Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for
absence from any members of the Committee.
Apologies received from
Councillor Jerry Fitzpatrick, Councillor Mary Croos was in
attendance in his absence.
Apologies received from Dave
Minutes of the previous sub-committee meeting PDF 85 KB
To approve the minutes of the
meeting held on 18 June 2019 as an accurate record.
The minutes of the meeting held
pm 18 June 2019 was agreed and signed as an accurate
Disclosures of interest
In accordance with the
Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the
Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are
reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary
interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which
exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality
with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a
single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition,
Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their
disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of
interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the
Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable
pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by
completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the
Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The
Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at
the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will
be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register
of Members’ Interests.
Councillor Callton Young
declared that he was Chair of Governors at St Giles school.
Urgent Business (if any)
receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the
opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be
considered as a matter of urgency.
Actions List Update
Discussion on the actions
arising from previous meetings.
The Chair confirmed that there
were no outstanding items on the Action List to be
Children's Improvement Plan Update PDF 622 KB
To receive an update on the
Children’s Improvement Programme.
The Executive Director
of Children, Families and Education introduced the report and the
following was noted:
- The department
successfully negotiated a further monitoring visit for 16 October
2019 instead of the final inspection. This was agreed by Ofsted due
to the changes made to the leadership of the
- Substantive progress
had been made since January 2019 and the last monitoring visit
noted an improvement in overall quality of practice.
- There were still some
inconsistencies in practice in some areas of the
- Private fostering
arrangements practice was highlighted as poor by Ofsted. Resourcing
and further work was being done to address the inconsistencies
- Child Protection cases
had reduced from 600 a year ago to 100. This is a vast
- The quality and
regularity of supervision of staff had improved although it was
recognised there was still a lot of progress to be
- Caseloads in some
services were still above target.
- The strategic vision of
the service is clear, the department was focused on being a
solutions led and not reactionary service.
- Increased investment
was being made in Early Help to identify children and families that
need help much earlier.
In response to a
question for clarification on the assessment team vacancy rate of
80% and whether there were interim posts, officers responded that
this was interim/agency rates. There had been some issues with
senior management in the service which had been resolved. The team
currently had excess number of staff which would be reduced
gradually over the next few years.
It was questioned how
confident the service was on the figures presented regarding the
number of private fostering cases. Officers responded that whilst
they were not confident that the figures were accurate, Croydon was
doing well in trying to identify private fostering arrangements. In
order to identify further cases, all partners needed to be vigilant
and proactive in identification and reporting of
A Member commented that
the report showed that 59% of children’s immunisations were
not up to date and questioned how this would be addressed. Officers
responded that this was an area of priority and work was being done
by Early Help through a joint workshop to look at current
processes. Additionally exploring alternative ways of working
together more effectively to address the numbers of children not
A question was raised
on what the sustainability of the service would involve and
officers responded that the transformation and sustainability of
the service would be based on early intervention. Currently, as a
result of the Ofsted judgement, Croydon was conducting more
assessment and S47 than any other borough and using up a lot of
resources. This was attributed to social workers are being over
cautious. It was envisaged that this would improve in time through
social workers and senior managements increased confidence in their
It was commented that
the reduction of child protection cases was evidence that the
service was moving in the right direction with its preventative
The Sub-Committee came
to the ...
view the full minutes text for item 42/19
Croydon Safeguarding Children's Board Annual Report PDF 355 KB
The Chair of the
Children Safeguarding Children Board presented the annual report
and the following was noted:
- This was the final
report ahead of the new safeguarding arrangement and it was
extended to include information on activities over the summer
months of 2019.
- The report outlined
how the new arrangements would work, it has been
- Three multiagency
priority groups had been established.
- In order for the
partnership to be effective, they would need to challenge each
other where appropriate.
- There had been
substantial learning from the vulnerable adolescence review
conducted and the review was influencing the work of other
- The voice of the
child was an underdeveloped area in Croydon and more had to be
- The formal launch of
the new arrangements would be 25 November 2019, this coincides with
Practice week and would be an opportunity for the partners to
engage with staff.
It was asked what the
Board’s definition of a child ‘off roll’ was,
officers responded that this was a child/children not in school for
a number of reasons. The most vulnerable were those that had come
off the school roll, stopped attending for various reasons and were
not in another setting with the LA unable to track their
A Member highlighted concerns
for children at risk of exclusions and suggested that a case be
made for schools to be more accessible for children after 4pm
through various therapeutic services. Officers said that issues of
mental health were a strong theme highlighted by the review.
Evidence did show that some schools handled exclusions every well
and put in support over and beyond what was statutorily
It was further commented that
training for exclusion boards was inconsistent with some very good
and others not so. Officers said that it was important that the
quality of the exclusions board be consistent. The Vulnerable
Adolescence review drew a compelling correlation between children
that had been excluded and those that went on to receive a criminal
The Chair asked for suggestions
on topics that the sub-committee should be looking into and was
not. Officers replied that they were unsure how clear the
sub-committee was on exploitation and county lines and that this
may be an area for the sub-committee to delve into
A Member asked what advice
could be given to the sub-committee in order to fulfil its role to
hold the partnership to account. Officers responded that the
executive group was fundamental to the success of the partnership
and they would meet every month. In its questioning, Members should
be checking what the partnerships had done individually but also
collectively. Members should ask the partnership to evidence that
their meetings are solutions focused and impact positively on
safeguarding. Additionally what they were doing to address long
standing issues such as quality and quantity of health assessments
of looked after children.
It was commented that the voice
of the child examples were powerful in the report and going forward
all reports should follow the ...
view the full minutes text for item 43/19
Draft Education Estates Strategy Update PDF 913 KB
the draft Education Estates Strategy update which details the
Council’s performance in meeting its statutory duty for
sufficiency of school places prior to its presentation at
The Interim director of
education presented the Draft report which was due to be presented
at Cabinet and detailed the following:
- The mainstream pupil
projection of available places vs school capacity and approve the
proposed three year school supply strategy.
- The temporary expansion
of Smitham Primary by one form of entry
from September 2019.
- The delegated decision
taken by the Executive Director of Children Families and Education
, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children Young People
and Learning to close St Andrew’s CofE High school from August 2020.
- The updated SEND supply
strategy for the next three academic years.
- Completion of the
refurbishment of Cotelands PRU building
at John Ruskin College.
- Croydon commissioned by
the EFSA to lead on the delivery of Addington Valley
- An update on the
partnership with Croydon College on the establishment of local post
- The continued expansion
of secondary autism enhanced learning provision at Oasis
- The proposed
feasibility option regarding Red Gates, St Giles and Priory Special
- Update on fire safety
works at Croydon community schools
- The updated
Schools’ Maintenance Plan for 2019/20.
- The updated Capital
- The number of children
who received their first or top three preference schools for
2018/19 admissions to primary and secondary school.
It was noted that there
was limited capacity in the south of borough whilst the north has
excess capacity and it was questioned if the LA had the ability to
do anything regarding this. Officers said that whilst there were
north and south planning of spaces, families could exercise their
right to send their children to any school of their choice
irrespective of location. This did make school place planning
complicated and schools have to make decisions based on forecasts
and seek advice on reduction of their PAN but the LA was clear on
ensuring provision of enough school places for children in the
A further question was
asked on the record of a child’s school journey and it was
requested that officers provide a map of excess places. Officers
responded that primary school places have to be allocated for
children within a certain mileage of their home, this was not
always the case with secondary allocation. Children were admitted
based on admissions criteria and not catchment. It was agreed that
Map of excess school places would be provided to
It was commented that
it was important that primary school children were allocated a
local school place to enable them to walk to school and if unable
to attend a local school, travel provisions to be made. Officers
responded that there was enough school places for children to
retain a local place but parents were able to make decisions to
send their children to schools out of the borough. Children are
able to travel for free on buses and trams.
A Member questioned
what was being done regarding schools that wanted to admit over
their agreed PAN’s due to them being their own admissions
authority. Officers responded that ...
view the full minutes text for item 44/19
What difference has this meeting made to Croydon's Children
To discuss the findings from
this meeting and the expectations for Croydon’s
Members noted the following
from the meeting:
Sub-Committee would like the opportunity to influence the 2019/2020
Croydon Safeguarding Children’s Board Annual report in terms
of what is presented and to ensure that the voice of the child was
captured throughout the report.
discussions that took place and recommendations made on the Call-In
meeting of the proposed closure of St Andrews school that took
place at the Scrutiny and Overview Committee meeting on 17
September 2019 was robust and sought accountability as intended
from the decision makers.
- There has
been notable improvements on Members’ style of questioning,
holding officers to account and asking them to demonstrate the
effects on the community and children of their
can make improvements on how information and data is
attendance of all members of the Sub-Committee at all meetings was
Work Programme 2019/20 PDF 15 KB
To agree the work programme for
the 2019/20 municipal year.
The items on the agenda for 5
November 2019 meeting were confirmed.
It was also confirmed that the
Sub-Committee would receive an interim not a final report from the
Task and Finish group at the 5 November 2019 meeting.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
The following motion
is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the
press and public from the remainder of a meeting:
“That, under Section
100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be
excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on
the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt
information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of
Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as