Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Priory House, Monks Walk, Shefford

Contact: Paula Everitt  0300 300 4196

No. Item


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 127 KB


To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 11 November 2014 and to note the actions taken since that meeting.



RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 11 November 2014 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


The Assistant Director, Children’s Services referred to item CS/14/51 – Annual Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) and reported that Bedford Borough had ended the Safeguarding Children’s Board Partnership following a review of the service.  The Committee was also advised the Department for Education had issued a consultation document that would provide input into a ‘working together guide’ that profiled the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).  The Council would respond to the consultation to inform this piece of work.



Members' Interests

To receive from Members any declarations of interest and of any political whip in relation to any agenda item.





Cllr A Barker declared an interest as she was a Member of the Corporate Adoption Panel.



Chairman's Announcements and Communications

To receive any announcements from the Chairman and any matters of communication.





The Chairman welcomed Cllr Mrs Bev Coleman to her first meeting of the Committee.




To receive petitions from members of the public in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure as set out in Annex 2 of Part A4 of the Constitution.








Questions, Statements or Deputations

To receive any questions, statements or deputations from members of the public in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure as set out in Annex 1 of part A4 of the Constitution.









To consider any decision of the Executive referred to this Committee for review  in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.10 of Part D2.  








Requested Items

To consider any items referred to the Committee at the request of a Member under Procedure Rule 3.1 of Part D2 of the Constitution.








Executive Member Update


To receive a brief verbal update from the Executive Member for Children’s Services.





The Executive Member for Children’s Services provided the Committee with an update on the following:-

·         Attendance at meetings to finalise proposals contained in the draft Budget.

·         Attendance at a meeting to discuss the Education Vision refresh.

·         Attendance at a regional Portfolio Holder meeting in Cambridge.


A Member requested an update on the progress made by Sandy Upper School in its ambition to achieve academy status.  The Executive Member reported that the Council continued to support the School in its endeavours and would continue to update the Committee on progress.



Draft Budget 2015/16 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2014-2018


To consider the draft Budget, updated Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Programme pertaining to the Children’s ServicesDirectorate only.  Information that is relevant to the other directorates will be considered in the other relevant OSC meetings.   Members are requested to submit their comments, observations and recommendations in respect of the Executive’s proposals with particular reference to the Children’s Services Directorate proposals, to the meetings of the Executive on 10 February 2015.


Papers relating to these items were circulated to Members in the Executive agenda for 13 January 2015 (Items 8 and 9refer).  Members are requested to bring their copies of the Executive report with them to the meeting (hard copies will not be provided).  The report is available to view and print at the following website:-




The Executive Member introduced a report that outlined the Council’s draft Budget for 2015/16, Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Programme which had been presented to the Executive on 13 January 2015.  The report also set out the efficiencies and pressures faced by the directorate.


In light of the report and the further clarification provided by the Executive Member the Committee discussed the following issues in detail:-

·         Whether a £253k pressure relating to the new market rate supplement scheme (CSP 1501) for 2015/16 should be a continued pressure in future years.  In response the Executive Member advised that with the success of the Social Worker Academy and the good progress made to retain social workers within the directorate, he was confident this was a realistic forecast.  In addition the Committee was  informed that careful monitoring of vacancies  would continue in this volatile market.  A Member raised concerns regarding the high number of agency social workers employed by the Council and the need to support social workers whose profession continues to be hounded by the media.  The Assistant Director, Children’s Services advised that the Directorate had been successful in reducing the number of temporary social worker staff, some of whom had been with the Council for a number of years.  The Council had also featured in an LGA best practice article for its work in this area and would continue to raise awareness of the excellent results achieved by its social workers. 

·         Whether the new responsibility for the commissioning of 0-5 year old children’s public health services could be funded by the increase to the public health grant.  The Executive Member commented that meetings to negotiate  funding continued to be held to ensure this service would be fully met by the transferred fund.

·         Whether the pressures predicted in the Executive report were expected to change significantly during the year.  The Executive Member commented that close monitoring of the pressures would be maintained throughout the year.

·         That all ward members engaged in negotiations for Section 106 monies in their area be requested to support the direction of fund provision to Education and specifically new school places to fund the deficit of £2m.  The Executive Member for Children’s Services advised he would continue to lobby the Secretary of State about this particular gap in funding.


RECOMMENDED that the Council’s draft Budget for 2015/16, Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Programme 2015/16 – 2018/19 be endorsed.



Q2 Budget Report pdf icon PDF 404 KB

To receive a presentation regarding the directorate’s capital & revenue budget monitoring information for the second  quarter of 2014/15.



The Executive Member introduced the Quarter 2 budget report for Children’s Services for the months of July, August and September 2014. 


NOTED the report.


Q2 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To consider performance monitoring information for the second quarter of 2014/15.

Additional documents:



The Executive Members for Children’s Services introduced the Quarter 2 performance report.  Of particular note was the improved performance in the number of older children that had been adopted. 


NOTED the report and requested national benchmarked data be included in future performance reports on an annual basis.


The Jay report and Child Sexual Exploitation

To consider a report on regarding the joint working arrangements to eradicate Child Sexual Exploitation



The Assistant Director Children’s Services delivered a presentation on the implications for the Council on the findings of the Jay Report on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham.  The Report had raised the profile of issues known to the Council and a review of service had been made.  Officers supported the 3 multi-agency Pan-Bedfordshire Panel and workshops had been held to promote awareness and best practice for all key stakeholders in dealing with CSE.


The Team Manager, Biggleswade Family Support Team gave the Committee details of two case studies where the school had reported their concerns of possible CSE to the Pan Bedfordshire Panel and victims had been helped by the Family Support Team.


In light of the presentation and further clarification provided by the Executive Member and the Assistant Director Children’s Services, the Committee commented on and discussed the following:-

·         That signs of CSE had similarities to those of domestic abuse and additional awareness training to recognise offenders as well as advice on how to identify vulnerable children was required.  Specialised training was of vital importance to all Schools, the Police and officers.  The Assistant Director, Children’s Services referred to a training video called ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ that had been used in schools to raise awareness of teachers and school children to help them recognise a CSE situation.  A link to this training video would be circulated to the Committee.

·         That advice leaflets on how to report suspicions of CSE activity be circulated to the Committee and all Members of the Council when completed.

·         That the findings from an officer CSE Task and Finish Group be reported to the Committee.

·         Additional CSE training be rolled out to School Governors.  Officers would look into the option of an on-line course and a Governor Essentials article.


Noted the presentation.



Domestic Abuse Update


To receive an update on the Committee's previously agreed recommendations in relation to Domestic Abuse.




The Head of Community Safety gave a verbal update on the nine recommendations agreed by the Committee in February 2013.  The Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Strategic Assessment Identified Priorities for 2015-16 report, due to be considered by the Sustainable Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 22 January 2015, reported domestic abuse to be an emerging priority of  the CSP.  A link to the CSP report would be circulated to the Committee


Noted the presentation.


Children and Young People’s Plan Refresh pdf icon PDF 125 KB


To consider and comment on the refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan. 


Additional documents:



The Executive Member for Children’s Services introduced the Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP) 2013-15 refresh and updated Members on the approach taken and issues identified for consideration and comment.


The Committee made the following comments and suggestions to be included in the Plan:-

·         That a specific section be included in the Plan to raise the profile of Special Education Needs.

·         Concern that the number of children in year 6, 8 and 10 with low self esteem had increased and that national league tables indicated a poor rating for the Council.  The Assistant Director Commissioning and Partnerships advised that more schools would be encouraged to take part in the Health Related Behaviour and Perceptions survey to ensure the measures and actions identified were adequate.


A Member requested that information on targets outlined in the Performance Report and the Children and Young People’s Plan annual report be submitted to the Committee and coincide with performance monitoring information that included statistical neighbour and national benchmarking data.



·         A section on Special Educational Needs be included in the Children and Young People’s Plan.

·         A performance measure on children’s self esteem be included in the Children and Young People’s Plan.

·         National benchmarking comparison be introduced in a future performance report.



Work Programme 2014/15 & Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 91 KB


The report provides Members with details of the currently drafted Committee work programme and the latest Executive Forward Plan.


Additional documents:



The Committee considered the current draft work programme and agreed the Chairman in consultation with the Director of Children’s Services would refresh the priorities in the current work programme.


RECOMMENDED that the work programme be approved subject to prioritisation by the Chairman and Director of Children’s Services.