Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary Meeting, Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 5th August, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Joel Hammond-Gant  Tel: 01270 686468 Email:

Link: Meeting Recording

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Barber (substituted for by Councillor Critchley), Butterill (substituted for by Councillor Edwardes), Smith (substituted for by Councillor Houston), and Wylie (substituted for by Councillor Bailey).


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2020.





1          That the minutes of the previous  meeting held on 22 June 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


2          That the request by Councillor Bailey for the committee to receive an overview of how the authority looked at and managed the skillsets of pupils leaving school, be discussed with key officers and portfolio holders outside of the meeting.


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.


There were no declarations of interest.


Declaration of Party Whip

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


There were no declarations of a party whip.


Public Speaking/Open Session

A total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to make a statement 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 notice in writing at least three clear working days before the meeting takes place.



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


Covid-19 Education Update pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To consider a report on the impacts of Covid-19 to education and schools in Cheshire East.


Consideration was given to a report on the impacts of Covid-19 to education and schools in Cheshire East, and the work that has been undertaken in response to the public health emergency in line with the government decision to reopen schools from September.


Members asked questions and put comments in relation to;


·         how the catch-up learning sessions would work operationally and be rolled out, and how the council planned to measure/benchmark the success and effectiveness of the sessions;

·         whether the Government’s national tutoring programme would use agency staff, or if school staff would be expected to undertake it in addition to their existing duties;

·         what advice was to be given to secondary schools about pupils walking to and from the schools;

·         whether public transport would be able to cope with the return of schools and a sudden jump in the numbers of people using it; and

·         whether there was a backlog of Early Help and Care Plans and how this would be managed.




That the update be noted.


Review of Fostering Service pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To consider an update on Foster4 and the wider development work within the Fostering Service.


The committee considered a report updating on the work that had been undertaken since January 2020 when an independent fostering review was commissioned to inform the council’s strategic approach and operational practice in respect of the recommendation made to “improve the quality and consistency of support and engagement with foster carers” following the Ofsted inspection of Children’s Services in November 2019.


Members asked questions and put comments in respect of;


·         recruitment and retention of foster carers and what the council did to ascertain supply and demand; and

·         the examination practice for to-be foster carers being shortened, and whether the council was satisfied that the changed process was still as detailed and thorough.




That the update be noted.


Regional Adoption Agency Integrated Services Agreement

To consider a presentation update on the Regional Adoption Agency, Adoption Counts, and the decision due to be taken by Cabinet on 8 September 2020 to approve that the council enter into an integrated service agreement and associated support agreement with its partners.


Consideration was given to a presentation on the work of the Regional Adoption Agency against its four key objectives to:


(1)  Increase the number of children adopted

(2)  Reduce the length of time children wait to be adopted

(3)  Improve the post-adoption support services to families who have adopted

(4)  Reduce the number of adoption agencies, thereby improving efficiency and effectiveness.




That the update be noted.


Member Frontline Visits pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the plans to reinstate Member frontline visits.


Consideration was given to a report on the proposed reinstation of elected member frontline visits on a virtual basis following Covid-19.




That the update be noted.




Youth Zone Update

To consider an update on the potential for an externally funded capital development Youth Zone in Crewe.


A verbal update was provided to the committee on the council’s plans to introduce a Youth Zone in Crewe. It was noted that the council planned to work with the charity Onside to develop the proper partnership arrangements required to establish this Youth Zone, before producing a funding bid to initiate the project.


Members asked questions and put comments in relation to;


·         how the ongoing revenue cost of the Youth Zone would be covered; and

·         how the council could ‘future proof’ the project beyond the ceasing of central government Revenue Grant Funding.




1          That the update be received and noted.


2          That future reports on the proposed Youth Zone provide more detail on how the council planned to future proof the project and ensure it was sustainable.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 189 KB

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


The committee reviewed the council’s Forward Plan of key decisions.




That the forward plan be noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To give consideration to the work programme

Additional documents:


The committee reviewed its work programme.




1          That the aforementioned item request relating to managing the skills of students leaving school be added to the work programme at an appropriate date.


2          That the items crossed through or noted as ‘date to be determined’ be resolved outside out of the meeting, and the work programme be updated accordingly.