Agenda and draft minutes

Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee - Thursday, 20 July 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Woodhatch Place, 11 Cockshot Hill, Reigate, RH2 8EF

Contact: Julie Armstrong, Scrutiny Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

25/23

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Simon Parr, Cllr Liz Townsend and Cllr Fiona White.Tanya Quddus attended remotely and had no voting rights.

    .

     

26/23

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS: 12 JUNE 2023 pdf icon PDF 433 KB

27/23

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter:

          I.        Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

        II.        Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

     

    NOTES:

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

28/23

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS pdf icon PDF 256 KB

    To receive any questions or petitions.

    Notes:

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (14 July 2023).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(13 July 2023)

     

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

     

     

    The public retain their right to submit questions for written response, with such answers recorded in the minutes of the meeting; questioners may participate in meetings to ask a supplementary question. Petitioners may address the Committee on their petition for up to three minutes Guidance will be made available to any member of the public wishing to speak at a meeting.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    1. There were four public questions, two Members’ questions and no petitions. The questions and responses were published as a supplement to the 20 July agenda.

     

    1. In answer to a supplementary question by Anna Sutherland on whether the end-to-end review was requested by the Local Government Ombudsman, the Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said it was separate and planned by the Service.

     

    1. Louise Gannon asked a supplementary question on how to access a refund for an independent Educational Psychologist assessment. She was directed to the web page by the Assistant Director for Inclusion & Additional Needs NE.

     

    1. In response to a supplementary question by Amanda Lazenby, the Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said references to the Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA), the Surrey Independent Advice Service and Family Voice would be added to the Ordinarily Available Provision (OAP) video.

     

    1. Colin Pugh asked what was being done to improve senior management’s governance and oversight of case handlers and their line managers.

     

    1. The Chair noted SEND case workers were holding an average of 197 cases and wondered if the pressure of these workloads was a contributory factor to some negative experiences of Surrey parents and schools.

     

    Actions/requests for further information:

    1.    Cabinet Member for Education and Learning to provide a written answer to Colin Pugh’s public question.

     

    2.    Assistant Director for Commissioning to add to the dataset: schools allocated that did not subsequently agree they could meet a child’s need.

     

    Rebecca Jennings-Evans arrived at 10:20 am.

     

29/23

ACTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 24 KB

30/23

EDUCATION, HEALTH AND CARE PLAN TIMELINESS pdf icon PDF 911 KB

    To show the position at the end of June 2023 with regard to EHCP timeliness, an area identified for improvement. The report focuses on the data, the capacity and resources to undertake timely statutory assessments, and the process improvements that will facilitate this.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning

    Rachael Wardell, Executive Director – Children, Families and Learning (CFL)

    Liz Mills, Director – Education and Lifelong Learning

    Tracey Sanders, Assistant Director – Inclusion & Additional Needs SW

    Julia Katherine, Assistant Director – Inclusion & Additional Needs NE

    Sarah Carrington, Headteacher of Stoughton Infant and Nursery School, a member of Learning Partners Academy Trust

    Anna Dawson, Family Voice Surrey Epsom and Ewell Coordinator

    Leanne Henderson, Family Voice Surrey Participation Manager

     

    Key points made in the discussion:

    1. The Cabinet Member apologised that timeliness of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) was not yet as good as it should be and said the Leader of the Council had confirmed their commitment to improving in this area. As part of the Phase Two Recovery Plan, she would ask for additional resources for Educational Psychologists (EPs) and SEND case workers at the July Cabinet meeting in order to address the backlog. The recovery plan is based on the assumption more resources are granted by Cabinet.

     

    1. The Family Voice Surrey Epsom and Ewell Coordinator described feeling stressed and impotent as a communications protocol agreed at a stage two complaint was not adhered to and her child was still without an EHCP on entering secondary school after waiting nine months to see an EP.

     

    1. The Headteacher of Stoughton Infant and Nursery School said the school had dealt with six different case workers this year. She described seeing a rise in anxiety and ADHD since Covid and an increase in inappropriate and challenging behaviour from children whom the school did not have the funds to properly support as demand surpassed the SEN notional budget, resulting in suspensions in infant school for the first time. She was frustrated to see available specialist infant provision unfilled because children were waiting for plans. She explained children were removed from the waiting list to see paediatrics at age five and there was then a 10-month gap before they could be referred to MindWorks. The Headteacher noted positive steps by the Council to improve communication with her school.

     

    1. A Member asked what support was being offered to schools when EHCPs were not delivered within the legal 20-week time limit, giving the example of the Earlswood Federation whose governors said they had calculated a £32,000 EHCP provision deficit. The Assistant Director for Inclusion & Additional Needs NE acknowledged the impact on schools and parents. She said they want to ensure children have the right support whether or not there was a plan in place, and their Specialist Teachers for Inclusive Practice (STIP) team contacted schools where delays were encountered. The Director for Education and Lifelong Learning added that they took their statutory duty seriously and in addition planned this summer to make the Local Offer website more accessible and transparent so schools and families understood the support available while waiting for an assessment. The Member suggested schools needed more funding. The Executive Director for CFL explained that funding for provision identified in an EHCP comes from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30/23

31/23

CORPORATE PARENTING ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 226 KB

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    To provide key performance data for Looked After Children compared with statistical neighbours and nationally, for the year ending March 2022.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses

    Sinead Mooney, Cabinet Member for Children and Families

    Rachael Wardell, Executive Director – Children, Families and Learning

    Tina Benjamin, Director – Corporate Parenting

    Key points made in the discussion:

    1. The Cabinet Member for Children and Families highlighted two new children’s homes were ready to open.

     

    1. The Chair expressed gratitude to everyone involved in Corporate Parenting for their valuable work.

     

    1. Asked how relationships between foster carers and supervising social workers could be improved, the Director for Corporate Parenting said the Service had committed to hosting more events where they could socialise, and the Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO) had been asked to put more emphasis on this.

     

    1. Asked how many fostered children were in short-term foster care and how long for, and how many were residing in temporary accommodation outside of Surrey, the Director for Corporate Parenting confirmed most foster carers lived in Surrey. At the end of March, 413 children lived with foster carers and of these, 117 lived with connected carers who were often relatives or family friends. A further 31 care leavers still lived with foster carers. 165 out of 369 were approved to provide short-term care but this could change and most foster carers who agreed to be short-term carers then shifted to long-term care. Figures included unaccompanied asylum seekers, most of whom were over 16 and preferred not to live with foster families.

     

    1. Asked what was meant by unsuitable accommodation in relation to care leavers, the Director for Corporate Parenting said this applied to 4%, or 36 people, of whom 13 were living in custody, seven in emergency accommodation, seven homeless and five in B&Bs. Personal advisers are actively working with the young adults to resolve these situations. A shortage of affordable and suitable accommodation had exasperated the issue.

     

    1. Asked why the information in the report only goes to 2022, the Director of Corporate Parenting explained the DfE only gives comparative data in November.

     

    Actions/requests for further information:

    1. Director for Corporate Parenting to give a figure for how many Looked After Children are in short-term care.

     

    1. Director for Corporate Parenting to answer what is the target for the percentage of Looked After Children being able to live in Surrey by the time SCC’s current Sufficiency Strategy ends in 2025.

     

32/23

CHILDREN'S HOMES - OFSTED REPORTS PUBLISHED SINCE THE LAST MEETING OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 277 KB

33/23

PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW pdf icon PDF 200 KB

34/23

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING

    The next public meeting of the committee will be held on Monday, 2 October 2023.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The next meeting will be held on 2 October 2023.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Meeting ended at: 1:15pm

                                                                                                                            Chair