Agenda and minutes

Venue: Brunswick Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.



The Chair drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.





Councillors Cochrane and Warrington had sent their apologies to the Panel. Councillors Jeffries and Becker were present as their respective substitutes for the duration of the meeting.


David Williams, Co-opted Member of the Panel had also sent his apologies.



At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer or a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.


There were none.




There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.



There were none.


MINUTES - 14th March 2017 pdf icon PDF 108 KB


The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.


Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update provided.



Former Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Michael Evans was in attendance alongside Councillor Paul May, the new Cabinet Member for Children & Young People.


Councillor Michael Evans addressed the Panel, a summary is set out below.


• Schools National Funding Formula: B&NES schools are set to benefit by an average of 5.7% per pupil with the proposed changes planned for April.


• Farmborough Church of England Primary School: £775,000 building and refurbishment programme completed, providing a new classroom and other facility improvements.


• Private Early Years Providers: This important group will now have their own representative on the Schools Forum – Clare Crowther of Atelier Nursery.


• HR and Payroll services to schools: As the academisation process continues, this service has become uneconomic. It is relatively easy for schools to buy in from other providers; B&NES officers will help the transition.


• Camerton Church of England Primary School (federated with Shoscombe and St Julian’s): The governors have asked for the school to close, because a good education cannot be provided to children in a school with such very small numbers. The legal process of closure will take until Sept. 2018, but the five pupils should all be accommodated by the Federation from Sept 2017.


• SEND High Needs Provision and Funding: Two pressures on this budget – rising demand and lack of local school places. Plans are in place to address both of these pressures by exploring potential ways of increasing school SEND places within B&NES as well as changing some of the transport arrangements for some young people.


He said that he had enjoyed attending the Panel and thanked them for their continued work.


The Chair thanked him on behalf of the Panel for his work whilst in the role of Cabinet Member.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked when the proposals in relation to SEND would come into effect.


Councillor Evans replied that some changes would be made almost immediately. He added that a Free School on the former BCA site has been mentioned


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care added that transport solutions are coming on stream and that additional school SEND places will be available from September 2018. He said that any Free School proposal would be two to three years down the line.


Councillor Paul May said that it was his intention to listen to and engage with the Panel to provide the best services for Children & Young People.


Secondary & Primary School Parliament Days pdf icon PDF 79 KB

This is the fifth year the Primary and Secondary Parliaments have taken place. They give children and young people from across B&NES the valuable opportunity to meet and debate a chosen theme, and present their workshop discussions.

Additional documents:


The PSHE & Drug Education Co-ordinator introduced this item to the Panel. She explained that the B&NES Secondary Parliament had taken place at Norton Hill School on February 2nd 2017. She said that the theme for the day was Get Inspired Get Involved and that over 100 young people attended from 12 different secondary schools, one special school and from a range of settings including Mentoring Plus, the Youth Forum, Senior In Care Council and Off the Record.


She highlighted that the event in 2018 would take place on February 8th at Hayesfield School.


Jasmin Miller, MYP for B&NES commented that it had been a really good day and that there were a lot of achievements made to be proud of.


The Strategic Commissioning Officer addressed the Panel in relation to the Primary Parliament. She explained that the report should be ready in the next week and that she would circulate it to them. She requested that the Panel at their September meeting notes that they have received and read the report so it can be recorded in the minutes.


She informed the Panel that children from 24 Primary Schools had attended this years’ event and that they had received presentations from Equalities Teams, Castle Primary School and St. John’s Primary School. She said that the pupils of Roundhill Primary School hosted the event which took place at Somerdale, Keynsham.


She said that a number of workshops took place during the day on the following topics.


KS1: Go For It, Get Creative – Pupils were asked in the workshop to describe what makes them feel good on the inside and good on the outside. The pupils decided to follow up this work by talking to their teachers when back in school about the use of creative activities in the classroom.


KS2: Go For It, Get Going – As the title suggests this workshop was all about exercise. The children said that they would follow up by looking at how to make activities more accessible and to take part in more exercise with their families.


KS2: Go For It, Get involved in Equalities – The young people from this group highlighted the importance of the right to be equal and to celebrate difference.


KS2: Go For It, Make a Change – This workshop discussed how young people can help each other to feel supported and included through the work of E-teams and playground buddies. They also talked about how to be safe online and the effects of cyber bullying.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what information schools retain regarding volunteering.


The PSHE & Drug Education Co-ordinator replied that she was aware that a number of schools take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. She added that she could send a list to schools of groups or individuals that could speak to young people in assemblies.


Councillor Liz Hardman spoke of how important these days were for the young people involved and recalled that the Gem Project was created at a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Make Your Mark Update

The Panel will receive a presentation on this item from Jasmin Miller the Member of Youth Parliament for B&NES.


Jasmin Miller, Member of Youth Parliament for B&NES gave a presentation to the Panel on this item. A copy of it can be found online as an appendix to these minutes and on the Panel’s Minute Book, a summary is set out below.


Senior In Care Council (SICC) Update


·  What do we do? - We are a group of young people aged 11-18 who campaign to better the lives of young people in Foster Care.


·  Our campaigns:


o  The Pledge – We monitor the Pledge and discuss with B&NES what we think they are doing well and what needs to be built on. We feed this back to corporate parents and the Children in Care and Moving Team.

o  Mental Health – We attended a London trip with other young people in foster care/care leavers around the UK to discuss Mental Health and how we can improve services for young people in  care.

o  We engaged within the Ofsted process by delivering a presentation about what SICC and JICC do. We also asked questions to develop our understanding of how services receive feedback from Ofsted and what difference it makes. The Ofsted Inspector was impressed with our commitment to campaigning whilst juggling school and our home lives. There are several positive comments about our group in their report.

o  I created a bank of all interview questions we have written - these are going to be used across B&NES services for recruitment. Examples of positions we have recruited for are Virtual Head and LSCB chair.


·  What next?


o  We will be developing our initial plans to create a resource for schools based on foster care, in the media of film.

o  To enable us to do this successfully, we will be holding a ‘have your say’ session to engage with young people who may not want to commit to attending our bi-weekly sessions - including care leavers and the JICC.

o  Create a ‘model’ Confidentiality Policy around working with young people in Care that can be used in BANES and beyond…

o  SICC are currently working as part of a team of young people analysing over 1,000 responses to a Mental Health Survey written and circulated by BANES Youth Forum.

o  Support Social Workers to ensure they are confident in delivering life story work to young people

o  Ensure Social Workers are trained in helping young people with their mental health, including anger management.


Youth Forum Update

  • Our campaigns:


o  Worked within the ‘Your Care, Your Way’ commission, taking part in scoring the bids. We then met with new provider - Virgin Care.

o  Designed a Young Parliament Day workshop on the benefits and barriers to volunteering

o  Met local MPs about Don’t Hate, Educate campaign, focusing on tackling racism and religious discrimination, gender equality campaign and mental health. I wrote a ‘Don’t Hate, Educate’ workshop that was used by MYPs across the UK

o  We created a widget ballot paper of Make Your Mark that was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

Additional documents:


Youth Connect pdf icon PDF 88 KB

This paper seeks to update the Panel on the progress of this service.


Councillor Richard Samuel addressed the Panel. He informed them that the Riverside Youth Centre was within his ward of Walcot.


He said that the report was in response to the Council budget of February 2017 that agreed that it would need to reduce the budget of the Youth Service by 500k as part of the response to continuing Council budgetary pressures.


He stated that he was concerned when he read that ‘We are presently exploring options that would allow these buildings to be leased to one or more organisations that can take on delivery of agreed youth services in the future.’


He said that he felt that the Panel were being asked to comment on decisions that had already been made or at the very least proposed and that they had received no options appraisal documents.


He added that he was worried that services would be externalised and privatised and that he felt that the public would not want this to happen. He said that Ward Councillors had not yet been consulted either.


He called for the Panel to request a contextualised report that includes financial information and that wider consultation be carried out with Councillors, Young People and Stakeholders.


The Chair thanked him for his statement.


Councillor Liz Hardman commented that the views of young people should be harnessed through this piece of work.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care said that the rationale for embarking on this process was that the Council feel that this is an area where we can seek assistance through community groups.


The Chair asked if it was indeed a fait accompli.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that consultation was still ongoing and that he would be happy to bring back an options paper in the future.


Councillor Richard Samuel stated that for the scrutiny process to be effective the Panel must be involved at the most appropriate stage.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care commented that initially staff were not ready to discuss the matter.


Councillor Sally Davis said that she felt that the report before the Panel today was an overview of the process to inform them prior to the options stage.


Councillor Liz Hardman commented that we are told that there is a good level of interest across the majority of B&NES for community groups to take on the running of Youth Services. She asked which services are these and which services do you anticipate will no longer be provided once the new model is implemented.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that we can confirm that the Council has received a number of initial expressions from a range of community organisations. He added that they are planning an information evening for any organisation that may be interested for September. He said that it is hoped that the event will outline some of the key areas for which the Council is seeking to enable these groups to assist with the running of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Children's Services Complaints and Representations Annual Report pdf icon PDF 66 KB

This report sets out the types of complaints and representations made to the Council and the outcome of these, including the lessons learned. It also seeks to raise awareness of the number of information requests made and compliments Children’s Services have received during 2016-17.

Additional documents:


Councillor Liz Hardman stated that the timeliness of complaints handling is a concern for all stages and there is now a backlog.  She said that we have been told that other Council Departments have been contacted to help the situation. She asked how successful has this been and will these extra people be sufficiently trained to deal with the backlog. She also questioned whether there is there a resource implication.


The Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance apologised if the report had been misleading as there is not a backlog of complaints handling, there is however a backlog of subject access requests waiting for us to respond to but we do now have plans in place to address this. She added that officers are going to keep monitoring the progress with these and are going to keep the Strategic Director for People & Communities aware.


She said in relation to the people being sufficiently trained the answer is yes as the additional help is coming from the Corporate Information Governance team and we have made the computer programme they need to use available for them. She added that there isn’t a financial implication to People & Communities but it does mean that Resources are indirectly funding this short term.


Councillor Liz Hardman said that the report shows that the highest proportion of complaints was due to the “attitude or behaviour of the staff”. She said that she realised that this can be due to difficult decisions being made by social workers, but asked is this being addressed as part of the ongoing training for social workers.


The Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance replied that both the Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care and the Principal Social Worker are aware and have been looking into ways of addressing this. She added that the Complaints and Data Protection Team Manager did a session last week on complaint handling and learning from complaints so this will hope to improve communication.


The Chair asked generally how areas of development are identified.


The Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance replied that Team Plans are in place and that progress against these is monitored.


The Chair asked if the Council responds to the compliments received.


The Head of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance replied that they do.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the report.


Ofsted - Children's Services Report

TO FOLLOW – This report will not be published until Friday 7th July. Members of the Panel will receive it as soon as possible after publication.


The Chair on behalf of the Panel congratulated all concerned on receiving a very positive report.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care commented that when this current process of inspections began in 2013 we were informed that the bar had been raised so it was very pleasing to receive such good feedback.


He said that the headlines are that the Local Authority’s Children’s Services were found to be Good overall, which immediately places us in the top 30% in the country. He added that in the South West, only Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have reached that threshold under the current inspection regime (with all but 2 authorities having now had their inspections published).


He informed the Panel that the LSCB were also graded as ‘Good’ and is only the second in the South West to achieve that standard.


The Chair asked how these levels of achievement would be maintained.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that the best way will be to retain all of the good staff within the Council and to support them as much as possible.


The Chair asked for the Panel to receive a progress report every six months on the suggestions made within the report that would make the service even better.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that this could indeed be added to the workplan and that the action plan and governance arrangements will be shared.


Councillor Michelle O’Doherty commented that she realised that the number of private fostering arrangements is small, but asked can we be assured at this present time that services are now in place to ensure children currently in these circumstances have their needs robustly assessed and both children and carers are being supported.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that they could be assured of this and that there is a member of staff identified to take the lead on this, there is an action plan in place and the LSCB are monitoring the delivery of this.


Councillor Liz Hardman noted that the Ofsted report referred to a number of young people, aged between 16-18, not engaged in education, training or employment. She said that whereas the numbers again are small and many of these young people are in complex and challenging situations, we are seen as not being pro-active enough .She asked which organisation will be charged with improving this situation and what plans are currently in place to deal with these young people.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that the group of young people at risk of NEET that the inspectors took particular interest in were care-leavers at risk of NEET. Therefore the young peoples “Moving On” team will be primarily responsible to working with this group. He added that in response to the recommendations of the inspection a “Development Board” will take issues forward and they will monitor the progress of this work by the Leaving-Care-Moving On team. He added that the wider  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


People and Communities Strategic Director's Briefing

The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the People and Communities Strategic Director.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked in the light of services such as HR and Payroll now not being offered to schools, what services do we continue to provide and which of these will be likely to disappear in the near future.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied by saying services are likely to diminish as Academy numbers rise.


The Chair asked if he could comment on the two spikes identified in the Youth Justice Plan in reference to first time offenders and re-offending.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that one particular family had been active locally in terms of first time offenders and in relation to re-offending it can be difficult to judge these figures as in some cases their original offence had taken place in 2014.


He added that the Youth Justice Board, Police & Crime Commissioner and the Police had all reduced their funding to the Council. He said that discussions were due to take place with the Police to challenge their rationale.


The Chair thanked him for the briefing on behalf of the Panel.


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 109 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.



The Chair introduced this item to the Panel. She reminded them that they had already agreed to add a further report on Youth Connect for September 2017 and a report in January 2018 for a six month update on the Ofsted report to the workplan.


The Panel RESOLVED to approve these additions.