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The Minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 2016 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.
The minutes relating to the Children, Young People and Families Portfolio which had been considered by the Executive Board since the last meeting of this Board were attached at Appendix 1 for information.
RESOLVED: That the minutes be noted.
The minutes of the Halton Children’s Trust meeting held on 1 December 2015 were submitted to the Board for information.
RESOLVED: That the minutes be noted.
The Board received a presentation from Rhiannon Ratcliffe and Matthew Walker, representatives of Halton Youth Council, on the current priorities of the Organisation. They were accompanied by Mr McClure from Addaction.
Members were advised of the different ways in which the Youth Cabinet determined their priorities as detailed in the report.
The presentation provided information on the following:
· recent key campaigns such as Homophobia and School Uniforms;
· recruitment to the Youth Council and the importance of establishing relationships with schools and youth groups;
· the use and impact of social media;
· the Youth Democracy Awards.
Following the presentation the Chairman thanked the visitors for their time and praised their work. Recruitment to the Youth Council was discussed and Members suggested that schools Governors be contacted. They also commented on the upcoming referendum and the teaching of the democratic process in schools – both of which were topics being discussed by the Youth Council.
RESOLVED: That the priorities of the Youth Council be noted.
The Board received a report which informed of the ways in which the Local Authority was currently supporting schools in embedding the Prevent duty and protecting young people from extremism and the risk of radicalisation. It was noted that this was in response to the Prevent duty provision placed on schools and in support of guidance published in June 2015.
Members were advised that all schools in Halton had received a briefing paper explaining the Prevent agenda as one element of the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy, known as CONTEST; details of the briefing paper were outlined in the report.
Additional support to schools had also been provided through presentations by the local Prevent Officer at headteachers’ meetings advising them of the support and guidance available to them. It was noted that there was a dedicated Local Authority Officer to Halton Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE).
The report went on to outline the details of the guidance and materials provided to schools so far; the work of SACRE and the Channel Partnership, which was a key element of the Prevent strategy.
It was noted that the subject of extremism and radicalisation was a complex safeguarding issue, alongside Child sexual exploitation for example. Members were advised that two members of the Police and a departmental representative from HBC were included in the membership of the Channel Panel. Further, they were advised that all schools had been requested to send two representatives to the ‘train the trainer event’, so they could deliver in-house workshops to raise awareness of the Prevent duty.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) Notes the contents of the report;
2) Notes the resource implications potentially needed to discharge this duty and the need to prepare accordingly; and
3) Considers any further partnership approach required underneath this duty.
The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, People and Economy, which provided an update on the educational outcomes for Halton’s children in care for 2014-15.
It was reported that Halton had a small number of children in care within each key stage cohort which made comparison with the general population and year on year performance very difficult as each child in care had a high statistical significance.
It was noted that the data provided within the report compared the performance of Halton children who had been in care for 12 months or more, to that of their peers within each key stage.
The report presented outcomes for:
· Early Years Foundation Stage;
· Year 1 Phonics;
· Key Stage 1;
· Key Stage 2;
· Key Stage 4; and
· Attendance and exclusions.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) Notes the contents of the report; and
2) Notes the possible impact on children’s outcomes and financial implications if Pupil Premium Plus did not continue.
The Board received a report from the Strategic Director, People and Economy, which provided a profile of the Children in Care (CIC) population.
Members were advised that the Children in Care Partnership Board was chaired by the Lead Member for Children and Families. This was a multi-agency group with representation from the Children in Care Council which oversaw the quality of service and service development for children in care.
Attached to the report were the following documents:
· Appendix 1 was the profile information at quarter 3 of 2015-16 for Children in Care;
· Appendix 2 was the Annual report on the health of children in care provided by Bridgewater Community Health Care Trust; and
· Appendix 3 was the profile information for children who left care before they were 21 (25 if they had additional needs).
Members noted the key points from the documents, as detailed in the report and discussed the following:
· The changing profile of CIC to younger children 0 – 4 years;
· The stabilising of the CIC population to 236 presently;
· The difficulties in fostering older children and sibling groups;
· The increase in adoption rates over the past 12 months and the upcoming changes to Adoption legislation;
· The possibility of Care Leavers being role models for others in care; and
· The constant need for foster carers.
RESOLVED: That the Policy and Performance Board notes the report.
The Board received a presentation on the impact of the reductions to Children’s Services Budgets in 2016-17.
It was reported that a reduction of almost £1.5 million had been made across 3 areas namely: staffing; supplies and services; and commissioned services.
Members raised their concerns for the coming years if the reductions to funding were to continue, especially for services within adult social care and children’s social care. Officers advised that adult and children’s social care would always be a priority for the Council and that officers were constantly looking at other ways of doing business to help meet budget demands. It was noted that the Council was presently working very effectively with partners and was looking to increase partnership arrangements in the future. An example of this was the Youth Offending Team (YOT) which now functioned using a shared service between Halton, Cheshire West and Chester, and Warrington and was soon to be joined by Cheshire East Council.
RESOLVED: That the Board notes the reductions and considers the impact on services for Children and Families.
The Board received the final draft of the Children, Young People and Families elements of the Council’s Single Business Plan for approval.
Members were advised that since 2010 each Directorate had been required to produce a medium term Business Plan that covered a three year period. It was confirmed that a Single Business Plan would now be constructed for the authority as a whole and this would focus on the key medium term issues rather than providing extensive narrative of every area of work of the Local Authority.
It was noted that to ensure that the Authority was producing a Business Plan that enabled them 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.
Officers referred Members to the final draft of the Children, Young People’s and Families element of the business plan which was appended to the report and identified four main service objectives:
· To improve outcomes for children and young people through effective multi agency early intervention;
· To close the gap in attainment at Key Stage 2 including between vulnerable groups and their peers;
· Raising achievement in early years; and
· To effectively implement the SEND reforms and improve the offer for children and young people with SEND aged 0-25.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) notes the contents of the report; and
2) approves the Children, Young People and Families elements of the Council’s Single Business Plan.
The Board received the Performance Management reports for quarter 3 of 2015-16 and were requested to consider and raise any questions or points of clarification in respect of these.
It was noted that key priorities for development or improvement in 2015-18 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; 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 this period.
The following points were highlighted:
· The number of referrals to Children’s Social Care had continued to reduce;
· SEN inspections would commence from June 2016;
· Halton now had a more stable workforce in Social Care with all manager posts filled;
· There would be alterations to the end of KS1 and KS2 statutory assessments this summer 2016; and
· Funding of £550,000 had been secured to support the complex dependency/early intervention project.
RESOLVED: That the third quarter performance management reports be received and comments made be noted.