Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Children & Young People Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 1st November, 2022 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Tom Downs  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence

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



Apologies for absences were received from Paul O'Donnell (Voting Parent Governor Representative) and Elaine Jones (Voting Diocesan Representative (Catholic Diocese)).


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 27th September 2022 as an accurate record.



The minutes of the previous meeting held on the 27th September 2022 were approved as an accurate record.


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), another 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.



There were no disclosures of interest at the meeting.


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.


Update on Antenatal and Health Visiting Visits pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To receive an update on Antenatal and Health Visiting.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee considered a report set out on pages 15 to 28 of the agenda, which provided an update on Antenatal and Health Visiting in Croydon. Chris Terrahe (Deputy Director of Nursing at Croydon Health Services) and Juliette Penney (Head of Public Health Nursing at Croydon Health Services) introduced the item and went through the presentation provided in the agenda to the Sub-Committee.


The Sub-Committee thanked Elaine Clancy (Chief Nurse at Croydon Health Services) for commissioning the two independent and external reviews into the services, and asked about ‘New Birth Visits’ and whether these were being targeted at the most vulnerable families. The Head of Public Health Nursing explained that the aim was to visit all new mothers within 10-14 days, but this was not always possible due to workforce challenges, and so prioritisation of visits was assessed based on the levels of need or where there were mental health challenges identified through partnership working and intelligence sharing. The Director of Public Health explained that the services were commissioned on behalf of the Council and that New Birth Visits were required for every child; due to the current standing of the service, there did need to be triaging around which families were prioritised. Reporting to the Secretary of State on New Birth Visits looked at how many were completed within specific timeframes.


Members detailed anecdotal evidence that not all new mothers who would have liked to receive New Birth Visits were receiving them. The Head of Public Health Nursing responded that New Birth Visits were provided to all families who wanted them within 28 days, and where this had not taken place, it was known why not; reporting on this was undertaken monthly to the commissioners. The Chief Nurse stated they would be happy to look into individual cases outside of the meeting, but there were reasons why some families were not visited, such as the visits not being wanted by the families.


Andrea Cuff (Associate Director of Operations and Croydon Health Services) gave assurance that there was a robust process in validating and checking which visits had and had not taken place; the performance data in the report showed visits undertaken within 14 days, but the remaining visits did take place within 28 days and New Birth Visits were offered to all families. The Vice-Chair raised a query on Health Visitors needing to conduct the ‘6-8 week checks’ and heard that General Practitioners offered a 6–8-week medical check, which was a different service. Members raised concerns about the historic reporting on visiting data and heard that the services had been on an improvement journey and that reporting was now robust and undertaken monthly. The Chief Nurse explained that there was a national shortage of Health Visitors, which was accepted by Croydon Health Services, and the report had been provided to explain how Croydon Health Services were trying to mitigate this and deliver the best service possible in this context.


Members asked how they could be reassured that those needing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/22


Croydon Partnership - Early Years' Strategy pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To review the Croydon’s Partnership Early Years Strategy approved by the Executive Mayor at Cabinet on 21 September 2022.


The Strategy sets out Croydon’s vision for Early Years, the priorities, the principles, and the outcomes to achieve for children from before they are born up to the age 5 at the end of the foundation stage, and their families.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee considered a paper set out on pages 29 to 134 of the agenda, which provided the report approved by the Executive Mayor at Cabinet Report on 21st September 2022 on the Croydon Partnership - Early Years' Strategy. The Director of Education introduced and summarised the report.


Members asked about the criteria for the success of the Strategy and heard this this would be a key part of what would be developed as part of the delivery plan. Key indicators that the Strategy had been successful would be families knowing where they could access services and further indicators would be developed in conversation with parents, carers and schools. Responding to questions on the timeline for the Strategy, the Director for Education explained that this was a three-year strategy that would begin to be embedded following the completion of the delivery plan.


The Sub-Committee asked about funding for the Strategy and heard that this would be implemented using existing funding streams in Education, the Croydon Partnership and Public Health. There would be significant extra funding available for Family Hubs over a three-year period and this would help very young children, children up to the age of 19 and children with special needs and disabilities. The Family Hub model would look at priorities across education, health and children’s social care to focus all of these aims into a single strategy document. Members asked about children with complex needs, and were informed that an updated three-year SEND Strategy was currently being developed, and would feed into the Early Years Strategy to ensure it focussed on all children, however, it was important that there was also a separate SEND Strategy to account for those with the most complex need.


Members asked for a definition of Family Hubs and were informed that Family hubs are a place-based way of joining up locally in the planning and delivery of family services; they bring services together to improve access, improve the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and put relationships at the heart of family support. Family hubs offer support to families from conception and two, and to those with children of all ages, which is 0-19 or up to 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and could be physical and virtual spaces. Family Hubs provided links between health services, social care and services for young children, but were still at a very early stage in their development. Members heard that other London boroughs had experienced great success with the model in providing or signposting support for families. The Director of Education explained that they were excited about the model and the opportunity to work as a partnership in its development; some of the Family Hubs funding would focus on providing a Start for Life offer to extend and widen the offer for the borough’s youngest children.


The Sub-Committee noted the key risk identified in the Children, Families & Education Delivery Plan 2021 – 2024 of the reduction in Children’s centre  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14/22


Early Help, Children's Social Care and Education Dashboard pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To receive the Early Help, Children’s Social Care and Education Dashboard.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee considered a report set out on pages 135 to 138 of the agenda, which provided the Early Help, Children’s Social Care and Education Dashboard.


On CYPE 27, the Sub-Committee heard that these case numbers were not unusual as Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Co-ordinators did not do the same level of direct work with families and children as social workers. Caseloads could still be challenging for EHCP Co-ordinators and this team had expanded, but EHCP need had also risen leading to no overall reductions in caseloads. The service was moving to a locality model, which had originally been planned pre-COVID, to try to find greater efficiencies and build relationships between Co-ordinators and schools.


On CYPE 01, 24 and 29, the Sub-Committee raised concerns that these figures had not improved over a protracted period. On CYPE 01, the Director of Children’s Social Care explained that these figures were slowly improving and work on the front door to look at less urgent requests for Early Help, to ensure these were not left so long that a second referral was made, was ongoing. This involved work to adapt front door processes to a Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) approach, with partners in the room, to increase joint working and address these less urgent referrals quicker.


On CYPE 24, the Director of Education explained that NEETs and Not Knowns were looked at together; the reasons for children and young people falling into the Not Known category were that contact had been made but no response had been received. Members heard that the team that worked with NEETs was relatively small and focussed on different areas dependent on the time of year, especially during transition times. The Director of Education did highlight that this figure had improved significantly and had at one time been as high as 10%.


On CYPE 29, Members heard that the most recent figure was 53%, which was a significant improvement and welcomed by the Sub-Committee.


On CYPE 05, the Sub-Committee heard these were the rolling average costs of placements. The Director Quality, Commissioning & Performance explained that Croydon’s unit costs were good when benchmarked against the rest of London, but these figures did fluctuate month on month.


On CYPE 06, Members heard that this was high-risk area for Croydon given the historically high number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) in the borough. This had changed rapidly due to overland travel routes to Lunar House closing and the introduction of the mandatory National Transfer Scheme in 2021. This was a net cost on a rolling basis because the numbers of UASC did change.


Cabinet Response to Scrutiny Recommendations pdf icon PDF 63 KB

The Children & Young People Sub-Committee is presented with an up-to-date list of responses from Cabinet to recommendations made by the Sub-Committee for review.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee noted a report set out on pages 139 to 154 of the agenda, which provided the response from Cabinet to the Task and Finish Group report on Inclusion and Exclusions.


Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To consider any additions, amendments or changes to the agreed work programme for the Sub-Committee in 2022/23.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee agreed to add updates on the Health Visiting service on a six-monthly basis to the Work Programme, with the next update to be on the first meeting in the next municipal year (2023-24). Members also agreed to add the Early Years Delivery Plan to the Work Programme for the next municipal year.


What Difference has this Meeting made to Croydon's Children

This item is an opportunity for the Children & Young People Sub-Committee, at the conclusion of the meeting, to review the difference made to Croydon’s children from the meeting.


The Chair explained that the Sub-Committee had received some reassurance on services being delivered in a challenging context, with particular regard to Health Visiting service, and looked to protect and monitor continued improvements. Members also noted that they would continue to have input on the development of the Early Years Strategy and its delivery plan at future meetings.