Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 23rd March, 2022 5.30 pm, NEW

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bury, BL9 0SW

Contact: Chloe Ashworth  Democratic Services

No. Item




Apologies for absence are noted above.





Councillor Lancaster declared a personal interest as she is a member of Bury2gether.


Councillor Wright declared a personal interest as his wife works with SEN Children in a local school.


Councillor Boles declared a personal interest as he works at a school, which also has a site in Bury.




A period of 30 minutes has been set aside for members of the public to ask questions on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.


There were no public questions. 




A period of up to 15 minutes will be allocated for questions and supplementary questions from members of the Council who are not members of the committee. This period may be varied at the discretion of the chair.


There were no member questions.




Draft plan attached from the Children Services Department


Before the improvement plan was presented to the Committee, members raised issues around the acronyms used within the plan and questioned the targeted audience. Jeanette Richards explained that the language in the improvement plan was deliberate, as the plan is aimed at the internal workforce, Ofsted and the DfE advisor and case officer. Jeanette Richards agreed to provide an appendix with the plan explaining the abbreviations and acronyms used.


Councillor Tariq presented the improvement plan to the Committee. It was explained that the improvement journey and plan will continually be evolving, and the tight timescales around creating the plan were highlighted. The Council has an obligation to submit the improvement plan to Ofsted before the end of March 2022. It was explained that the plan aims to cover and deal with some of the significant challenges that have been highlighted by Ofsted from the ILAC inspection that took place in Autumn 2021. Councillor Tariq highlighted specific areas of the plan that included recruitment and retention of social workers, overreliance of agency workers, leadership and management, methods of working, reducing caseloads and multiagency engagement.


Jeanette Richards highlighted that improvement plan is not just about satisfying the ILAC framework but accepting that the community deserves a good quality Children’s Services. In the construction of the improvement plan, senior leaders have collaborated with the young people from the Children in Care Council (CiCC) and their voices have impacted the content of the plan. There is a Workforce Board to ensure that the voice of the workforce is being heard, and there will be a Coproduction Group created, who will consult on and influence the process of the improvement plan going forward. Jeanette Richards explained that the plan sets out the aspirations, principles and values and speaks to how Children’s Services are going to engage with the community, recognising likely future government agendas, following the Independent Review of Social Care. In order to drive the improvement plan, the conditions for good practice were explained which included strengthening the effectiveness of multiagency governance, establishing a stable and effective leadership and management team, building a skilled, confident and experienced workforce and improving performance management.  There will be a lot of external scrutiny, including fortnightly meetings with the DfE, quarterly monitor visits and audit activity.


Members of the committee were invited to ask questions. 


In response to Councillor Lancaster’s question around agile working within Children’s Services, Councillor Tariq explained that during the pandemic the Council moved to remote working. After the Ofsted inspection, it was agreed that 100% remote working for Children’s Services staff was not the best way to deliver practice to children and families and a 60/40% split of working from the office and working remotely was agreed. It was explained that the 60/40% split may not be an exact split, but this would be led by team managers to ensure that team members are supported, and that staff are contributing to improving practice. There are weekly drop-in surgeries for social workers at Knowsley Place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.




There was no urgent business raised at the meeting.