Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Advisory Board - Children and Young People - Friday, 11th September, 2020 10.30 am

Contact: Daniel Hamilton  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Ms Michelle Davis, Mr Peter Healey, Mrs Sue Sanderson and Mr Andrew Wonnacott.





To report any changes to the membership of the Board.


Members were informed that Mr Graham Roberts had become a new permanent member of the Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People for the Conservative Group, replacing the late Mr Lawrence Fisher



Members are invited to disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises


1          Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for            profit or gain.


2          Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses.  (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.


3          Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority


(a)       Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and


            (b)       Which has not been fully discharged.


4          Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority. 


5          Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer. 


6          Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)


            (a)       The landlord is the authority; and


            (b)       The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial                                                         interest.


7          Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where


(a)       That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the    area of the authority; and



(b)       Either –


(i)      The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one            hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or


(ii)     If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.




A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).


Mrs C Bowditch disclosed an interest in relation to agenda item 7 as she was Chair or Carlisle Mencap.



To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the agenda.


RESOLVED that,                 the press and public be not excluded from the meeting during consideration of any items of business on the agenda.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 20 December 2019.



RESOLVED that,                 the minutes of the meeting held on the 20 December 2019 be confirmed as an accurate and complete record.


Children's COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Cumbria pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (Deputy Chief Executive).




Members considered a report from the Executive Director – People (Deputy Chief Executive) which provided the Board with an update on the how the children’s system had responded to COVID-19, its plans for recovery and a look ahead to priorities for children and families.


The Assistant Director - Children & Young People (Deputy DCS) introduced the report which would cover the following sections:-


·         Early Years and Schools

·         SEND

·         Social Care and Safeguarding

·         Think Family and Early Help

·         Children’s Commissioning


The Assistant Director - Education & Skills discussed the first two area of the report and provided an overview of the response to COVID-19 from Early Years and Schools which highlighted the major impact on schooling, and response to the issues of closing schools. This included targeted opening for specific groups, full opening for all year groups, prioritising the welfare and learning needs of disadvantaged pupils and providing of support to pupils whose public exams had been affected. The work around schools since March was split into three phases:


·         Phase 1: COVID-19 response – March to June;

·         Phase 2: COVID-19 initial recovery – June to September

·         Phase 3: Full school opening September and beyond.


In response to the initial government guidance the Council worked with Cumbria Association of School Leaders and all parts of the education system (including the Early Years sector and post-16 education providers) to establish the Education Tactical Co-ordination Group (ETCG). This was a working group of the Local Resilience Forum that focused on supporting the education system for all year phases to manage the response to the pandemic.


It was explained that given that Cabinet and Scrutiny were not meeting during the first phase, the Executive Director - People (Deputy Chief Executive) made the decision to set up Hub Schools and to extend year group access to the Hub Schools as was formally recorded on the Officer Decision Record.


Having established the Hub Schools, the main priority for the ETCG was to ensure children of critical workers and vulnerable learners were accessing the Hub Schools. The Assistant Director – Education and Skills explained that the Social Care and the School Improvement Team worked together to provide a definitive list of vulnerable learners and for then broke this list down by Hub School. In line with the DfE guidance, priority children with an Education and Health Care Plan were risk assessed to see if it were safe for them to attend a Hub School, and those deemed safe were supported to attend.


The Assistant Director – Education and Skills explained to members that one of the immediate impacts of the closure of schools was that disadvantaged learners could no longer access free school meals. Unlike vulnerable learners, disadvantaged learners were required to stay at home unless they were also vulnerable or a children of a critical worker, which meant that addressing this issue was an immediate priority.


In April, the Government announced the National Food Voucher Scheme, which entitled every child eligible for free school meals to access a £15  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.


Cumbria Youth Offending Service : Working through COVID 19 and beyond

To receive a presentation on from the Cumbria Youth Offending Service (to follow).


Members received a presentation from the Youth Offending And Prevention Service Manager on the impact of COVID-19 and the transition to recovery of the Cumbria Youth Offending Service. The Youth Offending And Prevention Service Manager explained to members that the requirement to provide an annual review had been lifted this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but it was felt that to provide assurance a presentation should be given highlighting the following areas of the Services COVID-19 response:-


·         What did we need to consider?

·         Key issues

·         What we have done?

·         Achievements

·         Moving Forward


Was asked whether there had been any noticeable changes to the type of offence reported. Continued rise in youth offending cases in the South of the county and in particular in Barrow. An audit in violent offence we do still have violent offending.


A discussion took place regarding the misuse of substances focusing on alcohol and whether there was an indication of how much these things factored into youth offending. The Youth Offending And Prevention Service Manager explained that substances and alcohol in particular are recognised as contributing factors to youth offending as is alcohol or substance use of parents of those who come into the service.


The Service Manager was then asked if there were any special arrangements made for those with autism or severe learning difficulties as part of the process. Members were informed that all young people who come into the service undertake a speech, language and communication screening assessment which was crucial to informing how the service tailors its interventions. It was also crucial in seeing if young people had not been in education for some time. It was explained to members that the Service also had links within the SEND team and could see whether young people had an EHCP. The Service also had links with specialist groups such as the AAA Autism group.


In response to a question regarding a recent Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMIP) review, the Service Manager stated that verbal feedback had been very positive about the continuity of service and the conduct of staff as part of the response to COVID-19.


The Chair thanked the Youth Offending And Prevention Service Manager for the instructive presentation.



To receive an update from the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services and the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Schools and Learning.


The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services praised all areas of the service for their hard work during the COVID-19 response and recovery and informed members of the recent confirmation of Cumbria as part of the Regional Adoption Agency alongside Sunderland and Durham. It was stated that this would open up a larger field for adopters and the Cabinet Member wanted it recognised that it was quite remarkable that this partnership had been negotiated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency would be titled Coast to Coast and had now been signed off by lead members of each authority.





To consider a report from the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed).


The report informs members of new and updated items of significance to the Board (including relevant aspects of the Council’s Forward Plan of Key Decisions).



Members considered a report from the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services which provided  an overview of the Board’s business and opportunities for further scrutiny.

Members noted the report and were invited to share their suggestions for scrutiny agenda items in the lead up to the December meeting.




Date: 4 December 2020

Time: 10:00am

Venue: TBC


The next meeting of the Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People is due to take place 4 December 2020 via Microsoft Teams.