Agenda and draft minutes
Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 28th March, 2011 5.30 pm
Venue: Brunswick Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions
Contact: Mark Durnford 01225 394458
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.
The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Councillor John Bull had sent his apologies to the Panel and was substituted at the meeting by Councillor David Speirs.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972
Members who have an interest to declare are asked to:
a) State the Item Number in which they have the interest
b) The nature of the interest
c) Whether the interest is personal, or personal and prejudicial
Any Member who is unsure about the above should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer prior to the meeting in order to expedite matters at the meeting itself.
Mr Sanjeev Chaddha declared a personal and non-prejudicial interest in agenda item 8 as his wife worked for the department concerned.
Councillor David Speirs declared a personal and non-prejudicial interest in agenda item 8 as he is an Every Disabled Child Matters activist.
TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN
The Chairman announced the withdrawal of agenda item 13 (Secondary School Admissions in Bath) from the meeting. She explained that this decision was taken due to the unknown future of Culverhay School at the present time.
She also at this point wished to thank all the officers and Panel members for all their contributions and hard work over the past four years.
ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING
At the time of publication no notifications had been received.
Councillor Eleanor Jackson addressed the Panel. She thanked the Panel on behalf of the people of Radstock for their work on the issues of Youth Homelessness and the local Youth Service. She wished to highlight the formation of the Radstock Youth Partnership and quoted from a letter by the current Chairman asking for the facilities for young people to be maintained, promoted and improved.
She added that she was concerned over the use of the £20,000 funding that had been allocated to services in Radstock.
She concluded by saying that providing a good Youth Service was key to preventing youth homelessness.
The Panel thanked her for her statement.
Lesley Smith, Warm Water Inclusive Swimming & Exercise Network addressed the Panel. A summary of her statement is set out below.
I am here today to alert you to decisions being made within BANES Council which, while not directly within your remit, have implications for you with your responsibility for Children & Young People.
I represent the Warm Water Inclusive Swimming & Exercise Network which was set up with the support of BANES Council in 2008. It grew out of the Remedial Swimming Consultative Group brought together by BANES Council after the closure of the small warm water pool at the Leisure Centre in 1996 followed by the capping of the temperature of the main pool at 30° in 2004 – decisions recognized as a grave mistake that needs rectifying as soon as possible.
We are in contact with large numbers of people including many children and young people who are not able to access a pool warm enough for them to be able to exercise and swim for recreation and for their long term health & fitness. Many of them are disabled and not able to move well so get cold in water at a temperature of less than 32°. Some of them will be living with long term health conditions such as arthritis & joint problems, ME etc, especially ones where pain is a major factor and warm water relieves their pain and allows them to exercise & swim.
Some attend one of the special schools where they have hydrotherapy and are learning to swim or, if they attend mainstream schools with support, are learning to swim in specialist lessons and their parents are confident enough to take them swimming. However, when the children are not at school, at weekends or in the holidays, suitable facilities are very limited or non-existent.
Without an accessible, affordable warm water pool with suitable changing facilities, these children and young people will not going to be able to go swimming at all in the future, and especially when they leave school, so they will be excluded from an important recreational activity with family and friends. For many their exercise opportunities are extremely limited but swimming is one activity that is open to them.
As you are undoubtedly aware, plans are being formulated, in conjunction with BANES Council and Bath Rugby Club, to develop the Recreation Ground and create a ... view the full minutes text for item 105.
The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.
Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) is a campaign by the Council for disabled children to promote rights and get justice for every disabled child. Part of this campaign has been to ask Primary Care Trusts and Local Authorities to sign up to a charter.
The Head of Children's Commissioning introduced this item to the Panel. She explained that Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) was a campaign by the Council for disabled children to promote rights and get justice for every disabled child. Part of the campaign has been to ask Primary Care Trusts and Local Authorities to sign up to a charter. The Disabled Children’s Strategy Group has reviewed our achievements against the charter objectives and is now recommending that both the PCT and Local Authority should sign up to the charter.
She added that the Disabled Children’s Strategy Group which takes the multi-agency lead in developing services for disabled children reviewed the Every Disabled Child Matters Charter when it was originally promoted and concluded there were some aspects we could not honestly say that we had in place. Many PCT’s and Local Authorities signed up aspiring to achieve the charter and the Council for Disabled Children subsequently changed the wording slightly to make it easier for people to do so.
Councillor David Speirs asked if ‘Objective 8 - Our Local Area Agreement includes targets for the level of service to be delivered to families with a disabled child’ would be monitored or become an actual indicator from April 2011 as the Local Area Agreement would no longer be in place.
The Head of Children's Commissioning replied that the National Indicator had been removed and that discussions were ongoing as to the relevant indicators that would remain in place. She added that parental satisfaction would still be monitored in some form.
Councillor David Speirs asked how the short breaks were monitored and how the Charter would be consulted upon in the future.
The Head of Children's Commissioning replied that parents were heavily involved in the commissioning of the short breaks service and that Disability Equality forms part of the training for the providers of short breaks. She added that the Disabled Children’s Strategy Group had been consulted on the Charter and were likely to be involved in any future arrangements.
Councillor Nathan Hartley commented that the first bullet point of Appendix 1 should read ‘We know how many disabled children live in our area and that all agencies in our area are planning services on the basis of this knowledge’.
The Panel RESOLVED to note the report.
The Principal Youth Officer introduced this item to the Panel. She highlighted some of the key principles for the future arrangements of the Youth Service.
The Youth Service will be supporting:
· Private sectors, other organisations and departments within the Council to ensure that there is a sufficient “Youth Offer” available to all young people.
· The voluntary sector via a new post to develop the market, who will act as an enabler / supporter to those areas where the youth service is reducing provision and to new groups who want to develop new services / provision for all young people. This will be especially important in Batheaston, Keynsham and Radstock. It is envisaged that youth work would be locally managed in the future thus linking to the Government “Localism Bill”.
She added that the Council has identified £150,000 – Youth Community Empowerment Fund as part of the package of small grants linked to the Community Empowerment Fund. Some commitments have already been made by the Council to support Keynsham Time Out and Radstock Youth Centre and to that end an additional £70,000 in total has been specifically identified to support these two areas during 2011-2012. The youth service mangers have been working closely with the Policy & Partnership Team so that this work is well integrated.
Councillor Nathan Hartley commented that he supported the proposal to work alongside the Localism Bill as he believed local people were in the best position to know what is required from the service and that they are more likely to value it more.
Councillor David Speirs praised the work of the officers involved in the redesign of the service. He added that he was particularly pleased to see a Youth Hub had been retained in Radstock.
The Principal Youth Officer replied that it was important for Radstock to still have a focus and for youth work to be delivered to the area as the public had requested the service to be maintained.
Councillor David Speirs asked what level of involvement could expected from the private sector.
The Principal Youth Officer replied that it was hoped that they would be involved in offering a range of provision. Under-16 party nights had already been organised in Bath alongside free tickets to the theatre and cinema. It was hoped that events such as these would have a positive effect on the young people involved.
Councillor David Speirs asked what further work was required in Batheaston to help to develop the provision of youth work.
The Principal Youth Officer replied that she had been looking into the possibility of seeking an amendment to the constitution of the Parish Council so that Council staff would be allowed to work within the village hall.
Councillor David Speirs asked how Youth Democracy will now be commissioned.
The Principal Youth Officer replied that the Council was still committed to delivering Participation services over the 0 – 19 age range. This work is being commissioned out now, to The Children's ... view the full minutes text for item 108.
The Care & Young People’s Service Manager introduced this item to the Panel. He highlighted the fact that the Council continues to see an increase in the number of young people in care aged 16-17 due in part to applying the Southwark judgement.
Developments since May 2010 and work underway
Councillor David Speirs asked if the general location of the crash pads could be given.
The Care & Young People’s Service Manager replied that he did not know the location of the crash pads. He was however aware of a supported lodgings placement within Norton Radstock that could be used on an emergency basis.
Councillor David Speirs asked if young people in care were educated regarding life skills, money management etc.
The Care & Young People’s Service Manager replied that yes the Council has a successful life skills group called Bring It On and this now forms the model basis for future work.
Councillor Marian McNeir asked if the service ever received any referrals from Julian House and commented that there appeared to be very little accommodation for girls.
The Care & Young People’s Service Manager replied that he was not aware of any referrals from Julian House and said that if any young people did present themselves there he would encourage them to contact the Council as soon as possible.
Councillor David Speirs commented that a Bristol University research project had recently run a temporary women’s refuge.
The Panel RESOLVED to thank the officer for his update.
Lean Review of Social Care Functions
The Panel will receive a presentation on this item from the Divisional Director for Safeguarding, Social Care and Family Services.
The Divisional Director for Safeguarding Social Care and Family Services introduced this item to the Panel and gave them a presentation. He was accompanied by members of the team carrying out the review. Some key areas of the presentation are highlighted below.
• The Lean Review is being undertaken as part of the Council’s Transformation Programme
• Looks at social care processes from the perspectives of the child / young person / parent / carer
• Examines the Service’s processes and systems and the value delivered to the service user
• Asks throughout – are we delivering the Service in the most effective and efficient way for the benefit of our service user
• Importance of communications with, and involvement of, staff across Children’s Service and partner agencies
• Front line staff leading the work: management commitment and leadership: will inform future design of service delivery
• Work commenced September 2010: check phase until February 2011: testing and redesign phase until July 2011
– Munro Review of Child Protection
– The Future Shape of the Council
– Lean Review of Adult Services Social Care processes
– Annual unannounced inspections
• Rigorous and constructively critical examination of what we currently do, how and why
• Active listening to demand for services: charting the flow of a case: in-depth case studies: discussions with staff: identifying value and waste activities
• Emerging messages included
– Clunky processes and practice at first point of contact
– Actions taken at first point of contact could be improved
– Too many touches / too many people involved
– Repeat demand for services
– Lack of smooth transitions for cases – within Service and to other services
– Capturing the child’s story is not consistent
• Staff workshops to discuss outcomes of check phase
• Knowledge and understanding gained from check phase ® re-design of processes and service delivery
• Re-design team established (front line staff): taking on cases
• Testing new ways of working
• Early emerging messages include importance and benefits of early contacts with children and parents: reflective practice, consultation and supervision
• Change Control Board – direction and overcoming obstacles
• Continuing staff and partner agency involvement
• Linking with Adults Services’ Lean Review
• Munro Review Part Two and (April 2011) Part Three
• Re-design of delivery of Safeguarding, Social Care and Family Service
Councillor Marian McNeir asked if the team would be able to cope with the changing circumstances alongside the implications of a reduced budget.
The Divisional Director for Safeguarding Social Care and Family Services replied that he believed they would be able to and hoped it would give staff more time to carry out face to face activities.
Councillor David Speirs asked how the consistency of capturing a child’s story could be improved.
The Divisional Director for Safeguarding Social Care and Family Services replied that new forms were being created which had a much larger space within them for comments to be recorded. ... view the full minutes text for item 110.
This report provides the Overview & Scrutiny Panel with an update on the Eco schools programme together with information on other initiatives in schools which contribute to the Council’s Carbon Management Plan target.
The Team Leader for Schools Capital & Organisation and the Corporate Sustainability Officer introduced this item to the Panel. They explained that the Council had set out the aim in its Carbon Management Plan 2009-2014 to reduce carbon emissions from its own operations by 30% by 2014, based on 2007/08 levels. Schools, including academies, have a big part to play in achieving this target as they are responsible for approximately 43% of the Council's overall carbon emissions - the largest single proportion by type of council service. In addition to the environmental benefits, reducing carbon emissions will benefit schools because it will reduce energy bills at a time when energy prices continue to increase.
The report details some of the ways the Council is supporting schools to reduce their carbon emissions and cut energy costs through behaviour change measures, improvements to school buildings and renewable energy.
The Eco Schools programme now has 80% of schools in Bath & North East Somerset registered and working towards an award. The report shows a breakdown of awards achieved to date.
The report also highlighted other initiatives in schools such as the provision of energy monitoring equipment and support materials to identify electricity usage so that pupils can develop an action plan and lead a whole school energy saving campaign.
Automatic Reading Meters are also being installed in all schools on the Council’s corporate energy contract. These provide much better information on usage of gas and electricity, enable more accurate billing and help schools identify patterns of use and potential wastage.
Children’s Services capital funding of £100,000 is available to support schools in making their buildings more energy efficient. To maximise the funding available capital will be allocated on a matched funding basis with schools expected to contribute up to 50% of the costs. For those unable to identify matched funding a low interest loan will be available. Schools will be able to use the energy cost savings to meet the loan repayments, and there should be sufficient savings to pay off the loan well within any agreed loan period. The current project being working on with interested schools is energy efficient lighting, nearly all schools will have inefficient fluorescent tubes/lamps, costs are not excessive with savings on energy costs paying back the original investment in a relatively short time.
Another recent Council initiative has been the forming an informal partnership with Bath Community Energy (BCE), a not for profit organisation who are funding (partly with funds raised through the local community) and installing solar panels in a number of schools. The Council is inviting schools who do not have their own capital to invest in renewable energy to consider working in partnership with us and BCE. A letter about this has been sent to Head teachers and Chair of Governors. On appropriate sites solar panels will typically provide 10-20% of a school's current energy needs and provide awareness raising and education opportunities.
Councillor Dine Romero asked what incentive was there for schools ... view the full minutes text for item 111.
The Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel have requested a report on possible future Admissions Criteria which could be used by Schools in the City of Bath.
This agenda item was removed at the beginning of the meeting.
The Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel have requested an update on the work of Children’s Services to support schools to tackle bullying.
The Divisional Director for Learning & Inclusion introduced this item to the Panel. He informed them that Bath and North East Somerset Children’s Services are committed to the elimination of all forms of bullying, harassment and discriminatory behaviour.
The Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) within Bath and North East Somerset recognises that everyone has the right to work, live and learn in a safe environment, free from discrimination, victimisation, bullying and harassment of any kind and acknowledges the depth of children’s and young people’s concern about bullying across the Authority.
He added that in 2010 the terms of reference, membership, roles and responsibilities of the strategy group were reviewed. The strategy group agreed the TOR and broadened its membership to include key professionals in the statutory and voluntary sectors who can target specific support to services for children and young people, parents and carers. The members have also agreed their roles and responsibilities in monitoring and reviewing the Anti-Bullying strategy and reporting to the senior educational psychologist. The group meets on a quarterly basis and reports to the Divisional Director Learning and Inclusion and then to the LSCB.
All schools are required to have a strategy
Review how data on bullying is to be collected
Provide advice and support for parents and carers on anti–bullying particularly cyber –bullying
Try to establish peer to peer schemes as these are very helpful within schools
Councillor Dine Romero asked if there was a danger that the levels of bullying would be adversely recorded from one school to the next.
The Divisional Director for Learning & Inclusion replied that a level of consistency with regard to recording incidents was required.
Councillor Dine Romero commented that the child who is being bullied needs to feel confident in knowing who they can report incidents to.
The Divisional Director for Learning & Inclusion agreed and added he felt this could best be done by them speaking to a member of staff. He added that School Councils often take an active role in promoting anti-bullying in schools.
Councillor David Speirs asked if any information from the pilot audit that took place could be shared with the Panel.
The Divisional Director for Learning & Inclusion replied that he would be happy to provide a copy of the pilot audit.
Councillor David Speirs asked if any of the schools shared best practice.
The Divisional Director for Learning & Inclusion replied that the school clusters were very good at sharing information.
The Panel RESOLVED to:
(i) Note the report.
(ii) Endorse the work of the anti-bullying strategy group to support schools in tackling bullying in Bath and North East Somerset.
Cabinet Member Update
This item gives the Panel an opportunity to ask questions to the Cabinet Member and for him to update them on any current issues.
The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services addressed the Panel.
School Uniform Review
He informed them that he had been contacted by a company that makes school blazer badges at a much reduced cost. He has passed this information to the Children’s Services Director who will in turn contact the relevant schools.
Councillor Shirley Steel commented that she believed a similar approach had been made during the course of the review and offered a note of caution over the quality of the products.
Councillor David Speirs agreed and commented that was one area of the review that they wish they could have explored further if they had had more time.
The Children’s Services Director added that it would be a reminder to schools about the options they have available to them regarding their uniforms.
Councillor Dine Romero asked if an officer had been recruited to oversee the closure of Culverhay.
The Children’s Services Director replied that yes, an officer had been recruited on a temporary basis to carry out specific streams of work which includes individual pupil planning. He added that the officer will also support the Head Teacher and Governors of Culverhay in preparation for closure and the local Diocese in their governance work relating to the joint 6th form proposals.
The Panel thanked the Cabinet Member for his update.
Children's Services Director's Briefing
The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the Director of Children’s Services.
The Children’s Services Director addressed the Panel. He informed them that despite the numerous budgetary challenges they had been set the service was only 0.15% overspent at the end of the financial year.
He wished to commend the recent work on the redevelopment of the Youth Service and to thank the Panel for all their hard work concerning the Secondary and Primary School reviews. He added that a substantial number of play areas had been redeveloped recently and that the Chew Valley Children’s Centre was now open.
Finally, he wished to thank Councillor David Speirs for his contribution to the Panel as he would not be standing at the next election.
Councillor David Speirs wished to thank all the officers for their hard work as he believed they provide an outstanding service to the authority.
The Panel thanked the Children’s Services Director for his briefing.
This report presents the latest Overview & Scrutiny Workplan for the panel.
The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel. She reminded them that they had already asked for a further report on the Anti-Bullying pilot audit to be added to the workplan.
Councillor Marie Longstaff asked for the issue of school uniforms to be revisited again in the future.
Councillor Dine Romero asked for a report on the nutritional value of school meals to be added to the workplan.
The Panel RESOLVED to agree with these proposals.