Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Children & Young People Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 2nd November, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: This meeting was held remotely via Microsoft Teams.

Contact: Stephanie Davis
02087266000 x84384  Email: stephanie.davis@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

53/21

Apologies for absence

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

 

Minutes:

Apologies received from Councillor Louisa Woodley.

Apologies received from Paul O’Donnell

54/21

Minutes of the previous sub-committee meeting pdf icon PDF 235 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2021 as an accurate record.

(To Follow)

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of 14 September 2021 were agreed as an accurate record.

55/21

Disclosures of interest

Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that, in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, they are required to consider in advance of each meeting whether they have a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI), an other registrable interest (ORI) or a non-registrable interest (NRI) in relation to any matter on the agenda.  If advice is needed, Members should contact the Monitoring Officer in good time before the meeting.  

 

If any Member or co-opted Member of the Council identifies a DPI or ORI which they have not already registered on the Council’s register of interests or which requires updating, they should complete the disclosure form which can be obtained from Democratic Services at any time, copies of which will be available at the meeting for return to the Monitoring Officer.

 

Members and co-opted Members are required to disclose any DPIs and ORIs at the meeting.  

·Where the matter relates to a DPI they may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not stay in the meeting unless granted a dispensation.  

·Where the matter relates to an ORI they may not vote on the matter unless granted a dispensation.   

·Where a Member or co-opted Member has an NRI which directly relates to their financial interest or wellbeing, or that of a relative or close associate, they must disclose the interest at the meeting, may not take part in any discussion or vote on the matter and must not stay in the meeting unless granted a dispensation.  Where a matter affects the NRI of a Member or co-opted Member, section 9 of Appendix B of the Code of Conduct sets out the test which must be applied by the Member to decide whether disclosure is required.

 

The Chair will invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3, to be recorded in the minutes

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

56/21

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.

Minutes:

There was none.

57/21

Action list update

Discussion on actions arising from previous meetings.

 

Minutes:

It was confirmed that all actions were up to date

58/21

Update on Antenatal and Health Visiting Visits pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The Director of Public Health introduced the item. Following the introduction, the Associate Director of Operation, Croydon Health Service outlined details in a presentation

 

Following the presentation, Members has the opportunity to ask questions.

 

 In response to queries raised by the Committee, the following was clarified:

  • In order to provide reassurance despite the backdrop of challenges, that the action plan for 2021/22 was deliverable, officers said that a development plan was in place that was being monitored on a monthly basis. They worked closely with commissioners and were all committed to pushing the service forward
  • If it was identified that they were not where they needed to be, the plan would be reviewed with further actions put in place where necessary. The importance of the issue was not underestimated and if changes needed to be made, they would be where appropriate.
  • A decision was made for the project manager and analyst to be in post, initially for six months. This was a decision made between the health service and commissioners. This team would be tasked to assist in achieving robustness of data and ensure data was being collected and reported appropriately.
  • In addressing planning strategy and resource allocation to cover statutory responsibilities, officers were confident that the budget would cover the ability to respond to mandatory responsibilities. The main challenge was in workforce availability which was essential in the ability to drive forward change and meet targets.
  • Members were reminded that only a qualified Health Visitor could conduct statutory visits and carry out the necessary assessments and due to the national shortage there had been an impact in time scales. Whilst the service had adapted the way they work and had been utilising skill mix of staff where possible, the Health Visitor remained the accountable professional and had to maintain oversight.
  • The service was now back to conducting face to face visits and no longer doing video consultations which were put in as a measure during the height of the pandemic. Thorough risk assessments were conducted prior to face to face visit in order to protect both staff and clients.
  • There had been instances where visits had not taken place as whilst the service always strived to offer and undertake visits, parents were able to exercise the choice to not have one despite it being mandated. Some families chose not to engage and unless there were safeguarding issues, which would trigger separate protocols, they could not be made to accept a visit.
  • In order to maintain oversight over performance, the associate directors would have monthly meetings with commissioners and quarterly with directors. There would be a clear expectation for through discussions on data, improvement and what needed to be done if not achieving as expected. Having a Metrix would assist in keeping on track as they were also accountable to Public Health colleagues who review the data on a monthly basis.
  • It was important to note that staff had been working tirelessly under extremely challenging conditions brought on by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58/21

59/21

Early Help CSC and Education Dashboard pdf icon PDF 987 KB

To receive the Children’s Social Care and Education Dashboards.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee considered a report which provided an overview of Service updates from Education and Early Help & children’s social care, Budget updates and Children’s Continuous Improvement Plan 2021- 2024. The Sub-Committee also considered the Early Help and Education Dashboards. An introduction to the items was provided by the Interim Director of Education and the Director of Children’s Social Care

 

  In response to queries raised by the Sub-Committee, the following was clarified:

·         The two remaining children following the closure of Virgo Fidelis Schools that had not secured a place was due to the families not accepting offers of places despite being offered numerous places.

·         The reason behind the completion of only 72% of assessment was a consequence of structural change in the department, this was now being improved on. Additionally there had been a higher percentage of agency staff supporting children and families had been subject to the locum staff leaving as well as sickness levels in the department.

·         There had been a notable impact on the mental health of young people who were at crucial stages of their development without the support of schools, and peers during periods of the pandemic. All services, statutory and voluntary were working together to provide support to young people and their families.

RESOLVED: To note the content of the report and dashboards.

60/21

Service Impact and Budget Update pdf icon PDF 245 KB

To receive an update on the staff changes, service impact and response to the budget reductions proposed under the Croydon Renewal Plan.

 

Minutes:

This item was taken as part of Agenda Item 7, minute no 59/21

61/21

Task and Finish Group Final Report: Exclusions and Off-rolling in Croydon Schools pdf icon PDF 803 KB

To receive Part 1 of the final report.

(Report to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of the Task and Finish Group, Councillor Jerry Fitzpatrick introduced the item and outlined details in a Presentation

Following the presentation, Members had the opportunity to ask questions

During the consideration of the recommendations, the Committee discussed the following:

  • It was difficult to evidence off rolling in schools the Local Authority did not hold school registers as it was not compulsory for schools to provide this data, additionally if it was provided there was no resource available to monitor in the way and level of detail required. There was however concerns on all level including central government of the issue.
  • It was important to understand the term ‘Off rolling’ in order to comprehend the issue it presented. There were currently several legal ways in which a child could come off the school roll. Off rolling is not a legal tern and it’s a school initiated removal of a child without having gone through the legal process.
  • On the issue of reintegration   back into mainstream school of children referred to Pupil Referral Units (PRU), there was no headline figure and in 2019 the number of children was extremely low.
  • Managed moves occurred for very young children and across the borough there appeared to be different practices within Fair Access Panels (FAP). Guidance on processes needed to be clearer to ensure practices were transparent and streamlined
  • The evidence showed very positive arrangements between primary schools, in particular the inclusion peer group working between schools to keep children in school which had resulted in very few primary school exclusions
  • There were some schools that stood out in the level of pupils that left the school and some schools that had high vacancies and as a result would accept children that had been excluded more readily. This in turn meant the schools faced multifaceted challenges as they may not necessarily have the expertise to deal with the challenges that come with the children.
  • There was evidence to support that a high proportion of children that went through managed moves were documented as having special educational needs, emotional and mental health issues, had experienced child sexual exploitation or gang activity as well as many other issues.
  • It was evident that the challenges faced by officers should be shared at school governor level as many were not aware of the challenges experienced by officers on gathering information or of trying to get headteachers to accurately share data.
  • It was encouraging that an information pack for parents and families on their rights was being developed

The sub-committee endorsed all the recommendations made

 

The Sub-Committee RESOLVED: To agree the recommendations as set out in the report:

Recommendations One to Six (to the Director of Education)

Recommendation One

 That the Scrutiny and Overview Children and Young People Sub Committee seek from the Director of Education an annual report on Exclusions and Managed Moves,   such report to be presented at an Autumn meeting and separate from the Standards report,   the report to include the following areas at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61/21

62/21

What difference has this meeting made to Croydon's children

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

 

Minutes:

Following discussions, it was agreed that:

·         Members had become more strategic in their questioning which led to a more effective meeting and use of time

·         The discussions as part of informal briefings were invaluable

·         Members remained focused on the topics of discussion.

·         Some of the reports and presentations were late which was unacceptable and would be communicated to officers

·         Presenting officers needed to be smoother in their delivery

·         The summary sent by the Chair to members ahead of meetings was useful

·         The Chair had attended a recent refresher training course on effective chairing of meetings and the practices learnt would be beneficial in all future meetings.

63/21

Work Programme 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 196 KB

The Children and Young People Sub-Committee is asked to:-

1. Note the current position of its Work Programme for 2021-22,

2. To consider whether there are any other items that should be added to the work programme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The sub-committee noted the work programme for the remainder of the municipal year.