Agenda and minutes

Venue: Professional Excellence Centre, Acre Lane, Bromborough

Contact: Tracy Little  Children and Young People's Department

No. Item


09:00 Apologies and Introductions


Councillor Sheila Clarke, Richard Longster (Wirral Schools Forum), Derek Kitchin (WASH), Andy Styring (CAMHS), Adrian Hughes (Paediatrician), Jane Owens (Wirral Governors).


Cllr McLachlan welcomed Lisa Cooper to her first meeting as the representative of Wirral Community Trust (NHS).



09:00 Declarations of Interest


Bev Morgan and Emma Dodd declared an interest in items 71 and 72, as they represent commissioned services.


09:05 Minutes of the last meeting


Minutes agreed as a true record.


09:10 Children's Services Assessment 2011 pdf icon PDF 89 KB


The recent OFSTED Children’s Services Assessment has improved from a GOOD (Grade 3) to EXCELLENT (Grade 4).  This is due to the work of all the people and their organisations across the Children’s Trust.


David Armstrong requested that leads to share the information with everyone in their organisations and pass on his thanks for all the hard work and effort that has gone in to making the services for Children in Wirral amongst the best in the England.


The OFSTED assessment is very comprehensive; the report outlines the range of settings inspected.  The challenge is to continue this in the current financial climate.  The Board were all pleased with the result.  The Chair added her thank and congratulations to all the organisations involved, it was an excellent result of all the multi-agency work that takes place across the Borough.



09:15 Enjoy and Achieve Annual Update pdf icon PDF 145 KB


Mark Parkinson presented his annual report from the Enjoy and Achieve outcome group.  Mark noted there was good progress at each key stage, with room for further improvement at KS1 and KS5.


Mark added that although the Narrowing the Gap (NTG) measures for KS4 is above 30%, the overall performance at KS4 is top quartile nationally, ranking Wirral the 18th LA in England.  Mark added that the challenge to raise attainment for children with FSM is multiple and complex issue which needs a multi-partnership approach.  He added that the KS4 5 A*-C (English and maths) is a keystone in children then progressing to better outcomes further on in life.


Speech and language therapists are working with schools as an advice and consultancy service in school.  This service effectively triages concerns about speech plus language issues.


The MEAS and music service have been revised.


David Armstrong added that the NTG area was highlighted at post 16 in the OFSTED letter.  Mark noted at KS4 the “100 club” worked with 100 FSM children who were at risk of not achieving KS4 5 A*-C (including English and maths).  Additional funding and support was targeted to these children.  The gap narrowed by a further 1% above what was expected.  The “100 club” project will be revised and repeated.


Kathryn Podmore asked if a similar project was being used for KS5.  Mark noted that work with KS5 is in place.  The “100 club” type project is being considered at KS5 however, there is much less resources to implement this.


Mark noted that the SEN Greenpaper will be a priority area over the coming months.


Key challenges ahead include:-


  -  Implementation of Education Bill

  -  Ensure EQ continues to meet needs.

  -  Impact of budgets challenges.

  -  Narrowing the Gap.

  -  Consider impact/implementations of Munro Review.


Key risks include:-


  -  Implication of reduction in staff.

  -  Implications of Academies.

  -  ICT infrastructure and support


David Armstrong noted the number of primary children at risk of permanent exclusion from school has increased.  Mark noted that a managed moves policy was in place in secondary schools where schools undertake preventative work to support children before escalation to a move or exclusion. This process is under development in the Primary sector. Julia Hassall added that these children are often referred by primary schools for behavioural issues to CAF and TAC meetings.


Mark noted that three case studies are available in the report for colleagues to read these include Step into Leisure, Discovery CLC, Education Quality and an SEN case study.


SWAT Analysis


  Strengths:  Improvements at EY and FS

  Improved KS2, KS4 and Post 16


  Weakness:  Registration at Children’s Centres

  Free School Meal Gap at KS4

  Behavioural issues emerging


  Opportunities:  SEN Green Paper

  Education Act


  Threats:  Budget constraints


  Economic climate

  Implications of increased Academies


Councillor McLachlan thanked Mark and his team for all their work in this area.  Councillor McLachlan asked that a referral pathway for behavioural issues is developed between CTB partners  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.


09:55 Children's First Strategic Board Bi Annual Report pdf icon PDF 86 KB


Mark updated that the Children’s First Strategic Board is a multi-agency board with a focus on activity relating to children under five and their families.


The success of the childcare places for 2 year olds funding initiative is being built upon to increase the number of children accessing the free offer to 20%.


Work is planned to evaluate the sufficiency of child care across the Borough.


Pat Higgins noted that it may be helpful to learn the lessons from the Payment by Results (PbR) process at the NHS.  Mark noted he was working closely with Rose Curtis.


The e-start database is established to monitor the registrations access to the children’s centres.


Andrew Davies asked if there has been any work being conducted to look at the effect of transition between settings from F1 to F2 and the effects on FSP results.  Mark responded he would take this back to Catherine Kerr, nothing had been done nationally that he was aware of.


Julia noted that there will be a link to PbR and the work through the Community Budgets.



10:15 Child Poverty


Bev Morgan updated that the Roots and Wings Strategy has been approved by Cabinet and will be embedded into all Departments working.


Bev added that Child Poverty has been in the media a lot to raise the profile and that the Wirral Strategy will be officially launched in April.


Twelve delegates have visited the Borough from America to look at how Child Poverty is managed in the region.


Nancy added that Children and Young People’s Department have been pulling together the Performance Management Framework to ensure that the correct indicators and outcomes are measured within the Wirral Child Poverty Strategy.


Councillor Williams noted the importance of raising the aspirations for children and also to ensure that health issues are addressed, teaching children to eat well and look after themselves in the first instance.


Julia added that there is clear links to the child poverty and the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.  Bev added a pilot is underway to work with a handful of teenage mums to raise their aspirations and that of their children.


Resolved - The Board noted the report.



10:45 Commissioning Update pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:


Maureen McDaid updated on the quarterly monitoring of the EIG.  Maureen outlined the three priority areas.


Priority Area One:  Parenting/Compromised Parenting


In some Parenting Programmes performance has been rates as Red, due to new service providers preparing to become fully operational.  The 16-18 domestic violence programmes has hit delays due to recruitment of staff.  Actions have now been agreed and are being tightly monitored.  Other contracts are working well.


Julia noted the success of the 16-18 domestic violence programme and the good joint working from partners to identify and achieve this.


Priority Area Two - Short Breaks for Disabled Children


Two services have been rates as Red, these are due to set up times and also issues of recruitment.  Six services have been rated as Green. 


Priority Area Three - Working with Young People at Risk of Exclusion from Schools


In targeted support two service areas were rated as Red.  The funding paid for these activities will be reclaimed.


Priority Area Three - Universal Services


Universal services, one area rated as Red and 10 services rated as Green.


Maureen added that 80-100 young people are attending the “Saturday night” youth club. Lyn Loughran, who volunteers at the club, noted that a number of the young people are vulnerable and the centre provides them a safe place to meet.


A drama workshop about substance misuse will be rolled out to schools.  Maureen added that four “Big Nights” will take place over the coming months.


David Armstrong noted that the Wirral Youth Theatre have moved into the old Gilbrook site.  It has been renamed The Pilgrim Street Arts Centre.


Councillor Williams noted the volume of the music at the centre and the possible effects on hearing.


Resolved - The Board note the report.



11:10 Community Budgets pdf icon PDF 68 KB


Maureen outlined the background to Community Budgets.  The purpose of Community Budgets is to provide multi-agency support to families with complex or multiple needs and to address those needs to make a positive difference to the families involved.


There is no additional funding available, other than £20,000 for support to develop the plan and the possibility of up to £50,000 for technical support in preparing a Community Budget implementation plan from April 2012.


By January it is expected that he programme would have the following agreed or nearly agreed:


  • Timescales and decisions agreed
  • Noticeable increase in understanding and commitment
  • High level of activity
  • Key people delivering
  • Committed to Deadlines



Julia added that Wirral are already working in partnership well and have a solid foundation.  Julia added that the development of the criteria to determine “troubled families” within the Borough.  Initial thoughts are that Seacombe would be a neighbourhood that would benefit from such a scheme.


Fiona Johnstone noted she would tie this to the Health and Wellbeing Board.  Sue Brown noted the impacts on children when one or more parent is in custody.  However, she noted the importance of identifying families that may be known to the justice system and not yet in custody.


Resolved – The Board note the report.




11:25 Multi-agency working through area teams


Matthew Humble presented an update into the physical co-location of teams across the Borough.  Teams are located within buildings that children and families use and attend including children’s centres and schools.


Ann Clarkson outlined the purpose and functions of area teams. he teams offer advice and guidance on TAC meetings and monitor the frequency and quality of TAC meetings.


The core teams core is made up of, social worker, information sharing, ESW, a family support worker in addition to this there may be youth workers, CAMHS workers, health visitors and school nurses.


Dave Robbins outlined that 50% of CAF activity takes place over Birkenhead and Rock Ferry.  CAF activity can be reported to a small geographical area and ECM outcome area.  Most common reasons for CAF include behaviour, parenting and health issues. Around 4,000 consultations have taken place over the last 12 months.


Lesleigh Griffiths gave an example of a child aged 8.  The case came to light at CADT and has been sign posted and referred to different professionals.

A further child aged 14 has had behavioural issues and is at risk of exclusion.  She has had a number of interventions put in place and is progressing.


Lesleigh added that the physical co-location of the Area Teams and the Assessment Teams has built good positive relationships and information sharing.  The benefits for children and young people are more timely interventions.


Matthew summarised the report, he added that research suggests that 50% of families involved only require support for 3-6 months.  There are options to explore work with adults to develop team around the family support.


Bev Morgan noted the changes she has seen in families with regard to the co-location of the area teams.


Cllr McLachlan thanked colleagues for their report.


Resolved – The Board note the report.




11:45 Quarter 2 CYPP Performance Report pdf icon PDF 138 KB


Tracy Little presented the Children and Young People’s Plan Quarter Two performance report. Tracy noted that at quarter two twenty nine indicators could be reported of which 61% are either hitting or exceeding targets.


Performance headlines for children’s services include:


§  OFSTED Children’s Services Assessment – PERFORMS EXCELLENTLY


·  Wirral primary schools continue to perform well, 77% of all pupils gained a Level 4 or above in both English and Maths, compared to 74% nationally and 76% for the North West.


·  This year’s provisional GCSE results show that Wirral students have once again achieved the best ever results. 58% of Wirral students in maintained schools achieved the national benchmark of 5+ A*-C including English and mathematics, which is up from last year’s result of 54%. 80% achieved 5 or more A*-C GCSE results, which again was up on last year’s figure of 73%.


·  The percentage of looked after children reaching level 4 at Key Stage 2 were 65.7% in English and 62.9% in Maths, exceeding the targets set and improving on last year’s performance of 52% and 56%.


Amber Indicators include:


53 -  Prevalence of breast-feeding at 6-8 wks from birth


63 - Stability of placements of looked after children: length of placement


66 - Looked after children cases which were reviewed within required timescales.


70a - Reduce emergency hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries in 0-4 years


105 - The Special Educational Needs (SEN)/non-SEN gap – achieving 5 A*- C GCSE inc. English and Maths


Red Indicators include:


60 - Percentage of core assessments for children's social care that were carried out within 35 working days of their commencement


61 - Timeliness of placements of looked after children for adoption following an agency decision that the child should be placed for adoption


65 - Percentage of children becoming the subject of Child Protection Plan for a second or subsequent time.


102a - Achievement gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and their peers achieving the expected level at Key Stages 2


102b - Achievement gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and their peers achieving the expected level at Key Stages 4


104 - The Special Educational Needs SEN/non-SEN gap – achieving Key Stage 2 English and Maths threshold



Actions are in place to address areas of under performance.


Cllr. McLachlan gave her thanks Tracy for the report.


Resolved – The Board note the report.