Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 5 December 2017 6.30pm

Venue: Civic Suite - Level 2, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR. View directions

Contact: Jade Milnes, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

547.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Price, Keith Clear (Medway Parent and Carers Forum Representative),Tina Lovey (Headteacher Representative) and George Peck (Medway Youth Council Cabinet Member).

548.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on  5 October 2017.

Minutes:

The record of the last meeting of the Committee held on 5 October 2017 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct.

549.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report. 

Minutes:

The Chairman confirmed that he had accepted one report as urgent. Item 11 ‘School Admission Arrangement 2019’ was circulated separately to the agenda and was accepted as urgent to enable the Committee to consider a report before the Cabinet made any decisions on this matter on 19 December 2017.

550.

Declarations of interests and whipping

(A)         Disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests

 

A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.

 

A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.

 

Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.

 

Members should also ensure they disclose any other interests which may give rise to a conflict under the council’s code of conduct.

 

In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons.

 

(B)       Whipping

 

The Council’s constitution also requires any Member of the Committee who is subject to a party whip (ie agreeing to vote in line with the majority view of a private party group meeting) to declare the existence of the whip.

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Opara declared an interest in agenda item 7 (Annual Report – Fostering Service) in relation to one of the social workers identified who was her daughter.

 

Whilst there was no reference to Rivermead School on the agenda, Councillor Cooper asked for it to be recorded that she had recently been appointed as a governor of Rivermead School.

551.

Member's Item: Closure of All Saints Nursery pdf icon PDF 35 KB

This report sets out the response to an issue raised by Councillor Maple regarding the impending closure of All Saints Nursery.

 

This report also advises the Committee of a petition received by the Council which falls within the remit of this Committee on the same matter and includes a summary of the response sent to the lead petitioner by officers. A petition referral request has been received for consideration at this meeting.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report which set out the response to both an issue raised by Councillor Maple, in relation to the impending closure of All Saints Nursery and a petition received by the Council, which fell within the remit of this Committee, on the same matter.

 

In accordance with the Council’s petitions scheme, this petition had been referred to the Committee for discussion.

 

The Committee welcomed Councillor Maple, who introduced the lead petitioner, Mr Qureshi. Mr Qureshi set out the reasons for his petition. Mr Qureshi explained that the decision to close All Saints Nursery was very sudden and that the decision was made without consultation with the 43 families affected.  He added, it was difficult to find an alternative provision and asked why an alternative provider could not take over the provision, for example, All Saints School, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham. Mr Qureshi expressed concern over some possible complexities associated with conditions on the consent to develop the wider area and questioned the use of funding for other Council activities.

 

Councillor Maple spoke in support of the petitioner’s concerns and advised the Committee that in addition to the paper petition, 700 signatures were received on an e-petition hosted by change.org, which could not be accepted under the Council’s current petition scheme. He recognised the interim position to extend the opening of the Nursery to the end of the academic year and welcomed an update on a permanent solution. Councillor Maple also raised some further concerns including, the loss of high quality staff, to whom he thanked for their services to the youngest in the community and inadequate communication by officers with Ward Councillors. He added that Ward Councillors would want to be advised of both the negative and positive news.   

 

Councillor Maple also expressed concern in support of Mr Qureshi’s previous comments regarding complexities associated with conditions on building consent. He added that there might be a number of cases in any Council owned building where an existing covenant would preclude the building from being used for purposes other than that originally specified and that this may warrant further scrutiny. 

 

The Director of Children and Adults Services referred to the conversations he had had with Councillor Maple in relation to communication between officers and Ward Councillors and undertook to improve this.

 

The Head of Early Years Service reiterated the comments set out in Section 3 to the report and added there had originally been no clear, secure and safe arrangement in place for 1 January 2018. However, following an interim solution which had been secured, the Head of Early Years Service confirmed negotiations were ongoing with a provider for a permanent solution and an in principle agreement had been made with another partner organisation.

 

In response to a question from a Member whether the existing children would be accommodated under the new provider, the Head of Early Years Service confirmed all children currently attending the nursery would be able to also attend the Nursery under the new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 551.

552.

Assistive Reproductive Technologies - Policy Review pdf icon PDF 90 KB

This report advises the Committee of proposals under consideration by Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in respect of proposed policy changes to Assistive Reproductive Therapies (ART) and funding of assistive conception treatments. 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chief Operating Officer, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group introduced the report, which set out the forthcoming review of policies relating to Assistive Reproductive Technologies (ART), by the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), in response to financial pressures faced by Kent and Medway CCGs. The review would also consider funding of assistive contraception treatments to ensure equality of access. The local and national context was explained and the consultation process, as set out in paragraph 6.3 to the report, was outlined.

 

It was suggested by the Chief Operating Officer, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group that the proposals might include reducing the number of NHS funded IVF cycles from two to one in line with 63% of England’s CCGs which offered one or zero funded IVF cycles.

 

Members raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         The proposed policy revisions – In response to a request from some Members, the Chief Operating Officer, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group clarified that the policy revisions, including those pertaining to the use of donated genetic materials would be proposed by the Health Policy Support Unit. The intention of the review would be to ensure the same access to IVF for all eligible patient groups.

 

·         Overview and Scrutiny – As requested by some Members, the Partnership Commissioning Programme Lead, Children and Families clarified that this report provided the Committee with notice that a review of policies relating to ART and funding of assistive contraception was due to commence and that a further report with the proposed policy revisions would be presented to the Committee in January for the Committee to determine whether the proposals constitute a substantial health service development or variation. If this Committee and Kent County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee were to determine the proposals amount to a substantial variation, a Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be convened. A Member added that the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be able to comment on the proposals and require the provision of information. A Member suggested that the report on ART should perhaps be considered by the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee as it did not relate to children’s health.

 

·         Consultation – Officers were encouraged by Members to work with Ward Councillors to generate a higher response rate. In response to a question concerning the risk of a poor consultation response, the Partnership Commissioning Programme Lead, Children and Families explained the consultation response might be low owing to few families accessing the service or not knowing at the point of consultation they would access the service in the future. In respect of what would be considered to be a low response, it was added that this would be guided by the North and East London (NEL) Commissioning Support Unit. However, to mitigate the risk, the consultation would be published on all CCG websites and social media feeds and public information meetings would be held in each of the CCG areas. 

 

·         Drivers for review  ...  view the full minutes text for item 552.

553.

Annual Report - Fostering Service pdf icon PDF 912 KB

This report presents the Fostering Service Annual Report 2016-17. The report describes the work completed by the Service, in addition to its development in the preceding year and goals and targets for the coming year.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Deputy Director, Children and Adults introduced the Fostering Service Annual Report 2016/17, which set out performance data and the development of the Service over the reporting period and outlined targets and goals for the 2017/18 period.

 

The Deputy Director, Children and Adults drew the Committee’s attention to the report highlights, set out in paragraph 3.1 to the report. In particular, she drew the Committee’s attention to the payment structure review and explained it was hoped that following full implementation this would stimulate an increase in the number of foster carer applications.

 

The Deputy Director, Children and Adults also outlined additional developments within the Fostering Service, including the appointment of a Fostering Reviewing Officer to undertake an annual review of foster carers and the provision of additional support for foster carers from family support workers and youth workers acting as fostering mentors.

 

The areas considered to be the focus of the next year included recruitment, fostering presence in Fostering Fortnight and development of Short Break Services.

 

Members raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         Recruitment of Foster Carers – Members expressed that they were pleased with progress to recruit additional foster carers. A  Member commented that the recent Foster Carer Event, in which foster carers were recognised for long service, was very good. This event also provided an opportunity to meet new foster carers.

 

·         Youth Mentors – At the request of a Member, the Deputy Director, Children and Adults undertook to arrange a presentation by the Youth Mentors to the Committee on the work they were completing in relation to the Fostering Service. 

 

·         No Smoking Household Policy – Asked by a Member whether the No Smoking Household Policy included e-cigarettes, the Deputy Director, Children and Adults explained that whilst she understood that the policy had covered e-cigarettes, a flexible approach was required to recruit family and friends as carers.

 

·         Social Worker information – A Member commented that presenting the photographs and information on the Social Workers was a very good introduction.

 

·         Monitoring of Care Leavers – Referring to an incident relating to inadequate monitoring of Care Leavers, a Member asked whether there was scope for increased monitoring. The Deputy Director, Children and Adults explained the Service was very focused on this matter and were investigating a number of proposals to expand the range of supported accommodation to meet the complex needs of children, in particular in the cohort of children aged 14-16. She noted that supported accommodation for children aged 16 or over was not regulated or inspected in the same way as children’s homes. The Deputy Director, Children and Adults further explained new legislation had put additional responsibilities onto the Local Authority and additional reports would be presented to the Committee at the appropriate time, including the Sufficiency Statement at Agenda Item 8.

 

The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence added that the issue of antisocial behaviour was taken very seriously and in this particular instance there was not sufficient supported accommodation available through the Framework  ...  view the full minutes text for item 553.

554.

Sufficiency Statement 2017 pdf icon PDF 440 KB

This report updates the Committee on the annual refresh of the statutory Sufficiency Statement.  The Sufficiency Statement 2017 sets out how Medway Council will meet the needs of Looked After Children and Care Leavers in such a way as to ensure improved outcomes.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence introduced the annual Sufficiency Statement which outlined the extent to which the Local Authority complied with their statutory duties to provide sufficient accommodation for Children in Care and Care Leavers, as well as plans to address the gaps in the provision.

 

The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence drew the Committee’s attention to the work undertaken by other service areas which had assisted in reaching more sufficient accommodation, including the Fostering Service. She added there had been improvements in permanency planning and the number of child and family placements had increased.

 

In referring to complexity of need, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence advised the largest cohort of Children in Care was 5-9 and 10-15 age group and in particular, the 10-15 cohort would require more specialist provision.

 

With regards to future priorities, as set out in Section 7 to Appendix 1 to the report, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence highlighted the key requirements for commissioning for Looked After Children included the utilisation of the Council’s estate, procurement of a new Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA) Framework and working with fewer providers and other Local Authorities.

 

The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence advised that the Children and Social Care Act 2017 had been introduced which placed additional responsibilities on Local Authorities to provide care leavers with support. She advised further that practical and resource implications were not yet known.

 

Members raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         Supervision of young people – A Member raised concerns over local provision and the impact it has had on local residents. The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence expressed regret and explained that in instances where children had been placed in Medway from other Local Authorities, Medway Council had no monitoring powers, the responsibility for monitoring lied with the Local Authority which placed the children with that provider. The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence added that Medway Council had put in place embargoes against the use of specified facilities; these had been respected by other Local Authorities and the cooperative relationship had improved. 

 

·         Regulation of the Sector – In response concerns from a Member in relation to the lack of regulation of the Sector and monitoring of young people which had also been raised with the Director of Children and Adults Services, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence advised that the Local Authority had monitored providers against a quality assurance framework and where the Local Authority had not been satisfied with the outcomes for young people had issued a warning, however, it was recognised more must be done in the absence of a formal regulator. The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence undertook to add this to the work programme of her team and report back to the Committee the actions to be taken to improve monitoring of providers.

 

At the request of a Member, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence also undertook to report back to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 554.

555.

Osted Inspection of Aut Even pdf icon PDF 201 KB

This report provides the Committee with an update on the monitoring visit carried out by Ofsted on 26 September 2017 following their unannounced inspection on 25 and 26 July 2017.

 

A report providing an overview of the inspection findings and consequent action plan for implementation following the initial inspection was shared with the Committee on 31 August 2017.  A further report on 5 October 2017 gave an update on the progress of actions that have been acknowledged to improve the Service.

 

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Director of Children and Adults Services, introduced the report which set out, at Appendix A to the report, the results of the monitoring visit undertaken by Ofsted on 20 October 2017.  It was explained that whilst the majority of actions were closed, three items were deemed to require further time and a revised completion date of 10 November 2017 was granted by Ofsted. 

 

It was reported that Ofsted had carried out an unannounced inspection on 30 November 2017 and 1 December 2017, the inspection findings had not been published at the time of the meeting but the Interim Manager, Aut Even (Short Breaks Service) advised feedback provided on the day was positive with some areas of improvement required. In line with previous inspections, these would be addressed in the action plan. 

 

The Director of Children and Adults Services also explained that between 4 December 2017 and 8 December 2017, Ofsted were undertaking an inspection of the local area special educational needs and disabilities provision and he undertook to provide the Committee with a report outlining the findings.

 

Members commended the improvements at Aut Even and raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         Future reporting – At the request of a Member, the Director of Children and Adults Services undertook to provide an explanation of the previously reported rapid decline in the service performance.

 

·         Recruitment – In response to a question from a Member regarding the recruitment of staff, the Interim Manager, Aut Even (Short Breaks Service) advised that deficiencies in the recruitment requirements identified by Ofsted had been rectified.  In conjunction with HR, an audit of the recruitment processes had been undertaken at Aut Even. As a result, Ofsted had lifted the compliance notice in October in relation to the matter.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the work to date on the service improvements, as set out in Appendix B to the report, in response to the Aut Even Ofsted Inspection on 25 and 26 July 2017 and that an update report will be provided to the Committee in March 2018.

556.

Overnight Short Breaks Provision for Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities - Outcome of the Consultation and Business Case pdf icon PDF 463 KB

This report informs the Committee of the results of the recent consultation concerning the proposed relocation of overnight short break services from Aut Even to Parklands and presents the associated business case.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence introduced the report which set out the consultation response to the proposed relocation of overnight short break services from Aut Even to Parklands and presented the Business Case. It was reiterated that the physical environment at Aut Even was not fit for purpose and greatly restricted opportunities to extend the offer within the confines of the existing building. The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence added that the split provision had also caused difficulties and that a coherent offer would be preferential. Other benefits of the relocation were highlighted including fully utilising the purpose built facility at Parklands and a reduction in budget pressures associated with running two facilities.

 

Referring to the consultation response, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence commented that overall, families were supportive of the relocation of Aut Even to Parklands and highlighted that 84% of respondents did not object to proposals to relocate the service. There had been two respondents that objected.

 

The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence corrected the reference to the annual running cost at Parklands from £384k to £405k, set out in paragraphs 3.3.3 and 3.4.3 of the business case, set out at Appendix 3 to the report.

 

Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         Refurbishment works – A Member commented that a lot of hard work was undertaken to obtain the funding to improve Aut Even and this Service had always been supported, but this hard work also extended to obtaining the funding for Parklands. The Member praised the Parklands facility which was built specifically as a respite home.

 

·         Business case – In response to a question in relation to the money which was spent on bringing Aut Even up to standard, the Director of Children and Adults Services expressed it was regrettable that this approach had been taken but the priority had been the safety of the Children, so at the time the money had to be invested to rectify the identified deficits and fulfil the Local Authority’s statutory duty.  Parklands was designed for respite services and would enable the Service to effectively maintain a safe environment and schedule care for children in a way which could be planned around groups of children whose needs were broadly similar.

 

·         Demand for service – In response to a comment from a Member that the service at both Aut Even and Parklands were necessary, the Director of Children and Adults Services expressed that in the context of the analysis completed, the provision at Parklands would be adequate. This was reiterated by the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence who added that the environment at Aut Even was no longer fit for purpose.

 

·         Future use of Aut Even – When asked about the future use of Aut Even, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence explained that that the Council’s estate, including Aut Even was being considered for other purposes and a business case was being scoped. A further question was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 556.

557.

School Admission Arrangements 2019 pdf icon PDF 460 KB

This report details the outcome of the consultation on the primary and secondary co-ordinated admission schemes and seeks views on the proposed 2019 admission arrangements.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Programme Lead – School Services, introduced the report which provided the Committee with the proposed 2019 admission arrangements.  The report included details of the consultation on the proposed primary and secondary co-ordinated admission schemes.  One response to the consultation was received and was supportive of the proposals. The Programme Lead – School Services also outlined the proposed changes to the Primary and Secondary co-ordinated scheme and admission arrangements. Save for the revision of dates to fit the 2019 admission deadline, the only changes were to the primary admissions and these included the introduction of a criterion for the children of ‘crown servants’ and clarity of the definition of ‘teaching staff’. There were no further changes to secondary admissions.

 

Members raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         Halling School – In response to request from a Member for assurances that sufficient school places would be available for children in the St Andrew’s Park Development in Halling School, the Programme Lead – School Services advised Halling had an ease of access area and further that there had not been an issue in previous years to accommodate the school children. The Programme Lead – School Services noted that under the Greenwich Judgement priority could not be given to Medway children over Kent children and unless there was an ease of access area, distance would be the prevailing criterion.  He added St Andrew’s Park was equidistant between Halling and Cuxton Schools although officially within Halling. The Programme Lead – School Services undertook to liaise with officers working on the School Organisation Plan to monitor sufficiency of places. 

 

·         Medway Test – In response to concerns in relation to the publication of the test results, a Member asked whether the timing of the distribution of the results could be brought forward to 10am, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence explained that the Finance Department were undertaking a review of the process. The Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence undertook to provide the Committee with a summary report on the review of the Medway Test. 

 

A Member agreed that the Medway Test process required improvement but raised concerns that bringing forward the timing of the results distribution would cause issues within the playground if some parents had results and others did not.

 

A Member further commented that sending out a hard copy of results in addition to email complicated matters.

 

·         Consultation response – In response to a question from a Member, the Programme Lead – School Services clarified that the consultation was open to the public, not just headteachers and a range of means to notify interested parties of the consultation had been employed, including emailing every school, sending out a bulletin and a press release, in addition to requesting schools to print a paper copy for parents who preferred to access a hard copy.

 

·         ‘Crown servants’ and ‘teaching staff’ clarification – In response to a request from a Member for clarification, the Programme Lead – School Services explained ‘crown servants’  ...  view the full minutes text for item 557.

558.

Draft Capital and Revenue Budget 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

This report provides an update on progress towards setting the Council’s draft capital and revenue budgets for 2018/19.  In accordance with the Constitution, Cabinet is required to develop ‘initial budget proposals’ approximately three months before finalising the budget and setting council tax levels at the end of February 2018.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Head of Finance Strategy introduced the report which provided an update on progress towards setting the Council’s draft capital and revenue budgets for 2018/19. In accordance with the Constitution, Cabinet was required to develop ‘initial budget proposals’ approximately three months before finalising the budget and the Council setting council tax levels at the end of February 2018.

 

The draft budget was based on the principles contained within the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MFTS) 2017/2022 and reflects the latest formula grant assumptions.

 

Members raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         Quarter two budget monitoring – In response to a question from a Member, in relation to the second round of budget monitoring, which had predicted an overspend of £1.507million, the Head of Finance Strategy directed Members to the budget monitoring reports presented to Cabinet on 21 November 2017. This set out the sources of budget pressures and management action.

 

·         Adjustment to draft budget requirement – At the request of a Member, the Head of Finance Strategy confirmed that the total adjustment, set out in Appendix 1 to the report, reflected the reduction in the net budget requirement for Children and Adults following management action agreed by the Service in consultation with Council Members. In response to a request from a Member to provide further detail on this adjustment, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence advised the Service had made efficiencies through transformation of services and procurement. The Head of Finance Strategy undertook to provide further detail on savings made by the Service reflected in the adjustment figure.

 

·         SEN and Psychology – In response to a question from a Member about the adjustment for SEN and Psychology, the Assistant Director, Commissioning, Business and Intelligence outlined a reduction in the price of placements led to this change.

 

·         Service delivery – At the request of a Member, the Head of Finance Strategy undertook to provide further detail on the changes between the MTFS position and budget position in future reports wherever possible. 

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted that Cabinet had instructed officers to continue to work with Portfolio Holders in formulating robust proposals to balance the budget for 2018/19 and beyond.

559.

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 2 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 358 KB

Medway’s three priorities are set out in the Council Plan 2017/18. This report summarises how Medway has performed in Quarter 2 2017/18 against the priorities relevant to this Committee: Supporting Medway’s people to realise their potential and maximising regeneration and economic growth. 

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Deputy Director, Children and Adult Services, introduced the report which summarised the performance of the directorate in Quarter 2 of year 2017/18 for the key measures of success and projects for this Committee. With respect to exclusions the Director of Children and Adults Services reported that the Service was working closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner and a letter had been sent to all schools and academies in relation to ongoing concerns. Schools had also been asked to share good practice and an opportunity to access funding from the Strategic School Improvement Fund had been identified.

 

Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:

 

·         Key Stage 1 (KS1) and 2 (KS2) attainment – Members commented that the results for KS1 and KS2 were encouraging. In response to questions from a Member about why there was a discrepancy in the target set by the Local Authority for the percentage of children who achieved the required standard or above in reading, writing and mathematics at KS2 (53%) and the National Standard (61%) and further, why the Local Authority target remained at 53% when it had been exceeded (57.3%) the Director of Children and Adults Services undertook to validate the data.

 

·         Key Stage 4 (KS4) – A Member expressed concern regarding Key Stage 4 (KS4) performance. In response to a request from a Member, the Director of Children and Adults Services undertook to clarify the data set out in paragraph 5.2.3 to report, in relation to the percentage of KS4 students achieving the threshold (level 4) in English and Maths.

 

·         ‘The percentage of Looked after Children (LAC) who achieve the expected standard in GCSE English and Maths’ – At the request of a Member, the Director of Children and Adults Services explained the target was set at 20% as there were a high proportion of students within the cohort with Special Educational Needs.

 

·         Social workers – In relation to a comment on the development and retention of social workers, the Deputy Director, Children and Adults expressed the retention of social workers was a priority and further it was hoped that the recently approved revised terms and conditions would help stimulate recruitment.

 

·         Smoking in pregnancy – At the request of a Member, the Director of Children and Adults Services undertook to provide feedback from the recent Smoking in Pregnancy event. 

 

·         Key Stage 5 (KS5) Attainment – At the request of a Member, the Director of Children and Adults undertook to confirm whether data on KS5 would normally be included with the Council Plan monitoring report.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.

560.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 88 KB

This report advises the Committee of any petitions received by the Council which fall within the remit of this Committee including a summary of the response sent to the lead petitioners by officers.

 

There is one petition referral request to be considered at this meeting.  This matter will be dealt with under agenda item 5 - Member’s item: Closure of All Saints Nursery.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report advising of those petitions received by the Council, which fell within the remit of the Committee, including a summary of the responses sent to the petition organisers by officers.

 

One petition was referred by the lead petitioner to the Committee for consideration. This matter was dealt with under agenda item 5 - Member’s item: Closure of All Saints Nursery.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the petition response and appropriate officer actions in paragraph 3 of the report.

 

561.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 124 KB

This item advises Members of the current work programme and allows the Committee to adjust it in the light of latest priorities, issues and circumstances. It gives Members the opportunity to shape and direct the Committee’s activities over the year.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Democratic Services Officer introduced the report which provided the Committee with its current work programme and proposed amendments.

 

The Director of Children and Adults Services undertook to provide the Committee with a report on the Ofsted findings from the inspection of local area special educational needs and disabilities undertaken on the week of 4 December to 8 December 2017.

 

The Chairman of the Medway Youth Council undertook to provide the Committee with a report on outcome of the Annual Medway Youth Conference in due course.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)    Agreed the work programme as set out at Appendix 1, subject to adding:

 

11 January 2018:

·         Assistive Reproductive Technologies Policy Review;

·         Immunisation Services Update; and

·         Maternity Services Transformation.

 

8 March 2018:

·         Annual Report of the Children’s Social Care Service;

·         Female Genital Mutilation; and

·         Update on the Transfer of the Family Nurse Partnership Service the Health Visiting Service.

 

b)    Noted that a Member’s Item from Councillor Johnson regarding young refugees and unaccompanied asylum seeking children would be scheduled on the work programme for the Committee for 11 January 2018. This had been on the work programme as an information item with a date to be determined since 1 August 2017.

 

c)    Noted that a report from the Task Group on Employment Opportunities for Young People in Medway would be scheduled on the work programme for the Committee for 11 January 2018.