Agenda and minutes

Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee
Wednesday, 4th July, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Courtyard Room - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: David Abbott  Email: david.abbott@lbhf.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of a Vice Chair

The Committee is asked to elect a Vice Chair from its membership for the 2018-19 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

Councillor Mark Loveday was appointed as Vice Chair for the 2018-19 municipal year.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

The minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2018 were approved.

3.

Apologies for Absence

To note any apologies for lateness or absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Asif Siddique.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Matt Jenkins and Eleanor Allen.

4.

Declarations of Interest

If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.

 

At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter.  The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.

 

Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.

 

Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee. 

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

5.

An Introduction to Scrutiny in Hammersmith & Fulham pdf icon PDF 287 KB

This briefing note gives an overview of what scrutiny is, how it works, how to ensure it is effective, and the remit of the committee. This item is presented for information only.

Minutes:

This item was presented for information only.

6.

Priorities and Challenges for Children's Services in 2018-19

Senior Children’s Services officers will present the key priorities and challenges for the department in 2018-19 to help inform the Committee’s work programming.

Minutes:

Steve Miley, Director for Children's Services, gave a presentation on the key priorities and challenges for the department over the coming year. He started with the department's vision:

 

"To improve the lives and life chances of our children and young people;

intervene early to give the best start in life and promote wellbeing;

ensure children and young people are protected from harm;

and that all children have access to an excellent education and achieve their potential.

All of this will be done whilst reducing costs and improving service effectiveness."

 

Demographics

Steve then talked about the population and demographic profile of the borough – child poverty was relatively high at 29.7%, the child population was diverse with 46% being from a BME background, and nearly half of all school children had English as an additional language.

 

Safeguarding

Steve highlighted some of the headline figures for safeguarding – in 2017-18 the department had 4208 contacts, 1651 referrals, 1496 children in need, 135 child protection plans, and 230 children in care.

 

Key challenges

Steve then talked about the key challenges for the service. The central challenge of 2018 had been setting up a new sovereign department after the Council came out of the ‘tri-borough’ service sharing arrangements. As part of this process there had been a reorganisation of services - with a new department, Public Services Reform, taking over the commissioning function from Children's Services.

 

Education overview - Jan Parnell

Jan Parnell, the Assistant Director for Education, reported on the borough’s schools and educational challenges. She noted that Hammersmith & Fulham had 94 percent good or outstanding schools (as judged by Ofsted) - a strong base to work from. She said she wanted to develop relationships with heads and give them a shared leadership role in partnership with the Council. Her goal was for schools to be advisors to each other with peer reviews, mentoring from outstanding schools etc. The education department would have a facilitator / coordinator role and provide expertise where necessary.

 

The key challenges for education were the ongoing funding pressures on schools. The ‘National Funding Formula’ moved money from London to the Counties. While there had been small increases in funding from the Government, it didn’t match the increase in their costs. Another key challenge was more children with high levels of need, and more complex needs in general. Another key area was the school estate. Some of the school buildings were ’less than satisfactory’. Officers were working on development ideas to design a sustainable estate for the future.

 

Kevin Gordon noted that school expansion in past years had led to a surfeit of primary school places. Over the last 5-10 years the Council had maintained a surplus in preparation for new developments but this presented problems for schools - both in terms of funding and the impact to their overall maintenance costs. Kevin added that officers were working on the School Organisation and Development Plan which covered place planning and the estate and suggested it would be an important  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

H&F Youth Council Manifesto 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 272 KB

This item presents the Youth Council’s 2018-19 manifesto priorities. Members are asked to consider how the Committee can support their goals.

Minutes:

This item was presented for information only.

8.

Work Programming 2018-19

The Committee to consider ideas for its work programme for 2018-19.

Minutes:

The following additional items and areas were suggested for consideration:

·         Family Support and early help - how the Council could intervene at the earliest possible stage to avoid long term problems.

·         Work experience and career advice.

·         Knife crime and anti-social behaviour (later in the Autumn). 

·         Volunteering programmes for young people. 

·         Intergenerational inclusion projects.

·         Co-production of services - exploring more ways to do this. Training people to advocate for themselves.

·         Secondary school place allocations - what can be done to improve this and ensure more pupils get their first choice of schools.

·         Greater oversight of alternative provision - were exclusions being handled appropriately (i.e. are they used as the last resort) and what happens to students after they leave. How can we improve lives of these students.

·         Addressing the child poverty level in the borough - work opportunities, early interventions. Using the pupil premium in more creative ways.