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 Cabinet 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 15th June 2023 are attached for approval.
It was agreed:
That the minutes of the meeting held on the 15th June 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 number of Bury Primary Schools have been awarded funding for resource provisions starting Sept 2023.
Please confirm the procedure followed for identifying suitable schools to develop resource provision and hence entitlement to funding.
From information published, some schools received very significant amounts of funding for these provisions - how was this funding calculated and what measures are in place to monitor how this funding is used?
How will the success of these resource provisions be monitored?
The Resourced Provision unit is a well-established arrangement, with a number of mainstream schools having hosted a unit for many years. The Council is now increasing the number of RP units in order to create capacity to meet increasing demands. The Council has identified the needs that need to be met through new RP’s, primarily ASC and SEMH, and the level of additional capacity required.
All schools were asked in 2020/21 to express an interest in hosting an RP, and the Council is now working with a number of them to develop new provision. In 2021 the DFE approved a number of the programmes but did not approve others which impacted on decision making. Schools have subsequently been selected based on existing evidence of meeting need, capacity to establish the provision, and a geographical spread across the borough.
Prior to formal establishment, the schools is required to consult widely on the proposal, and then, depending on whether it is a maintained school or an academy, there is a formal legal process to be followed. A specification has been produced that schools are expected to work to in relation to how the RP functions. This specification sets out amongst other things the referral pathways enabling admission to an RP place, and also the funding profile.
Whilst there are a number of historical differences, going forward all RP will be funding on the same basis. All RP will receive a fixed sum for the number of places available, and this will be topped up by an agreed amount for each place taken up. This recognizes that the school must meet certain costs regardless of whether all places are taken up throughout the year. The per pupil funding for each RP place, falls on a continuum between the cost of a mainstream school place and a special school place.
Ongoing monitoring of RP will look at how effective the provision meets outcomes set out in EHC plans, wider educational outcomes for the school, and inspection judgements. Resource Provisions are subject to Ofsted as the regulator and will be inspected when the host school is being inspected. In addition to that existing QA arrangements will extend to Resource provisions.
My question relates to the LA’s bar graph representing selected statistics on EHCPs in Bury. I would like clarification on a few points where the graph and statistics appear misleading or lacking. Firstly, in relation to ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
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.
Report from Councillor Smith Cabinet Member for Children and Young People attached.
Councillor Smith, Cabinet member for Children and Young People provided a brief overview of the reports. The update comprises two reports, one which details what happens tour young people when they enter the youth justice system and the other about how we do crime prevention for young people and these are the annual reports.
Rachel Meyrick, Rochdale Council provided an overview of the report which covers Rochdale and Bury.
The six priorities of focus are:
2. Disproportionality and diversity
3. Adolescent offer
4. Voice of the child
5. Induction and development of Board Members
6. Quality assurance and implementation oversight
Members were invited to ask questions.
Councillor McBriar sought assurances regarding the number of children under investigation in Bury compared to national averages and how long on average do investigations take. In response Rachel Meyrick, Rochdale Council advised that Greater Manchester numbers are comparable but nationally our numbers are higher. When Greater Manchester Police had their inspection the Head of the Police had an arrest approach so numbers went up significantly for people. The consequence of this is that more people were waiting to be interviewed and investigated and investigations take from two months to three years.
Councillor Rydeheard sought assurances regarding the scope of the Service Level Agreement review and when will see results. Members were informed that the Service Level Agreement should be completed by the end of the year.
Councillor Rydeheard asked if there is a way of knowing comparable authorities stance on data analysis capacity and when will the training support take place to increase this capacity. In response Rachel Meyrick, Rochdale Council advised that it is not an uncommon issue and Bury and Rochdale’s particular problem was highlighted in the year as a person was unable to attend work and therefore the plan was reviewed in April to move data analysists into the wider ICT service so they are now training staff.
Councillor Rydeheard sought assurances on the turn-around programme. Sandra Bruce, advised in bury we lead on the prevention element for Children and Young People. The Government sets numbers we should reach and in Bury in the 1st quarter we are ahead of what was requested. However, whilst we have turned around young people we have no longevity yet to see if they do enter the youth justice system.
Councillor Berry sought assurance regarding no transfers of young people who are in detention in police custody. In response Rachel Meyrick, Rochdale Council advised across Greater Manchester we have two out of hours provisions:
· Barton Moss, this bed should only be used when the young person is a risk to others and themselves and the person has to be at the unit for 10pm and under 16 provision. Sometimes children are arrested at night and they must remain in police custody until court the following morning.
· Safe Pace Bed at Burnage, this can be accessed through the night but it is not a secure provision.
The Greater Manchester youth justice service does ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Councillor Smith provided an overview of the SEND Development Plan. The plan has been co-produced with our strategic partners and is under constant review. The service has progressed in co-producing a framework, quality assurance and co-production of a local offer. In addition Bury Council has requested the LGA to do a mini inspection which has provided great insight.
Members were invited to ask questions.
Councillor Whitby sought assurances concerning a news report that the Government had signed regarding 20% cuts to the number of new education health and care plans to children and Councils that have signed up. In response Councillor Smith advised we are not one of the Councils who are signed up to this project, however Bury Council is part of Project Safety Valve as Bury Council’s high needs block was much higher than others. Isobel Booler, Director of Education and Skills advised Bury Council has entered into an agreement to eradicate the high needs deficit and this is challenging. It does not have any specific reduction costs or targets within it. The strategy has included maximising income with the schools forum and through the NHS, every spend in the DSG has been reviewed and Bury is confident we are only spending the high needs block on SEND. Bury Council has also reduced unit costs and improving practice such as EHCP banding in mainstream schools. Furthermore Bury has reviewed commissioning of out of borough placings and to give a better service, meet need earlier and identify need earlier because Bury Council issues the 5th highest number of EHC plans in the country and held a compliance rate at national which has now improved to 70% which is above national which does drive the expenditure.
Councillor McBriar sought assurances on the education restructures. Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People advised the plan is a working document and updates are received fortnightly and will return to provide progress updates. In addition Isobel Booler, Director of Education and Skills advised the outreach service is starting recruitment and signposting schools to outreach services.
Councillor Frith sought assurances on how the backlog of assessments and knowing children’s need assessment daily is it prioritised. In response Councillor Smith advised there is a large surge of EHCP which is only one form of support. In terms of the back log of assessments we are compliant with when EHCP’s should be produced. Isobel Booler, Director of Education and Skills advised we have a strict statutory timeline but some cases do go on longer, we currently have 151 plans in progress and is the smallest number in over a year and all times we are trying to improve the experience.
Councillor Green reflected that Bury has looked to change processes and assessment is not considered necessary, the message coming through from parents is that those expectations are not being managed properly as no context has been given. In addition parents reported feeling overwhelmed with jargon and parents do not fully understand. In response ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Verbal update to be provided from Sean Walsh, Director of Social Care Practice
Councillor Smith, Cabinet Member Children and Young People provided an update on the Improvement Plan for Children’s Services and the Ofsted letter. Bury Council has continued to make improvements and you can see the impact.
Councillor Rydeheard sought assurances on the response to children who go missing. Sandra Bruce, advised before Ofsted arrived we are prioritising certain area and we had just started to have a focus on and we had refreshed the missing from home strategy, restructured the workforce and moved work force into the complex safeguarding team. Therefore Ofsted stated they could see had been done and were reassured but couldn’t see the impact yet.
Councillor McBriar requested an update of financial sustainability as the department is at a £10 million overspend. Councillor Smith advised that financially we are in a difficult position but the department is committed to reduce. One element is a recent peak in residentials and there is ongoing pressures on agency social workers. Jacqui Dennis, Monitoring Officer advised the Overview and Scrutiny Sub Group, titled the Performance and Finance Sub-Group will receive reports on the financial position and a further cabinet report is expected in November and Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee will be included in this.
Councillor Boles concluded that this is a positive approach but the concern is seeing the action. The letter does see impact in services in the majority of cases. The Children’s improvement board will ensure the data for caseloads is shared with the Committee.
It was agreed:
1. The Committee note the report and the update.
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.