A paper seeking approval of the Warwickshire Children & Young People Strategy 2021-2030
Cabinet Portfolio Holder – Councillor Jeff Morgan
Councillor Jeff Morgan (Portfolio Holder for Children, Families & Education) summarised the report which set out the establishment of the strategy with input from a wide range of professionals from across the sector. The aim was for Warwickshire to be a Child Friendly County where children were put at the heart of everything we do and where children were supported to reach their full potential. Children and young people had been asked whether they considered the area they lived in was child friendly and overall there was an 81% positive response. The strategy appended to the report was targeted at professionals in the sector and a child and parent friendly version of the strategy would be provided.
Cabinet welcomed the strategy.
That Cabinet approves the Warwickshire Children & Young People Strategy 2021-2030.
John Coleman, Assistant Director – People’s Directorate, presented the report to the Committee confirming that it is a draft version for comments from the Committee. It was noted that this is the first Warwickshire County Council strategy that is just for children ad young people. The development of the strategy included head teachers, health colleagues, partners, parents/carers and young people.
It was noted that the strategy clearly outlines the intentions of Warwickshire County Council and that so far, all the feedback has been positive with children put at the heart of decision making. It was noted that there has been engagement with partner agencies but it is a Warwickshire County Council Strategy.
The engagement with children and young people has varied between the five districts but the intention is that there will be an annual survey with engagement increasing each time.
Real engagement with children and young people – variations between the districts. First survey aimed and children and young people 1800 (120,000) – intention is that this will be an annual survey.
The Committee noted that Officers would welcome views on the document ahead of the Cabinet meeting on 14th October 2021.
Councillor Jill Simpson-Vince requested that additional information relating to the overall population of Warwickshire would be helpful and would add more context to information in the strategy such as the number of social workers per children. John Coleman accepted the suggestion and agreed to add the information to the strategy.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse added that he felt some areas needed further development and that he agreed with the proposal for the strategy to come back to the Committee each year for a review. Councillor Justin Kerridge agreed with Councillor Roodhouse in relation to the measures not quite matching with what precedes them in the documents; it is not always clear how things are going to be achieved. John Coleman added that not all priorities can be delivered at the same time, with some that will need to be completed before others can be started.
Following a question from Councillor Breet Beetham, John Coleman confirmed that the survey asked for district information but not division information. It was agreed that this information cam be shared with elected members and that division information is something that can be added to future surveys.
Councillor Jill Simpson-Vince added that the strategy needs to be clearer about the services that the council is already offering; and what will continued to be offered; some parts of the document suggest that the council is not offering services that are already in place.
Councillor Brian Hammersley added that it is important that the strategy recognises that not all children are academic and they want to follow a vocational path. There needs to be support for all children, not just the academic ones.
John Coleman thanked members for their comments and grammatical corrections and confirmed that officers have tried to provide a statement of intention to integrate to partner agencies and service users.