Children, Families, Learning & Leisure Cabinet Member – Minutes – 4 October 2018
6 (6) CHILDREN’S SERVICES STATUTORY REPRESENTATIONS AND COMPLAINTS REPORT 2017-18 – The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report presenting the annual Children’s Services Statutory Representations and Complaints Report 2017-18 for approval in line with statutory requirements.
There was a statutory requirement to present an annual report on representations and complaints received about services delivered under the Children Act 1989.
These statutory procedures gave service users, or representatives acting on their behalf, the right to make representations about services. There was a requirement that councils addressed these representations through a three stage procedure for complaints for social care services for children.
The Children Act procedure set out three stages under which complaints could be investigated and heard. The guidance specified the timescales for dealing with complaints at each stage.
Resolved – That the Annual Representations and Complaints Report for Children’s Services be received and approved.
7 (7) APPOINTMENT OF EDUCATION APPEALS PANEL MEMBERS – The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report seeking approval for the appointment of independent members who could be called upon to sit on either the Education Admission Appeals Panel or Independent Review Panel to hear appeals in respect of school admissions and exclusions.
The council was the admissions authority for community and voluntary controlled schools and were responsible for ensuring compliance with the Department for Education (DFE) Schools Admissions Code. The Code covered the arrangements for appeals made against refusal of a place at a school. Appeals were heard by an independent Appeals Panel, which consisted of three or five members, including at least one “education expert” and at least one “lay member”.
The council was also required, in line with the DFE Exclusions from Maintained Schools, Academies and Pupil Referral Units in England statutory guidance, to arrange an independent review panel hearing in response to a parent request following a permanent exclusion of their child from school.
The council made arrangements for Education Admission Appeals Panel and Independent Review Panel hearings on behalf of maintained schools and provided this service to Academy schools under a Service Level Agreement.
The existing pool of panel members was very experienced and was relatively small in the context of recent demand for panel hearings. In order to ensure that appeals could be heard within the required timescales and that there was a sufficient balance of representation amongst panel members, the council had recently undertaken a recruitment drive seeking new members.
The Cabinet Member recently appointed two new members (minute 68 refers). A further application had since been received.
Resolved – That the applicant, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be appointed with a view to new members receiving training and being gradually introduced onto panels during 2018.
8 (8) RECONSTITUTION OF BURTON UPON STATHER PRIMARY SCHOOL – The Director: Learning, Skills and Culture submitted a report seeking approval of the instrument of government to allow the governing body of Burton upon Stather Primary School to be reconstituted, to be effective from 1 January 2019.
At the full governing body meeting of Burton upon Stather Primary School held on 11 September 2018, the governing body voted to reconstitute the governing body in line with the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 and the School Governance (Constitution) (Amendment) Regulations 2014.
The above regulations set out the options available to schools in terms of the overall number of governors, the categories of governor and the guiding principles for the constitution. The regulations gave the governing body more flexibility with their constitution and stated that they should be no bigger than they need to be to carry out their statutory duties. The regulations stipulated the categories and number of governors for maintained schools as follows:
• 2 parent governors (minimum)
• 1 Local Authority governor (maximum)
• 1 staff governor (maximum)
• 1 head teacher
• As many co-opted governors as necessary to fulfil the skills requirements. Up to a maximum of one third of governors could be staff members.
The constitution of each governing body was laid down in a document known as the instrument of government. A governing body may at any time have requested changes to their constitution, in accordance with the regulations, by varying their instrument of government.
Where changes were proposed, a maintained school’s governing body must have prepared a draft instrument of government and submitted it to the local authority for approval.
If the council was not content with the draft instrument of government it must have advised the governing body and given reasons. If it was not possible for the council and the governing body to agree on a revised draft, the council would have produced a final draft for the school as they think fit.
The constitution of the governing body in the form of an instrument of government was detailed at Appendix 1 of the report.
Resolved – That the new instrument of government for Burton upon Stather Primary School, be approved.
9 (9) ADOPTION STATEMENT OF PURPOSE 2018-19 – The Director: Children and Community Resilience submitted a report seeking approval for the reviewed and updated Adoption Statement of Purpose 2018-19 and the Young Person’s Statement of Purpose 2018-19.
Following the annual review of the Adoption Statement of Purpose 2018-19 and the Young Person’s Statement of Purpose 2018-19, revisions had been made which ensured that both documents reflected current practice, revised guidance and updated legislation. The revisions to both documents were set out in the report.
Resolved – That the revised Adoption Statement of Purpose 2018-19 and the Young Person’s Statement of Purpose 2018-19, be approved.
10 (10) REVISION TO THE FOSTERING SERVICE STATEMENT OF PURPOSE – The Director: Children and Community Resilience submitted a report seeking approval for the annual revisions to the Fostering Service Statement of Purpose.
The Fostering Service was required by The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations 2011 and the National Minimum Standards (Fostering) 2011 to have in place a Statement of Purpose that was reviewed on a regular basis and updated as appropriate.
Following the annual review of the Statement of Purpose for the Fostering Service, revisions had been made which ensured that current practice, revised guidance and updated legislation was reflected. Details of the revisions were set out in the report.
A Young Person’s Statement of Purpose 2018-19 had been produced in consultation with children in care and foster carers. This would be revised and updated annually.
Resolved – That the revised Fostering Service Statement of Purpose be approved.
11 (11) WORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN 2018 AND LOCAL IMPLICATIONS – The Director Children and Community Resilience submitted a report informing the Cabinet Member of the new Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 statutory guidance, and updating the Cabinet Member on the council’s ‘early adopter’ status, recent developments to establish local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements and child death review arrangements.
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 received Royal Assent in April 2017. Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, published on 4 July 2018, clarified that:
• the three safeguarding partners (the council, clinical commissioning group and chief officer of police) would make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children including identifying and responding to their needs
• the two child death review partners (the council and clinical commissioning group) would make arrangements to review all deaths of children normally resident in the local area, and if they consider it appropriate, for those not normally resident in the area.
The three safeguarding partners should agree on ways to co-ordinate their safeguarding services; act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others; and implement local and national learning including from serious child safeguarding incidents.
Safeguarding partners must set out how they would work together and with any relevant agencies. Relevant agencies were those organisations and agencies whose involvement the safeguarding partners considered may be required to safeguard and promote the welfare of children with regard to local need.
In order to work together effectively, safeguarding partners, with other local organisations and agencies should develop processes that:
• facilitated and drove action beyond usual institutional and agency constraints and boundaries
• ensured the effective protection of children was founded on practitioners developing lasting and trusting relationships with children and their families.
There was a requirement to publish new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements and child death review arrangements by June 2019 and implement by 29 September 2019. However, North Lincolnshire had been chosen as an “early adopter” of the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements by the Government and as such, were required to work towards full implementation of the new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements no later than October 2018. The local arrangements were in development and on track for publication of the council’s plan by the end October 2018. It was proposed that the new child death review arrangements were published in March and implemented from April 2019, which was ahead of the statutory requirements.
Further details of the requirements of the guidance were set out in the report.
Resolved – (a) That the publication of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 be noted, and (b) that the council’s ‘early adopters’ status, timeline for publication and implementation of the new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements and child death review arrangements, be noted.
12 (12) CHILDREN IN CARE AND CARE LEAVERS SUFFICIENCY STRATEGY – The Director: Children and Community Resilience submitted a report seeking approval for the revision to the Children in Care and Care Leavers Sufficiency Strategy.
Under S22 of the Children Action 1989 the council had to have in place a sufficiency strategy for children in care and care leavers that was reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
The previous sufficiency strategy was dated 2016 to 2020. The revised strategy had been updated to reflect the council’s outstanding Ofsted inspection and to better reflect the council’s ambition for children in care and care leavers.
Resolved – That the revised Children in Care and Care Leavers Sufficiency Strategy be approved.
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