Agenda and minutes

Children, Young People & Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 7 September 2016 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Easthampstead House, Town Square, Bracknell, RG12 1AQ

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

No. Item


Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel held on 8 June 2016.  Individual fixed term exclusion trend data for each Bracknell Forest secondary school requested at the last Panel meeting is appended to the minutes.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the 8 June 2016 meeting of the Panel were approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman, save for it had not been recorded that Miss Richardson had sent apologies and Mr Briscoe had been in attendance.


Matters Arising


The number of secondary fixed term exclusions had been expressed as a percentage of school population in the minutes and the Chairman requested the actual numbers were circulated to Members.


The Chairman requested that data for the last three years of primary school fixed term exclusions was circulated to Members in order to note whether there had been an increase in numbers.  Ian Dixon agreed to circulate numbers and explained that percentages had been used to enable like for like comparison and to align with DfE data releases.


Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are requested to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interest, including the existence and nature of the Party Whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.


Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an affected interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.


There were no declarations of interest, nor any indication that Members would be participating whilst under the party whip.


Urgent Items of Business

Any other items, which pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.


There were no items of urgent business.


Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


No submissions were made by members of the public under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


Corporate Parenting Advisory Panel pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 22 June 2016.


The minutes of the meeting of the Panel on 22 June 2016 were noted. 


Lorna Hunt, Chief Officer, Children’s Social Care, agreed to clarify at the next Corporate Parenting Advisory Panel whether the number of children Becoming Looked After 2015-16 (originating home address) was linked to the lack of a Children’s Centre in both Harmans Water and Crown Wood.


Substance Misuse involving Children and Young People pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To receive an update in respect of the above O&S review to assess the impact of the new measures agreed for implementation.


The Panel considered an update on the progress regarding the recommendations made following the review of Young People’s Substance Misuse Services.  Full details of the progress made was set out in the report and included:


·                     The new local drug and alcohol website was now live and in response to the recommendations had a specific section for young people and accessible information for parents.  Jillian Hunt, Head of Drugs and Alcohol Services, said she was working with Drug and Alcohol Action Teams in West Berkshire and Wokingham who were interested in piggy-backing onto the new website.  A Member advised that she had reviewed the website and found it to be very user-friendly with good signposting links.

·                     A substance misuse peer mentoring scheme had not yet been introduced and was being discussed as part of the Transforming Early Intervention & Prevention Project.

·                     A short online training course was now available to Bracknell Forest Council staff to enable newly qualified and established teachers to detect early signs of substance misuse.  Details of the online course had been circulated by Chief Officers to encourage participation and it was suggested that the course was promoted through available channels.

·                     Substance misuse prevention sessions were provided in schools as required starting in year 6 and the Young People’s Substance Misuse Worker would be delivering sessions at Bracknell & Wokingham College.

·                     A lot of work was being undertaken to look at closer family-wide substance misuse working practices between Children’s Social Care and Adult Social Care and a model that Hertfordshire County Council were delivering was also being looked at to understand their approach.  Hertfordshire had been successful with their Department for Education’s Innovations funding bid and another full bid to include the Council had been made and the outcome would be known in a few months. 

·                     The development of a Berkshire-wide substance misuse data sharing protocol to enable comparisons with other local authorities had not yet been progressed.


The Chairman thanked Jillian Hunt for the update and said she had been reassured by the progress that had been made.


Quarterly Service Report pdf icon PDF 20 KB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSR for the first quarter of 2016/17 (April to June 2016) relating to Children, Young People and Learning, giving particular attention to outcomes of Ofsted school inspections, an update on the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and headline examination results.


Panel members are asked to give advance notice to the Overview and Scrutiny Team of any questions relating to the QSR where possible.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance for the first quarter of 2016/17 (April to June 2016). 


The report highlighted significant improvement during the quarter across the 4 strategic themes.  Of the 32 actions, 30 were on target to be achieved by their completion date with notable progress from the previous quarter identified across the following themes:


Value for Money - Spending was within budget and original approved savings was on target to be met. This was ahead of the schedule of 31 March 2017.


People have the life skills and education opportunities they need to thrive – The percentage of primary and secondary schools rated good/better by OFSTED had exceeded the current expected targets, currently set at 80% and 67% respectively.   Benchmark data was not included in the report as results had to be reported in line with government guidelines.  All eligible early years settings had also received good/better ratings.


The vacancy rate for teachers was showing a reduction in vacancy rate from 17% (January) to 8% as at 30 April 2016 which indicated a positive review of the incentives as a contributory factor:


·                     Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT) - 12 recruitment fairs, 31 applications were received – 6 successful appointments.

·                     Secondary School Direct partnership secured 27 trainees for September. Sixteen primary School Direct trainees for September 2016 across 12 schools. 


Members commented that these were very positive results but queried if any of the recruited trainees had not taken up their post in September.  They would be furnished with an answer.


In relation to education provision, a Local Authority pupil premium Champion had attended all schools to increase awareness with intensive input to targeted schools. Additionally, 3 mainstream schools were currently being supported to become ‘autism friendly’ – Garth Hill College, Birch Hill Primary and Whitegrove Primary.


People live active and health lifestyles - The Ofsted action plan had now been incorporated into the Quality Improvement plan. The new formula-funded contract for the Adult Education budget had been announced and was on target to be implemented by September 2017 which should enhance service delivery and outcomes in this respect.


Strong, safe, supportive and reliant communities - the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub was now live as of 16 May 2016 and early indications showed this multi-agency model was effective. All children receiving a service from Children’s Social Care were entitled to an advocate and a new postcard had been created with input from young people to help promote the service to support capturing young people’s views. The Signs of Safety model training was underway with identified Practice Leads and social workers accessing the 2 day training. This model was adopted within all child protection case conferences with positive feedback received. The number of foster carers recruited had exceeded the current target. There were a number of community outreach initiatives in progress and a Transitions Coordinator within the youth service (now fully integrated with Early Help Services) ensured timely engagement with targeted young people  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Families in a Strong Community Project pdf icon PDF 469 KB

To receive a presentation in respect of the impact of the Families in a Strong Community Project and future plans for sustainability of volunteering.  A case study is attached.


Sarah Holman, Transformation Project Manager, delivered a presentation in respect of the impact of the Families in a Strong Community Project and future plans for sustainability of volunteering.  The presentation was supported by a case study which was attached to the agenda.


·                     The Families in a Strong Community Project feasibility study ran from April 2015 to August 2016 and looked at delivery methods of very early intervention in 3 deprived areas of Bracknell Forest. 

·                     The cost effectiveness of training volunteers from within the community, using volunteers to support a professional in running friendship support groups and offering targeted training to volunteers and families had been investigated.

·                     As a result, a dedicated volunteer training scheme had been developed which saw participation from some vulnerable parents.

·                     Volunteers were able to shape community support and Family Partner Workers set up and ran Friendship Support Groups in various community venues.

·                     Relationships were built between families, some of whom were very isolated, and between support mechanisms and families.

·                     Volunteers benefited from training and workshops, new friendships and support, raised expectations of family life and, in the case of 3 volunteers, employment as a direct result of their voluntary activity.

·                     Supported families benefited from decreased isolation, increased friendships and self-confidence, non-judgemental peer-to-peer support and professional support if needed.

·                     Parents who attended the Post Natal Depression Groups completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and 5 months later their scores had decreased significantly from when they had started.

·                     Moving forward the volunteer training scheme will be run by the charity Involve for wider use across Bracknell Forest.

·                     Linking into the Community Learning Strategy, on-going training to both families and volunteers would be offered.

·                     Funding was being sought from the Better Care Fund to continue the scheme for a further 12 months.


The Chairman thanked the Transformation Project Manager for her interesting presentation and commented she was particularly glad to see the work being done in relation to post natal depression which gave good outcomes for families and children.


Update on the "Staying Put" Policy

An update regarding the ‘Staying Put’ policy for Looked After Children wishing to remain in their foster care placement past the age of 18 years will be provided.


An update regarding the “Staying Put” policy for Looked After Children who wished to remain in their foster care placement past the age of 18 was given.


·                     The possibility of Staying Put should be identified as early as possible with all involved parties so that a pathway plan could start when the child reached 16 years of age.

·                     The policy included details of the housing benefit available to young people Staying Put and of the allowance paid by Bracknell Forest to the former foster carer.  Members were advised there was currently one young person Staying Put in an in-house foster placement and one in an independent foster placement. 

·                     Members were pleased to note that if the young person attended university, a daily retainer was paid to the carer so that the young person had a home to return to during the holidays.


Members were advised that carers felt supported by the teams throughout the process and the Independent Reviewing Officer had been positive about Bracknell Forest’s arrangements for Staying Put.


Report of the Overview & Scrutiny Review of Child Sexual Exploitation pdf icon PDF 172 KB

To consider and agree the attached draft report of the review of child sexual exploitation undertaken by a Working Group of this Panel.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered the draft report of the review of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) undertaken by a Working Group of the Panel. 


The Chairman praised the work of the Working Group which had been very well led by Councillor Mrs McCracken and said it was a very strong report with excellent recommendations, in particular:


  • Closer work to be undertaken with parents to raise their awareness of CSE including education to help them manage their children’s use of the online world.
  • The awareness and use of the CSE screening tool and prevention work with children and young people identified as having Level 1 vulnerabilities.
  • The monitoring and management of unauthorised school absences and fixed term exclusions to be strengthened, with a particular emphasis on undertaking return interviews.
  • A fluid rolling programme of incremental and age appropriate prevention be pursued to raise awareness levels and provide children with the resilience and knowledge to identify grooming and make safe decisions around internet use and relationships.


Lorna Hunt thanked all those involved in the large piece of work and for the very comprehensive report.


Next Review Topic/Working Group pdf icon PDF 210 KB

To select the next review topic and establish a working group to undertake the review, when resources become available, with reference to the attached 2016/17 Work Programme.


The Panel was invited to select the next review topic and establish a working group to undertake the review, when resources became available, with reference to the 2016/17 Work Programme.


The Panel agreed that the next review topic would be Early Intervention and the Working Group would include Councillors Mrs Hamilton, Mrs Temperton and Mrs Birch.  It was agreed that a scoping session would take place before the end of the year.


Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To consider scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions relating to Children, Young People and Learning.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered and noted the scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions relating to Children, Young People and Learning.