was noted that Janice would continue to be responsible for Regulated Services, and that Cornelia Andrecut would be the Improvement Director when working at Northamptonshire and would be line managed by Janice;

·            Heather Sandy was the Interim Director of Education.  Heather would be supported by Martin Smith as Interim Assistant Director with responsibility for Education.  Sally Savage would be responsible for Children's Public Health and Commissioning.  It was noted that Heather would continue to operationally manage Special Educational Needs/Disability; and

·            Andrew McLean was acting as Transformation Director being directly responsible to Debbie Barnes.

 

The Interim Director for Children's Services confirmed that details of the interim arrangements would be circulated to all members of the Committee. 

51.

Council Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 293 KB

(To receive a report by Heather Sandy, Interim Director of Education, which outlines the budget proposals for the next financial year 2019/20 and provides the Committee with the opportunity to scrutinise and make comment on them prior to the Executive meeting on 5 February 2019 when the final budget proposals for 2019/20 will be made)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report from Heather Sandy, Interim Director of Education, which outlined the Council's budget proposals for the next financial year 2019/20, based on the four year funding deal announced by the Government as part of the 2016/17 Local Government Finance Settlement.

 

In guiding the Committee through the report, the Interim Director of Education highlighted that the budget proposals were open to consultation; and that Members of the Committee were invited to consider and comment on them, prior to the Executive meeting on 5 February 2019.

 

Paragraph 1.4 on page 16 of the report highlighted that in the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, the Secretary of State had announced that the referendum threshold for general Council Tax would be 3% for 2019/20; together with a 2% Council Tax increase for Adult Social Care in 2019/20, which meant that Lincolnshire County Council could increase the Council Tax in 2019/20 by up to 5%.  It was highlighted further that the Executive at its meeting on 18 December 2019 had agreed proposals for the Council's revenue and capital budgets to be put forward as a basis of consultation and had made the decision to consult on a proposed Council Tax increase of 4.95% for 2019/20.

 

The Committee considered the 2019/20 budget implications for the following commissioning strategies under its remit:

 

·       Readiness for School;

·       Learn and Achieve;

·       Readiness for Adult Life: and

·       Children are Safe & Healthy.

 

Details relating to the commissioning strategies' were found on pages 16 to 22 of the report presented.  Particular reference was made to Revenue Budget Proposals for 2019/20 for each of the above mentioned commissioning strategies. 

 

It was reported that the Readiness for School strategy was not proposing to make any savings or reporting any cost pressures. 

 

It was highlighted that the Learn and Achieve Strategy was proposing to make savings of £0.259m and that there was a proposed cost pressure of £0.306m.  It was highlighted that the proposed cost pressure within the strategy was for Home to School/College Transport of £0.306m in 2019/20.  This was as a result of the Government's desire to deliver national living wage rises to £9.00 per hour by 2020; and that a lot of individuals delivering transport services were paid at this rate.  It was further highlighted that the Home to School/College Transport budget was a challenging and volatile budget as a result of unfavourable economic conditions and changing legislation.  The budget therefore remained a financial risk to the Council; although the service was taking every step it could to achieve efficiencies.

 

The Committee was advised that the Readiness for Adult Life strategy was proposing to make a saving of £0.300m; and that there was no cost pressure for 2019/20.  It was noted that the proposed savings of £0.300m related to the Local Authority's legal duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all young people by providing supported housing accommodation.  The Committee noted that transformational work had resulted in a new accommodation pathway.  This comprised of in-house provision delivering  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Local Area SEND Inspection by Ofsted and CQC pdf icon PDF 146 KB

(To receive a report by Sheridan Dodsworth, Children's Services Manager – SEND, which advises the Committee of the outcome of the Local Area Inspection undertaken jointly by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to a report from Sheridan Dodsworth, Children's Services Manager – SEND, which provided information about the outcome of the Local Area inspection, undertaken jointly by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, in October 2018. 

 

Attached to the report were the following Appendices:-

 

·       Appendix A – A copy of Lincolnshire's Final Outcome Letter; and 

·       Appendix B – An extract of the SEND Steering Group Action Plan.

 

Whilst guiding the Committee through the report, particular reference was made to the background behind the inspection; the three questions the inspection focussed on (These were detailed at the bottom of page 27 of the report).

 

The Committee noted that the inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had conducted focus groups with a wide range of professionals, and that when reaching their judgement, the inspectors had also tested the accuracy and rigour of the local area's self-evaluation; to the extent as to whether the Council knew it's strengths and weaknesses, and whether appropriate development plans were in place.

 

It was noted further that the inspectors had also met with the Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum, and parents and carers across the county to understand how well the local area engaged with parents and carers, their children and young people.  The inspectors had also met with children and young people to hear their experiences.  The Committee was advised that a week-long on-line survey had also taken place to enable parents and carers to feedback their experiences of the support their children had received through the wide range of services and organisations in the county. 

 

A copy of the final report was detailed at Appendix A to the report.  The report highlighted the main strengths the inspectors recognised throughout the inspection, as well as the areas identified by the inspectors requiring further development.

 

In conclusion, the Committee was advised that the joint Ofsted and CQC inspection had identified many strengths in Lincolnshire; areas that needed improvement.  It was highlighted that there had been no surprises with regard to the development areas highlighted, as these had mirrored those the Local Authority and the Clinical Commissioning Group had identified as part of the Self-Evaluation, and that these formed part of the wider action plan, which was detailed at Appendix B to the report.  The Committee gave consideration to the said Action Plan.

 

The Committee was also advised that congratulations had also been received from the Children's Minister on the report; and to the reduced number of tribunals.

 

During debate, the Committee raised the following points:-

 

·       The need to promote and communicate the Local Offer better to ensure that families and practitioners were all aware of it;

·       The need to ensure that more information was fed into the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment;

·       That the waiting times for the diagnosis of autism were too long; and that more support was needed.  A question was asked whether this had been included in the NHS Long Term Plan.  Confirmation was given that there would be an action  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.

53.

Children Missing Out on Education Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

(To receive a report by Jill Chandair-Nair, Inclusions and Attendance Manager, which invites the Committee to consider the 2017/18 annual report on Children Missing out on Education in Lincolnshire)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report from Jill Chandair-Nair, Inclusions and Attendance Manager, which invited the Committee to consider the 2017/18 Annual report on Children Missing out on Education in Lincolnshire.

 

The report highlighted that the local authority had a statutory duty to ensure that all children received an education that was suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they might have.  The annual report attached at Appendix A detailed all the processes that were in place to monitor children who were missing out on education for 2017/18.

 

In guiding the Committee through the report, particular reference was made to the groups of children who were identified as being at risk of missing out on education, these were:

 

·            Children Missing Education, this was where children were not on the roll of a school;

·            Children who were electively home educated, this was where parents were failing to provide suitable education to meet the needs of their child;

·            Children not attending school regularly, this would be where a child had not attended school for a period of 10 consecutive days; and that there absence was unauthorised.  For pupils for whom a fixed penalty notice had been issued as a result of persistent absence/unauthorised leave; or when pupils parents were being fined or prosecuted due to their child's poor attendance; and

·            Pupils receiving less than 25 hours of education per week; it was noted that this would arise when pupils were not receiving full time education e.g. medical needs.

 

Attached to the report was a copy of the Children Missing Out on Education Annual Report 2017/18 for the Committee's consideration, which covered all the above groups.

 

During discussion, the Committee raised the following points:-

 

·            The level of the penalty.  Officers advised that the level of the Fixed Penalty Notice was set at a £60.00 per incident.  Confirmation was given that there was no prosecution for non-payment.  However, if the matter was to continue, then a fine would be considered. It was also confirmed that the time taken was mainly used for holidays.  Confirmation was given that schools had discretion as to what action they took; and would only approach the local authority when there was a problem.  Confirmation was also given that where a fine was not paid and it was not the first offence then the matter would be transferred to the legal team;

·            Home Educated pupils – A question was asked whether there was any geographical hotspot.  The Committee was advised that there was a higher number of home educated pupils in the East Lindsey area.  The Committee was advised of the process followed when dealing with such a case.  It was highlighted that where there were concerns about provision for a child, the local authority would always try to work with the family for the best interest of the young person.  The Committee was advised further that work was on-going to shorten the process; and that quite often where it was identified that home education  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

Grammar School Transport - 2018 Review pdf icon PDF 284 KB

(To receive a report by David Robinson, Commissioning Manager Transport, which requests the Committee to consider the 2018 review)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed to the meeting David Robinson, Commissioning Manager, Transport and Teri Marshall, Senior Commissioning Officer, Transport Commissioning Team.

 

The report provided the Committee with the outcomes of the Grammar School Transport 2018 Review.

 

Attached for the Committee's information was:

 

·            Appendix A – A copy of the Children and Young People report on Grammar School Transport Policy 2016;

·            Appendix B – A copy of the Lincolnshire County Council Transport Policy 2018/19 booklet; and

·            Appendix C – A copy of the Designated Transport Area (DTA) map showing grammar School DTAs.

 

The Commissioning Manager reported that the transport entitlement policy for grammar schools had not changed since the CYPSC Review published in 2016.  It was reported further that the Lincolnshire policy offered free transport to young people living in the designated transport area for their grammar school.  It was noted that this entitlement was not subject to income; but to the statutory walking distance (3 miles for secondary school children, which would be amended, where a low income threshold and proximity to a school of choice allowed a statutory entitlement). 

 

Table 1 on page 68 of the report provided the Committee with details of the number of pupils receiving transport to Lincolnshire grammar schools with costs as at September 2018.  It was noted that in comparison to 2016, the figures shown in Table 1 had revealed an increase in the total annual costs of £59,899.85 with 170 less pupil being transported.  The Committee was advised that this was not as a result of reducing numbers, but because parents and schools were making alternative arrangements in some cases.

 

It was highlighted that the Council's policy was more generous than that offered by any other local authorities that provided transport to grammar schools; and that the cost of providing the service was budgeted for was in line with costs for other mainstream transport provision.

 

It was highlighted further that there had been no change in national statutory requirements in respect of grammar school transport; and that the Council provided transport irrespective of income; and that the Council would be able to meet any new criteria if introduced; and that the Council would benefit from any funding available.  It was noted that the policy met the needs of young people in Lincolnshire, and that there had been no complaints against the policy.

 

During discussion, the Committee raised the following points:

 

·            One member who had contributed to the previous scrutiny review advised that there was very little call for change and that the policy was still fit for purpose, and as such a review was not needed;

·            A question was asked whether Academies helped to fund transport.  Officers advised that some Academies did make their own arrangements for transport;

·            Some concern was expressed regarding the effect on non-selective schools, of children going on to grammar schools;

·            Clarification was sort regarding the Spilsby Kind Edward VI Academy; and whether it was in fact a selection school.  Officers confirmed that it was a partially selection school and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 261 KB

(To receive a report from Tracy Johnson, Senior Scrutiny Officer, which provides the Committee with an opportunity to consider and comment on its work programme for the coming months)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report from Tracy Johnson, Senior Scrutiny Officer, which enabled the Committee to consider and comment on the content of its work programme for the coming months.

 

Appendix A to the report on page 155 provided a copy of the Work Programme for the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee to consider. 

 

Simon Evans, Health Scrutiny Officer, presented the report and advised of one amendment to the work programme.  The Committee noted that a report on a new Section 117 Policy would be added to the agenda for the meeting on 19 July 2019 as a pre-decision scrutiny, prior to an Executive Councillor decision being taken.  It was noted further that the item would also be considered by the Adults and Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on 3 July 2019.

 

Other items suggested included:

 

·            CQC Inspection report 0 – 19 Health Service – July Meeting;

·            SEND Transport Review – June Meeting; and

·            NHS 10 year Long Term Plan and how it affects Children's Services - Future meeting.

 

The Interim Director of Children's Services advised that if any member of the Committee wished to spend some time with a social worker, she would make the necessary arrangements.

 

The Senior Democratic Services Officer confirmed that a response would be made to the Parent Governor Representative regarding voting rights in relation to the Council Budget 2019/20 item following the meeting.  

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee Work Programme be received subject to the inclusion of the above mentioned items.

 

 
 
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