Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bury, BL9 0SW
Contact: Chloe Ashworth Democratic Services
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies are noted above.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee are asked to consider whether they have an interest in any of the matters of the Agenda and, if so, to formally declare that interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes from the meeting held on 07th March 2023 are attached for approval.
Helen Chadwick, Union Representative asked for an amendment to point 9 SEND Report to separate her two points the visit to the Social Care team and the extension of Millwood Primary School.
Following the amendment, it was agreed:
That the minutes of the meeting held on the 07th March 2023 be approved as a correct and accurate record.
A period of 30 minutes has been set aside for members of the public to ask questions on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.
The following questions were received in advance of the meeting:
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.
Councillor Boles, Chair to provide an update to the Committee.
Councillor Boles, Chair of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee provided an update on the Foster Carers recommendation which went to Cabinet on 15th March 2023.
At Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 24th November, the following recommendation was put forward and agreed:
Recommendation to Cabinet that when they receive a report on Foster Carer financial support, they give consideration to whether any support should be back dated.
The response from Cabinet was that to backdate the fee would be at a cost £440,000 and within the context of an already overspent service this request was rejected.
Members were informed that the Foster Parents and Carers had been informed of this response from Cabinet.
Jeanette Richards, Executive Director for Children and Young People advised the Committee that the revised offer was co-produced with Foster Carers and Parents and the Foster Carers Forum was advised of the final sign off report. Members of the Forum requested that Bury Council consider the offer to back-pay and they were disappointed with the decision not to backdate but were understanding of the financial pressures the Council are under. Members were advised that throughout different points in the year the Council will consider the impact of any cost of living crisis on Foster Carers and Parents support has been provided previously through the Housing Support Fund which will be kept under review.
At the last Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee it was asked if we are on track to deliver our projected targets around increased recruitment of Foster Carers and we are on track. Since April 2023 we have approved four fostering households with five in assessment.
It was agreed:
1. To note the response from Cabinet and the context in which the decision was made.
2. To note the response from Foster Carers on the decision
CHILDREN'S SERVICES RESTRUCTURE
A verbal update to be provided.
Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People provided an update on the Children’s Services Restructure.
Following the recent Ofsted inspection of Children’s Services in November 2021 the Councils result and Improvement Plan identified a number of key priorities including important changes to teams and structures across Social Care and Safeguarding functions and including the need to build capacity. It is recognised to review both Education and Early Help functions also.
In December 2022 Bury’s Cabinet received a report setting out the proposed changes to the structures in respect of Education and Early Help which gave approval to formally consult with the staff. The second phase of the transformation journey will focus on delivering the Councils statutory Education functions including alignment of a number of functions under a clear management structure and a focus on accountability for the delivery. In addition supporting the needs of the most vulnerable children and young people including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and those not in School.
The core duties of the department going forward will be
· School Assurance
· Vulnerable Children including Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
· Transport Travel Assistance
· The virtual school
· Elective Home Education
· Children not in full time education
· Children missing in Education
· Behaviour and Exclusions
· Pupil Placed Planning and sufficiency
The proposal aims to provide clear focus on the departments role in place shaping and the strategic planning for the Education System to support communities promoting growth and the economic regeneration through the strong local schools system linked to the skills agenda.
To focus on the core duties other activities have had to be discontinued and now sit within the School system. The proposal seeks to build capacity in a number of key areas it unfortunately means resource has to be removed in another of other areas linked to the delivery of discretionary or traded services including the Curriculum Learning Access Service which is being disestablished.
Formal consultation with staff commenced in March 2023 and is now completed and responses to the consultation resulted in changes and the Council is now underway with a new organisational structure. There are a significant number of staff who will be affected by these plans and some may be impacted by redundancy so we are working with the Unions and staff to support them through that process. Schools have been kept fully informed along the way and further detail will follow as we move to the implementation stage.
It is proposed to bring a more comprehensive update to the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee in the Autumn term as part of the post implementation review.
Members were informed that the service has already began the restructure and is currently in phase two which is looking at education and our schools. To measure impact it is recommended that at least one term passes to allow the Committee to measure impact which would be the autumn term.
Members were informed that there have been ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Update to be provided from Jeanette Richards, Executive Director of Children and Young People and Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.
Jeanette Richards, Executive Director for Children and Young People provided an update on the Improvement Plan for Children’s Services. Following the last Committee Members were advised that the Council expected publication of the monitoring visit in April 2023 however Ofsted advised it cannot be published until after the election period. The letter sets out the overview of the monitoring visit.
Jeanette Richards, Executive Director for Children and Young People advised that the Council continues to move forward with the improvement plan and journey and the plan has been refreshed. The Improvement Board continues to meet bi-monthly, and the alternate month Jeanette Richards, Executive Director for Children and Young People meets with the Department for Education for a performance challenge session. The Department for Education will have a six-monthly review in July and a further monitoring visit undertaken by Ofsted with a focus on complex safeguarding.
In addition Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People informed members that the reconfiguration of the plan looked if the correct people are on the Improvement Board and this has been aligned with the Inspecting Local Authority Children’s Services framework so the plan works on what areas we need to improve.
Jeanette Richards, Executive Director for Children and Young People advised members that the update to the Improvement Plan is to RAG (Red, Amber and Green) rated against the progress achieved in relation to the various aspects. The priorities have also been reset and shifting priorities to multiagency responses and we now have sub-plans for key partners such as Greater Manchester Police and health partners. Work is taking place to create a highlight report on the plan which will be submitted to the Improvement Board and this can be brought to the Committee at a later date.
In response to a members question Jeanette Richards, Executive Director for Children and Young People advised that one issue in relation to our workforce profile is we have an over reliance on agency staff. Whilst the figure has decreased it does bring instability to the offer of support to children and families. We have recruited international social workers and the first international colleagues have arrived, in total four and are due to commence work next week and the rest will arrive over the summer months. We continue to work with colleagues in Human Resources and we continue to advertise for roles and use word of mouth to aid recruitment. As of now, most team manager roles are recruited to on a permanent basis and the service is optimistic that the managers will help recruitment to the other vacant roles. Roles have been created for advance practitioners that require practice educator training to be undertaken to facilitate university students to hopefully retain and be newly qualified social workers.
Members were reminded this is a nationally challenging issues and other authorities are in similar situations and those judged as inadequate are under enhanced challenges around recruitment. Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member Children and Young People advised we are modelling ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Any other business which by reason of special circumstances the Chair agrees may be considered as a matter of urgency.
There was no urgent business.
The work programme is attached for consideration.
This item was for information only.