Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Children & Young People Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 12th March, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions

Contact: Stephanie Davis
02087266000 x84384  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence from any members of the Committee.



Apologies received from Elaine Jones, Dave Harvey and Leo Morrell.



Minutes of the previous sub-committee meeting pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 5 February 2019 as an accurate record.



The Minutes of the meeting held on 5 February 2019 were agreed as an accurate record.



Action List Update

Discussion on the actions arising from previous meetings.


The Chair thanked officers for resolving some of the actions identified at 5 February 2019 meeting that required attention.



Disclosures of interest

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.



There were none.


Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.


There was none.


Special Education Needs and Strategy pdf icon PDF 210 KB

To consider the report on the outcome of the consultation on SEND Strategy and proposed approach to implementation.


Additional documents:


The Head of Special Needs 0-25 presented the report which outlined the outcome on the Council’s consultation on the SEND Strategy and proposed approach to implementation.


The consultation on the Draft SEND strategy took place between 3 December 2018 till 31 January 2019 and the outcomes included the following:

  • There were 99 responses to the online survey and feedback provided at face to face meetings by 120 members of the public.
  • Findings of the consultation informed the revision on the Strategy.
  • Those consulted agreed on the four key areas identified for development.
  • A fifth key area for development was identified and added to the Strategy


It was agreed by the Chair and officers that it was important that the voice of young people and parents were captured at this meeting and as a result representatives from Parents in Partnership as well as young people with SEN were in attendance.


The  young people in attendance provided information on their experiences which included the following:

  • It was important to be recognised as a person 1st and to not be judged on the basis on their special need.
  • They were capable of achieving the same outcomes as someone without a disability and want to be given a chance to do so.
  • They had to work harder to prove to people who made the assumption that they would not be successful
  • It was important for them to feel safe when travelling on their own on public transport.
  • Many attend Waddon Youth Club where they were able to interact with younger people with special needs, provide support and give valuable advice.
  • Some of the young people present were at college and were also volunteering.
  • A young person voiced that whilst at school they wished teachers had been more patient and supportive.
  • It was important that young people with SEN and their families were supported emotionally.
  • There was limited services available once they reached the age of 25


It was noted that there was a requirement for good, localised and accessible provision within the borough and that there was a concern regarding the local offer and provision during transition to adulthood. It was also important that the Council support in-borough services.


The Cabinet Member for Children Young People and Learning informed the Sub-Committee that there was currently work taking place on the Local offer and that Parents in Partnership was working with the Council on further development.


A guest was asked if there was any evidence of best practice and what they would expect from the 3rd Sector. In response, Members were informed that it was important for the Council to incentivise businesses to work more with young people by providing opportunities for them to join their workforce. More work was needed with the 3rd sector to promote the sense of belonging. The youth groups work hard with young people to enable them to have a sense of who they are, which promotes resilience. It was also important that progress be made on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/19


Statutory Children's Complaints Report: Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 330 KB

To receive a summary of the Quarter 3 volumes of Statutory Complaints.



Additional documents:


The Complaints Manager presented the report which included the following:

  • The department was focused on utilising learning to drive improvements.
  • Communication and delays were highlighted as the most common reason for complaints across Council services. In addition complaints for Children’s Social Care were also centred on content of assessments and social worker availability.
  • In order to respond to concerns, regular updates and discussions were held regarding areas of the service that presented problems in order to devise different strategies to improve practice.
  • A Single point of contact was to be designated for all Children’s Social Care complaints. This would mirror the process in Adult’s service who have a designated co-ordinator to manage complaints. Update of this would be provided to the sub-committee at a future meeting.
  • A key priority was to ensure that complaints were resolved before progressing to stages 2/3


The Chair commented that whilst there had been some improvement, it was disappointing that the organisation did not have infrastructure in place to respond to issues. Communication remained a problematic and was a major factor in complaints and a change in culture, prioritisation of complaints as well as promotion on early resolution to complaints received would be necessary to improve on the level of complaints received.


It was further challenged that in this municipal year the reports that had been received by the Sub-Committee on a quarterly basis had shown a distinct lack of pace and progress.


Officers acknowledged that complaints had not been an area of focus in the past and that this was now being addressed. Performance clinics were now taking place every four weeks to track and monitor issues. A cultural message was been promoted that this was now an area of priority.


It was observed that a high level of complaints were received in LAC service and it was questioned if particular problems were the cause for the high occurrence of complaints. Officers responded that there were approximately 800 LAC children including unaccompanied minors in the borough. This higher number meant most complaints would be generated in that area of the service. It was acknowledged that complaints were centred on a number of issues and significant improvement needed to be made.


A Member commented that the figures in the comparison complaints table were not consistent and it would appear that different rules had been applied in the calculation. Officer agreed that an error had been made and the revised table would be circulated after the meeting


The Chair thanked officers for their reposes to questions


Information request by the Sub-Committee


  • The revised Children’s Statutory Complaints comparison table be circulated after the meeting


In reaching its recommendations the Sub-Committee came to the following Conclusions:

      1. There was a distinct lack of progress and improvement made in

           resolving complaints.

      2. Addressing root causes of complaints must be a priority

      3. Clear principles and challenge must be adopted in order to improve


      4. It was disappointing that there were inconsistencies in the figures

          In the comparison table  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23/19


Update on the Early Help and Children's Social Care Improvement Programme pdf icon PDF 492 KB

To consider the update on the Improvement Programme in children’s services.


Additional documents:


The Programme Director for the Children’s Improvement Plan presented the update report which included:

  • Progress on the Children’s Improvement Plan
  • Feedback from the monitoring visit of 19 and 20 February 2019
  • Areas for improvement and planned actions
  • Staffing and Vacancy rates
  • Workforce development update
  • Leadership and Management Transformation Programme


Officers were thanked for the breakdown of staff and vacancy rates provided in the report and were asked if they were startled at the figures. Officers responded that there was no surprise at the staffing levels as this was to be expected but there were concerns at the number of staff leaving the organisation. As a result exit interviews had been conducted on a systematic basis to identify underlying reasons for this and the department was responding to feedback and comments received.


A Member further commented that whilst the Sub-Committee was continually concerned about recruitment and retention of staff, it was reassuring to learn that exit interviews had been taking place on a regular basis. It was important that feedback and comments received from those interviews were being translated into practice for existing staff.


It was requested that officers demonstrate at the next meeting, the situation with the workforce and provide details on the churn of staff from 2017 to date in order that members can have a clear picture of what had occurred in the past and what was happening now.


The Executive Director for Children Families and Education informed Members that the Ofsted letter following the last monitoring visit was due to be published later that week. Ofsted was very positive about the changes that has been made though the improvement journey and commented that line of visibility of leadership had improved. It was hoped that the letter would improve staff morale, provide reassurance and a much needed boost that the service was moving in the right direction.


A Member commented that out of all the monitoring visits conducted since the Ofsted judgement, this was the most positive. Officers agreed that although the reports of all five visits that had taken place included positive elements, this visit had the most positive balance. The report from this visit was very good and staff morale would been boosted as a result.


It was noted that the decision to bring in a dedicated brief intervention team to work on child in need cases was good and it was questioned how many people would be in the proposed team and caseloads. Officers stated that this was currently being explored. It was envisaged that caseloads would be on average of 15. Members were further informed that caseloads for the Care Planning team was also being reviewed with the hope of reduction from 15 to 12 due to complexity of cases.


A Member challenged that it appeared that focus had been on quantitative issues and that qualitative issues such as good practice required more focus. Sharing of good practice was key to the service and must be evident in all areas. Officers were asked to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24/19


Task and Finish Group: Exclusions and Off Rolling of Pupils pdf icon PDF 93 KB

(Report to Follow)


The report was introduced by Councillor Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Task and Finish group.


Attention was drawn to the six themes of further exploration, the Sub-Committee was in agreeance that clarity was needed on the themes that would be looked at and presented in the final report and that the six themes selected for further exploration was appropriate.


The Cabinet Member for Children Young People and Learning also agreed that it would be useful to receive information and feedback from Scrutiny on the different streams selected which may be able to inform the commissioning work that was due to take place later in the year for Key Stage 4 children.


The Sub-Committee came to the following Conclusions:

1.     The Sub-Committee noted the report

2.     The Sub-Committee agreed to extend the work of the Task and Finish group to September 2019.    

3.     It was agreed that Councillor Callton Young would become a member of the Task and Finish group.

4.     Subject to further discussions, the Sub-Committee authorised the addition of one further member in addition to Councillor Young to join the task and finish group.

5.     The Sub-Committee agreed on the six themes for further exploration as identified in the report.



What Difference has this meeting made to Croydon's Children

To discuss the findings from this meeting and the expectations for Croydon’s Children.


  • Members expressed that there has been various outcomes from this meeting which included the following:
  • This meeting had been the most proactive meeting of the municipal year. There had been a notable improvement in the structure of meetings and responses to questions.
  • The voice of the child was evident in the reports presented and it was important that this continued
  • The attendance of the young people’s well as parents at the meeting was important to obtain their perspective of services that were in place to serve them and added value to meetings
  • More interface with young people and families would add value to future meetings.



Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To note the work programme for the remainder of 2018/19 municipal year

Additional documents:


It was noted that an informal meeting would take place on 23 April 2019 where Members would have an opportunity to discuss in detail possible themes and items for the 2019/20 work programme