Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead. View directions

Contact: Andy Carswell 

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies For Absence

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Richards, who would be late arriving to the meeting.

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting held on December 6th 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on December 6th 2018 be approved as a true and correct record, subject to an amendment to note Cllr Mrs Airey’s apologies.

4.

Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To comment and agree recommendations as set out in the Cabinet report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Children’s Services explained to Members that expenditure on statutory children’s services had increased, in common with other local authorities, and there had been an overspend in the current financial year. However there had been an increase in the base budget for 2019/20, which reflected the Council’s high priority to providing child safeguarding services. There was a proposed gross investment of £4.3million for children’s services for the forthcoming financial year, although areas where savings could be made had been also been identified. These included reductions in spending on agency staff, and a proportionate saving related to costs of placements for children outside of the Royal Borough.

 

The Chairman asked the Director of Children’s Services if he was satisfied that the mitigations in place in the current year were sufficient to deliver the children’s services budget. The Director of Children’s Services stated that significant additional costs to help support the budget were still to be recouped, including a provider backdating the cost of some out of Borough care placements. He added that other savings had been made and identified, and that he was confident the forecast outturn position was achievable.

 

The Chairman noted there was a significant cost difference between placement of a child with a foster family against an out of Borough placement. The Director of Children’s Services said it was difficult to draw a direct comparison as local placements may incur additional costs, such as for therapeutic support which are often included in the out of borough placement costs. These were reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the therapy was appropriate.

 

Cllr Wilson noted that the budget for Achieving for Children had increased from £15million in 2017/18 to £24million in 2019/20. The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services stated that the figure for 2017/18 was for a seven month contract rather than a full year, which accounted for the large difference. The Director of Children’s Services added that the increased budget from 2018/19 took account of the high number of children who were now in receipt of support, for whom no financial provision had previously been made. Members were informed that the budget had also been reviewed to take out unachievable income targets.

 

Members were informed that the Dedicated Schools Grant would be £2.2million higher in 2019/20 than the previous year, which was primarily due to the growth in pupil numbers. Of this figure, £386,000 was specifically allocated to the high needs block by central Government. Members were told that a per pupil formula had been agreed by the schools forum and all schools would receive the same amount of per pupil funding from the Dedicated Schools Grant, or higher, compared to the previous year. The exception to this would be schools where the national Minimum Funding Guarantee cuts in at -1.5%.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said there had been an overspend of £1.3million on the Dedicated Schools Grant, and this was being monitored. She added that this was reflective of the national picture, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Achieving for Children Performance Report pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To note the contents of the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were told that as part of the review, staff from each of the five service areas under Achieving for Children (AfC) had been asked how far the key potential benefits identified at the outset of the contract had been realised, and how much of that had been down to the changes that had been implemented. The main highlights from the feedback related to improved engagement with residents and aligning policy frameworks across different service areas in order to improve efficiency. It had been proposed in the next Capital Work Programme that tje ICS system be transferred to Liquid Logic as used in the other area of AfC to improve efficiency and help staff across all service areas to track cases more effectively. It was noted that the use of agency staff had reduced, which was seen as a benefit as using permanent members of staff meant a more consistent delivery of service.

 

With regards to the engagement with foster carers and the changes being led by AfC, Members were told that there were three levels of engagement an individual carer could opt for. The first was to provide foster care and use the information provided; the second was to talk about the service proposals and recruit more carers; and the third was helping with the design of particular proposals relating to foster caring. Three foster carers from the Royal Borough had chosen to be on the joint area board, and they had helped AfC address some concerns that had been raised more widely. The Director of Children’s Services said that foster carers felt communication with them was good, and he had not had to take away any action points from his last informal meeting with them.

 

Cllr Wilson stated that 90 per cent of children in the Royal Borough went to a school that had either an outstanding or good Ofsted report, and that there were no schools that were in special measures. He asked what was being done to ensure this continued. The Director of Children’s Services said that providing resources for schools not rated as outstanding or good was a priority for the Council, and support was provided through a wide range of the Council’s service areas. Although a large number of schools had become Academies, they were still liaising with the Council about potential improvements. Each school in the Royal Borough had been allocated a named education officer to help maintain standards, and to enable any concerns to be escalated more efficiently and quickly.

 

The Deputy Director – Strategy and Commissioning said all commissioned services were being delivered, and this was being kept under review. It was considered important to stick with the service providers and allow time for their way of working to embed, and the implementation of the commissioned services was not a ‘quick win’. It was felt that Achieving for Children had the better expertise to be able to provide certain services, with the Director of Children’s Services giving the example of arranging  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Tender Approval - Waste Collection for Schools pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider the report and make recommendations to Cabinet.

Minutes:

Members were informed that following a tendering process, Veolia had been awarded the contract to collect landfill waste from schools. In addition they had offered to include the provision of food waste bins for all schools, which had not been a previous contractual offer. Schools would be given advice on how to make best use of the food waste bins. Members were informed that litter picking equipment was not included as part of the tender, although such equipment was available from elsewhere. Collection of recycling from schools was already done separately by the Council, but the tender would ensure that Veolia would maximise the number of items that were capable of being recycled. It had been agreed to keep this as a separate contract due to the volatility of the recycling collection market.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services told Members that improving recycling and waste management in schools was a project being worked on by the Girl’s Policy Forum. Part of this review had led to extra bins being installed on popular walking routes to certain schools.

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Panel noted the report and:

i) Approved the award of the new schools waste contract to Veolia Environmental Services Ltd.

ii) Delegated authority to the Director of Children’s Services, in consultation with the Lead Member for Children’s Services, to exercise the option to extend the contract for up to an additional two years.

7.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 23 KB

To review the ongoing Work Programme.

Minutes:

Members were informed that the Annual Education Report would be presented at the next meeting as it was due to be considered at March’s Cabinet meeting. It was agreed that the item on the Inclusion Metrics Framework should be deferred to a future meeting.

 

The contents of the Work Programme was noted by Members.

8.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

To consider passing the following resolution:-

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on items 9 and 10 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"

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the motion to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting.

9.

Budget 2019/20

To comment and agree recommendations as set out in the Cabinet report.

10.

Tender Approval - Waste Collection for Schools

To consider the report and make recommendations to Cabinet.