Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Advisory Board - Children and Young People - Tuesday, 7th February, 2023 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Kendal

Contact: Jackie Currie  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Mrs M Rae and Mr P Turner.




To report any changes to the membership of the Board


There were no changes in 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).


Mrs C Bowditch declared a non pecuniary interest in Agenda Item No 6 – Joint Area SEND Revisit in Cumbria as she is the Chair of 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 any items on the agenda today.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 21 October 2022 (copy enclosed)




RESOLVED,     that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 21 October 2022 be agreed as a true and accurate record.






To consider a report from Executive Director – People (Deputy Chief Executive) (copy enclosed)


A presentation will also be given on the day.




Additional documents:


Scrutiny members had before them a report from the Executive Director – People which provided an opportunity to consider the Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission Letter to Cumbria following the joint inspection of December 2022.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission had now written to the Council to share their findings from the inspection revisit of the local area SEND services, which took place in December 2022.

The purpose of the inspection revisit was to determine whether sufficient progress had been made to improve the nine areas of significant concern identified during the full inspection in 2019.

The Executive Director was pleased to report that having considered each area in detail, the inspectors’ judgement was that sufficient progress had been made in seven of the nine areas.

Whilst progress had been made in the remaining two areas inspectors felt there was more work for the partnership to do. These two areas were the trust and faith parents had in our services and the support for emotional health and wellbeing.

The letter described in detail the inspection findings, which were fair and accurately reflected the position. The Council was now working with partners and the Department for Education and NHS England to agree a plan for improvement for these two areas.

The SEND Partnership would continue to have oversight of these plans, with representatives from Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council replacing the County Council in April 2023 to work alongside both Integrated Care Boards operating across Cumbria, SENDAC (Cumbria’s parent carer forum) and our NHS and Education providers. 

The huge amount of work by partners and parents, services and teams, since the 2019 inspection had resulted in positive change for children and their families. 

Members then received a presentation from Ms S Rees – SEND Improvement Strategic Lead and Mr D Barton – Assistant Director – Education and Skills, which covered the following:-


·           The Inspection

·           Reflections

·           Findings

·           Accelerated Progress Plan

·           Continuous Improvement Plan

·           Priorities for Improvement


Members raised concerns about the possible weakness of transition especially for services for families with members on the autism spectrum and respite care for people with learning difficulties.  The issue of transition between children’s services and adult social care had been raised many years ago as part of a Scrutiny Review but it appeared the recommendations were not progressed as the issue still existed.  Barn Close in Carlisle was an excellent facility for respite care but was badly in need of modernisation. Members felt it could also be used for step down care from hospital.


The Assistant Director responded to say that the issue with transition was complex and difficult, there were much greater expectations from parents and carers today, and a great deal of work was needed to decide what success looked like from all perspectives.


The Assistant Director agreed to work with the Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Advisor Officer to align this work with the previous Scrutiny Review.


In relation to Barn Close this would be a strategic decision  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Post Inspection Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 102 KB

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


Additional documents:


Members had before them a report from the Executive Director – People which provided them with an overview of the post inspection improvement plan responding to the Ofsted areas of improvement.

Cumbria Children’s Services were inspected by Ofsted under the Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services (ILACS) framework from 12-30 September 2022. The inspection report was published on 15 November 2022.

The inspection identified six areas for improvements:-

·           The response to children who go missing and children who are at risk of exploitation

·           The response to children experiencing neglect

·           The impact of leaders, managers and independent reviewing officers’ oversight and challenge

·           The quality of assessments and plans for children in need of help and protection, including safety plans and contingency plans

·           The response to children aged 16 and 17 who present as homeless

·           The robustness of checks completed in relation to private fostering arrangements


Following publication of the inspection report, local authorities were asked to submit a post-inspection action plan, setting out the work that would be undertaken to address any areas for improvement. Cumbria must submit this action plan to Ofsted by 23 February 2023.

In light of the Ofsted learning work had been undertaken via the children & young people senior leadership team to review the current quality and development plan.  The draft post inspection improvement plan sets out the actions to be taken over the next 12 months.

The delivery of this plan would need to be carried forward into the two new local authorities for Cumbria via their children’s services, service plans. This work was currently underway via the LGR Children’s workstream.

The Chair felt this was a positive and worthwhile process and said members appreciated the opportunity to comment on the action plan.

Members asked about the issue of children going missing and at risk of exploitation and whether the demise of the school attendance truancy officer has exacerbated this. 

The Assistant Director agreed this was a good point and there may well be a link especially in relation to vulnerable young people. She agreed to look at the possibility of referencing this in the action plan.

One of the members asked for reassurance that the County Council was robust when checking on private foster carers.


The Assistant Director clarified that the mention of ‘private’ foster carers in relation to this plan was those whereby the young person was being fostered by a family member or friend.  It was not referring to the private sector foster carers as these were regulated by Ofsted and not the County Council.

A question was raised about diversity and whether there was anything in the plan to address this.  The Assistant Director confirmed that exploitation and diversity were covered in the plan but would look at this again.

A members asked how the audits were carried out for children that are classed as missing and the Assistant Director clarified how this was done.

The Chair commented that neglect appeared to be one of the most common forms of abuse, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.



To receive an update from the Executive Director – People (Deputy Chief Executive) (presentation on the day)



The Scrutiny Board received a presentation from the Executive Director – People and the SEND Improvement Strategic Lead, which covered the following:-


·           LGR Requirements

·           Services that support children

·           Current position

·           Service delivery models – Day 1

·           Service delivery

·           Recruitment and staffing

·           ICT systems

·           Budgets and grants

·           Delivering every day


Members asked whether it would be possible to have an electronic copy of the slides and the Democratic Services Officer agreed to send these out.


The Executive Director ended by thanking all the members of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Advisory Board for their effort, support and challenge over the years.


RESOLVED,     that the update presentation be noted. 



To receive a verbal update from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning.



The update from the Cabinet Member - Schools and Learning was tabled and noted.


The Cabinet Member – Children’s Services then gave members a verbal update.


The Chair thanked the Cabinet Members for this informative update.


Members of the Advisory Board thanked the Cabinet Members for all the work they had undertaken on behalf of children and young people during their many years in office.


Mrs Mallinson and Ms McCarron-Holmes left the meeting at this point.




To consider a report from the Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Advisor (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).



The Board received a report which provided an update on the activity of the Board and relevant items in the Cabinet Forward Plan.


The Chair thanked the Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Advisor for the diligent way he had gone about his work during his time supporting the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Board, and wished him well for the future.  


RESOLVED,   that the briefing be noted.