Agenda and minutes

Special Meeting, Children and Young People Select Committee - Wednesday, 25th November, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Remote Meeting. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Councillor Jo Watkins declared a personal but non-prejudicial interest as a parent of a child in Caldicot SRB. Maggie Harris declared an interest as a governor at Deri View.



Homeless Briefing Report and emerging proposals for future delivery of homelessness pdf icon PDF 569 KB

To consider a position report on homelessness – our demands, gaps and proposals to address them

Additional documents:


Officer Ian Bakewell presented the report and presentation, and answered the members’ questions.


Many of the applicants need specialist accommodation and specialist support, which is not currently available. What are we doing for people with severe needs?

Safeguarding is at the forefront of everything that we do. Many of the placements are linked to that. It is still a challenge, but we are reasonably confident about the levels of placements we do that reflect risk assessments and involvement of other agencies. The problem is that, for example, we might have put someone in B&B for safeguarding reasons who otherwise might have been in shared accommodation or Solas. The outcome might not be the ideal placement, but it has been informed by a risk assessment or a safeguarding consideration. We move people quite often, when issues arise. This is an absolute priority for us but working within the parameters that we have is extremely challenging.

Is Welsh Government giving any funding to back up its new, and encouraging, proactive stance on homelessness?

We have Phase 2 homeless funding for a number of short term projects until April. For example, we’re funding a drug and alcohol worker through GDAS. After 1st April, Welsh Government says there’s nothing available, so we have to wait and see. If there isn’t any funding, there will be a big problem across Wales. I would expect that there will be something. We will know next month.

Are things lined up to provide an emergency stopgap with B&Bs?

Yes, the concern is if our B&Bs refuse to give accommodation. If there were a number of them, it would be extremely difficult, and as things stand I don’t have an answer to that. We would probably look for assistance to do something like Gilwern again. There is some capacity in the system and we have reassurances from the majority to get us to Christmas, and some to April. We can use Welsh Government Hardship funding to help us on that. It doesn’t necessarily give us any guarantees. I’m reasonably confident.

Is the Pobl work to provide temporary accommodation in progress?

Colleagues in the Partnerships team have done a lot of work with Pobl, in terms of remodelling. Unfortunately, in order to cement this arrangement they have had to decommission two services. The Pobl work is due to kick in on 1st April – they have been very flexible and supportive.

Are there fewer B&B bookings now because of Covid, and will that create a problem at a later stage?

Yes, we are in a bit of a luck situation. Prior to Covid, we were only using one B&B in the county. We have been able to benefit from the lack of tourism and take on more local B&Bs. There might be some risk with this, as mentioned above. I think there is a little bit of assurance because we have propped up a number  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Additional Learning Needs Strategy

Update on the progress of delivering the strategy.

Additional documents:


Officers Will Mclean, Jacquelyn Elias, Morwenna Wagstaff and Lucie Doyle delivered the report and answered the members’ questions.


What support will be given to teachers to ensure that this provision, and the teachers, are woven seamlessly into school?

Currently, we call them Special Needs Resource bases but ‘Special Needs’ is not going to remain the terminology – we are looking at a rebranding of our specialist provision. Schools that host our resource provision must work in partnership with the local authority. Our Special Needs Professional Network group is a really important strand in the development of the relationships/codependencies that we have. These schools provide specialist education for our most vulnerable children; therefore, we need to have quality assurance that that is the best education these children can have and that staff are appropriately supported through training and other initiatives. The culture and ethos of the schools are also extremely important. It is a critical relationship that is growing and is extremely positive. We have over 150 places already across the authority, and it’s really important that there’s a consistency in practice and in our vision of what we want from these resource bases. We are driving towards ALN Centres of Excellence; this will only be achieved by working in partnership.

Welsh medium teaching has grown in Monmouthshire. Do we now have Welsh-speaking language therapists?

The number of Welsh-speaking professionals in SE Wales is an ongoing issue. How we can address this is a subject of discussions in our consortia. For example, we currently don’t have any Welsh-speaking educational psychologists but we know that there are some in Blaenau Gwent. We look at using an original resource to fill that gap while we look proactively for colleagues to learn Welsh, or to recruit those who already do. There’s currently one Welsh speaking language therapist in Aneurin Bevan. We will continue to identify this as a priority through our WESP.

Is it intended that the additional provision proposed for Deri View will stay there once Deri View closes, moves to the secondary school site in Abergavenny, and is replaced on that site by the Welsh medium school?

It is our hope that we will be able to create an SNRB facility that will take children from ages 3 to 19, providing continuing support throughout. It would not see an English medium SNRB stay on the Deri View site. We are looking at a new provision that will enhance the capacity in Monmouthshire. Currently, in the north we are beginning to work on an understanding with our parents and schools that there should be a continuation of education from when children start in Overmonnow through to Monmouth Comprehensive. The same in the south of the county between Pembroke and Caldicot. It gives us a great opportunity in Abergavenny to do that on a single site.

The new legislation will see very clear responsibilities from birth to age 24. How can the transition from school into adult life be seen through smoothly?  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Children and Young People Select Committee Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 503 KB


We will next look at Play provision and Welsh medium provision. Councillor Brown asked to consider other ALN strategies in Gwent as an item for future meetings.



To confirm the date and time of the next meeting


There is a potential change in membership to this committee, with David Hughes-Jones possibly stepping down, to be replaced by Frances Taylor.

The next meeting is 8th December, with Budget scrutiny on 19th January. The committee agrees to move meetings to Thursdays.