Agenda and minutes

Children, Young People & Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday, 13 April 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 158 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 11 January 2016. 


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 11 January 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


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 relating to any items on the agenda, 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 had been made by members of the public under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


Corporate Parenting Advisory Panel pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 9 March 2016


The Panel received the minutes of the Corporate Parenting Advisory Panel (CPAP) held on 9 March 2016.


Quarterly Service Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSR for the third quarter of 2015/16 (October to December 2015) relating to Children, Young People and Learning, giving particular attention to outcomes of Ofsted school inspections, safeguarding, Looked After Children, staffing, permanency and signs of safety.


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


The Panel considered the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Quarterly Service Report for the third quarter of 2015/16 (October to December 2015) relating to Children, Young People and Learning. 


From the comprehensive Quarterly Service Report, the Panel noted the following headlines:

  • A Safeguarding Practice Diagnostic carried out in January 2016 had indicated good progress since the last event and overall positive results.  The Local Government Association team had issued a letter and action plan indicating ways to further stretch performance, which had been circulated to Panel Members for information.
  • A Youth Offending Service Inspection was due to be held from 18 – 22 April 2016 which would focus on casework quality and performance.
  • The White Paper ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’ had been issued in March 2016, which dealt with further proposed reforms including the Government’s aspiration for all schools to be academies by 2022.
  • The Education and Adoption Act 2016 was to be enacted in mid April, extending the intervention rights of the Secretary of State and giving powers to force schools to become academies.
  • The recommended provider for Binfield Learning Village and Amen Corner North had been selected and submitted to the Regional Schools Commissioner for approval.


The Panel posed a number of questions about details in the Department indicator performance and requested that numerical totals for:

  • L140 – 62% of children looked after in family placement or adoption;
  • NI103.2 – 37.5% of SEN statements issued within 26 weeks;

be circulated to Members following the meeting.


The Panel received a presentation on the activity within the Children’s Social Care section, noting the high level of contacts, with the largest proportion of referrals being from the police arising from domestic abuse.  The newly formed Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) would begin operating from Easthampstead House on 16 May 2016.  Data was presented on children in need, the numbers subject to child protection plans, the duration of child protection plans and the numbers of looked after children.  Reference was also made to the work to develop a Permanency Strategy and the progress towards implementing the Signs of Safety model (an integrated framework approach to child intervention).  A staffing update was circulated detailing the success of the staff development, recruitment and retention measures driven by the investment undertaken last summer.


The Panel also received a paper outlining the Inspection outcomes for schools, including published reports to April 2016.  The Panel was pleased to note the predominance of ‘Good’ outcomes in the current academic year.  Arising from questions about Jennett’s Park Primary School, which had been rated ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2014/15, it was explained that as a newly opened facility it had drawn pupils from a number of other schools which had not helped it establish itself and achieve good results from the outset.  However, following assistance from the school improvement team, there were promising indications through HM Inspector of Schools of good progress being made.  There were lessons to be learnt for other new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.


Update on Youth Services Transformation

To receive an update in respect of the transformation of Youth Services.


The Panel received a presentation on the Bracknell Forest Youth Service Modernisation Programme, given by the Head of Prevention and Early Intervention.  The Programme had made savings of £393k to the end of March 2016 and the focus of the service was now on targeted work. There were four targeted work strands each led by a qualified youth worker:

  • Sexual Health
  • Substance Misuse
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
  • Vulnerable Young People


A description of how the service operated for each work strand was given together with details of the achievements in each area.  The following points were noted from discussion and answers to questions:

  • The delivery of Health drop-ins with a GP/Nurse for contraception was a contributory factor in achieving a teenage pregnancy rate in Bracknell of 40% below the national average.  Depending on the consultation with, and assessment by, the GP/Nurse, contraception may be offered without parental knowledge.
  • The results of the Child Sexual Exploitation consultation in schools would be made available to the relevant Working Group that was nearing completion of its review.
  • The Panel recognised the importance of work with Young Carers.  The service, previously provided by the voluntary organisation KIDS, was to be run by the Youth Service from June 2016.  This would focus on identifying, assessing and supporting young carers, providing direct interventions where appropriate, or signposting to other services.
  • The Council continued to hold the licence for the whole of Bracknell Forest for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.  There had been 238 enrolments under the scheme, either directly by the Youth Service or through schools with Youth Service support.  The scheme had a wide variety of options to suit many individual needs.  However, the Youth Service would be running its own provision from September 2016, specifically seeking to promote alternative awards better suited to the needs of vulnerable young people.


The universal provision for Youth was now provided by Berkshire Youth, managed through a service level agreement.  In commissioning this service in future, it was proposed to explore opportunities for Town and Parish Councils to become involved.


The Panel expressed their thanks for the presentation and requested that copies of it be emailed to Members.


Bracknell Forest Children and Young People's Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy 2015-18 pdf icon PDF 266 KB

The final draft of the above Strategy is attached for consideration.  Comments are invited at the Panel meeting or separately by e-mail to the Chief Officer: Learning and Achievement:-

Additional documents:


The Panel considered a report presenting the final draft of the Bracknell Forest Children and Young People’s Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy 2015-2018, for consideration and comment prior to its approval by the Executive.


The Strategy set out how local partnerships and organisations would work together with children, and their families, to support them to grow up happy and well, and to provide timely care and treatment for the 10 – 15% who develop serious mental health problems.  Local partnerships had been recommended to move to a new model of care (the Thrive model) that was more focussed on achieving outcomes with children.  The Strategy envisaged an ongoing discussion about how to adapt provision in Bracknell Forest to the Thrive model and set out development priorities under four themes:

  1. The best for all
  2. Better information
  3. Early intervention
  4. Specialist care


The Strategy set out a table of protective and risk factors for emotional wellbeing used as a basis for the approach being taken.  It also defined the priorities, key actions and expected outcomes and the measures of success by which performance could be monitored.  The Panel noted the extensive consultation that had taken place over the drafting of the Strategy and the full involvement of partners.  Improving children’s emotional wellbeing had also been identified by the Health and Wellbeing Board as one of its two key priorities.


The Panel welcomed the draft Strategy and made a number of comments:

  • The availability of parental support groups was felt to be significant, for example for eating disorders or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  Some additional funding was available and a bid to the Department for Communities and Local Government had been made for funds to support voluntary sector organisations.  Anything the Council could do to promote or encourage local groups would be beneficial.
  • It was suggested that ‘adoption’ should be added as a risk in the table of protective and risk factors.
  • There was concern that savings proposals under consideration could threaten training budgets, for example training for child minders, which would adversely affect their ability to promote emotional wellbeing.
  • Although some raw health data was available regarding the time taken for referral and treatment (where appropriate) by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the accuracy of recording and the lack of analysis meant there was little evidence to show whether this service was improving.  The vital need was to have proper triage procedures in place so that those most in need received help at the earliest opportunity. 
  • The Berkshire Health Foundation Trust had provided for the CAMHS service to offer a number of pathways, with teams of professionals on hand to help a child through a particular issue, referral to which would be made, if appropriate, after an assessment had taken place by a Common Point of Entry team.


The Panel was asked to email in any further comments for inclusion before the Strategy was finalised and submitted to the Executive.


Accessibility Strategy: Education, Schools and Early Years Settings 2016-19 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To consider the above Strategy which describes how the Council will work with schools and early years settings that provide government funded early education places.

Additional documents:


The Panel received and noted the Accessibility Strategy: Education, Schools and Early Years Settings 2016-2019 and covering report submitted to the Executive.  The document addressed the sections of the Equality Act 2010 relating to children and young people with disabilities and their access to schools maintained by Bracknell Forest Council, widened to include early years settings that received funding via the Council.


Working Group Update Report pdf icon PDF 184 KB

To receive an update in respect of the Working Group of the Panel reviewing child sexual exploitation and to consider establishing a new standing Sub Group to review the implementation of recommendations to the Executive made by previous Overview and Scrutiny reviews.


The Panel received an update on the progress of the Working Group reviewing child sexual exploitation (CSE).  It was noted that the review was drawing to a close and it was hoped that a thorough, useful report would be brought forward for consideration.


The Panel was invited to consider establishing a standing Sub Group to review the implementation of recommendations which previous Working Groups had submitted to the Executive, as a means of monitoring the outcomes of such reviews.  It was suggested that the Sub Group should meet once or possibly twice between each Panel meeting which would receive an update report of its progress.




1      The progress achieved by the Working Group reviewing CSE be noted.

2      A new standing Sub Group be set up to review the implementation of recommendations to the Executive made by previous O&S reviews; the core membership of the Sub Group being Councillors Mrs Birch, Brossard, Ms Hayes and Mrs McCracken and also Ms Richardson with other Panel Members attending as and when they wished.


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:


Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions relating to Children, Young People and Learning scheduled to be taken from March to June 2016 were noted by the Panel.


The Panel was informed that the proposed closure of the Maintained Nursery Class at Wildmoor Heath Primary School had been put forward since it was no longer viable to provide it.  Alternative provision was available in the vicinity.