Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - 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.

The Democratic Services Officer reminded Panel members that Purdah, the pre-election period, the time between the notice of an election is published and the date the election is held was now in place. He said that this had been in effect for the local elections from 18th March 2019 and will continue until 3rd May 2019.




David Williams, Co-opted Panel Member had given his apologies to the Panel.


Apologies were also given on behalf of Mary Kearney-Knowles (Director, Children & Young People) and Chris Wilford (Head of Education Inclusion Services).



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 - 28th January 2019 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 Chair.


Schools Performance pdf icon PDF 432 KB

This report provides an update and summary analysis of the overall performance of key groups of pupils in 2018 across all key stages in Bath and North East Somerset.


The Senior Education Improvement Adviser gave a presentation to the Panel regarding this item, a copy of the presentation can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book or as an online appendix to these minutes, a summary is set out below.


Overview – All Pupils – Primary


  The Early Years Foundation Stage Good Level of Development is slightly above national figures.

  There is no significant difference between the performance of schools in B&NES and national performance at any key stage except in progress from KS1 to KS2 in writing and mathematics.

  B&NES is second in the South West for attainment at KS2


Overview – All Pupils – Secondary


  There is no significant difference between the performance of schools in B&NES and national performance at any key stage.

  B&NES is in the top 4 in the South West in the SW for attainment at KS4

  The proportion of pupils achieving at least a standard pass (grades 9 to 4 or grades A*-C under the old system) in English and Mathematics has risen substantially from 63% in 2017 to 69% in 2018 compared to 65% for the South West and 64% nationally.

  A level performance is improved and is now strong. There has been a strong rise in the proportion of students achieving the highest grades at A level from 10.3% to 13.1% compared to the national average of 10.4%. 


Overview – Disadvantaged Pupils


  Outcomes for Disadvantaged pupils are significantly below both similar pupils nationally, and ‘Other’ pupils at all key stages.


  Outcomes for these pupils at KS4 are on a worsening trend.


He said that the low performance of disadvantaged pupils is the main priority for the local authority and will need sustained and coordinated action over several years to properly address the challenge.


He explained that the data shows a significant proportion of disadvantaged pupils also have SEND and vice versa.  Where pupils have multiple disadvantages there is evidence to show that this has a significant detrimental impact on their progress. As a result a ‘one solution’ approach does not have the desired impact. For this reason the local authority has established a small project focussing on the schools with the highest percentage of disadvantaged learners over three years that addresses the impact of multiple disadvantages on pupils learning and progress.


Overview – SEN Support Pupils

  Attainment of SEN Support pupils is in line with or above similar pupils nationally.

  Progress of these pupils to KS2 and KS4 is significantly below all pupils nationally. However progress is generally above similar pupils nationally.


Overview – EHCP Pupils


  Attainment of pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan is not significantly different from similar pupils nationally but at KS4 Attainment 8 outcomes are falling faster than nationally.

  Progress to KS2 and KS4 is significantly below all pupils nationally. However at both KS2 and KS4 progress is catching up with similar pupils nationally.


Outcomes for other  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

2019 School Performance pdf icon PDF 312 KB


Elective Home Education pdf icon PDF 76 KB

This report acts as an update on local progress since the initial PDS briefing.


The Corporate Director introduced this report to the Panel. He explained that the Department for Education (DfE) has yet to announce the outcome of its formal consultation on Elective Home Education (EHE).


He said that the Education Inclusion Service has carried out a consultation with Head teachers to amend our Fair Access protocol to allow parents opting for Elective home Education a ten day cooling off period before their children are removed from a school roll. He explained that 60% of schools that responded did not agree with this amendment and cited concerns that it may adversely impact on attendance figures and that some parents may use this as a way of taking children out of school for holidays.


He said that he believed the Local Authority could engage constructively with those schools who had objected to the amendment to allay their concerns and provide re-assurance around how this system would be managed, so it does not adversely impact on Ofsted’s view of school performance.


The Chair asked if a breakdown was available as to the reasons given for parents choosing to home educate.


The Corporate Director replied that this information is not recorded as parents do not have to give specific reasons.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked that a report return to the Panel once the DfE consultation outcome has been given. She asked if the Local Authority ensure where possible, vulnerable children are returned to mainstream education.


The Corporate Director replied that officers do discuss with parents their options for education.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if there is a role for the B&NES School Standards Board in considering EHE.


The Corporate Director said that the subject had been raised with the Board and would likely return to them later in the year.


Kevin Burnett asked for how Public Health commissioners will create links between our school nursing team and the Children Missing Education Service to ensure EHE children have flexible access to health support.


The Corporate Director replied that the intention is for them to have regular liaison meetings.


The Panel RESOLVED to:


i)  Note the local updates contained in the report and that the Local Authority will continue to be vigilant within the remit of the current legislation to ensure that where possible, vulnerable children are returned to mainstream education.


ii)  Note that the Department for Education (DfE) has yet to announce the outcome of its formal consultation on EHE and request that officers prepare a report as soon as information is available.


iii)  Note that the LSCB has been updated again on EHE and they continue to support the Local Authority’s approach to this issue.



Children's Social Care - Placement Sufficiency pdf icon PDF 75 KB

The Sufficiency Statement is a public document, distributed to independent foster agencies, residential children’s homes and independent and non-maintained special schools in order for them get gain a better understanding of the marketplace in Bath and North East Somerset.

Additional documents:


The Commissioning Manager for Children’s Placements introduced this report to the Panel. He explained that Bath and North East Somerset Council are part of the South West Consortium for integrated commissioning, using Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) to tender for preferred provider lists.


He said that the consortium is made up of: Bath and North East Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset, Swindon, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset. He added that B&NES take a lead on the DPS’s for Independent Foster Agencies and Residential Children’s Homes.


He acknowledged that B&NES have had difficulties in placing children within the boundaries of the local authority, but do try to as much as possible.


He stated that the numbers of children in care were at an all-time high locally, regionally and nationally and that there has been a significant increase in placements / spend on Residential Children’s Homes and B&NES has seen increased placements with 16+ providers.


He informed the Panel that despite this, the team have delivered savings by scrutinising placement costs to ensure the correct fees are being requested and discounts are being received (£125,000 per year) and checking invoices individually for errors (£30,000 per year).


He stated that the B&NES requirements remain similar to previous years:

  • Foster placements in Bath city and within a reasonable travelling distance of B&NES schools.
  • Foster placements for children aged 14 – 17 year with challenging needs.
  • Residential step down placements within B&NES.
  • Residential children’s homes closer to B&NES who accommodate children with very challenging behaviour.
  • Increased local market capacity for 16 - 25 accommodation and support.
  • Appropriate placements for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC).
  • Solo/specialist foster and residential placements


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what the explanation was for the growth in numbers of children being taken into care and what more could the Council do at an earlier stage to support families before they get to this point.


The Corporate Director replied that the reasons for the increase were multiple and complex. He added that one factor was UASC and another was that on occasion large numbers of children from the same family had gone into care.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what we are doing to increase the numbers of foster parents in B&NES.


The Commissioning Manager for Children’s Placements said that in terms of retention of staff, the Council is mindful of not wanting to lose them to the independent market and offers training and support to its foster carers. He added that the Council is also able to offer free access to its Leisure Centres for children placed in foster care.


The Corporate Director added that a review of the allowances for carers has taken place to ensure they are uplifted appropriately. He said that B&NES is leading a regional project to look at in-house foster care sufficiency and that the project was owned by all of the region’s children’s service directors.


Councillor Paul May commented on the success of the Connecting Families work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.


Services for Children of Alcoholics pdf icon PDF 167 KB

The paper seeks to assure the Panel that relevant ‘policies, procedures and strategies recognise and address the needs of children of alcoholics’ and furthermore sets out examples of the services and programmes commissioned to support children and young people who have a parent / carer who has problematic alcohol use. 


The Director for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance introduced this report to the Panel. She explained that it builds on the report discussed by the Panel on the 18th September 2018 where they asked for an update on this Council’s position in relation to A Manifesto for Change (signed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group).


She said that when the Council motion was passed the Council Members requested that the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) ‘comment on the Council’s support offer for the children of alcoholics’ and for this comment to be shared with the Panel. The position has been shared with NACOA’s Chief Executive and we await their feedback.


She added that the report also seeks to assure the Panel that relevant ‘policies, procedures and strategies recognise and address the needs of children of alcoholics’ and furthermore sets out examples of the services and programmes commissioned to support children and young people who have a parent / carer who has problematic alcohol use.


She highlighted the following key areas within the report in responding to the 10 Manifesto points.


A national strategy is currently absent, however work is ongoing that provides evidence of this issue being addressed in B&NES.


·  Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy 2014 – 2019

·  Children and Young People Plan 2018-2021

·  Early Help Strategy Improvement Plan (2018 - 2019)

·  Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Transformation Plan (Oct 2018)

·  Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Transformation Plan (Oct 2018)

·  LSCB Strategic Plan 2018-2021

·  Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) Parenting Strategy (2016-2018)


One of the key principles and commitments of our work is ensuring a Think Family Approach is taken. This is a common theme and shared focus running through all Strategies and Plans going forward.


A range of support services are available in B&NES for both children and parents.


Education, training and awareness raising activities have included;


·  An alcohol awareness session was created and available to all secondary schools for PHSE lessons.


·  Secondary and Primary Schools also participate in the SHEU survey in 2017 and this is being conducted again in 2019. Whilst the survey doesn’t ask questions on parental alcohol use it does ask children about their own use and this is a helpful indicator in respect of tackling generational alcoholism.

·  Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) training was delivered by Public Health colleagues on a bespoke basis to health visitors, midwives and community Paediatricians. The training was about getting families early help by identifying parental alcohol use and offering brief advice or referral as appropriate.


·  Parental Substance Misuse, Safeguarding and Child Protection course – this is a one day course for those looking to refresh and build on their knowledge and skills to support children and families living in environments where parents or carers use of alcohol or drugs impacts on their parental capacity.


The Council’s Trading Standards team attend the Licensing Enforcement Group meetings that take place with the Police and Council Licensing team; Trading Standards also undertake underage Test  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.


Youth Justice Plan Update pdf icon PDF 469 KB

This report sets out progress made in addressing youth offending and outlines an initiative to reduce the re-offending rates of young people who have experienced trauma.


The Head of Young People’s Prevention Service introduced this item to the Panel. She informed them that B&NES tends to have a lower youth custody rate than other areas and in 2014 and 2015, was one of a very small number of areas to have no young people sent to custody at all. She added that following a spike in 2017-18, there was only one custodial sentence in 2018-19 and that the rate of first time entrants to the youth justice system continues to fall, but the latest re-offending data is higher than all comparators.


She explained that one of the key actions has been to take forward the Enhanced Case Management pilot - this work is part of a Youth Justice Board initiative, first trialled in Wales and now about to be piloted across the West of England including B&NES. She said that this trauma-informed approach is aimed at young people who have experienced adverse childhood experiences and have a history of prolific offending.


She said that work is currently underway to produce a Youth Justice Plan for 2019-2020 and the emerging priorities include commencing the Enhanced Case Management pilot, completing and delivering the Serious Youth Violence Protocol and developing use of the national re-offending tracker. 


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if B&NES has an issue with County Lines as she had heard of two possible cases in Radstock in addition to the one recorded incident.


The Head of Young People’s Prevention Service said that she was aware that other cases may exist, but that only one had resulted in a custodial sentence.


Councillor Hardman asked how wide the issue was within B&NES.


The Head of Young People’s Prevention Service replied that this was difficult to comment upon as it may be the case that the Police and other practitioners are duplicating the recording of possible cases.


The Corporate Director added that this issue was an evolving picture and that the Council works with the Police and other Local Authorities on it.


Councillor Hardman asked for further information of how the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) has been involved in this work area.


The Head of Young People’s Prevention Service replied that the LSCB has recently adopted a Youth @ Risk Strategy and work is underway to develop six protocols to sit under this, addressing all forms of youth exploitation. She stated that one of the protocols will address serious youth violence, supporting work to prevent offending that causes significant harm in the community and places perpetrators at risk of custodial sentences. She said that another is focused on addressing Harmful Sexual Behaviour.


Councillor Peter Turner asked if there were any prime reasons for re-offending.


The Head of Young People’s Prevention Service replied that unfortunately there were many. She said that a correlation between adverse child experiences, such as abuse, neglect and substance misuse does exist.


The Chair asked how the funding for the service compares to last year and is it sufficient.


The Head of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


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. He wished to thank the Panel for their work over the past four years and stated that the Council was fortunate to have such a good Corporate Director.


He added that he was also grateful to the support of all the officers within Children’s Services.


He wished to thank staff for their hard work during the recent SEND inspection.


He explained that earlier in March the establishment of a Youth Connect Public Service Mutual had been agreed.


He asked that any future Panel ensures that they are regularly updated on the work of the WECA Talent Institute and its commitment to a skills academy and the Realising Talent Scheme that is tasked with concentrating on young people with different learning experiences and potential NEETS.


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


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 Corporate Director addressed the Panel, a summary is set out below.


Ofsted/CQC Local area inspection of SEND


We had the call on Monday 11th March, notifying us that inspectors from Ofsted and CQC would arrive on Monday 18th to inspect the local area’s effectiveness in identifying and meeting the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Inspectors spent a week in B&NES talking to Council and CCG staff, service providers, schools, early years settings and the college, parents and children and young people. They also reviewed our data and a sample of case files. Their report, which will be in the form of a letter highlighting strengths and areas for development (it will not include an overall ‘grading’) will now be published after the local elections. I would like to express my appreciation to all those involved in delivering the relevant services and to those who contributed to the inspection process in whatever way.


Youth Connect


An officer delegated decision was confirmed earlier this month to approve the establishment of a Public Service mutual to deliver this service from 1 July 2019. Congratulations to the staff team who have put a lot of effort into making this a reality.


Adoption West


Adoption West, the new Regional Adoption Agency serving B&NES, Bristol, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire finally came into being on 1st March 2019 and is now providing adoption services on our behalf. The new company is wholly owned by the 6 local authorities and commissioned to provide services across the area.


Proposed changes to Schools Forum membership


Both Schools Forum and the Schools Standards Board have discussed proposals to alter the basis on which the membership of the forum is constructed. This reflects the rising number of academy schools and will ensure a balance of representation across the various Multi-Academy Trusts as well as for single academies and maintained schools. These changes are anticipated to be in place by the autumn.


Councillor Liz Hardman commented that she understood that fifty young people were not offered a place at any of their preferred secondary schools and asked if it were possible to have a further analysis of this figure. 


She also asked were these young people mainly located in one specific geographic area, where have these students been offered a place and did they use all their preferences.


The Corporate Director replied that of the 1,800 applications 88% were offered their first preference, with 97.2% being allocated one of their preferences. He added that 40 of the 50 young people lived within the city of Bath and that they had all been allocated a place at St Mark’s Secondary School.


He said that none of these 40 applications used all five of their preferences, with 29 just using their 1st / 2nd preferences. For 12 of them, St Marks was the nearest school anyway and a further 21 of them would have been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.