Agenda and draft minutes

Children & Young People Board
Thursday, 13th June, 2019 11.00 am

Venue: Smith Square 1&2, Ground Floor, 18 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ. View directions

Contact: Eleanor Reader-Moore  Email: eleanor.reader-moore@local.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome, Apologies and Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed members to the meeting and noted apologies.

 

Introductions were made around the table.

 

 

2.

National Network of Parent-Carer Forums - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (presentation)

Minutes:

The Chair introduced Maureen Morris and Mrunal Sisodia from the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.

 

Maureen and Mrunal gave an overview of the NNPCF, which allowed parents to express views on SEND and keep an eye on the public purse. The organisation was divided into 9 local authority areas. All NNPCF staff were parents and carers, which enabled the organisation to benefit from lived experience.

 

They gave an outline of the ‘State of the Nations’ report, which highlighted the following issues:

 

·         There was not enough money in the system;

·         the pressure on special schools needed easing;

·         there was a lack of early intervention in special schools;

·         the organisation was supportive of the new local area special framework;

·         CCGs generally prioritised safeguarding over SEND.

 

 

 

In the discussion which followed, members made the following points:

 

·         Members thanked the speakers, emphasising they recognised many of the points made.

 

·         Concerns were raised over a lack of incentive to keep children with SEND needs in mainstream schools, even though it was more costly to send them to a specialist schools. Taking a child out of their local school also meant they were taken out of their local community.

 

·         Leads in councils often prioritised safeguarding, but there had to be a shift away from this.

 

·         There were issues around persistent absence, usually with SEND children, which were often forgotten.

 

·         Problems with underfunding were discussed.

 

·         Local Authorities often experienced problems working with academies. There was a perception that academies excluded SEND children more often, although official statistic did not support this.

 

The Chair thanked the speakers.

 

Decision:

 

The board noted the presentation.

 

Action:

 

It was agreed the State of the Nation report would be circulated.

 

3.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities task and finish group pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Minutes:

Cllr Gillian Ford, Chair of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) task and finish group, introduced the item. She advised that the report set out work undertaken since the group’s first meeting in March 2018. It outlined further work in this area that the LGA could undertake to strengthen the understanding of SEND pressures facing councils.

 

She highlighted that a series of follow up workshops were planned and further details would follow in due course. She emphasised points 7, 8 and 9 in the report, and asked what should be considered as priority focus areas.

 

In the discussion which followed, members made the following points:

 

·         If more children became eligible for support, this would need to be funded.

 

·         On point 7, it was emphasised that structural issues would need to be addressed. At the moment, there was not enough funding to do this.

 

·         Efforts needed to be focused on 7.1, to help main stream schools to support children.

 

·         There was a discussion on point 8 and the pressures on the further education system.

 

·         There was a discussion on early years provision.

 

·         Members highlighted that there was substantial pressure on local authorities in assessing SEND plans. This needed to be highlighted to government.

 

·         It was important to capture the voice of children in the evidence base.

 

·         More work needed to be done in specialist schools (with reference to paragraphs 7-10).

 

Cllr Ford thanked members for their contributions. The Chair thanked Cllr Ford for her work.

 

Decision:

 

Members noted the work undertaken by the task and finish group to date.

 

Action:

 

Officers to continue with work in line with members’ comments.

4.

Progress in delivering the LGA children's services improvement programme pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Minutes:

Andy Bates, Principal Adviser for the South-West Region, introduced the item.

 

Andy advised that the paper provided a brief summary of the progress made in delivering three key strands of the LGA Children’s Services Improvement Programme through 2018/19:

 

§  Leadership Capacity and Development

§  Early Years Peer Challenge

§  Children’s Services Peer Challenge

 

Work had been put into improving infrastructure and establishing regional improvement alliances, as well as a national improvement board and peer challenges.

 

In the discussion which followed, members made the following points:

 

·         It was important to acknowledge the work undertaken, and how it had been developed.

 

·         It was highlighted that some regional improvement alliances were more developed than others.

 

·         Members emphasised it was positive to see that authorities wanted to be involved in peer challenges.

 

·         There was a discussion around how local authorities could best be supported through regional support, especially where there needed to be sector change.

 

·         There was a discussion around how to approach authorities which were not engaging.

 

Decision

 

Members noted the progress in delivering the Children’s Services Improvement Programme.

 

Action

 

Officers to proceed with work in line with members’ comments. 

5.

Consultation on children not in school pdf icon PDF 635 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Louise Smith, Senior Adviser, introduced the item.  Louise highlighted the government had published a consultation on proposals to create a register for home educated children, which the LGA had called for, and asked members what they would like to see in a response to this.

 

In this discussion which followed, members made the following points:

 

·         There was a discussion around home education for children in general and whether it was always suitable for the needs of the child.

 

·         The funding for home educated children is a saving to the Government.

 

·         There was a discussion around safeguarding, and whether there was a whistle blowing process for missing children. Children outside of mainstream education were currently not on any register.

 

·         Members emphasised that there needed to be a better understanding of why children were being taken out of schools to be educated at home. Some felt this was down to failures in the school system.

 

·         It was important to ensure the voice of the child was heard in relation to their education, and whether they wished to be home educated.

 

·         Members agreed they welcomed the idea of a register.  It was vital that any new duty was fully funded, though it was acknowledged that many new duties in recent years had not been.

 

Decision:

 

Members noted the report.

 

Action:

 

Officers to provide a response to the consultation in line with members’ comments.

6.

Note of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 304 KB

Minutes:

Decision:

 

Members agreed the minutes of the previous meeting as an accurate summary of the discussion.

7.

Children and Young People Board End of Year Report pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Minutes:

Decision:

 

1.    Members noted the achievements for 2018/19 and agreed the report.

 

The Chair thanked members for their contributions.

 

Cllr Gillian Ford thanked the Chair for her work over the past year.