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.





David Williams, Co-opted Panel Member gave 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.


There were none.




There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.



There were none.


MINUTES - 15th May 2018 pdf icon PDF 126 KB


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


Primary & Young People Parliament Feedback pdf icon PDF 70 KB

This is the sixth 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 Strategic Commissioning Officer introduced this item to the Panel. She explained that this is the sixth year the Primary and Secondary Parliaments have taken place. She said that 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. She informed the Panel that the broad focus for both Parliaments was about being healthy, both physically and mentally.


She stated that the theme links with the bi annual School Health Education Unit (SHEU) Health and Wellbeing survey undertaken by schools. The Secondary Parliament ‘Health and Equality’ was held at Hayesfield Academy in February and the Primary Parliament ‘Feel Good, Live Well’ was held at Somerdale Conference Centre in June.


She said that the Parliaments provide an opportunity for engagement with a wide range of children and young people, help to inform possible commissioning intentions and identify future priorities for the Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP).


Hannah Powell, MYP for B&NES addressed the Panel to talk about both Parliament events.


She informed the Panel that 35 schools and 157 students took part.


Primary Parliament


‘Feel Good, Live Well’ – Health and Equalities


·  Little things make a BIG difference KS1


·  Food Glorious Food


·  Don’t Worry Be Happy


·  Challenging Discrimination


She said that she was so impressed with how mature the pupils were throughout the whole day especially when discussing discrimination which included the topics of sexual orientation and being transgender.


Secondary Parliament


Health and Equality


·  Dealing with Discrimination


·  Gender and Mental Health


·  Sugar Smart


·  Wellbeing


The pupils discussed topics such as gender neutral school uniforms and toilets within Dealing with Discrimination and sleep, diet and exercise within Wellbeing.


Parliaments - What are the benefits?


·  Students feel confident in their abilities to create change

·  Enables discussion between schools creating a feeling of community for B&NES

·  Highlights the importance of E-teams and school councils

·  Leadership opportunities

·  Ideas can be shared on how schools tackle issues

·  Raises awareness on issues that go unmentioned in schools

·  Starts important conversations for Primary schools - eg Mental Health, but in an age appropriate manner


My Experience


When I was in Year 3 at Newbridge Primary school I attended a Primary Parliament day. I remember speaking about the importance of Art Walls and Adventure trails to my peers, and how pleased I was when everyone clapped. I was very shy at school, as I had just moved to Bath the year before, and this day made me feel really special, and allowed me to return to my Primary School with a renewed sense of confidence. At the next school council election, I put myself forward and got to work with other students to create Newbridge’s own ‘Adventure Trail’.


Hannah said that she was obviously aware of current funding issues but asked Panel members to do what they could to enable the Parliament Days to continue as they are so important to schools and pupils across the Council.


Pupils from St Michaels,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Quality Assurance Framework for Children & Social Care pdf icon PDF 68 KB

This report along with the others presented to the Panel sets out the mechanisms we have in place to assure the continued improvements take place.

Additional documents:


The Director for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance introduced this report. She explained that whilst the Council’s Children’s Services were reassured by its rating of ‘GOOD’ from OfSTED following the thorough inspection in 2017 it is important to note that we continue to strive to improve services for children and young people in B&NES.


She informed the Panel that the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance team within the Council work across children and adult services and that a significant focus of the team’s work is to ensure that children who transition into adult services and children whose parents are supported by adult services work together effectively and that all services ‘Think Family.’


She stated that the Service Improvement Framework sets out the assurance arrangements which enable the Council to demonstrate that Children Social Care Services are meeting its vision and plans for children and young people. The Framework therefore enables the Members to be satisfied about the evidence the Council has to demonstrate this.


She said that the Framework also refers to the LSCB Board Assurance Framework as this looks at assurance for the ‘whole’ support system for children and families of which the Council Services are key but only one part. She added that by including this Council Services are able to better understand and respond to pressures / practice improvements across other Services and how these impact.


Councillor Liz Hardman commented that the report and plan were very thorough. She asked what action was being taken to respond to the rising number of fixed-term exclusions for looked after children so that they are reduced effectively.


The Director for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance replied that reducing exclusions of children in care is a key priority within the Virtual School Improvement Plan. She added that the Head of the Virtual School has developed a flow chart that will be presented to the School Standards Board in September. She added that all exclusions within this remit are now being challenged.


Councillor Hardman asked for further information on the ‘Mystery shopping’ mentioned within the Framework.


The Director for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance replied that the LSCB/LSAB Business Support Manager undertakes this to work ascertain whether partner agencies understand the policies in place.


The LSCB/LSAB Business Support Manager added that agencies are selected to be contacted by phone and are asked if they are aware of the work of the Board, its policies, whether they have any of their own and what they would do if they were made aware of a child in need. She said that she informs them of her role at the start of the conversation.


Councillor Peter Turner asked if the Framework was mirrored across all Local Authorities.


The Director for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance replied that all Local Authorities would have their own Quality Assurance mechanisms they will be broadly similar but will vary depending on their local priorities.


Kevin Burnett asked for clarification regarding the third bullet point within the ‘Five Outcomes’ and requested the Board consider  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Local Safeguarding Children's Board Annual Report pdf icon PDF 86 KB

The People and Communities Directorate would like to set out for the Panel the work of the Local Safeguarding Children Board during 2017-18 and the completed Business Plan for 2015-18 along with new priorities to be actioned in the new Strategic Plan for 2018-21.

Additional documents:


Robert Lake, LSCB and LSAB Independent Chair introduced this item to the Panel. He said that credit for the production of the report should go to Dami Howard and Lesley Hutchinson.


He stated that the main purpose of the Board was to ensure that partner agencies work together and it was his role to oversee this on behalf of the Board.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what the implications of the LSCB being abolished are.  She asked for assurances about funding as the phrase ‘hopefully more proportionate contributions from the two additional statutory partners’ (para 3.2) doesn’t sound terribly reassuring. She asked how negotiations with these partners were going. 


Robert Lake replied that the guidance on Working Together had only been published last week. He added that discussions were ongoing with partners in relation to both future arrangements to replace the existing LSCB and funding.


The Director of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance added that Officers recognise the need to maintain local oversight and also understood that some agencies / partners may need to attend multiple Boards. She said that a plan for the new arrangements must be submitted within 12 months and that a further 3 months will be given to allow these arrangements to be implemented.


Robert Lake stated that the role of the Board will remain while the new arrangements are developed.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if a shared electronic management system for Early Help would make a difference.


Robert Lake replied that he was not sure that there was an easy solution, but he would take the comment to the Early Help Board.


Councillor Matt Cochrane asked about the increase in LADO referrals and whether we should we be surprised by this.  He asked is there the capacity to respond to these increases or does the Panel need to recommend more resources to deal with this. 


The Safeguarding Children & Adults Boards Business Support Manager replied that there had been an increase and this was due to historical football abuse allegations which had led to raised awareness locally.


They also said that the increase is a national trend alongside a rise in the complexity of cases. Already in 2018-19 the numbers are not showing such an increase. She added that locally additional capacity had been added to the LADO function. 


The Chair commented on the success of Connecting Families within B&NES and asked if the work would be able to continue after 2020.


Councillor Paul May replied that there has been no indication from the Government as to whether the initiative will continue. He added that B&NES should be very proud of its work as it had been recently benchmarked as 6th in England out of 152 Local Authorities and the best performing authority in the South West.


He said that the passion from the staff involved is stunning and that their interventions really are key.


The Director of Safeguarding & Quality Assurance added that the model has been led by staff within the Council and also include our  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Children's Service Complaints and Representations Procedure Annual Report pdf icon PDF 70 KB

This report informs the Panel about the number of complaints and representations, including compliments received during 2017 – 18 and demonstrates how they have been managed and how they have been used to contribute to service improvement.

Additional documents:


The Complaints & Data Protection Team Manager introduced this item to the Panel. She informed them that the total number of complaints received across the service had increased during the year having decreased the previous year. She added that the increase in the number of complaints reflects the increase in the number of contacts received.


She said that the service recognises the importance in learning through this process and acknowledged that members of staff throughout the service have also received compliments from young people and their families and also from colleagues working in a variety of different agencies. 


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what needs to change to meet the timescales within the complaints procedure.


The Complaints & Data Protection Team Manager replied that some teams such as Duty and Child Protection receive more complaints than others due to the nature of their work. She added that where possible these are scoped out across the team and that delays can happen if the response is detailed to avoid the complaint progressing to further stages.


Councillor Hardman asked if any specific training was required with regard to attitude and behaviour of staff.


The Complaints & Data Protection Team Manager replied that supervision of staff is regularly carried out. She said that some staff do work in difficult and challenging situations and that there will be occasions that no matter how you say something people will not like to hear it.


The Chair asked for assurance in addressing issues in the future with the imminent departure of the Director for Children & Young People in mind.


The Director for Safeguarding & Quality Assurance replied that a clear induction programme will be given to his replacement and this will be included.


The Panel RESOLVED that the content of the report is noted.


Independent Reviewing Officer's Annual Report pdf icon PDF 73 KB

This report sets out the work undertaken by the IRO service in relation to the scrutiny and challenge of Care Planning and Service Performance.

Additional documents:


The Deputy Head of CYP Safeguarding and Quality Assurance introduced this report. She explained that the B&NES IRO Service operates within the context of B&NES Council as ‘Corporate Parent’ for all of the children and young people in its care.


She stated that placement stability is strongly correlated to the progress that children and young people make in care, as compound moves can negatively impact on a young persons sense of worth, emotional resilience and is disruptive to developing friendship and support networks and educational achievement. Therefore a key role of the IRO is to support placement stability through scrutiny of placement plans.  The service raised the concern in the last financial year that there had been an increase in placement breakdowns and multiple moves.  She said that she was pleased to report that the actions undertaken appears to be showing signs that this issue is being addressed through a fall in placement moves.


She said that it is important to note that 93% of children over the age of four took part in their Child in Care review and that 100% of them felt that they were being listened to.


She informed the Panel that although the timeliness of reviews has decreased it remains above the target figure of 87%.  This is in part due to a high increase in children accommodated during the end of Q.3 and beginning of Q.4, which coincided with a change in staffing arrangements.  Due to the high pressure of increased numbers of children in care and the complexity of our children’s circumstances, this has been a real achievement for the team to ensure so many reviews are held within timescales.


She explained that an Audit of IRO Challenge has been carried out and amongst its findings it was identified that there is an issue in relation to suitable placements for the most complex young people.


She said that the IRO team plan for 2018/2019 identifies a number of key development areas:


·  Continue to use the feedback from children, parents and foster carers to change and influence practice.

·  Further develop risk assessment framework to inform care planning.

·  Continue to focus on improving the quality of needs assessments informing pathway planning for post 16’s.

·  Key audit to understand the rise in request for therapeutic intervention/ support.

·  Implement the recommendation from the placement stability audit.

·  Seek Assurance that improvements in Care Plans are embedded consistently across the service.

·  Development of service for Unaccompanied Asylum seeking Children and Trafficked Children.

·  Support and facilitate Children’s requests for who attends their review.


Kevin Burnett asked if the recommendations within the annual report dovetailed with other work across the Council.


The Deputy Head of CYP Safeguarding and Quality Assurance replied that it does.


The Director for Safeguarding & Quality Assurance added that the Service Improvement Board shares information across the Service and that the LSCB also receives the annual report.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if any further comment could made regarding the figure that 10 out of the 23  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Policy Statement on Academies & Free Schools pdf icon PDF 92 KB

This report sets out a review of the Council’s Policy on Academies and Free Schools.

Additional documents:


The Director of Education Transformation introduced this report to the Panel. She explained that the school landscape in Bath and North East Somerset is changing rapidly and that from the 1 September 2018, 70% of schools will be academies and 79% of children and young people will be taught in academy schools.


She stated that the current Council policy on Academies and Free Schools, established in 2014, no longer reflects the current school landscape and that with a further 10 primary schools expressing a desire to join a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) as soon as it is possible, it is vital that the current policy is reviewed to reflect a new relationship with local schools in the future while making sure the Council meets its statutory duties as set out in education legislation.


She informed the Panel that nine schools (8 primary and 1 secondary) have not yet made a decision to join a MAT.


She said that the Policy Statement has been discussed at Informal Cabinet, Senior Management Team (SMT), with Head Teachers and Chairs of Governors.


Councillor Liz Hardman said that she felt that the Local Authority was abandoning schools that do not want to become academies and that enough of a service was still available to be provided.


She informed them that she had recently read an article from the LGA (Local Government Association) that showed that MATs are not delivering as planned and that maintained schools were improving more than MATs.


She queried the logic of encouraging schools to join a MAT at a time when schools are experiencing huge pressure on their budgets knowing that they will be top sliced to support the pay of chief executives who will be earning more than the Director of Education of B&NES would ever have been paid.


She said that the B&NES School Standards Board has a vast amount of responsibility, but no power and no money.  


Councillor Michelle O’Doherty said that she shared the views of Councillor Hardman and was concerned by the content of the report as she believed she had previously been given assurances that support for schools that do not want to become academies would be retained.


Councillor Paul May said that he agreed with the comments made but the Council has to work within the policy set down by the Government. He added that he would be happy to receive additional recommendations from the Panel.


The Chair stated that the Panel were not being critical of the Director of Education Transformation and that she applauded schools that do not want to convert.


The Director of Education Transformation commented that at the meeting with Head Teachers they proposed that the following bullet point be removed from the statement.


·  Encourage the remaining state maintained schools to join a MAT of their choice at the earliest possible opportunity.


She added that from September 2018 there will be three local Teaching Schools whose remit is to provide high quality professional development for school staff including  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


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 summary is set out below.


Youth Connect


The proposals to consider a staff mutual are progressing well and are at the business plan stage addressing VAT and other issues. The maintenance of Southside centre still needs careful consideration and an asset transfer may be too premature for the group at this stage.


The Peasedown St. John discussions are progressing subject to the school adjacent to the site having to be extended and how the main hall is let after an asset transfer takes place.


The Riverside agreement now includes a 3 year tenancy to resolve the asset transfer issues subject to the stated aim to make this a long term commitment to the community.


Southside Community Project, Bath


The team operating from Curo premises quite near the Youth Connect site are actively working with the community in a whole range of inspiring support services. They are part funded by the Council and their contract comes up for renewal soon.




The inspection system has changed this year. We were one of the last authorities to be inspected under the Single Inspection Framework (SIF) and now they are moving much more towards an interactive model inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services. This year we were asked to prepare a self-assessment of progress made since the SIF and experts spent a whole morning having discussions with officers. It was the first time a lead member had been involved and once again I learnt a considerable amount about the detailed work necessary to deliver effective services. The officers were open, constructive and highly impressive.


School Places


Following on from the issue of school places in Bath this year officers have met the independent schools to assess their role moving forward - a very progressive step.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked for further information relating to school places.


Councillor May replied that the discussion centred on understanding the role they play within local provision and to gain an understanding of how many pupils attend them and if there are specific reasons for making their choice.


The Director of Education Transformation added that the schools concerned have agreed to send to the Council their expected figures so that they can be taken into account in planning for places in the future.


The Chair thanked Councillor May for his update on behalf of the Panel.


Corporate Director (People) Briefing

The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the Corporate Director (People).


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if any further comments were required following school inspections that have seen two local schools receive ‘Inadequate' gradings from Ofsted. She said that she was particularly concerned with the safeguarding issues raised relating to Beechen Cliff.


The Director of Education Transformation replied that she, alongside the Director for Safeguarding & Quality Assurance and the Director for Children & Young People had met with Beechen Cliff prior to its inspection and that they continue to do so.


She added that discussions have also taken place between the school and SARI (Stand Against Racism & Inequality).


She said that the Regional Schools Commissioner was primarily responsible for Beechen Cliff and that they were expecting them to make a statement soon.


The Chair commented that the school historically had been held in high regard so these findings will surely be giving parents some concerns.


At this point in the meeting the Chair on behalf of the Panel thanked the Director for Children & Young People for all his work whilst at B&NES and wished him the very best of luck in the future in his new job.


The Panel noted the written briefing that had been supplied by the Corporate Director (People).


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 said that they would add to their workplan the topics of Children’s Mental Health, Sufficiency Statement and an LSCB Arrangements Update.


She suggested that the items Bath Community Academy and Elective Home Education be scheduled for September 2018.