Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Floral Pavillion, Marine Promenade, New Brighton

Contact: Dan Sharples, Democracy Business Manager  Tel: 0151 666 3791 email:  danielsharples@wirral.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

62.

Welcome and Introduction

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Minutes:

The Chair opened the meeting and reminded everyone that the meeting was being webcast and a copy is retained on the Council’s website.

63.

Apologies

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Minutes:

Councillor Samantha Frost had given her apologies for absence.

64.

Members Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interests

Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any other relevant interest in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.

 

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Minutes:

Members of the Committee were asked whether they have any personal orprejudicial interests in connection with any application on the agenda. There were no declarations of interest.

65.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting held Tuesday 23 November 2021

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Minutes:

Resolved: That the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2021 be agreed.

66.

Public and Members Questions

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Minutes:

Three questions had been received.

Question 1 from Paul Cook

Regarding cuts to services, what impact (short and long term) will there be to children and young people if youth services (the Hive etc.) are cut with loss of provision, resources and staff?

 

Answer

The reduction of £100k from the Council budget to The Hive Youth Zone is being offset by a £100k donation from local business regeneration. In the short-term this will mitigate against potential reduction of services for young people. In the long-term The Hive Youth Zone is increasing it’s own capacity for fundraising and will work in partnership with the Local Authority to increase external grant income.

 

In the 2021-22 budget setting process, the Council invested additional funding into its own Youth Services. Over £100k of this funding was allocated for weekend activity which was surplus to the core youth offer. The proposal is to cease the additional activity and protect the core neighbourhood offer, which will continue to deliver with the existing resource of highly experienced and skilled staff.

 

Question from Dr Rhona O’Brien

According to every reliable data source published, violence against women and children is a regional, national and international epidemic with lethal and longitudinal consequences. How will Wirral Borough Council   offer preventative, early intervention and healthy relationship education to help reduce the number of children placed on Child Protection Plans, whilst simultaneously cutting funding to children and young people's services?

Answer

Thanks to Dr Rhona O’Brien for raising this very important question. Preventing violence against women and children is a priority for Wirral Council and its partners. We are very aware of the impact domestic abuse has short term and long term on children and young people. In October 2021, this committee recommended to Council adopting a Prevention Policy and Prevention Framework. The recommendation was agreed and a commitment to prevention implemented. Since 2019 this committee has consistently supported investment in early help and prevention services, with the overall service budget increasing and funding for domestic abuse services also increasing. It is this investment in prevention, and implementation of key strategies such as the partnership Domestic Abuse-No Excuse Strategy and Breaking the Cycle programme, that are contributing to a reduction in demand for children’s social care.

Preventing violence is a whole-system responsibility, requiring strong and purposeful partnerships. In Wirral, we benefit from proactive partnerships such as the Domestic Abuse Alliance, Community Safety Partnership, and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements for both adults and children. Senior Leaders work together with the Violence Reduction Unit and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure we are intervening early and providing high quality healthy relationship education. One of the priorities of the domestic abuse strategy is to achieve Brighter, kinder futures for the next generation, and we are working with our vibrant third sector to achieve this. In the last 12 months this has included the launch of a Healthy Relationships app by the Paul Lavelle Foundation, delivery of healthy relationships programmes in schools, further education colleges,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

SOCIAL CARE WORKFORCE STRATEGY 2022-2025 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Children and Families presented the report of the Director of Children, Families and Education which detailed the strategy difficulties in recruitment of social workers. The Strategy set out how the Council would attract, retain and support a stable and committed workforce. Governance arrangements and performance were also detailed.

 

Members queried details in the report which confirmed

·  Agency workers did not just cover vacancies but also covered maternity and sick leave

·  Agency workers accounted for around 16% of the workforce

·  There was an intention to continue an apprenticeship programme to grow our own social workers.

 

Resolved – That:

(1)  the Social Care Workforce Strategy 2022-2025 attached at appendix A to the report be endorsed; and,

(2)  an update be received in 12 months on the progress towards implementation of the Strategy.

68.

LOCAL AREA SEND INSPECTION UPDATE pdf icon PDF 130 KB

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Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Education presented the report of the Director of Children, Families and Education which provided an overview of the Wirral local area response to the findings from the joint local area inspection into the effectiveness of the local area in implementing the special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. The overview was a joint statement of actions of the Council and Clinical Commissioning Group, to make Members aware of the actions and the governance arrangements. The report provided a summary of the key areas of development identified by the inspection and the local area response in addressing them, which will form the written statement of action required.

 

Members questioned different aspects of the report, including recruitment of specialist officers such as educational psychologists and teams that can go out to a school and create bespoke care packages. They indicated that they would appreciate a ‘dashboard’ of information around Special Educational Needs statistics.

 

Resolved: That -

(1)  the information contained within the report be noted;

(2)  the actions carried out to date and the proposed actions to be included in the development of the Written Statement of Action to be submitted to Ofsted be endorsed; and,

(3)  the Director of Children’s, Families and Education be requested to submit a progress report in quarter 2 of the calendar year.

69.

ADMISSION ARRANGEMENTS FOR COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY CONTROLLED PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS AND THE CO-ORDINATED ADMISSION SCHEMES FOR 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

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Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Education presented the report of the Director of Children, Families and Education which invited the Committee to determine the Authority’s admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled primary and secondary schools and the co-ordinated schemes for 2023-2024, including a proposed change at Woodfield School. This was a statutory requirement.

 

Resolved: That -

(1)  the proposed admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools and the Wirral co-ordinated schemes for 2023-2024 as set out in the appendices to the report be agreed.

(2)  the proposed change in the Published Admission Number (PAN) for Woodchurch Road Primary School to 30 be agreed.

70.

POLLING PLACE REVIEW: SCHOOLS pdf icon PDF 125 KB

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Minutes:

The Electoral Services Manager presented the report of the Director of Law and Governance which set out the findings following a review undertaken in respect to the use of the 41 Schools which had been used as polling places within Wirral for the purposes of Local Authority, Parliamentary and other elections. It was noted that following investigation of alternative venues, the number of such schools had been reduced to 34.

 

Resolved:

That the report be noted.

71.

2022/23 BUDGET UPDATE pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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Minutes:

The Head of Legal Services introduced the report of the Director of Law and Governance which provided for consideration the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee in respect of the 2022/23 Budget Update. It was emphasised that the Council had a significant financial challenge and had to demonstrate financial viability, under the scrutiny of an independent Assurance Panel. The proposals outlined were part of a draft budget and were therefore not without prejudice, and it was for the Committee to focus on these specific proposals, any comments on which would be fed back to the Policy and Resources Committee.

 

Members questioned details of some of the options in the report which established:

·  At this stage the process was to set the overall budget, and decisions on particular services would follow once the budget was set

·  Equality Impact Assessments, and environmental implications, would be needed at the stage of a decision affecting a service

·  Consultations would overlap with the decision on the overall budget and any change in proposals would need alternative budget provisions

·  Children’s services were very high on the list of people’s priorities in the budget consultation

·  Any consultation has to include different methods of feedback including non-digital

 

Resolved: That -

(1)  the 2022/23 draft budget proposals be noted.

(2)  the relevant director with portfolio be authorised to take the necessary action to consult on any proposals that require additional consultation and take necessary action to deliver the resulting service changes in consultation with the Chair and Group Spokesperson or reporting to the Children Young People and Education Committee as the Director considers appropriate.

72.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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Minutes:

The Head of Legal Services introduced the report of the Director of Law and Governance which provided the Committee with an opportunity to plan and regularly review its work across the municipal year.

 

Resolved – That the work programme be noted.

73.

EXEMPT INFORMATION - EXCLUSION OF MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

The following items contain exempt information.

 

RECOMMENDATION:  That, under section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined by the relevant paragraphs of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to that Act. The Public Interest test has been applied and favours exclusion.

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Minutes:

Resolved:

That under section 100 (A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined by the relevant paragraphs of Part I of Schedule 12A (as amended) to that Act. The Public Interest test has been applied and favours exclusion.

74.

POLLING PLACE REVIEW: SCHOOLS - EXEMPT APPENDIX 2

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the appendix which was exempt from publication be noted.