Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Advisory Board - Children and Young People - Tuesday, 9th February, 2021 10.30 am

Contact: Daniel Hamilton  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Mr P Healy, Mrs M Davis and Mrs V O’Dea.



To report any changes to the membership of the Board


There were no changes of membership on this occasion.



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).


Mr G Roberts made a declaration on a non-pecuniary interest in reference to Agenda Item 6 as he was a member of the CNTW Health Partnership.




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 88 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 4 December 2020.



RESOLVED that,                 the minutes of the meeting held on the 4 December 2020 be confirmed as an accurate and complete record.



Child Exploitation Update pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider a report from the Assistant Director Children & Young People (Deputy DCS).


Members considered a report from the Assistant Director – Children & Young People (Deputy DCS). The Senior Manager - Children & Families introduced the report by clarifying the term ‘Child Exploitation’ and explaining that exploitation could take a variety of different forms including: exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups such as county lines; trafficking; online abuse; teenage relationship abuse; sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation.


The Senior Manager - Children & Families explained the governance of the issue lay with the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership’s (CSCP), ‘Missing, Exploited and Trafficked Children Group’ (MET) had multi-agency strategic oversight of child exploitation in Cumbria. Members heard that the group was jointly chaired by the Police and the Council’s Children & Families lead for exploitation, it met on a bi-monthly basis and had representation from across a range of agencies.

Members heard that in Cumbria there were currently 63 children identified at risk of or being exploited. Members asked for clarification on the level of risk and it was explained that the risk levels used were: Category 1, 2 or 3 Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), with level 1 being the lowest risk and 3 the highest. The Senior Manager - Children & Families then broke down the numbers of identified at risk or exploited children by district area.

Oversight of all children with a child exploitation category of risk lies with the Multi-Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) group. MACE meets on a 6 weekly basis and provides the framework to allow regular information sharing and action planning to tackle child exploitation in Cumbria. This included information relating to the links between children at risk or subject to exploitation, perpetrators or individuals who may pose a risk and/or locations and community intelligence. This meeting continued to run throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure oversight of some of the county’s most vulnerable children.

A discussion took place regarding whether an increase of children put at risk could be seen in the data over the course of the pandemic. The Senior Manager – Children and Families explained that the data does not yet show an increase in number of children identified as at risk of exploitation following Covid. However, the service was undertaking a county wide piece of work via the CSCP, to raise awareness of child exploitation and help improve identification, which could result in an increase in referrals.

The Senior Manager – Children and Families detailed the campaign stating that it was a county-wide child exploitation awareness raising campaign launched by the CSCP in partnership with the NSPCC. It was explained that the ‘IT’S NOT OK’ campaign would help raise awareness of child exploitation among children and young people, parents, practitioners and the wider community.  It would highlight how to spot the signs of exploitation and where to report concerns.  The campaign would also use a preventative approach, encouraging children and young people to think about what a healthy relationship looks like and to encourage them to speak out if they ever had concerns.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.


Access to Education pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To consider a report from the Assistant Director – Education and Skills.


Members considered a report which sought to provide the Board with an update on attendance and exclusion data in the context of COVID-19, and to inform members of the support provided by the Directorate to children and families during the pandemic.  The report also set out some of the longer-term strategic work being undertaken by the Directorate to support improved access to education in the future.

Following from the previous report brought to the Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People in September 2020 the Assistant Director – Education and Skills began  by providing an update from 5 January 2021 – the start of the current lockdown. Members heard that schools had been closed to all but vulnerable children and those of key workers.  Unlike the first lockdown, no hubs had been established on this occasion, and the large majority of schools were open in one form or another with most providing remote learning, with limited face-to-face teaching via apps like ‘Zoom’ or ‘Teams’.


During the autumn term 2020 school attendance was reported to DfE on a daily basis, and in Cumbria it remained above the national average. On the last day of term Cumbria’s attendance stood at 83.6%, compared to a national average of 78.2%. Attendance was higher in county primary schools (89.8%) than secondary schools (75.1%).


The Assistant Director – Education and Skills then stated that even without the impact of COVID-19, there had been a recognition that the county had insufficient places in dedicated SEND settings – particularly in special schools – and Alternative Provision (AP) settings to appropriately meet the level of demand. However, some substantial investments had been made to both improve and increase the facilities available.


Further work would be required to develop facilities over the coming months and years. Prior to the impact of COVID, there had been an upward trend nationally and locally in, for example, the number of children with EHCPs and, correspondingly, the number of parents seeking places in special schools. The ongoing reorganisation of Resourced Provision would provide better access to SEND facilities and support in mainstream schools, but options would need to be carefully considered so as to attract substantial capital support into the county and make further strides forward. 


A discussion then took place whereby members recommended that a particular focus be paid to maintaining access to education for all children, and to seeking out the appropriate resources to provide the support required.




SEND Improvement Programme Progress Report pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To consider a report from the Assistant Director – Education and Skills.

Additional documents:


Members considered a report which provided an overview of Cumbria’s SEND Improvement Programme and the progress made in implementing the local area Written Statement of Action (WSoA) in response to the findings of the Ofsted/ Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of special educational needs and disability (SEND) which took place in March 2019.


The SEND Partnership Strategic Lead provided some background by explaining that Cumbria was inspected by Ofsted and the CQC in March 2019 to judge how effectively the SEND reforms had been implemented by the local area, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. The inspection included the local authority, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), public health, NHS England for specialist services, early years’ settings, schools and further education providers.


The inspection raised concern about the effectiveness of the local area and determined that there were nine areas of significant weakness. The partners in Cumbria were required to produce a WSoA, setting out the immediate priorities for action; the progress on implementing these actions have been, and will continue to be, closely monitored by the DfE and NHSE.


The Cumbria SEND Partnership Improvement Board is responsible for ensuring the delivery of the WSoA and for reporting on progress to the Health and Wellbeing Board. The Board is led by an independent chair - an experienced DCS and Improvement Lead for the DfE.


The WSoA takes a thematic approach to respond to the findings set out in the letter issued by Ofsted/CQC following the inspection and is supported by six corresponding partnership working groups. These groups meet regularly to progress the work of the partnership and monitor progress; they report every six weeks to the SEND Partnership Improvement Board.


Members heard that as part of the formal monitoring arrangements a review of progress by the DfE/NHSE would take place every six months. Prior to the review a written progress report would be submitted by the local area.  The most recent review took place on 16 November 2020, with the formal post review letter received on 21 December 2020.


The post-review letter from the DfE/NHSE concluded that, as in all local areas, the pandemic had presented challenges for the pace of work or required a change of approach.  It was explained that where this had occurred, the local area was encouraged to illustrate the operational or implementation changes made as a result.


In preparation for the revisit inspection the review undertaken of the nine areas of concern and the statements made in the inspection letter was well received and felt to be helpful in enabling the local area to more clearly link the action being taken with the points made by inspectors.


The local area was also advised to ensure that timescales for action, approval and implementation were clearly set out, so that ‘sufficient’ progress could continue to be demonstrated.


The next review meeting with the DfE/NHSE was scheduled for 25 March 2021, earlier than the usual six-month period at the request of the local area. At this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.


Covid Update pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To receive a presentation from the Assistant Director - Integration and Partnerships.

Additional documents:


A presentation was received on the topic of Children’s Covid Response and Recovery Update and which highlighted the following areas:-


·         Introduction/Response and Recovery Priorities

·         Schools

·         Professional Team Around Schools

·         Social Workers in Schools

·         SEND

·         Social Care and Safeguarding

·         Emotional Health and Wellbeing

·         Impact on Specialist Services

·         Impact on MyTime

·         EH and Think Family

·         The next 3-6 months





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


Members received an update from the Portfolio Holder for Schools and the Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services.



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 which provided an overview of the Board’s business and opportunities for further scrutiny which included a summary of the main activity relating to the Board since they last met:

·         Referral to December cabinet on School Admissions Policy;

·         Contribution to the draft Scrutiny Annual Report which is due to be published in April.

Members heard that in December the Chair of the Board wrote to the Leader requesting that the item on the School Admissions Policy be deferred to the next Cabinet cycle to allow members of the Board an opportunity to look at the policy and feed in any views.


Cabinet agreed to defer the specific recommendation about catchment areas to allow an opportunity for Board members to be invited to meet with officers responsible for the paper.


An informal meeting was held with 3 members of the Board, the Assistant Director and the manager responsible for drafting the policy. Based on the concerns raised by the Members, the Assistant Director agreed to advise Cabinet that a review of the catchments in the Copeland area should be carried out during the summer to inform the next iteration of the School Admissions Policy, which would go to consultation in the Autumn and to Cabinet in December 2021.




Date: 17 June 2021

Time: 10am 

Venue: TBC


The next meeting of the Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People is due to take place on 17 June 2021.