Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

None.

2.

Public Open Forum.

Minutes:

No members of the public were present.

3.

Scrutiny of the performance of safeguarding children. pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was being brought to the Children and Young People’s Select Committee in order that they could evaluate the progress of the council’s key safeguarding priorities during 2018/19 and the effectiveness overall of safeguarding in Monmouthshire.  The report highlighted risks and mitigations and outlined key actions for further improvement.  The lead officer explained that having reported on a six monthly basis following previous unsatisfactory audits and the authority being taken into ‘special measures’, the council has much greater confidence in the journey undertaken and that the future reporting arrangements are to be annual.  The committee heard that the outcome of a recent Wales Audit Office inspection will be reported in the near future. The lead officer discussed the performance of the council in detail, referring to Appendix 2 of the report, the key points included:

 

·         Safeguarding should be embedded within every council service and a self-assessment is currently being undertaken within each directorate.

 

·         The council is well aware of emerging risks on safeguarding, key examples being modern day slavery and child sexual exploitation and how other council departments such as licensing have a key role in ensuring safeguarding of children and adults. 

 

·         External commissioned services remain a challenge as every service commissioned needs to be thoroughly checked, so in terms of self-evaluation scoring, the score is lower until we have really made sure every department has done that and internal audit have verified that is the case.

 

Challenge:

 

·         The committee acknowledges the tremendous strides that have been made since the time that safeguarding was deemed inadequate.  Last year, a joint inspection by Estyn, the Care in Wales and Wales Audit Office concluded that safeguarding practice was robust, but that work needed to continue with some departments who may not have an obvious connection with safeguarding.  I would like some reassurance that we are doing this and that now that we have better systems in place, we are revisiting the old system to see if things have slipped through the net.

There are lots of layers as to how we reassure ourselves we have the right checks in place. I can reassure you that the employment checks are in place and the safer recruitment process ensures that people we employ have the correct checks in place.  We’ve not taken our focus off that. The element we are acknowledging is still transitional and is therefore reflected through our scoring, is the training aspect. All departments are completing SAFE self-assessments and must comply with the safeguarding programme, so our self-evaluation score is an acknowledgment that in terms of a cross-council approach with this system, we’re still not there. We are currently reliant on the SAFE’S and the safeguarding leads in the department undertaking more manual systems until we are fully automated. It’s a reflection of the work we need to do around this.

·         There are concerns in relations to community delivered services, having attended a community-led mother and toddler group last year where it was evident that any adult could come  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

To scrutinise the proposed changes to the School Funding Formula as part of the formal consultation process. pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was brought to the committee to seek the views of members on the proposed changes to the funding formula for all schools, whilst this is under consultation. The lead officer advised that this review is a regular review in order to ensure the fairest distribution of funding to schools. The Schools Funding Forum had requested a working group review the formula and having undertaken the review, the forum has made the recommendations outlined in paragraph 3.2 of the report. The officer explained that the rationale for the recommendations is outlined in section 3 of the consultation document attached in appendix 1 of the report. 

 

The committee were advised that there were no proposals to reduce the overall funding, but that the recommendations outlined in the report proposed a redistribution of funds in a fairer way.  The views of the select committee would be taken into account with the consultation responses when the Executive make a decision.

 

Challenge:

 

·           My first question is around equity. I’m keen for everyone to be treated equally and I believe that whenever we get an opportunity to consider funding, we should address inequality and disadvantage.  Some schools have to spend a lot of resources on addressing inequality, so I would be reassured if we could somehow acknowledge the effect of deprivation.

It is difficult, it’s essentially the same pot of money and we are just redistributing it in a fairer way, but we will consider this. There are Welsh Government grants that address deprivation and the pupil deprivation grants that go to schools are one of these, but we will take tis into account.

·           Please can you offer more explanation into the rationale for the changes, the justification and explain the impacts on schools?

The officer described in detail the rationale for the recommendations, explaining that some schools received funding streams for services they no longer administered and that through consultation, the feedback of each school had been taken into account in making the recommendations.

 

 

 

Outcome and Chair’s Conclusion:

 

The committee supported the proposals to change the schools funding formula in line with the findings and recommendations of the Schools Funding Forum’s review. They acknowledged that the overall funding for schools is not being reduced, but that funds are being distributed in a fairer way.  The committee requested:

 

·         The officer considers how best to reflect the issue of deprivation.

·         The Service Level Agreement on payroll is emailed to the committee.

 

The chair reminded the committee that all elected members can feed their individual comments through via the consultation process.

 

5.

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting. pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Minutes:

There were some amendments to be made in terms of attendance at the meeting and it was requested that Democratic Services revisit the attendance sheet and make the necessary amendments. Co-opted members Peter Strong, Fay Middleton and Maggie Harris were in attendance but are not listed. In addition, Councillor Paul Pavia is listed as a member of the committee when he is not a member and attended in an observing capacity.

 

6.

Children and Young People Select Committee Forward Work Plan. pdf icon PDF 387 KB

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Manager discussed the forward plan and this was agreed by the committee.

 

7.

Council and Cabinet Work Plan. pdf icon PDF 291 KB

Minutes:

Noted.

8.

Next Meeting: Tuesday 17th December 2019 at 10.00am.

Minutes:

Noted.