Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Democratic Services 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

Public Open Forum.

Select Committee Public Open Forum ~ Guidance

 

Our Select Committee meetings are live streamed and a link to the live stream will be available on the meeting page of the Monmouthshire County Council website

 

If you would like to share your thoughts on any proposals being discussed by Select Committees, you can submit your representation via this form

 

·      Please share your views by uploading a video or audio file (maximum of 4 minutes) or;

·      Please submit a written representation (via Microsoft Word, maximum of 500 words)

 

You will need to register for a My Monmouthshire account in order to submit the representation or use your log in, if you have registered previously.

 

The deadline for submitting representations to the Council is 5pm three clear working days in advance of the meeting.

 

If representations received exceed 30 minutes, a selection of these based on theme will be shared at the Select Committee meeting.  All representations received will be made available to councillors prior to the meeting.


If you would like to suggest future topics for scrutiny by one of our Select Committees, please do so by emailing
Scrutiny@monmouthshire.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

No public submissions were received.

 

3.

Family Support Services pdf icon PDF 948 KB

To provide a report on aims and objectives of the service and to discuss the outcomes for children and young people and the impact of the service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Charlotte Drury delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions with additional comments from Tyrone Stokes.

Challenge:

What involvement was there with debt referral, so that families are managing their budgets?

This is one of the real values of the helpline that we set up – the worker is trained to give basic welfare rights advice. Welsh Government did this work in 2020/21, in which they offered training opportunities to help upskill people who might be in a position to offer advice. We also have very good links between the Early Help panel and the Housing Intervention panel; the latter has lots of opportunities for people to seek advice concerning welfare rights, benefits advice, income maximisation, debt management and debt advice. We have a worker sitting on both of those panels to ensure that we are joining up in the right way and that people are getting the right support.

There is a concern about children who haven’t connected with working online, who are still at home now. Are there ways of encouraging them to come to school?

Because education is so important, all of the different services are picking up supporting children back into education and supporting their access to learning. There is an underpinning theme of social pedagogy across the landscape. Almost all of the children whom ACT works with improve their educational attendance. In terms of specific things, a big piece of work is taking place between the educational psychologists and school risk counselling to look at emotion-based school avoidance – in fact, most school avoidance is rooted in emotional wellbeing i.e. children not being happy in school. I also sit on the management committee of Monmouthshire’s Pupil Referral Service, which helps me to make useful connections. Improving children’s learning and learning outcomes has to be at the heart of everything we do, but it is not a quick fix. In Monmouthshire, the difference between children from more and less affluent communities is more visible than in other authorities, and we know that this affects their emotional wellbeing.

Have the referrals been particularly because families are confined to one house?

To the degree to which that was a factor, we are largely through that now, as children are back in school, and adults are back at work. Space is always an issue: having access to the outside, green space, etc. is always important to people’s wellbeing so the answer is both yes and no.

It is excellent to see that we are doing a lot of work on intervention.

We can never do enough. The direction of travel, in the sense of taking a preventative approach, is now unrecognisable compared with 7 or 8 years ago. The local authority taking children into care should always be the last resort. If we can do more ‘downstream’ work to ensure that, then that is the direction in which we will continue. And we also need to ensure that we are making best use of our resources: if we are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 630 KB

Scrutiny of the budgetary position (revenue and capital) for services falling under the committee’s remit at Month 9.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tyrone Stokes and Nicola Wellington presented the report and answered the members’ questions.

Challenge:

Are most of the grants Covid-based or for particular aspects? What are the time limits on them being spent?

There are grants for specific items not related to Covid. For example, the Additional Learning Needs grant of £184k, which is there for the new additional learning needs act, which is coming in, and the Revenue Maintenance grant, £1.1m, which we have had for a number of years. That grant will be spent this year; in fact, it has been spent, to offset existing school expenditures. We have agreed with Welsh Government that a number of the other grants can be rolled into the next financial year, which will allow schools to plan and make proper provision for them.

Although the report shows a favourable financial position, one-off grants have masked the real pressures moving forward. So, there is still a £1.3m pressure for the children’s element in social care. The new numbers that come in are those who require high-cost support. The grants are very welcome, but we still go into next year with a challenge.

In terms of pressures on social care, is that due to children who are in care – the numbers or the complexity of their needs increasing?

Not necessarily. The main pressure is the looked-after population that we serve. But we are also trying to get finances where we have exhausted all of the opportunities to make use of the scarce resources that we have – we are trying to bolster and have preventative support downstream, as mentioned in the previous item, as the last resort is to bring someone into care. It’s a case of trying to supplement the preventative approach that we have.

When going for innovative approaches, you are looking for the appropriate grants to supplement that work?

Yes, and there’s a question of legacy, as when the grants are retracted we can’t ‘turn off the tap’ – we are left trying to carry on that work, otherwise it is lost.

Chair’s Summary:

Thank you for the report. It is good to see that the school balances are improving. Thank you to the staff for their hard work in a very difficult area.

 

5.

Children and Young People Select Committee Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 496 KB

Minutes:

Given political considerations during the pre-election period, ALN should be considered by the next administration – therefore, the next meeting will cover the Myst Project only. Following the next meeting, the new committee (post-election) will decide the work programme.

 

6.

To confirm the minutes of the previous meetings: pdf icon PDF 467 KB

·         20th January 2022

·         31st January 2022 (Special)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

·         20th January 2022

·         31st January 2022 (Special)

The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record, proposed by Councillor Powell and seconded by Councillor Groucott.

 

7.

To confirm the date and time of the next meeting as 7th April 2022 at 10.00am