Agenda and minutes

Children Young People and Families Policy and Performance Board
Monday, 1st September, 2014 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Civic Suite, Town Hall, Runcorn

Contact: Gill Ferguson on 0151 511 8059 or e-mail 

No. Item




            The Minutes of the meeting held on 9th June 2014 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.




            It was noted that no public questions had been received.



Additional documents:


            The Board received a report which contained the Minutes relating to the Children, Young People and Families Portfolio, which had been considered by the Executive Board Committee since the last meeting of the PPB.


            RESOLVED: That the Minutes be noted.


Proposed cuts to Education Services Grant pdf icon PDF 24 KB


            The Board was advised that the June 2013 spending round announced the Department of Education would be required to make £200m savings in 2015/16. In order to protect front-line spending for schools, they consulted on the impact of a 25% reduction Education Services Grant (ESG) to local authorities in 2015/16. ESG was revenue funding by Government to fund the statutory functions of education provision.


            It was reported that the consultation document outlined there were different levels of spend in local authorities on statutory functions and had undertaken in depth studies at 18 local authorities and 13 academies to establish how the ESG spend was prioritised to assist local authorities in managing a reduction in advance.


            Members were advised that the Government had announced the outcome of the consultation on the proposals to reduce ESG funding in 2015/16. They had confirmed that ESG would reduce by £200m which would mean the general funding rate would fall from £113 per pupil to £87 pupil, a cut of 23%. Consequently, the Council would receive a reduction of around £0.5m in ESG in 2015/16 for the Council. It was noted that any further conversions of schools to academies would increase this reduction.


            The reduction of ESG represented a significant loss of funding to the Council and whilst schools were not directly affected, there would be an impact of the level of support the Local Authority could provide to schools. The Local Authority was currently reviewing the affect any reduction would have on the ability to undertake its statutory role effectively.


            RESOLVED: That the report be noted.


Education Reforms Update pdf icon PDF 45 KB


            The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Children and Enterprise, which provided a summary of recent and forthcoming changes in education in the following areas:-


·         Early Years Curriculum;

·         2014 Primary National Curriculum;

·         Assessment and Accountability Framework;

·         Reforms in Key Stages 1 and 2;

·         Secondary Curriculum;

·         Accountability System for the Secondary Phase; and

·         Disadvantaged Pupils.


            The Board discussed the removal of national curriculum levels from September 2014. Individual schools must decide how to track progress and provide regular information to parents, suited to the curriculum they teach. The Department of Education would not prescribe a single system for ongoing assessment and reporting. It was suggested that discussions with Halton Primary Headteachers take place to consider a Halton School system for tracking a child’s progress.


            In addition, a Member queried the information in Paragraph 8.2 Basket 3 and it was agreed that this would be checked and the Member advised accordingly. Further, information on coursework and if this was still included in the assessment for vocational qualifications would be forwarded to Members.


RESOLVED: That Members note the contents of the report.




Troubled Families Update pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Additional documents:


            The Board of the Strategic Director, Children and Enterprise, which provided an update on the development of the Troubled Families Programme. It was reported that the Troubled Families Unit provided national criteria for identifying Troubled Families and Local Authorities could identify local measures. In Halton for 2012/13 these were domestic abuse and alcohol. For 2013/14, the measures had been increased to include drug misuse, NEET and a child under the age of 5.


            The report set out the delivery and it was noted that 145 families had been identified for the first year and work was being carried out with partners and agencies to identify where families were up to with regard to interventions, engagement and a setting to determine if the whole family needs were being met. Numbers had been confirmed for year 2 and 3, details of which were outlined in the report for information. In addition, the report set out the performance and included a table that summarised the number of families who were issued leads from year 1, their status in relation to payments by results (PBR) claimed in January and July 2013, and those estimated for October. It was further noted that 66% of 145 families from year 1 had achieved target set.


            The report further detailed current case studies, cross benefit analysis and other implications.


            Members were advised on Phase 2 of the Troubled Families Programme. The Government had recently announced that the programme would be expanded to work with 400,000 more families from 2015-2020 with an additional £200m funding for 2015-16. In addition the criteria for a family to be included in the programme had been expanded. In order to be included in the second wave of early starters areas would need to be working with all their current allocation of families by 30th September and had turned around at least 65% of them by 31st October 2014. The national rollout would commence 1st April 2015.


            RESOLVED: That the Board


            (1)       note the developments in the Troubled Families Programme;                        and


            (2)       support the Troubled Families approach in Halton.


Children's Social Work Reform Restructure - Presentation pdf icon PDF 10 KB


            The Board received a presentation from the Operational Director Children and Families on the Children’s Social Work Reform Restructure. Following a consultation exercise with staff within the Department and service users a new structure for Children’s Social Work had been agreed and would be in place on 30th September 2014.


            Members were advised on why change was necessary, the outcome of the consultation exercise, and the following key principles agreed with staff:


·         a single front door contact and referral team;

·         one child in need service 0-18 years;

·         one child in care and care leavers service;

·         increase number of Practise Leads from 6 to 8;

·         increase number of Social Workers with 6.5 new posts;

·         introduction of Senior Community Care Worker post

·         introduction of Advanced Social Worker role;

·         introduction of additional administrative support staff; and

·         ongoing investment in professional development and support.


The anticipated outcomes of the restructure were as follows:


·         caseloads with a maximum of 18;

·         children and young people would only change case worker once when plan long term care;

·         staff would have more time to develop meaningful and effective relationships with children;

·         reducing numbers of children in care where safe;

·         freedom to be innovative and creative; and

·         clear manager support roles and access to quality reflective supervision.


RESOLVED: That the presentation be received.


Annual Report - Comments, Complaints and Compliments relating to Child Social Care Services 1st April 2013 - 31st March 2014 pdf icon PDF 125 KB


            The Board received a report of the Strategic Director, Children and Enterprise, which provided an analysis on the complaints processed under the Children Act, 1989, Representations Procedure. The report outlined details on the four categories to the representation process and provided an overview of the Annual Report from the 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014. Members were advised that there were 42 statutory complaints made to the local authority in 2013/14 which was 3 less in comparison to last year, a decrease of 6% which was comparable with previous years.


            The Board was further advised of the types of complaints made and who they were made by; the outcome of Stage 1 compliance; information regarding Stage 2 complaints; Stage 3 Review Panel; the Local Government Ombudsman and timescales.


            In relation to compliments it was reported that 111 had been received in 2013/14, details of which were outlined in the report for information.


            The Board further set out information regarding Learning and Service Improvement and detailed an Action Plan for 2014/15, which was influenced by learning from complaints.


            RESOLVED: That


            (1)       the report is accepted as the mechanism by which the Local Authority is kept informed about the operation of its Complaints Procedure for Children’s Social Care; and


            (2)       the Annual Report will evidence how feedback from service users has been used to improve service delivery.


Compliments (Service User Feedback) relating to Children and Enterprise Directorate - 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014 pdf icon PDF 121 KB


            The Board received a report of the Strategic Director, Children and Enterprise, which provided an update and feedback on compliments made by clients and positive feedback from workers/professionals relating to the Children and Enterprise Directorate. The report also demonstrated the positive impact and outcomes in the lives of people accessing services in this Directorate. In addition, the report highlighted how the Directorate learns from compliments received, the benefits to staff in receiving compliments and how compliments were also a measure of awareness from service users.


            RESOLVED: That the report is accepted as the mechanism by which the Board is kept informed and this information is used to develop services.

NB: Councillor P. Hignett declared a Disclosable Other Interest in the following item, due to being a Governor of Pewithall Primary School.



The Use of Pupil Premium pdf icon PDF 86 KB


            The Board received a report which provided an overview on the aims, purpose, use, monitoring and accountability of the Pupil Premium and its impact on improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. In addition, the report provided an analysis of the 2013/14 Ofsted inspection judgements on the impact of the Pupil Premium in closing the achievement gaps between pupils in receipt of the Pupil Premium and their peers.


            The Board noted that Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and was specific, additional funding provided to support the education of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals (FSM), pupils who had been eligible for FSM at any point in the last 6 years, children who had been looked after continuously for a period of 6 months and children whose parents were currently serving in the Armed Forces. The Government believed that the Pupil Premium, which was additional to main school funding, was the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals and their peers, by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reached the pupils who needed it most.


            Members were advised that schools decided how the Pupil Premium was spent. However, they were accountable for their use of this funding. Since September 2012, schools were required to publish on line information about their Pupil Premium allocation and how they planned to spend it in the coming year. They must also publish a statement of how they spent the money for the previous year, and its impact on the attainment of pupils eligible for support through the Pupil Premium. In addition, under the current OfSTED inspection framework, inspectors were now required to make a judgement on the use of the Pupil Premium and its impact on the progress, and attainment of pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium.


            During the 2013/14 academic year, 22 schools in Halton were inspected by OfSTED. Of the 22 schools inspected, 16 were judged to be good, two outstanding and four required improvement. Overall, pupils in receipt of the Pupil Premium were achieving well compared to their peers, nationally. However, in at least six schools, in-school gaps were identified. Pupils in receipt of the Pupil Premium would behind their peers by as much as two terms in some cases. All the schools were aware of their in-school gaps and the inspections acknowledged that appropriate action was being taken to close the gaps.


            Since September 2013, inspectors had also been able to recommend an external review of the school’s use of the Pupil Premium funding, where the inspection identified specific issues regarding the provision for eligible pupils. This had not been the case in Halton Schools. It was noted that the proportion of pupils on FSM achieving five A* to C including English and maths in Halton in 2013 was the highest in the North West. Halton was ranked first in the North and 29 nationally for the attainment of pupils on FSM.


            Since the Peer Challenge exercise identified closing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 1 2014-2015 pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Additional documents:


            The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Policy and Resources, which provided progress against service objectives and milestones and performance targets, and provided information relating to key developments and emerging issues that had arisen during the period.


            It was reported that key priorities for development or improvements in 2013/16 were agreed by Members and included in Directorate Plans, for the various functional areas reporting to the Board as detailed below:-


·         Children and Families Services;

·         Learning and Achievement; and

·         Children’s Organisation and Provision.


Members were provided with an update on the recent Rotherham report and also the initiatives implemented within the Halton and Cheshire areas involving the Council and other agencies to address child sexual exploitation.


Arising from the discussion it was agreed that:


·         Officers would liaise with the Chair of the Board to organise Member visits of Children Services; and

·         consideration be given to including child sexual exploitation/missing from home information within future quarterly monitoring reports.


RESOLVED: That the first quarter Performance Monitoring Report and comments made be noted.