Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Children & Young People Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 19th March, 2024 6.30 pm

Venue: The Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Contact: Tom Downs  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence

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



Apologies for lateness were received from Councillors Henson and Barrett.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2024 as an accurate record.


The minutes of the previous meeting held on the 23 January 2024 were approved as an accurate record.


Disclosures of Interest

Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and other registrable and non-registrable interests they may have in relation to any item(s) of business on today’s agenda.


There were no disclosures of interest.


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 were no items of urgent business.


Health Visiting pdf icon PDF 766 KB

For the Sub-Committee to receive an update on the Antenatal and Health Visiting Service, including Key Performance Indicator (KPI) trends since the last update in June 2023, as well as information on changes and improvements in the service.


The Sub-Committee considered a report set out on pages 17 to 32 of the agenda, which provided an update on the Health Visiting service in Croydon. Deborah Kelly (Chief Nurse of Croydon Health Services) and Matthew Kershaw (Chief Executive of Croydon Health Services) introduced the item to the Sub-Committee.


The Sub-Committee asked about the challenges of implementing cultural change across Health Visiting services. The Chief Nurse of Croydon Health Services responded that new leadership had been able to take a critical view of systems and processes that had been in need of strengthening and modernisation. There had been some initial resistance with changes, but the Sub-Committee heard that it was felt that a corner had been turned and that staff were on board. Members asked about feedback they had received from staff on difficulties with planned service improvements. The Chief Executive of Croydon Health Services acknowledged that a number of changes had been made, and were planned, but stated that they felt staff were being brought along with the changes and that this had been evidenced in improved performance, recruitment and retention. Members heard that there was still work to do in improving culture and aligning the service with desired values but that this was headed in the right direction.


Members asked, should they repeat a visit with frontline staff, if they would likely hear better feedback. The Chief Executive of Croydon Health Services explained that he thought overall, that Members would receive more positive feedback, but that the service was still on an improvement journey and so some mixed comments would be expected.


The Sub-Committee asked why targets for New Birth Visits were not 100%, and what happened for children who were not seen within the target timeframe. The Chief Nurse of Croydon Health Services explained that ‘minus exceptions’ on performance data meant children still in hospital or who had left the borough; reaching 100% would be a significant challenge and it was stated that the current targets were ‘improvement targets’ that would likely be stretched further in future. Members heard that it was the aim of the service to visit every child in the borough. The Chief Nurse of Croydon Health Services explained that resources were deployed following a risk-based approach and that more information could be provided following the meeting on what was done for children whose visits were missed. The Director of Public Health explained that the service was commissioned on their behalf and that the four performance areas included in the report were for mandated checks.


Members asked for more detail on the school nursing service and the Chief Executive of Croydon Health Services responded that the service did not provide one on one services to each school, as there were not resources in place to deliver this. The service was prioritised into the areas of greatest need and worked to provide a supplementary level of support in addition to other public nursing services. The Chief Nurse of Croydon Health Services explained that school nurses  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14/24


Education Standards 2023 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

For the Sub-Committee to receive the summarised performance of children and young people in Croydon schools for the academic year 22/23. 


The Sub-Committee considered a paper set out on pages 33 to 54 of the agenda, which provided a report on Education Standards 2023 summarising the education performance and outcomes for children and young people in Croydon schools for the academic year 2022/23. The Director of Education and Interim Head of Education Services introduced and summarised the report. The Sub-Committee heard that 4.5.5 in the report had been included in error, but that current unvalidated data did show a slight improvement in persistent absence rates.


Members asked whether unmet Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were leading to increases in persistent absence rates, and what work was being done to reach out to, and work in partnership with, parents. The Director of Education explained that the responsibility for persistent absences sat with schools; the Council did have attendance improvement advisors and regular meetings with schools focussed on attendance. The Council’s Link advisers also focussed on attendance and persistent absence in their focussed visits with schools. A Department of Education attendance advisor had provided some recent positive feedback on the practice in Croydon on following up on persistent absences. The Sub-Committee heard that schools would be doing a range of different things including working directly with parents to identify the reasons behind persistent absences and developing bespoke solutions to increase attendance. From September 2024, schools would have a statutory responsibility to share attendance data with the Council; this data was currently collected through ‘Studybugs’, but only around 69% of schools were reporting into this system.


The Sub-Committee asked what the Council would be doing with the complete attendance data from September 2024. The Director of Education explained that there was a national push to improve attendance and that ‘working together guidance’ would be important in promoting this. Currently the Council was working with schools where data was provided but this support would be better targeted once all of the attendance data for Croydon was available. The importance of schools putting actions in place by working directly with families to increase attendance and decrease absence was highlighted.


The Head of SEND Transformation & Delivery responded to questions about the long-term effects of unmet SEND needs at KS1 by acknowledging that this could lead to later problems with attendance. Members heard that innovative work was being undertaken at the earliest opportunity when emerging needs were presented through funding that could be drawn down quickly. This work was being done through the Croydon Localities SEND support service, psychology services, HENRY (Health, Exercise, Nutrition for the really young), Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs), and more.


The Sub-Committee asked how the voice of the child was being reflected in work on persistent absences. The Director of Education explained that conversations with children in schools always involved the child and that looked after children had a section covering the voice of the child in their Personal Education Plan (PEP). The voice of the child had been included in the most recent SEND Strategy to highlight the areas that children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15/24


Early Help, Children's Social Care and Education Dashboard pdf icon PDF 81 KB

For the Sub-Committee to receive the Early Help, Children’s Social Care and Education Dashboard.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee considered a report set out on pages 55 to 60 of the agenda, which provided the Early Help, Children’s Social Care and Education Dashboard, and updated additional ‘Red’ indicators reviewed at the previous meeting.


On M33, it was acknowledged that this was a seasonal dip and that performance had improved in February 2024.


On W1a, Members raised concerns about high caseloads and asked how these were trending. The Corporate Director of CYPE responded that this indicator was being monitored closely and noted that factors such as the number of agency staff and Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) social workers could impact on this number.







Scrutiny Work Programme 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

The Sub-Committee is asked to:


1.     Note the draft work programme for 2023-24, as set out in Appendix 1 of the report.

2.     Consider what items Members would like to see included on the 2024-25 Work Programme.

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee noted the report.


The Sub-Committee concluded that they would like to include EHCPs and SEND provision in the borough on the Work Programme for 24/25.


The Chair acknowledged that Josephine Copeland (Non-voting Teacher representative) would be stepping down from the Sub-Committee for the next financial year and thanked her for her hard work and contributions during her time with Scrutiny.


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.