Agenda and draft minutes

Children, Families, Lifelong Learning & Culture Select Committee - Monday, 14 December 2020 10.00 am

Contact: Benjamin Awkal, Scrutiny Officer 

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Items
No. Item

20.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Dr Andrew Povey, Councillor Yvonna Lay and Mr Simon Parr. Councillor Clare Curran attended as a substitute for Dr Andrew Povey.  

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21.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: MONDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2020 pdf icon PDF 331 KB

    To agree the minutes of the previous meeting of the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee as a true and accurate record of proceedings.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The minutes were agreed as a true record of the meeting.

22.

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:

    Councillor Peter Martin declared a personal interest in relation to Item 5. This interest did not prevent the Member from participating in the discussion.

    Declaration: Grandchild is an EHCP recipient. 

     

    Councillor Clare Curran declared a personal interest during the discussion of Item 7.

     

    Declaration: The Councillor is a non-executive Director of Surrey Choices.

     

23.

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

    Notes:

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (Tuesday, 8 December 2020).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(Monday, 7 December 2020)

     

    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.

     

     

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all questions and petitions received will be resonded to in writing and will be recorded within the minutes of the meeting.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

24.

UPDATE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SEND TASK GROUP pdf icon PDF 154 KB

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    Purpose of the report:

     

    To provide the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee with an update on progress in implementing the recommendations of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Task Group which was established to evaluate the support provided to children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Julie Iles, Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning                               

     

    Liz Mills, Director – Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture

    Jane Winterbone, Assistant Director – Education  

    Mary Burguieres, Assistant Director – Systems and Transformation

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Chairman invited Cllr Chris Botten, Chairman of the former Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Task Group, to chair the discussion.   

     

    1. The Assistant Director – Systems and Transformation thanked the SEND Task Group for its report and stated that its recommendations helped guide improvement work around the support provided for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). The Assistant Director stated that when the Task Group was established in October 2019, the Graduated Response (GR) approach, the Schools Alliance for Excellence (SAfE), and engagement with Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) were in their infancy; the Learner’s Single Point of Access (L-SPA) and the Early Intervention Fund did not exist; contracting arrangements for independent schools were not yet robust; and the Service had only just agreed Phase 1 of its capital investment programme. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Service had made progress on eight of the nine recommendations put forth by the Task Group. The ninth recommendation was to provide a progress update on actions that took place to implement each of the Task Group’s recommendations, to the Select Committee.

     

    1. The Cabinet Member for All Age Learning thanked all school leaders who worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. She commented that the school relationships team and area schools officers were fantastic in dealing with schools and ensuring that Public Health colleagues were providing sufficient advice and guidance.

     

    1. A Membernoted that school attendance of SEN learners during the first national lockdown in Surrey was higher than the national average and asked how this was achieved. The Assistant Director – Systems and Transformation informed the Select Committee that 23% of children in Surrey with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) attended school during the first lockdown in Spring 2020, compared to 16% nationally. A number of things were done to achieve this: the GR Advisers ascertained which children were capable of attending school and undertook risk assessments for all learners with EHCPs or those who were considered vulnerable; the Service worked closely with schools, particularly specialist schools, to ensure they received priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE); the Service ensured director-level oversight of children attending school; and needs were responded to in a way that ensured parents’ confidence that their children were safe in school.

     

    1. A Member asked what percentage of SEN learners were attending school currently. The Assistant Director – Systems and Transformation stated that attendance was approximately 85% because some children with SEN were required to stay at home to self-isolate. For that reason, this figure was lower than that for the proportion of children without an EHCP who were attending school.

     

     

    1. A Member asked what extra challenges schools might face with providing support for children with SEND in 2021. The Assistant Director – Systems and Transformation stated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

CABINET RESPONSE TO THE REPORT OF THE NO WRONG DOOR TASK GROUP pdf icon PDF 221 KB

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    Purpose of the report:

     

    To apprise the Select Committee of the Cabinet Response to the Report of the No Wrong Door Task Group and provide opportunity for the Select Committee to make further recommendations.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families

     

    Tina Benjamin, Director – Corporate Parenting

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. The Chairman invited Councillor Lesley Steeds, Chairman of the former No Wrong Door (NWD) Task Group, to introduce the Report. The Chairman of the Task Group was pleased to report that the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families had accepted six of the Task Group recommendations outright and accepted the essence of the remaining three. The Chairman of the Task Group supported the Cabinet Member’s decision to maintain the name No Wrong Door for the Service. The Chairman of the Task Group was assured by the Cabinet Member’s representation that the accreditation of Surrey’s NWD by North Yorkshire County Council would not prevent further development of the service to meet local need. The Chairman of the Task Group recommended that the Select Committee agree that the assurances provided satisfactorily addressed the concerns underlying recommendations 1, 2 and 8.

     

    1. A Member asked for an update on the progress of the NWD project. The Director – Corporate Parenting informed the Select Committee that the Service was scheduling key training which was crucial for the rollout of the NWD and ensuring that staff understood the model and engaged with partners. An operational group of staff members was established, and roles and job descriptions were being developed. The Service was also considering what the NWD would look like for foster carers who wanted to work within the model, identifying the eligibility and pathways for young people, and exploring the future working relationship with colleagues in social care and other agencies. The NWD was on course to commence in shadow form in late January/February 2021.

     

    1. A Member asked if there were any risks of implementing the NWD Service. The Cabinet Member stated that failing to introduce a new service for teenagers at risk of becoming looked after was the greatest risk and thanked the Task Group for its work and supporting the introduction of the NWD policy.

     

    1. A Member asked whether the locations for future NWD hubs were confirmed and for the reasons behind any decisions made. The Director informed the Select Committee that the first confirmed location was Walton-on-Thames, in Northeast Surrey. This site fulfilled much of the criteria for children’s development and hub work. The Service had looked at where in Surrey most teenagers entered into care to help decide in which quadrant the hubs were best located. The Director hoped that the hubs would be spread across the county as much as possible and commented that, ideally, the second hub would be in the southeast of the county, but this was not yet confirmed. The service was deliverable without dedicated NWD hubs, by using the council’s existing residential estate.

     

    1. The Chairman noted that Cabinet agreed a refreshed Organisational Strategy on 29 September 2020 and asked how the NWD supported the council’s new priorities. The Cabinet Member explained that outcomes for teenagers who entered care were generally poor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

SCRUTINY OF 2021/22 DRAFT BUDGET AND MEDIUM-TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY TO 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 145 KB

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    Purpose of the report:

     

    To provide details of the draft budget and medium-term financial strategy for scrutiny.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Julie Iles, Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning

    Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families

     

    Liz Mills, Director – Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture

    Jacquie Burke, Director – Family Resilience and Safeguarding

    Rachel Wigley, Director – Financial Insights

    Mark Hak-Sanders, Strategic Finance Business Partner – Corporate Finance

     

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. The Strategic Finance Business Partner gave an overview of the corporate budgetary position and strategy, focussing on the 2021/22 budget gap and a view of the funding position from 2021/22 to 2025/26.

     

    1. The core planning assumptions that informed the draft Budget were established using the PESTLE Framework for considering political, economic, social, technological, legal, environmental and climate factors. Future demand, inflation and funding were also considered.  Thus, the draft Budget and Medium-Term Financial Strategy were based on an assessment of the likely operating environment for the county council in 2021/22 and over the medium term. The draft Budget was developed in an integrated way across the organisation and was linked with the council’s four new priority objectives and the community vision 2030. The immediate priority for 2021 was to stabilise the council’s finances following the COVID-19 crisis.

     

    1. The Strategic Finance Business Partner stated that the draft Budget contained an £18.3m funding gap for 2021/22.The main areas of the funding gap were £5m in Adult Social Care, £5.9m in Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture, and £5.9m in Environment, Transport and Infrastructure. Funding estimates were to be iterated with the further clarity that was expected before Christmas in the local government finance settlement following a government spending review in November 2020; there was relative confidence that the £18.3m gap would be closed without further directorate efficiencies. Fulfilling the council’s statutory duty of setting a balanced budget for each financial year was to be achieved by refining core planning and funding assumptions, reviewing directorate gaps, and finalising efficiency and transformation proposals. The 2021/22-2025/26 capital programme also needed to be finalised. A final budget was to be presented to Cabinet in January 2021, following the conclusion of a public consultation in December 2020 and equality impact assessments for proposed efficiencies, and approved by Council in February 2021.

     

    1. The medium-term estimates assumed that the Government Fair Funding Review would reduce the council’s funding – estimates suggested that the funding gap would rise to £170.1m over the 5-year period to 2025/26.
    2. The Director – Financial Insights gave an overview of the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Draft Budget. There were seven strategic priorities for 2020/21, alongside ongoing business-as-usual responsibilities within the Directorate. The Directorate budget, excluding the Dedicated Schools Grant, was £251m, the largest part of that being allocated to Corporate Parenting, followed by Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture.

     

    1. The Medium-Term Financial Strategy for 2021-26 (MTFS) was focused on the key areas of transformation and financial pressures within the Directorate. The Ofsted rating of children’s services continued to be a priority, but there were other financial issues such as expenditure on placements, including Special Educational Needs and Disabilities,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

CHILDREN'S IMPROVEMENT UPDATE pdf icon PDF 464 KB

28.

ACTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 120 KB

29.

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING: WEDNESDAY, 20 JANUARY 2021

    The next public meeting of the Select Committee will be held on Wednesday, 20 January 2021.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee noted its next meeting would be held on 20 January 2021.