Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel – 17 November 2008

PRESENT:  Councillor Wilson in the chair.

Councillors Mrs Bromby (vice-chair), Cawsey, C Sherwood, Sidell, Simpson and Whiteley.
Statutory Co-opted Members: Mr P Bacon and Mrs A Dunkerley (Parent Governor Representatives), Mr W Egan and Mrs W Witter (Church Representatives)

The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.

52  DECLARATIONS – OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – There were no declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests.

No whip was declared.

53  PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – There were no requests received

54  POLICY REVIEW – PLAY AREAS AND OPEN SPACES IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE –

(i)  Presentation and discussions with Gill Ayre – Senior Advisor (Extended and Community Services) – The Chair welcomed Gill Ayre to the meeting and explained that the panel had asked for an overview on how play was being developed and promoted within schools.

Gill explained that she welcomed the opportunity to attend, and that she had brought a visual presentation showing how play had been adopted within the curriculum in Denmark and how following a recent visit to Denmark, this had lead to adaptations being made within North Lincolnshire.  The panel was advised that during the visit to Denmark, it was apparent how very different the education system was compared to that in England.  Health and Safety was less prevalent both indoors and outdoors, which encouraged children to assess the risk factor themselves, resulting in more confident children.

Schools were equipped with outdoor play areas and facilities that challenged abilities and built an element of risk to stretch the children.  This encouraged children to engage in creative free play.  The members were also advised about the use of Forest Schools, which provided an educational approach to outdoor learning, outdoor pursuits, the use of full sized tools, risk assessment within the natural environment and also provided an awareness about the natural environment.

Members engaged in further discussions with Gill Ayre and it was concluded that children needed exposure to different types of play, as many had no concept as to what was out there.

Resolved – (a) That the position be noted, and (b) that Gill Ayre be thanked for her informative presentation and attendance at the meeting.

(ii)  To discuss the action plan contained within the current Play Strategy 2004 – 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic referred members of the panel to the action plan contained within the Play Strategy 2004 – 2009 and the complexity of many of the recommendations.  It was suggested that further clarification be sought from Paul Crompton and Maureen Moore Sport, Play and Community Development Managers, North Lincolnshire Council as to what had been achieved and also how, and if there was anything that had not been achieved.

Resolved – That the position be noted.

(iii)  To discuss and arrange sub-groups to carry out site visits across North Lincolnshire’s playgrounds and open spaces – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated a list of proposed site visits and recommended dates.  It was agreed that members of the panel would liase with the Democratic Services Officer in attendance, and confirm which of the proposed visits they would be able to attend.

Resolved – That the position be noted.

(iv)  Next Stages – Members engaged in discussions over the proposed site visits and also the perceived lack of co-ordination between the different departments who were involved with play development within North Lincolnshire.

Resolved – That Paul Crompton and Maureen Moore be invited to attend a future meeting of the Children and Young People scrutiny panel to clarify aspects within the Play Strategy Action plan.

55  (4) LEADER OF THE COUNCIL’S FORWARD PLAN – NOVEMBER 2008 TO FEBRARY 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for November 2008 to February 2009.

The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis.  Members discussed various items on the Forward Plan.

It was agreed that further information would be welcomed on –

  • The Annual Performance Assessment for Children and Young People’s Services.
  • Entitlement to early learning and care for three and four year olds.
  • Youth Justice Plan.

Resolved – That the relevant Officers be invited to attend the next meeting of the panel to provide further insight into the two matters raised.