Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Advisory Board - Children and Young People - Friday, 10th December, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: County Hall, Kendal

Contact: Daniel Hamilton  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Mr A Wonnacott, Mrs E Williamson, Mr B McEwan, Mrs S Sanderson and Mrs A Burns.



To report any changes to the membership of the Board


There were no changes to the membership of the Board 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).


There were no disclosures of interest made on this occasion.



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 311 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 21 September 2021.



RESOLVED that,                 the minutes of the meeting held on the 21 September 2021 be confirmed as an accurate and complete record.



Child Exploitation Progress Report pdf icon PDF 282 KB

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


Members considered a report from the Executive Director – People (Acting Chief Executive) which provided the Board with an overview of child exploitation and the current picture in Cumbria.

Members received an update on developments since the last report presented in February 2021 and heard that governance structures had been strengthened significantly since the last update. On 1 September 2021 a multi-agency Child Exploitation Risk Assessment and Review (CERAR) process was launched. The process consolidated the recommendations of the LGA Report in 2019, national guidance and best practice regarding Child Exploitation (CE). A dedicated CERAR lead, managed by Cumbia County Council Children’s Services, was recruited to be a new single point of contact for CE across the partnership with support from a CERAR Coordinator from Cumbria Police.

Members heard that there had been a small decrease in the children identified to be at risk at the start of 2021, a successful county wide piece of work to raise awareness of CE had helped to turn the downward trend. A discussion took place regarding ‘hidden’ exploitation and the efforts to prepare communities to be able to identify exploitation when it arises in localities. These efforts, combined with the new CERAR process, meant that the service had begun to see an increase in referrals.

Members were reminded of the early intervention process and the strategies used to prevent exploitation before it arises, protect children who might be being exploited and pursue perpetrators of exploitation.

Members asked about the provision of clear pathways for referrals and we’re given a detailed outline of the CERAR process and that due to the strengthened CERAR process, there were more children being identified as at risk of CE and consequently the level 2 Meetings (formerly Multi-Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) Group) were moving from 6 weekly to fortnightly in January 2022.

Members asked about the role of young carers and whether in certain circumstances they could fall under the definition of child exploitation. Officers explained that this could be the case and the strategy was clear about trying to reach these vulnerable young people and strengthen the safeguards around them.

It was AGREED that the Children Safeguarding Children Partnership Multi-Agency CE Strategy be shared with members.

RESOLVED that,                 members note the report.




SEND Improvement Update pdf icon PDF 370 KB

To consider a report from Assistant Director - Education and Skills.


Additional documents:


Members received a presentation which provided an update on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) improvement programme and highlights key areas of progress in the delivery of our SEND Written Statement of Action (WSOA), as well as areas of challenge.

The key areas highlighted in the presentation were as follows:-

·         Our context

·         Children and Young People with SEND

·         The Needs of Children and Young People in Cumbria

·         Education of those with SEND

·         Our Inspection

·         Our Position

·         Our Partnership Arrangements

·         Our Progress

·         Our Performance

·         Our Next Steps

Members heard that officers were speaking to Special School about increasing the number of Special School spaces as demand had increased since the opening of new Special School provision. Members were assured that even if children didn’t meet the criteria the service would always work with the school the school to ensure that children get the professional and financial support they need. Members also heard that work was underway to provide a framework for managing the expected increase in need over coming years. A detailed discussion then took place regarding the sufficiency of placements and the requirement on mainstream schools to meet the needs of children whose parents wish for their child to be educated in mainstream provision.

Officers addressed concerns over the services engagement with parents and assured members that communication was very positive between the service, parents and schools.

It was AGREED that the DfE summary be circulated to members to highlight areas of development. A detailed discussion took place regarding whether children or young people with SEND were eligible to be fast tracked through the CAMHS process whereby officers explained that the designated clinical officer is able to escalate a referral on behalf of those with SEND.

RESOLVED that,                             members note the report.


Exam Results Update pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To consider a report from Assistant Director - Education and Skills.





Members considered a report which provided an overview of GCSE and ‘A’ Level outcomes in 2021.


Members heard that prior to the pandemic from 2016- 2019 attainment measures at GCSE were improving against the national outcomes and were 1% above national in 2019. This had been achieved through improved focus on teaching, curriculum and school improvement through cluster-based working and sharing best practice as part of a ‘system approach’ to school improvement.

There were no summer exams in 2020 and 2021. There were two main reasons for this – both due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Firstly, the large and inconsistent levels of absence across schools in the country meant that many, if not all, young people had missed out on significant blocks of school, leading to the overall programme of study not being completed. Secondly, the traditional summer exams were not possible because of the risk of infection which would be caused.

Following the cancellation of GCSE, ‘A’ Level and some Tech Level exams, schools undertook a robust assessment and moderation process with exam boards to produce Teacher Assessment Grades (TAGs). The Department for Education confirmed the TAGs will not be used to create performance table measures or qualification achievement rates at school or college level for use in accountability. As a Local Authority in agreement with the Cumbria Association of Secondary Heads (CASH), the county results were collated for both GCSE, ‘A’ Level and Tech Level. Analysis is more limited this year due to the lack of results generated by comprehensively set and moderated ‘national’ exams.

The vast majority of schools submitted ‘A’ Level and Tech Level results. With no national comparator for 2021, the 2020 outcomes were used as a benchmark. Results show that Average ‘A’ Level points were above 2020 national outcomes by 1.42 points, with ‘3 best point average’ also above the 2020 national figure by 2.28 points. Tech Level results were also above 2020 national outcomes by 4.98 points. This represented an improvement in all areas from the previous year.

In terms of next steps, Teacher Assessment Grades and the Annual Schools Return (ASR) would be used to enable identification of school needs to broker support and training opportunities through a system leadership approach. Further cluster work by Advisers would be focused on districts with lower outcomes to understand challenges, the impact of Covid and to support strategic school improvement.

It should be noted that the impact of the pandemic on attendance and lost learning over the past 18 months would leave a legacy of knowledge gaps. This would undoubtedly affect the consistency and reliability of data over the next few years.


Due to Covid impact issues Ofqual is asking exam boards to make changes to the way the subject content is assessed at GCSE and ‘A’ Level in 2022 examinations.The policy intention was to provide advance information to support students’ revision. This information, released in February, would enable teachers to adapt teaching where required.


RESOLVED that,                 members note the contents of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.



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


No updates were provided on this occasion but an update from the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning would be circulated via email to all members.



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 received a board briefing from the Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Advisor which provided an overview of the Board’s business and opportunities for further scrutiny.

It was AGREED that an invite be extended to all members for a development session with the Cumbria Constabulary in the on the topic of Child Exploitation.

RESOLVED that,                 members note the contents of the report.



Date: 21 February 2022

Time: 10:30 am

Venue: Cumbria House, Carlisle