Agenda and minutes

Children Young People and Families Policy and Performance Board
Monday, 4th January, 2016 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Civic Suite, Town Hall, Runcorn. View directions

Contact: Ann Jones on 0151 511 8276 or e-mail 

No. Item




The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2015 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.




The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.



Additional documents:


The minutes relating to the Children, Young People and Families Portfolio which had been considered by the Executive Board since the last meeting of the Board, were attached at Appendix 1 of the report for information.


RESOLVED:  That the minutes be noted.



SSP Minutes pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the Halton Children’s Trust meeting held on 27 October 2015 were submitted to the Board for information.



Councillor J Stockton declared a Disclosable Other Interest in the following item as he worked for SPARC on a voluntary basis.


Independent Living Skills pdf icon PDF 224 KB


The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, People and Economy, that presented an update on the continued review of the provision for teaching and enhancing Independent Living Skills for Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in the Borough.


It was noted that further to the last update in February 2015, a request was made through a Council Commissioner to other Local Authorities in the area to ask for examples of good practice; it was reported however, this had not yielded results.  Officers advised that following this, Elected Members and a Council Officer were invited to Riverside College to review their provision for teaching Independent Living Skills. 


The report provided information on the visit and information on: the types of learning difficulties being catered for at the College from moderate to severe; the composition of the teaching staff; the qualifications taken by students; and details of work placement partners and LEP partners.


The Members who made the visit commented that they were impressed with the facility but were uncomfortable with the separate building arrangement as it meant that students with learning difficulties did not integrate with students from the main College building.


In response Members were advised that some students were overwhelmed by the main building and preferred to be in a smaller environment.  It was also commented that there were opportunities for students to mix in CRMZ at break and lunchtimes.  Officers advised that this type of teaching and enhancing skills for young people with special needs was very much about the individual as each was so different, so needs were tailored to the child.  Members asked that a definition of independent learning / living be provided at the next scrutiny meeting and that the focus of the topic group be agreed.


RESOLVED:  That the Board agrees


1)    that Riverside College offers a varied and comprehensive programme to meet the needs of the SEND cohort of students aged 16-25; and


2)    that this supplements the work of Cavendish High and Ashley Sixth form.



Scrutiny Topic Report - How do we work with our families of schools? pdf icon PDF 248 KB


The Board received a report from the Strategic Director, People and Families, which presented the recommendations emerging from the scrutiny process on the topic: How are we working with our families of schools?


Members were advised that the scrutiny group held four meetings between December 2014 and September 2015, in which they considered the role of the Local Authority in all schools, including its relationship with Academies.  The group was asked to consider whether there should be a differentiated approach between officer roles, service provision and charges for maintained schools and academies.


The recommendations that emerged from the process were as follows:


1)    To ensure that the LA can share information and provide a level of influence across all schools:


·       All schools to receive the e-circular; and

·       All head teachers and principals to be invited to the head teacher meetings with the Director;


2)    Consideration is given to the charges that were currently levied to Academies for access to Council Services;


3)    Given that there were Academies and a free school in Halton, and that it was likely that this would continue to be the case, it was suggested that SLA’s be charged at full cost recovery rate only; and


4)    Officers continued to promote partnership working, encouraging Academies to work with the Council, including the purchase of services through HBC SLA’s.


Members discussed each recommendation and the best practice approach to help ensure the best education for students, regardless of the type of school they were attending.




1)    the report be noted; and


2)    The Board approved the report’s recommendations.



Further developing links between Halton's Businesses and Schools pdf icon PDF 519 KB


The Board received a report from the Strategic Director, People and Economy, which updated Members on the work being undertaken to further develop the relationship between the Education and Business sectors in Halton.


It was noted that there were a number of interventions that already contributed to promoting strong links between schools and businesses and the report summarised some recent positive activities that had taken place to achieve this.  The report also outlined some additional proposals which would inform and complement future design plans, particularly in regard to how schools were supported in engaging with and supporting local employers; but also how students were provided with effective and valuable careers information, advice and guidance.


The following points were noted following Members queries:


·       Local employers did visit schools in the Borough and provided input with regards to curriculums;

·       The importance of ‘soft skills’ was made eg. communication, initiative etc;

·       Certain employers required bespoke skills to suit their particular industry and that employers had come to the Council in the past to request certain skills in employees;

·       A recent project had been carried out that compiled information on the expectations of local employers and high value businesses with regards to employees;

·       Children needed to be inspired to attain the skills that were expected from employees.


It was noted that an event was being held at Sci-Tech Daresbury in July that would invite schools to come in and tour the site and to see the businesses that were operating from it.


It was agreed that an update on the developing links between businesses and schools would be provided to the Board in 12 months’ time.


RESOLVED:  That the Policy and Performance Board welcomes the progress made to date and supports the proposed actions contained within the report.



Childrens & Families Service pdf icon PDF 305 KB


The Board received a report from the Strategic Director, People and Economy, on the progress made since the Ofsted inspection of Halton which took place between 18 November and 10 December 2015.


The report informed Members that Halton’s Children’s Services was inspected under the Single Assessment Framework.  This was a comprehensive inspection that examined all aspects of a child’s contact with services from early help to adoption.  It was noted that Halton Safeguarding Children’s Board was also inspected at the same time. 


It was reported that Halton received an overall judgement of requiring improvement, with this being the judgement in the areas of help and protection and leadership, management and governance, with a good judgement received for the remaining 3 areas.  It was reported that Inspections made 19 recommendations in total, 3 of which were for priority and immediate action, and the remainder as recommendations for improvements.  It was noted that a plan had been made in response to the inspection which was overseen by the Chief Executive, Lead Member and the Strategic Director in partnership with the Chair of the Safeguarding Children’s Board, local authority officers from Children’s Services, Finance, HR, IT and partners from the Police and the CCG.


The report provided information on: the priority and immediate action recommendations; the recommendations for the areas that required improvement; and the next steps to be taken to ensure that an outstanding level of service was achieved at the next inspection.


Officers presented details of the priority and immediate action recommendations which were discussed in paragraphs 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 of the report.  Members recognised the importance of the Council moving forward on these important issues and noted the investment and development made in the workforce so far, to help improve this.  The Board requested an update on the Children’s and Families Service in 6 months’ time.


RESOLVED:  That the Board note the progress made in meeting the recommendations of the Ofsted inspection.






Business Planning 2016-19 pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Additional documents:


The Board received the final draft of the Children, Young People and Families elements of the Council’s Single Business Plan for 2016-19.


It was noted that since 2010 each Directorate had been required to produce a medium term Business Plan which covered a three year period.  It was confirmed however that a Single Business Plan would now be constructed for the Authority as a whole.  This plan would focus on the key medium term issues rather than providing extensive narrative of every area of work of the Local Authority. 


To ensure the production of a Business Plan that enabled the Authority to meet the priorities identified within the Corporate Plan, the information from each Directorate would be set out under the Council’s priority headings:


·       Children and Young People;

·       Employment, Learning and Skills;

·       A Safer Halton;

·       A Healthy Halton;

·       Environment and Regeneration; and

·       Corporate Effectiveness and Efficiency


It was reported that the objectives and performance measures identified within the Single Business Plan would continue to form the basis of Directorate and PPB priority based quarterly monitoring reports, along with any key developments of emerging issues identified within the relevant reporting quarter.  Each Directorate was compiling their contribution to the Council’s Single Business Plan, for the respective Policy and Performance Board (PPB) approval.  It was noted that the information would then be compiled into a Single Business Plan which would be presented to Executive Board at their 24 March 2016 meeting.


Members suggested that it would be prudent to carry out some scrutiny on these areas as they were so vast and suggested a data sub group be established.  Meetings could be timed so that more up to date data could be used, in order to carry out effective scrutiny.  Officers advised that the information could be shared as soon as it was available, rather than wait for the next Board meeting.  It was agreed that Members from the Board would be invited to attend the scrutiny group.  It was asked whether the proposed Priorities could be reduced and the measures streamlined so that Members could more easily assess impact and progress.


RESOLVED:  That the Board


1)    Notes the content of the report; and


2)    Approves the Children, Young People and Families elements of the Council’s Single Business Plan.



Quarterly Monitoring Reports pdf icon PDF 219 KB

Additional documents:


The Board received the Performance Management Reports for Quarter 2 of 2015-16 and were requested to consider them and raise any questions or points of clarification required.


It was noted that the key priorities for development or improvement in 2015-16 were agreed by Members and included in Directorate Plans, for the various functional areas reporting to the Board as follows:


·       Children and Families Services; and

·       Education, Inclusion and Provision


The report detailed 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.


RESOLVED:  That the Policy and Performance Board receives the second quarter performance management reports.