Agenda and minutes

Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 23rd November, 2020 1.30 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Joel Hammond-Gant  Tel: 01270 686468 Email:  joel.hammond-gant@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Link: Meeting recording

Items
No. Item

36.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor S Handley, who was substituted for by Councillor A Critchley.

 

37.

Minutes of Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2020.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED –

 

That the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 28 September 2020, be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

38.

Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

39.

Whipping Declarations

To provide an opportunity for Members to declare the existence of a party whip in relation to any item on the agenda

Minutes:

There were no declarations of a party whip.

40.

Public Speaking/Open Session

A total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to make a statement(s) on any matter that falls within the remit of the Committee. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes, but the Chairman will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned, where there are a number of speakers.

 

Members of the public wishing to make a statement should provide at notice in writing at least three clear working days before the meeting takes place.

 

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present who wished to speak.

41.

Child / Young Person's Story

Minutes:

The committee watched a video that had been put together by Cheshire Without Abuse, which highlighted some of the personal stories from domestic abuse sufferers in Cheshire East.

 

Members noted the important work that Cheshire Without Abuse, the council and other partners continued to do to reduce domestic abuse in the borough, and support domestic abuse victims.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the video update be noted.

 

42.

Covid-19 Update pdf icon PDF 212 KB

To consider the committee’s standing update report on Covid-19 in relation to Children’s Services.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the committee’s standing update on the Covid-19 pandemic and how the work the council had undertaken to respond to, and recover from, it.

 

Members asked questions and put comments in relation to;

 

  • the up-to-date figures on school attendance;
  • why the rates of elective home education cases had risen so significantly in recent months;
  • whether grants from central government had been received to ensure that all elective home educated students had access to adequate broadband and computer access; and
  • what the uptake of PPE had been from schools and whether there had been sufficient uptake of free packages of PPE.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the update be received and noted.

43.

Children's Services Performance Scorecard - Quarter 2, 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 334 KB

To consider the performance data for Children’s Services from Quarter 2 of 2020/21.

Minutes:

The committee considered the performance data relating to Children’s Services from Quarter 2 of the 2020/21 municipal year.

 

Members asked questions in relation to the council’s numbers of Children’s Social Care staff, and whether the low level of 0-2 year olds engaged at Children’s Centres had been a consequence of the pandemic.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the Performance Scorecard be noted.

 

44.

Covid-19 and Children's Mental Health Support pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To consider a report on the approach taken by the council and partners to support children and young people’s mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report on the type and range of support that was available to children and young people struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.

 

Questions and comments were put in relation to;

 

  • what could be done to help to address children and young people’s mental health needs before they reach a point of crisis; and
  • whether, since the committee’s Spotlight Review on Children’s Mental Health Services (24 February 2020), services had been made more equitable across the borough of Cheshire East;

 

The committee felt that it would be pertinent for the Health and Adult Social Care and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee to receive a similar update on the offer of services for adults and older people experiencing mental health and wellbeing struggles.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1          That the report and update be received and noted.

 

2          That the Health and Adult Social Care and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee be recommended to request an update on the offer of services for adults and older people experiencing mental health and wellbeing struggles.

 

45.

Domestic Abuse pdf icon PDF 502 KB

To consider an update on domestic abuse and how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on it.

Minutes:

The committee gave consideration to a report on how the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on domestic abuse cases in Cheshire East.

 

Members asked questions and put comments in relation to;

 

·         the role of Cheshire Police and how partners have worked together to tackle domestic abuse in Cheshire East;

·         the inequitable financial formula for the Cheshire region local authorities, which meant that all four councils received the same funding, despite Cheshire East having the greatest number of cases and demand on services; and

·         whether the grant funding – due to end in March 2021 – was likely to be continued, or was at risk of being lost.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the update be received and noted.

 

46.

NEET Summit and Action Plan pdf icon PDF 202 KB

To consider an update on the NEET Problem Solving Summit and the approach being taken by the council to support post-16 skills development.

Minutes:

The committee received a report on the NEET (people not in employment, education or training) Summit. The report highlighted how the council has worked to bring together national and local initiatives to ensure that young people are able to make choices about their short-term and longer-term ambitions as they move in to adulthood.

 

The committee noted that the NEET Summit sounded positive and productive, and that getting feedback directly from the recipients of the programme would further help the council and partners to understand their views, wants and the kind of roles they would be interested in.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the update be received and noted.

 

47.

High Needs Funding pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To consider an update on the work being carried out through the Schools Forum to develop a proposed new model for allocating High Needs top-up funding, along with details of planned next steps for this work.

 

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to an update on the work that had been carried out through the Schools Forum to develop a proposed new model for allocating High Needs Top-up Funding, along with the details of the planned next steps for this work.

 

Members asked questions and put comments in relation to;

 

  • the fact that survey numbers didn’t reflect an overwhelming endorsement of the proposal;
  • what amount of additional resources the financial implications noted in the report would require, and whether the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted this; and
  • what the consequences of any decreases in funding to schools (in relation to Covid-19) had been, or would be, on children and education performance.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the update be received and noted.

48.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To give consideration to the areas of the forward plan which fall within the remit of the Committee.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the council’s Forward Plan of key decisions.

 

RESOLVED –

 

That the Forward Plan be noted.

 

49.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To give consideration to the work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee reviewed its work programme, and discussed in particular, the need to ensure that the committee allows itself appropriate time to properly scrutinise the Children’s Service Directorate Pre-Budget 2021/22 Consultation.

 

RESOLVED –

 

1          That the work programme be noted.

 

2          That the Scrutiny Officer liaise with officers to determine how the committee’s remaining meetings and their proposed agendas could be managed to ensure that sufficient time could be apportioned to the various items.