Meeting documents

Children's Services and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 4th August, 2008

iv
CHILDREN’S SERVICES AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY PANEL

4 AUGUST 2008

PRESENT: Councillors Maxwell (Chairman), J Evans, Fido, Majeed (substituting for Councillor Lenton), Mrs Pitteway (Vice-Chairman) and Mrs Stock.

Non Members: Councillors Hilton and Mrs Quick.

Officers: Mr Bradley, Mr Herlinger, Mr Kiely, Mr Mahoney, Mr Turner, Mr Walker and Mrs Wellings.
part i

12/08 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Lenton.

13/08 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

The following declarations of interests were received:

Councillor J Evans declared a Personal interest in Item 5, Appointment of LEA Representatives to Governing Bodies, as he was acquainted with one of the candidates, Mrs Dudley, the wife of a Councillor.

Councillor Fido declared a personal interest in all education related items as a LEA appointed School Governor at Dedworth Middle School and St Edward’s Royal Free Ecumenical Middle School.

Councillor Majeed declared a Personal interest in Item 5, Appointment of LEA Representatives to Governing Bodies, as he was acquainted with one of the candidates, Mrs Dudley, the wife of a Councillor. He also declared a Personal interest in the same item as he knew another candidate, Dr Saleem, who was an Imam at the local Mosque.

Councillor Maxwell declared a Personal and Prejudicial interest in Item 5, Appointment of LEA Representatives to Governing Bodies, as he knew one of the candidates socially (Mrs Dudley), knew her husband, who was a Councillor, and also taught their son.

Councillor Mrs Pitteway declared a personal interest in all education related items on the agenda as a School Governor of Knowl Hill Primary School.

Councillor Mrs Quick declared a Personal interest in Item 5, Appointment of LEA Representatives to Governing Bodies, as she was acquainted with one of the candidates, Mrs Dudley, the wife of a Councillor.

Councillor Mrs Stock declared a Personal and Prejudicial interest in Item 5, Appointment of LEA Representatives to Governing Bodies, as she was one of the candidates.

Councillor Mrs Stock declared a personal interest in all education related items as her daughter was a teacher at Charters School.
CHILDREN’S SERICES AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY PANEL – 04.08.2008
14/08 MINUTES
    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 2 June 2008 be approved, subject to noting that those recording their apologies should have read ‘Councillor J Evans and Mr Gibbons’. The minutes incorrectly recorded that Councillor Majeed had submitted his apologies.
15/08 PANEL WORK PROGRAMME

After a brief discussion it was agreed that Officers would prepare a work programme for the year ahead, detailing those items expected to be reported to Panel. This would enable a better forward planning for the addition of items requested by Councillors. A draft work programme would be circulated to members via email. Where appropriate, meetings could be rescheduled or additional meetings could be programmed in.

Members noted that the special meeting planned for 1st September 2008 would not be going ahead. The items relating to bullying and school designated areas would be considered by the Panel at the meeting scheduled for 29th September.
    16/08 APPOINTMENT OF LEA REPRESENTATIVES TO GOVERNING BODIES OF SCHOOLS IN THE ROYAL BOROUGH

    Members received the report due to be submitted to Cabinet on 28 August 2008, which considered two Local Education Authority (LEA) vacancies at Furze Platt Senior School and Maidenhead Nursery School, and four vacancies for which re-appointments were being sought at Furze Platt Senior School, Cox Green School (two Governors), and Trevelyan Middle School.

    During the discussion members were pleased to note that those Governors seeking reappointment were doing so with the full support of their respective schools.

    Members noted that for the vacancy at Furze Platt Senior School had attracted two applications. After brief discussion, Members expressed a preference for Mrs Sue Dudley for that particular post. Members recognised the strength of Dr Saleem’s application and expressed a hope that if not appointed a governor of Furze Platt Senior School he would be prepared to consider other vacancies.

    The Panel fully endorsed the remaining appointments and reappointments.
      RESOLVED: That the report be recommended to Cabinet for approval, subject to the inclusion of the Panel’s comments, as outlined above.









    17/08 CUSTOMER CARE ANNUAL REPORT 2007/2008 – CHILDREN’S SOCIAL CARE SERVICES

    Members noted the contents of the report which informed them about the social care copmplaints process and the level and nature of the complaints and compliments received by Children’s Social Care Services during the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.

    Members commented on the brevity and the clarity of the report, whilst noting that only one complaint had progressed to the stage two part of the process. The low number of complaints and the numbers of compliments received reflected the quality of the services provided.
      18/08 14-19 DEVELOPMENTS IN THE ROYAL BOROUGH OF WINDSOR AND MAIDENHEAD

      Members noted the contents of the report which outlined local and national developments and issues within the 14-19 reform agenda for the Borough and noted the draft 14-19 Education Plan which would form an integral part of the Children and Young People’s Strategic Plan and would shape the commissioning of education provision and services for 14-19 year olds in the local area.

      During the discussion, the following comments were made:
        Future provision of a diploma in Information Technology would continue to be pursued, perhaps in partnership with a neighbouring local authority. The importance of such qualifications to the local economy was noted.
        Local authorities would have an enhanced role in the delivery of 14-19 qualifications as the importance of the Learning and Skills Council in the 14-19 age group diminished.
        The East Berkshire Skills Centre had been well attended by pupils from across the Borough, as well as a few students from Slough. It now catered for around 115 students in each of the two year groups.
        Of particular importance was the partnerships being built between the Borough, Berkshire College of Agriculture and East Berkshire College.
        It was suggested that a representative from the East Berkshire Business Partnership could be invited to become a member of the 14-19 Strategic Partnership.
        Members noted that any extension to the statutory school age would have a cost implication, and questioned how this would be met.
        Members commented that where statistical comparisons were made in reports it would be useful for the report to state which Boroughs the RBWM was being compared to.
        Berkshire Chief Executives had met with Directors from the Thames Valley Learning and Skills Council. A number of recommendations were to be considered. The increased influence of local businesses would be a significant change.
        When appropriate, Members requested updates to the Panel.

      19/08 HOME TO SCHOOL TRANSPORT GUIDELINES

      Members received the report due to be submitted to Cabinet on 28 August 2008, which sought cabinet approval for the new Home to School Transport Guidelines which were intended to come into effect in September 2008. The Panel endorsed the report. They recognised that transport for ‘rising fives’ remained an anomaly which would need to be addressed. They also commented that references to ‘Child X’ in the guidelines should be amended to be more user friendly. In addition, the Panel considered that the proposed rate of twenty pence per mile for parents choosing to transport their children in their own cars seemed particularly low. They were pleased to note that a cross party working group had been established to consider these types of issues.

        RESOLVED: That the report be recommended to Cabinet for approval, subject to the inclusion of the comments outlined above.
      20/08 CO-OPTION OF MEMBERS RELATING TO EDUCATION MATTERS

      The Panel was invited to consider the co-option of additional members to serve on the Panel when dealing with education matters. This would be in addition to the statutory church and governor representatives that were currently appointed to serve on the Panel.

      During the discussion a number of comments were made:
        The Panel was predominantly attended by Officers and Members. The presence of a broader group of attendees, on specific issues, would be welcomed. The need for formal co-option to achieve this was questioned.
        The Parent Governor vacancies should be filled at the earliest convenience.
        The involvement of trade union representatives could be explored.
        The work of the Panel could be promoted via a series of webpages. The proposed work plan could be published to it and details of the webpages could be circulated to key stakeholders.
        The possibility of allowing key stakeholders to make agenda item suggestions could be explored.
        The Chairman and Vice-chairman agreed to meet outside the meeting and put together some proposals for the Panel to consider.

        21/08 SERVICE MONITORING REPORT

        Members received the latest 2007/08 Budget Monitoring Report for all service areas, with areas relevant to the Children’s Services and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Panel highlighted. The impacts of increased costs, such as additional looked after children placements, delays in the move of the former Castle Hill Youth and Community Centre to Marlow Road, and additional works to the Woodlands Park Youth and Community Centre were all discussed.

        22/08 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 – EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

        RESOLVED: That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting whilst discussion takes place on items 12 - 14 on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 - 7 of Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.