Agenda and minutes

Children & Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 8 November 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room 2, Shire Hall. View directions

Contact: Helen Barnsley  Senior Democratic Services Officer


No. Item



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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jo Barker and Brett Beetham.



Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

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There were none.



Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

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The minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2022 were approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.



Public Speaking

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No requests were received.



Participation Annual Update: Youth Council and Children in Care Council pdf icon PDF 678 KB

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The Committee received a report which provided an update on the Youth Council and Children in Care Council for the period July 2021 to September 2022. 


Shinderpaul Bhangal, (Delivery Lead, Voice Influence & Change) introduced the report and highlighted the work undertaken with the Care Leavers Forum, Children in Care Council, SEND and Parent / Carer Voice.  He also updated Members on the new way of working that had come into force in April 2022 and advised that newly recruited staff members were settling in well and beginning to understand their roles and responsibilities.


Shinderpaul Bhangal explained the key areas of interest including a recent Cross Ministerial Board Meeting that took place in July 2021, the Ofsted Inspection of Local Area Children’s Service in November 2021 and the positive feedback received from both.  Further highlights included:


·       Brothers and Sisters Event in April 2022

·       Children & Families Conference & Watch Your Words – Improving Language in Care July 2022

·       Apprenticeship Guide for Care Experienced Apprentices 16+ August 2022

·       Refugee Celebration Week June 2022

·       3 Short Films June 2022

·       Warwickshire Youth Conference April 2022

·       A recently developed Social Inclusion Charter


Shinderpaul Bhangal explained that without young people’s involvement, this work would not be shaped the way it was.


The Chair welcomed a number of representatives from the Youth Council and Children in Care Council who were attending the meeting virtually. 


Tom Barker on behalf of the Care Leavers Forum;

Ollie Tessler, Children in Care Council;

Ian Donnachie, IMPACT forum for young people with SEND;

Alice Battersby and Ruth Morley Brown (also known as Wren), Youth Council.


Members noted that the representative from Unaccompanied Young People, Eliza Deng, had been unable to attend and Umar Teerab (Family Support Worker) would update the meeting on her behalf.


Tom Barker addressed the meeting on behalf of the Care Leavers Forum and described his involvement helping to organise a recent trip to Wembley.  Other activities he had been involved in included Care Experience Week, which had involved a Surf Challenge, interviewing the next generation of staff and attending a recent Police Panel.  Areas that he felt needed improving were consistent mental health support which should be regular and include daily check-ins, help regarding isolation and how young people could be helped to be set up for life with support regarding rights and entitlements.


Ollie Tessler, 12, spoke on behalf of the Children in Care Council.  He described a recent trip to the Harry Potter Studios and explained that his favourite part had been the coach trip.  Ollie stated that he had enjoyed meeting other young people and making friends, some of whom he was still in contact with and had met up with again.  Ollie had also attended the relaunch of the Children in Care Council which had circus themed activities as well as an exercise to write down the things that were important to him.  He was looking forward to the Christmas party when he could meet up with the friends he had made previously.  In April, Ollie  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


SEND Update

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The Committee received a verbal update on the SEND Written Statement of Action from Rachel Barnes (Delivery Lead, Change Hub Lead) and Chris Baird (Assistant Director, Education Management) who advised that a full update report would be delivered to the next meeting.  Rachel Barnes reported the positive feedback from a recent meeting with Department of Education and NHS England, advising that the Team had been commended for the pace of movement of work, the visible progress against key areas of concern and the shared aspirational vision being displayed.  Members were advised they would be sent a link to the full report after the meeting and a press release had been sent out the previous week which include a positive statement from the Department of Education and NHS England on the work carried out so far.


The key areas of progress were summarised and included:


·       Improvements in co-production – working with parent carers and young people, leading to deep culture change

·       The team were encouraged to continue developing the working relationships with health partners

·       Understanding impact of work and articulate what will be different in the future

·       All areas of work were 85% on track, with no work in the red and 11 flagged as amber (15%), actions and mitigations in place;

·       The wait for an autism referral had reduced considerably to 195 weeks and now on trajectory set;

·       Referrals for autism diagnosis was up 70% on those originally forecast with analysis ongoing to understand the reasons;

·       Referrals for girls had increased and pre-school children;

·       A positive autism conference in April 2022 and a further two events were being arranged

·       Published information advice booklet for neuro divergent people – to be shared with communities

·       Recommission of community support services for autism progressing well & due to go live in April next year;

·       Emotionally based school avoidance project had also started, looking at attendance issues in schools


Area 2 of the report dealt with Young People and parent carers with support of the officers Sam Craven, Elaine Lambe (Chair of Parent Carer Forum), and Shinderpaul Bhangal, who were thanked for their work.  Officers had held a series of co-production workshops, with support of CONTACT, a charity for disabled children and families.  Another key area had been to deliver restorative practice training for all staff in SEND, with over 75% having received the training to date.  This was also being extended to schools and health colleagues. 


Social Care and Health had produced a Community Strategy as part of the Integrated Health System work but it was recognised that more was needed to integrate co-production.  There had been a significant increase in communication and engagement using newsletters, Facebook page, forums and webinars, the links to which would be shared with Members after the meeting.


A further piece of work focused on disagreement resolution with a target to reduce tribunals by 20%.  This target was not being met nationally or locally at the present time with a SEND resolution officer being recruited and letters being revised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 98 KB

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Councillor Kaur advised that an update on the Nuneaton Education Strategy should be available for the February meeting and a briefing on the SEND change programme would be provided before it was submitted to the committee.


Councillor Kerridge queried when a rota would be produced for members to attend the panes and was advised that this would be actioned after the meeting.


Councillor Morgan advised that the Council had commissioned an independent report into the Children and Families Centres, the results of which should be received by January.  It was hoped this could then be reported to the meeting in February 2023.


In response to a question from Councillor Gilbert, officers agreed to liaise with the representatives of the youth groups who could then circulate dates of meetings and forward the relevant invitations.


Any Other Business

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Councillor Morgan, Portfolio Holder for Education, provided an update to the meeting.  He advised that officers and members were trying to raise the profile of the Corporate Parenting Board and he hoped to provide the committee with a standing update item on their progress at each meeting.  The Corporate Parenting Board had received an overview of the celebration event held in June along with the film mentioned by Umar Terrab earlier in the meeting.  He was delighted that the Board received regular updates on the success of the football team.


Councillor Morgan summarised the information gathered in the performance data item, advising that Sharon Shaw would be able to provide further information on request.  The data showed that the Council currently had the lowest number of children in care since November 2021, with fewer teenagers and special guardianship orders being utilised.  With regard to the Local Offer for care leavers, Everyone Active was providing fee gym and swim memberships to all care leavers and children in care.  He gave an overview of the progress being made with the children’s homes, with one in Leamington, Stratford and Nuneaton in the pipeline.  One of the properties was ready, with officers awaiting a visit for Ofsted sign off.


Councillor Morgan encouraged members to attend the Corporate Parenting Board which had suffered from low attendance recently.  Councillor Gilbert expressed his preference for in person meetings and it was noted that a regular update would be provided to this Committee.   


Dates of Next Meeting

These meetings will be held at Shire Hall.

Meetings for 2022/2023 have been scheduled as follows:

- 14 February 2023 at 10am
- 11 April 2023 at 10am

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The future meeting dates were noted.