Agenda and minutes

Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee - Tuesday, 28th January, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1 (2nd Floor) - 3 Shortlands, Hammersmith, W6 8DA. View directions

Contact: David Abbott 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 315 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 June 2019.



The minutes of the previous meeting, held on 19 June 2019, were approved as an accurate record.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Matt Jenkins (Co-optee).


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. 



There were no declarations of interest.



Youth Take Over Challenge 2019 ‘With Me 4 Me’ Report pdf icon PDF 928 KB

This report presents feedback from 2019’s Youth Takeover Day.


Brenda Whinnett (Youth Voice Coordinator) introduced Scarlett Knowles (the Youth Mayor), Ozan Erder, and Mariam Ali (members of the Youth Council) who gave a presentation on 2019’s Youth Take Over Challenge Day.


Through the Make Your Mark survey they learned that the two key issues for young people in the borough were protecting the environment and knife crime.


For 2019 the Youth Council decided to change the format Youth Take Over Day – rather than holding it in the Town Hall and shadowing council officers it became an opportunity to bring in a wide variety of different service providers and workshops around key topics under one roof.


The Youth Council wanted to use the opportunity to educate young people on the issues that they felt were important - and give some advice on what they could do to help. They also gathered feedback on the work the Youth Council was doing, and what other agencies like the police and the council were doing for young people.


In total there were 130 young people at the event and the Youth Council got a lot of valuable feedback from them. Members of the Youth Council then went through some of the key findings from the different zones.


Staying safe zone and body matters findings

·       There wasn’t enough accessible information for young people.

·       Young people felt ‘talked at’ but not engaged with.

·       The Youth Council could help connect young people with services and make them more accessible.

·       There wasn’t enough focus on Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) sessions. PHSE didn't have a broad enough curriculum that was relevant to a diverse group of young people (i.e. the current curriculum focussed on heterosexual relationships).


Mental health and work experience / opportunity findings

·       Mental health needed to be talked about more. Many young people weren’t confident enough to tell anyone about the problems they faced.

·       It was felt that everyone should have the same opportunities to get support – through schools, young people in care etc.

·       A more diverse group of young people needed to tell their stories – including LGBTQ+ young people, young people with disabilities etc.


In addition to the areas noted above, Imperial College had a zone where they held a variety of experiences and workshops for young people – including trying to create an app for young people to teach them what they can do when they leave school.


Brenda Whinnett noted that they had also presented their findings at Full Council and were hoping that the committee would digest their feedback and be able to provide suggestions about how to take the feedback forward.


The Chair thanked the Youth Council for their presentation and opened the item up to questions from the committee.


Councillor Alexandra Sanderson congratulated the Youth Council on their successful event, and the report of their findings. She asked them to give more detail about the sexual health research project.


The Youth Council explained that it was just starting up with the Young Hammersmith and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Integrated 2.5-Year-Old Health and Development Checks pdf icon PDF 229 KB

This report provides an update on progress to better integrate health and development checks for children aged 2.5 to 3 years. This issue was originally highlighted in the 2018 Local Area Inspection of SEND services in the borough.


Phil Tomsett (Head of Early Years) and Andy Kimber (Public Health Commissioning Manager) presented the report which provided an update on progress to better integrate health and development checks for children aged 2.5 to 3 years.


The committee was informed that there were currently two reviews for very young children - an education review that took place in an Early Years setting and a separate Health Visiting review. Both reviews took place at around the same age and making them more integrated would ensure that needs were addressed earlier.


The way this was done nationally was through the use of the Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) or ‘red book’ as it’s commonly known. The red book is primarily used in health settings but there is a page in it for early years settings so professionals can cross-reference. The example was given of a health visitor wanting to know how a child was doing socially – the Early Years practitioner could write information in that the health visitor could then see when visiting a child alone.


Officers had already undertaken work with the private nurseries' forum (there were around 90 private nursery settings in the borough) to promote the use of the red book and were starting to develop and take that forward.


Phil Tomsett said officers had explained to Early Years providers an approach they wanted to adopt across the borough to ensure consistency. Every Early Years provider had a contact so they knew who their health visitor was. Health Visitor reviews at 2.5 years were one of 5 mandated touchpoints for all children aged 0-5 under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. If Early Years also identified an additional need they can flag it and request a review.


The Chair asked if health visitors had been engaged in this process. Officers said they were ‘fully engaged’ – and noted that it was health visitors who delivered the new process to the private nurseries’ forum.


Officers were undertaking a commissioning exercise in 2020 with a new specification that could deliver a more efficient, joined-up service in respect of two year reviews.


Councillor Lucy Richardson asked, regarding the recommissioning, if the fact that health visitors had to be qualified nurses meant the only provider was the NHS. Officers said there were a number of NHS and very few private providers who could deliver the service. They expected around ten organisations to apply. Some private providers may not have the clinical governance standards to get through the commissioning process.


Councillor Richardson asked if H&F Council was limited to its local NHS trust purely because of geography. Officers explained that EU procurement rules required the service to go out to market and they expected around 8 to 10 providers to attend the market testing event.


Councillor Richardson asked what special measures the Council was taking to ensure the most vulnerable residents were being engaged. She added that the take-up of healthy start vouchers had been very low – and asked what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


2020 Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 630 KB

This report sets out the budget proposals for the services covered by the Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee.

Additional documents:


Jacqui McShannon (Director of Children’s Services) introduced the item and gave a presentation that set the context for the Children’s Services budget proposals. She noted that the budget was informed by the department’s vision:

·       To improve the lives and life chances of our children and young people.

·       Early intervention in order to give the best start in life and to promote wellbeing.

·       To ensure children and young people are protected from harm and that all children have access to an excellent education and achieve their potential.


Jacqui McShannon highlighted a number of key achievements for the department in 2019/20 including:

·       Consolidating the new sovereign service.

·       Getting a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted for services to children in need of help, protection, care, leaving care, and fostering and adoption.

·       Excellent performance in all education phases and a strong collegiate approach.


Tony Burton (Head of Finance, Children’s Services) took the committee through a slide detailing the department’s controllable budget for 2020/21. He explained that £38m was passported through to maintained primary schools and funding for academy schools in the borough (around £68m) went directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to academies.


Tony Burton then discussed 2020/21 savings and growth, noting that the £5.5m of growth was mostly for Family Services, driven by an increase in the looked after children population and increasing complexity of need.


Jacqui McShannon spoke about the challenges for 2020/21 - highlighting the following key issues for the department:

·       Increasing numbers of looked after children (264 at present). Officers were carrying out a peer review to understand if that was down to differences in practice or if it was due to the demographics of the borough.

·       Further demand growth for travel care and support – due to increasing numbers of children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

·       An increasingly complex and challenging commissioning landscape.


Jacqui McShannon then discussed the following key priorities for the department in 2020/21:

·       Review the early help and intervention offer to families and schools

·       Implement strategies to support inclusion in schools

·       Develop a strategic commissioning approach to contracts

·       Review the effectiveness of services which support children to remain safely at home

·       Ensure placement sufficiency to provide choice and range of high-quality local placements for looked after children and care leavers

·       Analyse demand led pressures on front line service delivery and develop options


Councillor Mark Loveday asked what the Council’s projected overspend was for the year. Hitesh Jolapara (Strategic Director of Finance and Governance) said the overspend for Period 6 was £9m, though officers were being cautious in their reporting and he expected the actual position to be better. In the previous year, Period 6’s overspend had been reported at around £5m but the final figure was £1.6m.


Councillor Loveday asked what proportion of the Council’s overspend was Children's Services. Hitesh Jolapara said the department was responsible for the largest proportion of the overspend.


Tony Burton added that in Period 6 the High Needs Block was spending £5.7m over the Department for Education  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Date of Next Meeting

The Committee is asked to note the date of the next meeting, which is to be held on 30 March 2020.



It was noted that the final meeting of the municipal year was scheduled for 30 March 2020.