Manchester City Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 4th November, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual meeting - Webcast at https://manchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/485329

Contact: Rachel McKeon 

Media

Items
No. Item

41.

Committee Changes

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Councillor Abdullatif who had recently joined the Committee.  He informed Members that Councillor Sadler had asked to be removed from the membership of the Committee due to family commitments.  He thanked Councillor Sadler for her contribution to the Committee over the years and sent the Committee’s best wishes to her family.

42.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 224 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2020.

43.

Update on Opening of Schools for All Children and Young People pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Report of the Director of Education

 

This report provides a further update on the full reopening of schools for all pupils in the Autumn term with a specific focus on school attendance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Director of Education which provided a further update on the full reopening of schools for all pupils in the Autumn term with a specific focus on school attendance. The report also noted that, through the learning and education system, children were informed about and understood environmental issues and the negative impact of carbon; promoting safe and healthy lives.

 

Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report, which included:

 

·         Attendance;

·         School closures;

·         Virtual School;

·         Elective Home Education (EHE); and

·         Exclusions.

 

Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:

 

·         Sport for children during lockdown, including swimming and sports activity outside of school;

·         To commend the work of the Director of Customer Services and Transaction and her team in setting up a system to provide payments for families entitled to Free School Meals;

·         Highlighting that the National Education Union (NEU) was calling for schools to be closed during the lockdown;

·         Actions being taken to provide children with laptops or other devices and internet access;

·         What had been the outcome from the Outbreak meetings referred to in the report;

·         What could be done to reassure parents that it was safe for their children to return to school; and

·         Where parents chose to home educate, ensuring that the child was provided with a suitable education and that parents understood that the child would be taken off the school roll.

 

The Director of Education informed the Committee that her service was working with schools to identify the best solution for providing devices and internet access to children.  She advised Members that allocation of laptops to schools by the Department for Education (DfE) was now based on the number of pupils being required to self-isolate. 

 

The Director of Education reported that the Council had arranged for Quality Assurance professionals to visit all Manchester schools to get an understanding of the remote learning offer across the city and what help schools might need.  She suggested that, once this had been completed, the Committee might want to consider a report on this.  Members welcomed this suggestion.  A Member requested that this include a particular focus on Years 11 and 13 as these pupils were due to take important examinations in the summer of 2021.  The Member also requested that, where schools were streaming lessons, data be included on how many pupils had the equipment to access these lessons.  The Executive Member for Children and Schools expressed concern that Manchester children would be expected to take examinations at the same time as and be compared against pupils from other parts of the country where levels of COVID-19 were lower and pupils had missed less school due to self-isolation.

 

The Director of Education advised that she would check what sports activities children were able to access during lockdown and share this information with Members.

 

The Director of Education explained how multi-agency Outbreak meetings took place when an unexplained cluster of COVID-19 cases occurred in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Children and Young People's Plan 2020 - 2024 pdf icon PDF 358 KB

Report of the Strategic Director of Children’s and Education Services

 

This report presents the refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan 2020 – 2024.  It provides an overview of the process that was undertaken in collaboration with children and young people in Manchester and members of the Children’s Board. It highlights how the final product is aligned to other strategic plans and identifies sharper and more ambitious, key priorities, ways of working and measures of success.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services which presented the refreshed Children and Young People’s Plan 2020 – 2024.  It provided an overview of the process that was undertaken in collaboration with children and young people in Manchester and members of the Children’s Board. It highlighted how the final product was aligned to other strategic plans and identified sharper and more ambitious, key priorities, ways of working and measures of success.

 

The report noted that one of the key priorities for the Children and Young People’s Plan was for children and young people to be able to live in a society where environmental issues were intrinsic to decision making.  It stated that key outcomes, including the reduction in hospital admissions for young people with asthma, could only be achieved if the plan had a specific focus on what could be done to improve the environment in which children and young people lived.

 

Officersreferred to the main points and themes within the report, which included:

 

·         The background to the plan;

·         The process for developing the plan, including the involvement of children and young people;

·         Next steps; and

·         The plan on a page, which was appended to the report.

 

Members recognised the contributions of young people to this plan and welcomed the inclusion of the plan on a page, which summarised this work. 

 

The Strategic Director of Children and Education Services suggested that the Committee receive an annual report on the progress of this work, to which the Chair agreed.

 

In response to a Member’s question on whether the impact of race and ethnicity could be more explicitly reflected in the metrics, the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services advised that data could be broken down by ethnicity and that, where ethnicity played a significant role, this could be highlighted in the update report.

 

Decisions

 

1.            To receive an annual report on the progress of this work.

 

2.            That Members will provide continued support to promote the plan throughout their civic duties to the wider Council and its partnerships, thus promoting a safe, happy, healthy and successful future for Manchester’s children and young people.

 

3.            To thank everyone who had been involved in this work and to ask the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services to pass on the Committee’s thanks.

45.

Learning and Impact from the Quality Assurance Framework pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Presentation of the Strategic Lead for Safeguarding

 

This presentation provides an overview of the learning and impact from the Quality Assurance Framework.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation of the Strategic Lead for Safeguarding which provided an overview of the learning and impact from the Quality Assurance Framework.

 

Officersreferred to the main points and themes within the presentation, which included:

 

·         Background to the Quality Assurance Framework;

·         Key findings and data from the past 12 months;

·         The impact of this work;

·         The strengths and areas for continued focus identified through the Framework; and

·         Next steps.

 

Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:

 

·         Whether the pandemic had had an impact on this work; and

·         To note that the outcome of 51% of the audits recorded between September 2019 and August 2020 had been “requires improvement” and to ask what steps were taken in these cases.

 

The Strategic Director of Children and Education Services clarified that this presentation focused on the Quality Assurance Framework and work to improve social work practice, rather than on levels of demand.  The Deputy Director of Children’s Services informed the Committee that there had been an increase in referrals since the schools had re-opened to all pupils, which was similar to pre-COVID-19 referral levels, but that this had been a gradual increase which the service had had the capacity to manage. 

 

The Strategic Lead for Safeguarding explained how the new judgements from audits were based on quality of practice and impact on children, whereas prior to the introduction of this Framework the emphasis had been on compliance, such as whether the right documents were in the case file.  The Social Work Consultant informed the Committee that, where she had audited a case and judged it as “requires improvement”, she would have a reflective discussion with the Social Worker and they would put a plan in place, which she would then review with the Social Worker.  She also outlined how findings from the audits fed into Workforce Development plans, informed Teaching Tuesday sessions and were used in learning circles to share best practice.

 

Decision

 

To thank officers and welcome the work taking place in this area.

46.

Council's Medium Term Financial Plan and Strategy for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached

 

The reports set out the impact of COVID-19 and other pressures and changes on the Council's budget for the period 2021-2025. It summarises the savings options under consideration from 2021/22 as well as set out the approach to Equality Impact Assessments and consultation as part of the budget setting process. It also sets out next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the draft budget options by this Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer that set out the impact of COVID-19 and other pressures and changes on the Council's budget for the period 2021-2025.  The report also set out the impact of COVID-19 on the capital programme and the implications for the budget.  The report stated that the budget reflected the fact that the Council had declared a climate emergency by making carbon reduction a key consideration in the Council’s planning and budget proposals.

 

The main points and themes within the report included: - 

 

  • The Medium Term Financial Plan remained challenged by uncertainty, which included the outcome of the Spending Review and post 2021/22 the potential changes to how local government funding was distributed; 
  • Prior to COVID-19 there was an underlying budget gap of c£20m for 2021/22 rising to c£80m by 2024/25; 
  • Dealing with the impact of COVID-19 had resulted in major spending pressures, particularly in social care, but also across all Directorates; 
  • The forecasted budget shortfall relating to COVID-19 pressures and the Budget Position 2021/22 to 2024/25; 
  • Initial proposals across all Directorates to start addressing the budget gap in advance of the Spending Review and Local Government Financial Settlement; 
  • The need to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment on the options put forward, particularly those that involve impacts on services for residents and reductions in the Council’s workforce; 
  • Proposed consultation on budget options and timescales; and   
  • Next steps. 

 

The Committee also considered a report of the Strategic Director for Children and Education Services which outlined the financial position and set out officer

options for savings against each service area aligned to the Committee’s remit to help achieve a balanced budget in 2021/22. 

 

The main points and themes within the report included: - 

 

·         Background and context;

·         The Directorate’s budget approach;

·         The Children and Education Services Directorate Revenue Budget 2021/22;

·         Areas for consideration, subject to the outcome of the Local Authority Settlement;

·         Impact on the workforce;

·         Next steps; and

·         A summary of the savings proposed.

 

The Committee was invited to comment on the reports prior to their submission to the Executive on 11 November 2020.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -  

 

·         Concern about the financial position the Council was in and the level of funding from the national Government and that Members should lobby the Government for more funding, including money to cover the additional costs the Council had incurred in responding to the pandemic;

·         Concern about the number of unknown factors, such as how much the financial package from the Government would be and what the future demand on services would be;

·         A suggestion that the Council’s reserves could be used to address the funding gaps;

·         Concern that any reduction in early intervention would impact negatively on children and their families and be more costly in the long term;

·         Concern that the pandemic was disproportionately affecting some groups, such as children and young people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, that budget cuts could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Budget Options for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 446 KB

Report of the Strategic Director for Children’s and Education Services attached

 

This report outlines the financial position and sets out Officer options for savings against each service area aligned to the remit of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee to help achieve a balanced budget in 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was covered in the above minute (CYP/20/46).

48.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 433 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

This report provides the Committee with details of key decisions that fall within the Committee’s remit and an update on actionsresulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report alsoincludes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to amend as appropriate and agree.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit was submitted. The overview report contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit, responses to previous recommendations and the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee was asked to approve.

 

Decision

 

To note the report and agree the work programme.