Agenda and minutes

Children Young People and Families Policy and Performance Board
Monday, 30th January, 2017 6.30 p.m.

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

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

No. Item


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 145 KB


The Minutes of the meeting held on 31 October 2016 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.





It was confirmed 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 this Board were attached at Appendix 1 for information.


RESOLVED:  That the minutes be noted.


SSP Minutes pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the Halton Children’s Trust meeting held on 24 November 2016 were submitted to the Board for information.


In response to a question regarding hate crime (Item 1) it was noted that the percentages of responses under question 6 was not an increase in numbers.


RESOLVED:  That the minutes be noted.




Children and Young People's Emotional Health and Mental Wellbeing pdf icon PDF 385 KB


The Board received a report that described the work that was taking place in Halton to improve children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing, which was being lead through the Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board.


It was reported that poor mental health was one of the biggest social issues in England today, representing up to 23% of the total burden of ill health and was the largest single cause of disability.  Locally, improving mental health and wellbeing had been identified as a priority for ‘One Halton’ and the Health and Wellbeing Board.


It was noted that one in four people would experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and around half of people with lifetime mental health problems experienced their first symptoms by the age of 14.  The promotion of good mental health and early intervention could help to prevent mental illness from developing and mitigate its effects when it did.


The report went on to discuss a number of risk factors that increased the vulnerability of children and adolescents with mental health problems and specifically those in Halton.  The Governments aspirations by 2020 were also presented.


Members were advised that Halton CCG was the lead accountable body for the commissioning of Young People’s mental health and it worked in partnership with the Local Authority’s Children’s Services and Public Health.  The aims of the service in Halton were outlined in the report with the achievements to date.


Members made the following observations following the presentation of the report:


Is there a waiting list for CAMHS (Children and Adult Mental Health Service)? 


As there is a single point of access to the service, there is a backlog at the front end.  Five Boroughs Partnership (5bps) would be meeting on 8 February 2017 to discuss ceasing the current CART arrangements and introducing a single tier service that will be Halton specific.


What are schools doing to promote resilience and support?


Some schools were more actively engaged than others and some need to upskill in certain areas.  Each school was provided with a ‘contact practitioner’ who was available to advise schools on the services available through CAMHS.  Additionally, the nurture programme was being promoted in schools and this was being used to encourage resilience in children.


Were schools sharing best practice in the area of CAMHS?


Yes they were.


The resources and finances were available but schools need the right approach to CAMHS, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT – can a universal offer be enforced in schools?


The attachment element was being focussed on as it was important to identify this at the beginning.  The midwifery service was being worked with and the health visitor offer was available up to 28 weeks after birth, to establish if any help was needed.  If it was, then the client would be referred to other services.


What was being done to help young people through life to ensure there were no mental health problems?  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Children in Care and Care Leavers pdf icon PDF 219 KB

Additional documents:


The Board received a report informing them of the current children in care population and the outcomes for children in care (CIC) and care leavers. 


It was noted that as corporate parents, it was important for all Members to have an understanding of the needs of children in the care of the Council, and exercise their role in supporting them and advocating for them in all areas as parents did for their own children.


It was reported that the aim of the Council was to keep children within their families where this was consistent with their safety and welfare.  However, in instances where this was not possible and the level of risk of harm to a child was significant and increasing despite support, the Local Authority had a duty under the Children Act 1989, to safeguard their welfare.  The report discussed the reasons for a child going into care and the legal procedure around this. 


Members were referred to the performance report at Appendix 1 which covered children in care, care leavers and adoption for quarter 2 (June to September 2016).  Members discussed this data and the information presented in the report which was current, and would be included in the quarter 3 performance data mid-February.


Members raised the following queries / comments following the presentation:


In these financially constrained times do we have a contingency in case of any further increases in numbers of CIC?


If the numbers were to increase it would be a risk to the Council as children’s services were already under significant financial pressure.  Members were reassured however that a decision on whether or not to take a child into care would not be based around funds being available but the need to safeguard that child.


Query regarding the monitoring of adoption breakdowns


Once a child had been adopted the parents were part of a support plan for the following 3 years.  After that the support passed to the relevant local authority.  After this, there was a Government adoption fund that could be accessed if parents were finding difficulties.  Parents were aware of these services and were kept in touch with the adoption service via newsletters and working groups.  It was noted that there were no current reported adoption breakdowns for Halton children.


The Lead Member for Children’s and Young People’s Services wished to highlight the good work of the fostering and adoption teams and agencies in Halton.


RESOLVED:  That the Board notes the report.







A review of the use of Pupil Premium Plus and its expenditure year on year pdf icon PDF 307 KB


Members received a report from the Headteacher of Halton Virtual School for Children in Care which provided an update of the findings of a review into the use of Pupil Premium Plus and its expenditure year on year.


It was noted that the Pupil Premium Plus (PP+) for Children in Care (CIC) was governed by the conditions of grant published by the Department of Education (DfE).  These conditions of grant for PP+ for CIC had always been different to those governing pupil premium for other eligible children.  In February 2014 the conditions governing PP+ changed resulting in significant differences from the conditions applied in previous years, a summary of the major differences was outlined in the report.  It was also reported that in March 2014 further statutory guidance was produced describing the role of virtual school head in managing the PP+ for CIC.   A summary of the differences were also outlined in the report.


Members were advised that in response to these changes, Halton adopted a ‘child’s individual needs driven model’ of allocation that was linked to the completion of effective, timely and high quality PEP’s.  The key overarching principles of the model adopted by Halton were discussed in the report.  It was noted that the model was deemed to be good practice by Ofsted during Halton SIF inspection in 2014, and also by the DfE in a review undertaken for Ministers in 2015.


Officers also presented the findings from the review of PP+ expenditure for 2015-16.  The positives of this were highlighted in the report and the areas of difficulty were discussed with their suggested resolutions.


Further to Members queries it was noted that the funding for PP+ was in the region of £320,000 per year and that the whole amount was spent each year.  Further, all schools were aware that this funding was available to them and they all claimed what they needed for their pupils who were entitled to it.


Further to a request made at the last Board meeting in October, Members were referred to a paper that was sent to them on 9 January 2017, which provided information on the key roles and responsibilities of school governors for Children in Care.  


RESOLVED:  That the Board notes the information provided.





Proposed scrutiny Topic Group - Further developing links between Halton's Businesses and schools pdf icon PDF 219 KB


The Board received a proposal from the Strategic Director – Enterprise, Communities and Resources, on the establishment of a Scrutiny Topic Group to investigate the potential for further developing links between Halton’s businesses and schools.


Members were reminded that at the January meeting a report was presented advising on work that had been undertaken to further develop the relationship between the education and business sectors in Halton.   This report took into account the emerging devolution arrangements for the Liverpool City Region (LCR) and the long term ambition to maximise the potential of businesses and residents of the LCR, and to significantly reduce the gap between the LCR and the national average in terms of skills levels and welfare dependency.  It was reported that over the last 12 months, Halton had been working with the LCR to implement the devolution ‘asks’ to ensure that they were beneficial to both businesses and education sectors in Halton.


The Chair explained to the Board how the scrutiny topic came about. Members discussed the proposal and scope of the topic brief and further areas they wished to explore; such as how would you connect school’s curriculums to the needs of employers. 


The emerging devolution arrangements for the Liverpool City Region (LCR) were noted and it was the consensus of the Board that the topic was well timed as far as devolution was concerned.


It was agreed that the topic group be established and Chaired by Councillor Geoff Logan.  It would be supported by the Operational Director – Economy, Enterprise and Property and the 14-19 Lead from Education, Inclusion and Provision.  The Operational Director – Economy, Enterprise and Property, would email Board Members in the first instance to advise Members of the scrutiny schedule.


RESOLVED:  That the Board


1.     agrees to the establishment of a scrutiny topic group Further developing links between Halton’s businesses and schools; and


2.     agrees the proposed areas for further development, as outlined in the report.







Performance Monitoring Reports - Quarter 2 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Additional documents:


The Board received the Performance Management reports for quarter 2 of 2016-17 and were requested to consider and raise any questions or points of clarification in respect of these.


It was noted that the key priorities for development or improvement in 2016-17 were agreed by Members and included in the Local Authority’s Business Plan, for the various functional areas reported to the Board as detailed below:


·       Education, Inclusion and Provision Services; and

·       Children and Families Services


The report detailed progress made against objectives and milestones and performance targets and provided information relating to key developments and emerging issues that had arisen during the period.  Appendix 1 of the report contained a progress update concerning the implementation of all Directorate high-risk mitigation measures that were relevant to the remit of this Board.


The Board discussed:


·       the ‘Attainment 8’ which was a new indicator that reported on the basis of GCSE point scores (Key Stage 4) and ‘Progress 8’ which was the progress made by the pupils on their Attainment 8 subjects; 


·       Members suggested that a seminar for all Members on the key stages of education would be helpful to help them understand the work that was being done around assessments and resilience building in schools;


·       The recent changes in curriculums and assessment were noted and the impact this had had in terms of Halton’s performance when benchmarked against other areas of performance both nationally and locally;


·       Members suggested that a ‘crib sheet’ for Governors on Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 would be helpful; and


·       Members queried the overspend in the Children and Families Services Department and it was clarified that this was due to ‘Out of Borough’ placements, rather than the use of agency staff, which had reduced considerably.


In respect of the above, the Chair requested clarity with the narrative for future performance and budget reports.


RESOLVED:  That the Board received the third quarter performance management reports.