Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Marina Ahmad.  Councillor Kathy Bance attended as alternate.

 

Apologies for absence, in relation to Item 6 (Minute 6), were received from Councillor Chris Pierce, Reverend Roger Bristow, Joan McConnell and, Angela Leeves.

2.

APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN

Minutes:

The Chairman proposed from the Chair that Councillor Will Rowlands be elected Vice-Chairman.  The Sub-Committee unanimously endorsed the proposal.

 

RESOLVED: That Councillor Rowlands be appointed Vice-Chairman for the 2018/19 Municipal Year.

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

Councillor Reddin declared an interest in Item 6 (Minute 6) as he was a former Governor at St Olave’s, including part of the time period covered by the report, and as a result had been interviewed as part of the investigation.  It was noted that the Chairman of the Education, Children and Families Select Committee would be in the Chair for Item 6.

 

Councillor Wells declared an interest in Item 6 (Minute 6) as a Member of the Court of the Foundation of St Olave’s and St Saviours.  Councillor Wells also declared that he had been interviewed as part of the investigation.

 

Councillor Judi Ellis and Emmanuel Arbenser declared interests in Item 8 (Minute 8) as they were Governors at Riverside.

 

4.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 27 MARCH 2018 AND MATTERS OUTSTANDING pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 27 March 2018, be agreed.

5.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to this Committee must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting.  Therefore please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Thursday 12th July 2018.

Minutes:

Councillor Bennett took the Chair and reported that six questions in relation to Item 6 had been received (appended at Appendix A).

 

6.

REPORT OF INVESTIGATION INTO ST OLAVE'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Joint Item with the Education, Children and Families Select Committee

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18063

 

(Councillor Nicholas Bennett in the Chair)

 

This item was a joint item with the Education, Children and Families Select Committee. 

In October 2017, on behalf of the Local Authority, the Deputy Chief Executive commissioned an independent investigation into practice at St Olave’s Grammar School to consider, specifically, the transition of pupils from Year 12 to Year 13 and aspects of governance and, more generally, the school’s ethos and culture and their impact on children and adults.  Most of the 49 recommendations were being addressed by the school’s Governing Body.  Eight recommendations or part recommendations required action from the Local Authority and the report set out the action being taken.

The investigation was very thorough, following through all written submissions and interviewing all those who put themselves forward.  As soon as he took up post, the new Chair of Governors took firm action to address the areas of immediate concern.  With the Acting Head Teacher and with the support of the Governing Body and the staff team, he reaffirmed the Christian ethos of the Church of England school, stating unequivocally that the school must serve its pupils, rather than the achievements of pupils serving to enhance the reputation of the school.

 

The Local Authority accepted all the recommendations and was taking action to address them. The investigator had eight recommendations or part recommendations which required action by the LA.

 

The Chairman welcomed the Venerable Dr Paul Wright, Archdeacon of Bromley and Bexley and new Chairman of the St Olave’s Board of Governors to the meeting. 

 

Dr Wright stated that by September 2017, it had become apparent that there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed.  The Local Authority instigated a thorough investigation and the report which had now been published made very uncomfortable reading.  Having suspended the Head Teacher before the Autumn half-term the Governing Body set about making changes which would eventually become recommendations in the report.

 

The key issue of the absence of a Local Authority Governor was rectified in a matter of weeks.  Decisions were taken concerning how Governors would take a deeper interest in the life of the school.  It was clearly accepted that the School was there for the benefit of the Students and not the other way round.

 

The Governing Body worked with the investigator.  Efforts were made to ensure that the school was compliant in terms of both governance and values.  Communications were reviewed.  Work was undertaken to ensure that communications worked more effectively and that parents were listened to and their concerns and any issues raised received an adequate response.

 

By the time the report was formally received the resignation of the former Head Teacher enabled the School and the Governing Body to address those recommendations that had remained outstanding.  The Governing Body had tried to respond to the challenges of parents, both past and present, as best it could.  A meeting had been held the previous evening to give all those affected a further chance to help  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

PRE DECISION SCRUTINY OF PORTFOLIO HOLDER DECISIONS

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports where the Children, Education and Families Portfolio Holder was recommended to take a decision:

 

7a

EDUCATION, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BUDGET MONITORING pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18059

 

The Sub-Committee considered the budget monitoring position for 2018/19 based on activity up to the end of May 2018.

 

Overall, the position for Education was a predicted overspend of £95k. The main areas of overspend were in Adult Education where there were pressures in staffing and on income generation from fee paying courses causing pressures of £155k.  The Schools budget was predicted to overspend by £392k in year. This would be deducted from the £1,180k carried forward from 2017/18. £188k of the brought forward balance had been allocated to support the central DSG services in year. This gave an estimated DSG balance at the end of the financial year of £600k.

 

The Children’s Social Care division was currently overspending by £1,524k (net of management action of £985k). Placements for children continued to be a pressure area. The overspend before management action stood at £2,492k overspent. The number of placements had increased above budgeted levels, particularly in residential homes, independent fostering arrangements and special guardianship arrangements. This was in part due to the increase in the number of children reaching the threshold for secure placements and no secure placements being available. The Committee noted that this was a national issue.  There was also a small overspend predicted on staffing across the division of £58k. This was being monitored closely and Members noted that further progress was being made in moving away from agency staff. There was also a small overspend in expenditure on ‘Staying Put’ of £24k and an underspend in accommodation of £65k in Leaving Care.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive reported successes in recruiting local in-house foster carers for Bromley children and this would help to reduce pressures on the budget.

 

In response to questions from the Sub-Committee the Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that he was confident that the right children were being taken into care.  There were two key decision makers for children being taken into care: the Deputy Chief Executive and the Interim Director of Children’s Social Care.  Children’s Social Care was a demand-led service and it was therefore difficult to predict the number of children that would enter the statutory care system.  The safety of children was the paramount consideration and if it was right that children were taken into care then they would be taken into care.  Financial challenges were a secondary consideration.  Noting the enormous variation in costs a Member suggested that it made sense to further promote in-house fostering.

 

The issue of recruiting foster carers for children with disabilities was also discussed.  A Member noted that more needed to be done to support these specialist foster carers and provide incentives to encourage more foster carers into this specialist area.  The Sub-Committee noted that the Education, Children and Families Select Committee would be undertaking a review which would encompass this at its next meeting on 16th October 2018 and it was agreed that this issue should be further explored at that meeting.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive reported that one of the implications  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7a

7b

EDUCATION, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES OUTTURN REPORT pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18058

 

The Sub-Committee considered a report setting out the provisional outturn position for 2017/18.  The provisional outturn for the “controllable” element of the Education, Children and Families Committee budget in 2017/18 was an overspend of £925k compared to the latest reported figure of an overspend of £874k which was based on activity at the end of December 2017.

 

The Chairman noted that pressures within Fostering and Adoption were major contributors to the variance and the Sub-Committee noted that these were key issues that officers were attempting to address in the 2018/19 financial year.

 

RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to endorse the provisional outturn for the Children, Education and Families Portfolio.

 

7c

CAPITAL PROGRAMME MONITORING - 1ST QUARTER 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18058

 

The Sub-Committee considered a report setting out proposed changes to the Capital Programme for the portfolio.  The changes had been reported in full to the Executive on 11th July 2018 and subsequently agreed.

 

In response to a question concerning capital investment required for the SEN centre of excellence, the Interim Director of Education reported the guidance from the DfE was awaited concerning how an expression of interest for a bid for a Free Special School in the Borough would need to be submitted.  In terms of land, a Member noted that educational development sites had been identified in the Local Plan.

 

RESOLVED: that the Portfolio Holder be recommended to note and confirm the changes to the Capital Programme.

 

8.

SPENDING BY PRIMARY, SECONDARY AND SPECIAL MAINTAINED SCHOOLS 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18057

 

The Sub-Committee considered a report setting out information on all revenue and capital balances held by Primary, Secondary and Special maintained schools as at 31 March 2018.  The report also provided a comparison to the balances held at the same time in the previous year.

 

Balances were reported in accordance with the DfE Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) Regulations. This was a framework for reporting income, expenditure and balances. It provided schools with a benchmarking facility for comparison between similar schools to promote self-management and value for money.

 

The average level of revenue balances, both committed and uncommitted, for Maintained Primary Schools stood at 9% of School Budget Shares, compared to 11% at the end of 2016/17, a decrease of 2%. Secondary School balances had also decreased by 3% to stand at 7%. Special School balances had increased from 8% to 10%.

 

All schools with balances in excess of 8% had been asked to complete a proforma detailing the reason for holding a high balance and their plans for reducing the balance in year.

 

In response to a question concerning the large balances that had built up at St Olave’s, the Interim Director of Education reported that one of the issues at St Olave’s was that of funds being held outside of delegated balances and it was in those funds that the impressive balances were sitting.

 

The Chairman noted that where balances in excess of 8% had been identified schools had provided good explanations for the high balance.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

9.

YOUTH OFFENDING SERVICE UPDATE pdf icon PDF 466 KB

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee received an update on the progress made by Bromley Youth Offending Service (YOS) in securing improvement and responding to the findings from inspections.

 

Since the last update the YOS had formally established its own improvement Board chaired by the Director of Children’s Social Care.  The Board met on a fortnightly basis.  The YOS partnership was working towards 7 key priorities:

 

  • Protecting the child or young person
  • Reducing reoffending
  • Protecting the Public
  • Governance and Partnerships
  • Interventions to reduce reoffending
  • Ensuring that the sentence is served
  • Improving Practice

 

The latest published data showed good outturns in relation to first time entrants and reductions in reoffending rates.  The positive outturn demonstrated a commitment to improving performance, improved casework and partnership work that occurred daily to effect change with young people. 

 

As the information was not available at the meeting the Deputy Chief Executive agreed to provide information concerning the number of staff in the service and the ratio of permanent to temporary staff following the meeting.  The Deputy Chief Executive reported that both he and the Director of HR chaired a recruitment panel which considered the key challenges around the recruitment of social workers.  Issues around the Youth Offending Service would be considered the following week.

 

The Chairman suggested that it may be helpful for Members to raise the issue of the unacceptable delays in the confirmation of the financial position from central government as reductions in grant could impact on the wider staffing budget and also made it almost impossible to undertake an accurate financial forecast.

 

Members stressed the importance of reflecting the views of the young person and their family.  The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the views of the child formed part of the social worker assessment but that the comments that had been made concerning the importance of seeking regular user feedback would be taken back to the Head of Service.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive also agreed to provide data surrounding the percentage of young people within the Youth Offending Service accessing Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

 

The Sub-Committee requested that an organisational chart detailing posts and current vacancies also be provided following the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the update be noted.

10.

CHILDREN, EDUCATION, AND FAMILIES PORTFOLIO PLAN 2017/18 UPDATE pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18064

 

The Sub-Committee considered an update of the Children, Education and Families Portfolio Plan 2017/18 and the proposed Portfolio Plan for 2018/19.  The new Portfolio Plan was in line with Building a Better Bromley vision for children and young people and the Education, Care and Health Services Departmental Business Plan.

 

In relation to a question concerning whether the Portfolio Plan had been informed by the Select Committee’s recommendations over the past two years the Assistant Director for Strategy, Performance and Business Support confirmed that some of the Committee’s recommendations, for instance those around CAMHS and NEET, had informed the Plan.  Key recommendations were cross referenced with the Portfolio Plan.

 

The Co-opted Member, in relation to Priority 4 - SEND Reforms, requested that more be done to encourage employers to offer more apprenticeship opportunities to young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

  1. Progress on the actions associated with the Children, Education and Families Portfolio Plan 2017/18 be noted; and

 

The proposed Children, Education and Families Portfolio Plan 2018/19 be noted.

11.

PERFORMANCE REPORTING - CHILDREN'S SCRUTINY DATASET pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18062

 

The Sub-Committee considered a report setting out the outturn of key performance indicators and associated management commentary.  The Sub-Committee noted the commentary in relation to key performance indictors performing below expectation.

 

The Assistant Director for Strategy, Performance and Business Support explained that at the end of the year RAG ratings would not be ‘green’ across the board as a number of challenging, aspirational targets had been put in place.

 

In relation to targets surrounding social workers allocated to young people in care, the Assistant Director stressed that every young person in care should have an allocated social worker.  Members also stressed the importance of developing and building relationships and trust between young people and their social workers.

 

In response to a request for comparative data from statistical neighbours the Assistant Director confirmed that this could be included but that data would not be available for all key performance indicators as not all were nationally reported.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

12.

CONTRACTS ACTIVITY REPORT CHILDREN, EDUCATION AND FAMILIES PORTFOLIO pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

CSD18098

 

The Sub-Committee received an extract from the March 2018 Contracts Register.

 

In response to a question the Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that Departmental Commissioning Strategies would be considered at the internal Commissioning Board on 30th July 2018.

 

The Head of Programme Delivery explained that the Council’s Contracts Database automatically assigned risk status and procurement status and the red rating was purely an alert for action.  The Head of Programme Design confirmed that no ECHS contracts had been flagged for concern.

 

A Member suggested that in order to make the Part 1 register more useful a more pragmatic approach should be taken to the information that could remain in Part 1.

 

The Head of Programme Design confirmed that when contracts were re-let the starting principle was one of seeking to secure a better service at a lower cost and as such no contracts represented growth.

 

The Head of Programme Design agreed to provide further information on the course of the Gateway Review of the extension to the Barnardos contract following the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

13.

ECHS RISK REGISTER QUARTER 4 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ED18065

 

The Sub-Committee considered the Education, Care and Health Services Risk Register and the existing controls in place to mitigate the risks.

 

RESOLVED: That the Education, Care and Health Services Risk Register be noted.

 

14.

UPDATE ON SELECT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report CSD18112

 

The Sub-Committee considered an update on progress on the recommendations made by the Education Select Committee in 2016/17 and the Education, Children and Families Select Committee in 2017/18.

 

A further update, including responses to recommendations from the last two reviews of 2017/18, was tabled.

 

It was agreed that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Select Committee would review the recommendations and identify those that had been implemented  or overtaken by eventsand therefore did not need to be reported to future meetings of the Sub-Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That the update be noted.

15.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Minutes:

The next meeting of Education, Children and Families Budget and Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee would be held at 7.00pm on 30th October 2018.

16.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS AMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) (VARIATION) ORDER 2006 AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it was likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

17.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 27 MARCH 2018

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Exempt (Part 2) minutes of the Education Budget Sub-Committee meeting held on 27 March 2018 be agreed.

18.

CONTRACTS ACTIVITY PART 2 REPORT CHILDREN, EDUCATION AND FAMILIES PORTFOLIO

Minutes:

Report ED18099

 

The Sub-Committee noted the Part 2 commentary.

 

RESOLVED: That the Part 2 report and commentary be noted.

Appendix A pdf icon PDF 73 KB

 

Original Text: