Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Advisory Board - Children and Young People
Tuesday, 20th February, 2018 10.30 am

Venue: Committee Room 1, County Offices, Kendal

Contact: Holly English  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Mr D Barton, Mr W Clark, Mrs C Driver, Mrs S Sanderson, Mr B Shirley and Mr M Mills.




To report any changes to the membership of the Board


There were no changes to membership at the meeting.


The Board was concerned that some of the church and parent governor representatives had not attended meetings for a while. As it was a statutory requirement to have church representatives and parent governors on the Board it was AGREED that the Board would write to Mr Proctor, Mr Robinson, Mr Webb and Mr Mills to ensure that they were still able to attend meetings of the Board.




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 disclosable pecuniary interests declared at the meeting.




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 73 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 18 December 2017.



RESOLVED,            that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 18 December 2017 be confirmed as a correct record.

Matters Arising


Under Minute Number 15- Minutes, it was advised that the Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Advisor would circulate the report on Generation Z to all Members.


Under Minute Number 16- Children’s Complaints Report, the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services advised that a tracker was now in place to monitor outstanding complaints which allowed teams to track individual complaints on a weekly basis. The tracker was also available to display the accountability for completion.


Under Minute Number 19- Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services- Government Green Paper, Cllr E Mallinson informed the Board that she would be attending the Local Government Association- Community Wellbeing Board on the 21 February 2018 which would discuss the Government Green Paper on Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services. Cllr Mallinson asked the Corporate Director and Portfolio Holder for their views on what she should raise. The Corporate Director advised that it was important for Cumbria to reiterate a whole system approach for CAMHS and that Cumbria was ahead of the game in terms of partnership working and had already delivered some of the changes in the Green Paper. It was the Boards view that Cumbria was in a fantastic position to become a trailblazer for the proposed approach as the Council already had suitable policies and systems in place.


Under Minute Number 21- Corporate Director’s update, a Member asked for further information regarding the possible SEND inspection. The Corporate Director advised that over the next 3 year cycle two focus visits would take place on SEND.It was AGREED that the self assessment the Council had to produce ahead of an Ofsted visit had been revised and would be shared with the Board before the next meeting.



Corporate Director Update on Ofsted Recommendations pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To consider a report by the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services (copy enclosed).


Additional documents:


The Board were guided through a presentation by the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services which presented the Ofsted recommendations from the inspection of Children’s Services that took place in November 2017.


It was explained that, when inspecting the authority Ofsted concentrated on the experiences of children and young people in Cumbria by focusing on casework and speaking to staff across the districts. The Ofsted report was published on 29 January 2018 and gave an overall judgement of ‘requires improvement’.


The presentation provided commentary on the following:-




The Board compared the judgements from 2015 with those given in 2017. The Chair expressed her delight at the judgement of leadership, management and governance improving to ‘good’.




Inspectors did not see the embedded poor performance in management and governance that featured in previous inspections. All local authority services for children had significantly improved.




It was noted that inspectors were impressed with the dedication and commitment of all staff. Leaders, elected Members and Senior Managers had made meaningful changes to the culture of the organisation by focusing on what is best for children and the need for continuous development. Elected Members carefully scrutinised and oversaw services for vulnerable children. They had discharged their responsibility with clear lines of accountability. Attendees were pleased to hear that Ofsted inspectors made particular reference to the work of the Scrutiny Board and the Corporate Parenting Board in having a strong focus on vulnerable children.




Consideration was given to Ofsted’s 10 recommendations laid out in the report.


Next steps


The Corporate Director – Children and Families Services advised that a letter from the Minister for Education was imminent and would remove the Notice of Direction from the Department for Education (DfE). Additionally, Cumbria would be stepped down from the Children’s Improvement Board and a new lighter touch board would be established to oversee planning and transformation work.


The Board was keen to ensure the good work would continue and reinforced that it was important to maintain morale and momentum. The Service would keep on the journey to ‘good’.


A Member asked how Members could be used to benefit the children of Cumbria. The Corporate Director – Children and Families emphasised that the role of Members already benefits children in the county and this was illustrated by the District Councils agreeing Council Tax relief to Care Leavers, which Members had worked hard to get agreed. It was also highlighted that Economy and Highways provide opportunities for Care Leavers to undertake an apprenticeship with the County Council.


The presentation and Ofsted recommendations were noted.



Regional Adoption Agency pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider a report by the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services (copy enclosed).



Consideration was given to a report by the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services which provided the Board with an update on establishing a Regional Adoption Agency. The report contained information regarding the Council’s progress towards forming a Regional Adoption Agency by the Governments target of 2020 and the work so far in developing the Regional Adoption Agency.


The Council had been meeting with Durham, Sunderland and five associated Voluntary Adoption Agencies since late 2016 with a view to forming the Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency.


The Corporate Director was pleased to inform that the Council’s DfE link person and coach had advised that the Minister had approved the proposal, and the Council was awaiting written confirmation of this decision and grant amount.


In regards to next steps, the Council was to progress the internal reshaping of service to be ready to move to the RAA, progress with the project stage as soon as DfT funding was confirmed and to collaborate on practice uses to maintain momentum.


A Member asked whether staff would be TUPE transferred to the Adoption Agency. It was advised that the authority was not at the stage to consider staffing implications and Members would be told more information when the time came.


RESOLVED,            that the Board note the progress in the development of a Regional Adoption Agency



Child Sexual Exploitation Update pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To consider a report by the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services (copy enclosed).


Additional documents:


The Board received a presentation from the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services which provided an update on the multi-agency work to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).


Members scrutinised progress in relation to Ofsted’s recommendations regarding Child Sexual Exploitation in their 2017 inspection report.


The Service Manager- Children and Families spoke about the following in the presentation:-


(1)  Actions taken and progress to date


·         There was a dedicated CSE and Missing From Home (MFH) Strategic Plan under LSCB with an annually updated action plan.

·         Policies and procedures were regularly updated with informed practitioner feedback and national guidance.

·         A countywide self assessment was in place and was supported by agency/ setting based self assessments.

·         Dedicated Social Media events had been undertaken including the CSE Awareness Day in 2017 which reached over 500,000 people.


(2)  Child Sexual Exploitation in Cumbria


·         The presentation provided the figures for:

-       CSE related intelligence

-       CSE managed by Social Workers

-       CSE managed via Early Help


A discussion took place regarding the significant increase in cases of CSE in Cumbria. The Service Manager advised that the increase in cases may be due to the fact that members of the public feel more confident to speak up and report CSE. Members were advised that CSE looks different across different areas of the County.


(3)  Management of Child Sexual Exploitation cases


·         There was district-based Multi Agency Child Sexual Exploitation meetings

·         Social Workers, Targeted Youth Support, NSPCC and Barnardos provided support services for those at risk

·         There was a dedicated hub-pod and risk assessment tool


(4)  Ofsted findings


·         The response to children who go missing or are at risk of CSE had improved

·         Children were identified and level of risk assessed in a timely manner

·         Intervention was well coordinated however some children had to wait too long before cases were escalated

·         Further development was required and relevant plans were in place


(5)  Next steps


·         Preventative work would be undertaken in schools

·         There would be a new risk assessment tool

·         Return home interviews would have a weekend service


A Member asked why the distinction was made between abuse and exploitation. In response the Service Manager explained that abuse usually took place in families, whereas exploitation tended to take place outside of the family setting, and often involves coercion and control of the child. Often the victim would be given something they want or need. It was explained that CSE was often more complex than abuse.


Members queried how information and statistics could be shared with Local Members and District Councils. It was AGREED that the Corporate Director and Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Advisor would look into how information and statistics could be brought to Members without exposing individual cases.


The Board also received the Department for Education’s (DfE) 2017 guidance on Child Sexual Exploitation.


RESOLVED,             that the report, presentation and DfE guidance be noted.



Alternative Provision Update pdf icon PDF 62 KB

To consider a verbal update from the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services (copy enclosed).



The Board received a brief verbal update from the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services which discussed updates on an alternative provision. As the Assistant Director – Learning and Inclusion could not be in attendance at the meeting it was AGREED for a further update to be brought to the next meeting of the Board in May 2018.


A discussion took place regarding the importance of developing Alternative Provision and the factors which may affect it’s success.




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

Additional documents:


The Board received a verbal update from the Cabinet Member – Children’s Services which updated on the key issues relating to Children’s Services.


Members were pleased to hear that the Council Tax relief proposal for Care Leavers had been successful and would come into force from April 2018. It was explained that work would be done going forward to try and offer leisure passes to Care Leavers.


The Cabinet Member updated the Board on apprenticeships and the challenge facing Officers to offer vacancies to Children Looked After first. Members asked for more information regarding how many Children Looked After were undertaking apprenticeships and where the apprenticeships were based. It was AGREED that a report would be brought to the next meeting of the Board with further details and a list of apprenticeship vacancies.


A discussion took place regarding the next steps following the Ofsted inspection. The Cabinet Member – Children’s Services assured the Board that the good work would continue and the authority would work hard to achieve ‘good’. A Member asked whether the authority would still have access to the services offered by Claire Burgess (Department for Education Advisor) who was appointed by the Secretary of State to be an independent Chair of the LSCB. In response the Cabinet Member advised that the arrangement had ended following the improvements in Children’s Services, however she could be commissioned if the authority felt the need.




To receive an update from the Corporate Director – Children and Families Services.




To consider a report from the Chief Executive.


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 from the Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation which briefed on Board activity since the previous meting of the Board, and presented the proposed work programme that was due to go to Scrutiny Management Board. Consideration was also given to the forward plan of Cabinet decisions relevant to children and young people.


The report recapped the last meeting of the Board in which Board Members considered educational attainment, the Government’s Mental Health Green Paper and scrutinised the proposals for developing Alternative Provision for Cumbria.


Since the last meeting Members had spent a large amount of time being involved in the Ofsted Inspection.


In December 2017 members of the Scrutiny Board joined up with the Corporate Parenting Board to respond to the Government consultation on Corporate Parenting Principles as part of the implementation of the Children and Social Care Act 2017. It was advised that both of the Boards would be informed of the Governments response when published.


The Board considered the future work plan and relevant items on the Council’s Forward Plan.


RESOLVED,             that the report and future work plan be noted.




Date: 29 May 2018

Time: 10.30am

Venue: Cumbria House, Carlisle


The next meeting of the Board would be held on 29 May 2018 at Cumbria House, Carlisle.