Agenda and minutes

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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.





Co-opted Panel Member Andrew Tarrant had sent his apologies to the Panel.



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.


Kevin Burnett declared an other interest in agenda item 12 (Youth Services) as a member of his family works for the department of the Council.




There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.



There were none.


MINUTES - 19th September 2017 pdf icon PDF 119 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.



Councillor Paul May, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People addressed the Panel. A copy of the update can be found on their Minute Book and as an online appendix to these minutes, a summary of the update is set out below.


He informed them that he had recently attended a meeting between the Council and the Chief Executives of the local Multi Academy Trusts and how important it is to keep good lines of communications open.


He explained that a replacement temporary classroom for Twerton Infants School was being sourced by moving one from St Saviour’s Infant School.


He said that officers were working on an in house bid for Youth Services that could involve the universities / voluntary sector.


He stated that there were no guarantees in place yet over the forthcoming budget, but in his opinion he did not think that further cuts to Children’s Services should be made.


He informed that some discussions had taken place with representatives of the voluntary sector regarding future SEND provision. He added that a business case was being worked on for current out of county provision.


He explained that the local Health & Wellbeing Board had announced that the next twelve months would be a Mental Health Year.


He said how positive the recent Foster Carer Celebration Event had been.


He informed the Panel that the Department for Education is introducing a new National Funding Formula (NFF) for Schools by April 2020. He said that for the next 2 financial years the DFE will use the NFF to allocate funding to the Local Authority, but will allow flexibility to retain our existing local formula arrangements should the transition to the NFF be difficult and the LA would like time to transition.


He explained that a single member decision will be needed to determine the way forward.


He said that all schools have been consulted and the results considered by the Schools Forum who have recommended that I decide to move to the NFF from 1 April 2018.


He added that he acknowledged that many schools are feeling under financial pressure and the choice of formula will affect individual schools in different ways. He said though it is important to note that the overall ‘pot’ for B&NES is increasing by 3.9% in 2018-19 (3rd highest increase in the country) and is unaffected by the choice of formula – and that every school is guaranteed a 0.5% per pupil uplift.


He explained that the counter argument to moving straight to the NFF is that a small number of schools, including some of those serving our more vulnerable communities, will miss out on the short term opportunity of greater increases in funding which they could have received during the coming two years, under the local formula.


He addressed the Panel on his priorities for the service and said that he had a good sense of the work of our children’s services and the challenges and issues that they face. He said he was beginning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

Cabinet Member Briefing pdf icon PDF 84 KB


Consultation on the Proposal to Close Camerton Church School pdf icon PDF 87 KB

The Governing Body of Camerton Church School has asked the Council to consult on the closure of the school.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked would transport be provided to whatever local school parents choose for their children, subject to places at those schools being available.


The School Organisation Manager replied that it would need to be the nearest appropriate school and that then the Home to School Transport Policy would be applied.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if the pupils concerned could remain at Shoscombe if Camerton were to close.


The School Organisation Manager replied thatif it was decided to close the school, the seven pupils would be able to remain at Shoscombe School and formally transfer onto the roll should they wish to.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked why pupils were attending Shoscombe and not Timsbury in the interim.


The Strategic Director for People & Communities replied that Camerton and Shoscombe were part of the same Church Valley Schools Federation with St Julian’s in Wellow.


The Chair asked has the Diocese given any indication of what the site might be used for in the future.


David Williams replied that he believed that the Board of Finance for the Diocese would seek to sell the site at its earliest opportunity should the decision to close the school be made.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the proposal to close Camerton Church School and the resulting consultation process being undertaken.


Ofsted Action Plan pdf icon PDF 70 KB

This report attaches the plan that was recently submitted to both Ofsted and the DfE, and outlines the steps being undertaken to ensure that all recommendations are being actively addressed. 

Additional documents:


The Chair asked if consideration had been given to having a member of the Panel on the Development Board to oversee the Development Plan.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that he felt it would be more appropriate to bring updates to the Panel as the plan is progressed.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked is there any way the Council could ensure the fixed-term exclusion of a Looked After Child would trigger an immediate response, before the fixed-term exclusion takes place. She acknowledged that this might be seen as interfering in what happens in schools, but asked is there a role for the Virtual School Head here.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that the Council could look to strengthen the role of the Virtual Head and improve the role of the Behaviour & Attendance Panel.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if there is money to support improving the quality of pathway plans through Back to Basics workshops and will these happen in December as planned.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that there is no additional funding for this work as the department see it as business as usual. He added that the training will be delivered in bitesize form by Principal Social Workers and Frontline Managers at lunchtimes and within team meetings.


Chris Batten asked if the restructuring of the duty team had taken place. 


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that it did take place in the middle of September and seeks to respond to the challenges raised within the Ofsted inspection.


Councillor Sally Davis asked if aside from improving the liaison with Language Schools, are there any other ways of ensuring we know of private fostering arrangements – do we ask schools, nurseries, GP surgeries etc. for this information.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that the Council was quite reliant on self-reporting on this matter. He said that leaflets and posters have been distributed to GP surgeries and that following the appointment of a Private Fostering Lead Social Worker these were refreshed and redistributed.


Councillor Matt Cochrane asked when the exemption from Council Tax for Care Leavers will be implemented.


The Strategic Director for People & Communities replied that the Council motion on this subject will be responded to as part of the 2018 budget process.


The Chair asked how often the Divisional Director’s Caseload Challenge takes place.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that it is carried out on a quarterly basis and that the number of cases of teams and individual social workers are assessed to allow for a better flow and to avoid bottlenecks.


The Chair asked if there were any social worker vacancies currently.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that they were currently advertising for some permanent positions and therefore filling the vacancies temporarily with agency social workers. He added that turnover rate for social workers within B&NES were low.


The Chair asked what the Council would do if  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.


Children's Services Staff Survey pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Presentation slides are within the agenda pack for the Panel following the Staff Survey for 2017.


The Chair said that she felt staff were still unhappy at not having a specific desk or the guarantee of one to work from.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that there is an existing offer to work flexibly at home following the 2016 survey and that from July 2017 access to Liquid Logic at home has been possible. He added all social workers were due to be offered an IPad that would have access to Liquid Logic.


Councillor Matt Cochrane spoke concerning the possibility of attempting to resolve some parking issues, particularly for social workers who have difficulty in finding spaces to park in Keynsham and to avoid the process of having to claim back expenses. He suggested whether they could be issued with a badge that would allow them to park anywhere when on visits.


Councillor Paul May replied that he had raised the matter with Councillor Charles Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency and the Group Manager for Transport and Parking and that there may be a possibility of providing 4/5 designated spaces. He added that he would enquire about the provision of badges.


The Chair commented that she was concerned that Children’s Social Care Services generally scores lower than other areas. She asked if the survey results are acted upon.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that he believed that they did and showed this within the ‘You said, We did’ section of the presentation.


Councillor Liz Hardman stated that part of the survey had shown a huge drop in “Managers communicating more effectively by service” for Children’s Social Care Services from 73% in 2016 to 56% in 2017. She asked if there were anything in place to begin to address this.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care said that managers were being asked to maintain a level of quality supervision and to make time to see their staff.


The Chair asked if he was satisfied with the figure of 62% of staff were secure in reporting concerns. She added that she felt it was more important than ever to have trust in colleagues.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that he was satisfied with the figure received.


The Chair commented that following her recent meeting with a number of social workers she sensed that there was a wish for them to be valued.


Councillor Paul May stated that he greatly valued the role that they do.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the results of the Children's Services Staff Survey for 2017.


Youth Services

The Panel will receive a verbal update on this agenda item.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care introduced the Somer Valley Youth Connect Team Leader and the Head of Young People’s Prevention Services who were present for this item. He explained that progress was being made on developing what the service will look like in the future. He said that consultation had begun in February / March 2017 and that current thinking is often fed back to staff.


He said that he had discussed proposals with the Cabinet Member and that two engagement events with community partners had been held to assess their levels of interest and the use of the three associated buildings. He added that as of November 2017, 8 groups have given firm expressions of interest.


He said that a successful bid to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had secured funding of £20,000 to assess the potential to create a staff mutual to take on the delivery of Youth Connect. He added that he had met with colleagues earlier in the day and that the feeling was there was potential in the project and that viability / feasibility reports would be carried out.


The Chair asked what the current thoughts were in respect of the buildings.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that he felt that some middle ground would have to be met as it would not be possible for all of them to remain in the control of the Council.


The Head of Young People’s Prevention Services confirmed that there has been a wide consultation of staff regarding this matter and officers were intent on seeking the best service for our young people.


Councillor Liz Hardman commented that she was concerned that potentially a substantial number of posts could be lost during this process and that Paulton and other areas of the Council do need a functioning Youth Service.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that a staff mutual was likely to be the best long term option to be able to access funding and grow and develop as a business.


The Somer Valley Youth Connect Team Leader said that should a staff mutual be formed there could be the potential to increase services by working with Parish Councils.


The Cabinet Member for Children & Young People commented that if successful he felt that other local areas would like to use our services.


The Head of Young People’s Prevention Services explained that an informal consultation on a new model was likely to take place in January 2018 followed by formal consultation in March 2018.


The Somer Valley Youth Connect Team Leader said that early feasibility work was ongoing and that a decision regarding a staff mutual would be made in December /January as to whether or not to go forward. He added that if the project moved forward it could open opportunities for staff that may initially be at risk of redundancy.


The Chair asked for a written update report to be submitted to their January 2018 meeting.


People and Communities Strategic Director's Briefing

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


The Strategic Director for People & Communities gave a briefing to the Panel. A copy of the briefing can be found on their Minute Book and as an online appendix to these minutes, a summary of the briefing is set out below.


Bath Community Academy (BCA)


I reported in September that we had submitted an expression of interest to secure additional resources to support the development of a vision for the future of the BCA site, through the One Public Estate initiative (Cabinet Office/LGA). As a result of the initial expression of interest we are in to the second stage of that bidding process and await news of the outcome. Subject to the funding/capacity available, we hope to bring to Panel in January a timeline and proposed process for engagement and development of a vision for the future of the site, including seeking appropriate ways to ensure wider member engagement.


Parents of the current Year 8 and 9 pupils have now been invited to express preferences for new schools for Year 9 and 10 in September 2018 and have had the opportunity to attend an open evening meeting with head teachers of other local secondary schools to understand what they can offer.


The Chair asked if Year 8/9 pupils / parents could choose whatever school they wish for September 2018.


The Strategic Director for People & Communities replied that they could express a top three preferences.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if the pupils would receive transport to their new school.


The Strategic Director for People & Communities replied that normal Home to School Transport policy rules would apply.



Schools landscape


The number of schools that are now academies has risen slightly to 44 out of 82 (representing 64% of pupils). There are 10 further schools that are officially ‘in the pipeline’ and have had ‘Academy Orders’ issued by the DfE. These 10 do not yet have a confirmed date for conversion, but we expect that to take place by 1 April. A further 11 schools’ governing bodies have indicated that they have confirmed plans to join Multi-Academy Trusts and are likely to do so during the current academic year, taking us to 79% of schools and 84% of pupils in academies. This would leave the 3 Catholic schools and 14 other maintained schools in Bath and North East Somerset. We have been engaging with Heads and Chairs of Governors of those schools as well as with the local Multi-Academy Trusts to share this evolving picture and some of the challenges of working together in this ‘mixed economy’.


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

Directors Briefing pdf icon PDF 45 KB


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 110 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 Panel approved the current workplan as printed.