Agenda item

Service Update, Budget Impact and Early Help, Children's Social Care and Education Dashboards

To receive an overview of the staff changes, service impact and response to the budget reductions of the department. .


The Interim Director of Early Help and Children’s Social Care introduced the report and the following was noted:

  • Staff were beginning to return to the offices of Bernard Weatherill House under clear Covid safe conditions.
  • Children at highest risk continued as they had been throughout the pandemic, to receive face to face visits. There were instances were a family member may have tested positive for Covid and ways of assessments was a decision that continued to be made on a case by case basis.
  • Virtual visits will cease for children that require statutory visits as face to face was to recommence.
  • A recent Ofsted visit had taken place which was not an inspection. They focused on the practices in the frontline section. The draft letter will be published in a few weeks and the department was confident of favourable feedback.
  • There has been six exclusions rescinded

The sub-committee had the opportunity to ask questions

It was commented that there had been a noted increase in exclusions and officers responded that it had since been identified that six had been rescinded and a request would be made to the Interim Director of Education to provide further information as to the reasons behind the decision.

It was asked how Croydon Music and Arts was being funded as the £13k for the service had been removed from the General Fund. Officers said that this was correct as there was no longer additional funding from the Council for the service as it was able to operate without it. Croydon Music and Arts was self-funding, primarily through grants, which was in common with other LA’s.

An update was requested on the departments Transformation Funding. Officers said transformation funding had been utilised for transformation purposes only, with extensive work undertaken to ensure this. There had been success with a number of bids and there remained stringent reviews of spending. There had been success in support for short term court work teams to address loss of expert capacity in social work for families. There was targeted work on recruitment and retention with a focus on use of diverse media. There was some short term capacity on foster care department.

It was asked what the alternative would be if the departments could not achieve the savings indicated in the report. Officers said that in being transparent at the end of period two and if the identified savings were not made, the reality was that the savings would have to be found elsewhere.

It was requested that officers start reporting identified additional savings in the event that savings could not be achieved once finalised as it was expected that officers should have commenced discussions on the proposals.

The Chair added that through offline robust discussions that had taken place, he was reassured on the transparency of activities of the service that had been reported.

A Member commented that building skills in fostering was crucial to ensure future savings could be made and improve services for the children and families served.

Clarification was sought on the discrepancy in the figures in the DSG block figures for 2019/20 and 2020/21 and officers agreed to provide a response to this following the meeting.


 The Sub-Committee came to the following conclusions

  1. The report presented was detailed and provided a clear picture of the situation in the departments.
  2. The sub-committee was reassured that the department was on track with its savings proposals and were keeping line of sight by reviewing on a regular basis
  3. The sub-committee looked forward to the Ofsted letter when published following the recent visit.
  4. There was interest in the rise of children with ECHP Plan and the sub-committee would welcome a report of the reasons behind the increase.


Actions/Request for information

  • Data on school attendance numbers
  • Data on offer for children with SEN in terms of identifying hidden harm
  • Data on children in EHCP plans
  • Report states 6 exclusions had been rescinded, what does this mean? What was the process behind this decision and should it be changed to avoid stress to the families involved?
  • The report details discrepancies in figures on the schools DSG Block balances of 2019/20 and 2021, an explanation of the balances to be provided








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