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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

212.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Woolf.

213.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

Councillor Jeapes substituted for Councillor Woolf.

214.

Declarations of Interest

If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.

 

If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.

 

*(a) Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

(b) Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.

(c) Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.

(d) Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e) Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or longer.

(f) Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

 (g) Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 

 

This applies to all members present at the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

215.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

1) That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2020 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

2) That it be noted that the answers to all the questions asked of officers during the meeting had been received by members.

216.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair reported that evidence gathering sessions had been held with BAME community representatives and Bright Start parents. There had been no response from primary schools, probably due to them having the additional pressures of COVID but officers would contact them again next term.

 

The Chair reported that Islington schools would close early for the Christmas break and re-open on 11 January. The Director, People stated that this was due to the graver public health messaging in relation to COVID and the infection rate increase. Officers had held a meeting with the DfE and the latter was supportive of the council’s remote learning provision. However, it was still possible that the decision could be overturned and it was not known how quickly this could happen. If it did happen there would be swift communication with schools. A member of the public asked whether schools agreed with the early closure and was advised that there had not been much resistance.

 

A member asked whether officers communicated with all schools in Islington as she had observed young people from a private school not socially distanced outside of school. The Director, People would follow this up.

 

 

217.

Items for Call In (if any)

Minutes:

None.

218.

Public Questions

For members of the public to ask questions relating to any subject on the meeting agenda under Procedure Rule 70.5. Alternatively, the Chair may opt to accept questions from the public during the discussion on each agenda item.

 

Minutes:

None.

219.

Children's Services Quarter 2 2020/21 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Carmel Littleton, Director, People and Curtis Ashton, Acting Director of Youth and Community, presented the report which set out the Children’s Services Quarter 2 2020/21 progress against targets.

 

In the discussion the following main points were made:

·       The percentage of young people aged 10-17 who had been diverted from the criminal justice system had increased to 94%. This was an improvement on the figure for the same period last year.

·       The number of first-time entrants into the youth justice system was 15 in quarters 1 and 2 compared to 24 in the previous year.

·       The percentage of repeat young offenders aged under 18 had increased from 53% to 55%. This would be closely monitored and further work was taking place with this cohort.

·       There had been two young people given custodial sentences. This was an improvement on the five given custodial sentences in the same period in the previous year and Islington had outperformed its statistical neighbours in this area.

·       There had been an increase in the number of reported domestic violence incidents. This was expected during the pandemic. There had been a 37% increase in women being referred to Solace in April-July 2020 which may have been due to campaigns which had taken place to reach out to women and encourage them to seek help.

·       The number of schools engaged with the 100 hours of the world of work programme was 21 compared to 14 in the same period in the previous year.

·       The number of children in alternative provision was falling as it was agreed that mainstream schooling offered the best outcomes and life chances for most children.

·       The percentage of re-referrals to Children’s Social Care within 12 months was low.

·       Placement instability had increased but some moves were positive. A deep dive was being undertaken into the figures and a more detailed update would be given at a future meeting.

·       There had been a significant rise in the applications for free school meals and work was taking place with these families.

·       There was no target for the number of children attending early years’ settings as, due to the pandemic, the figures were fluctuating greatly.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

220.

COVID-19 Recovery Scrutiny Review - Witness Evidence

Minutes:

Penny Kenway, Head of Early Years gave a presentation on Early Years: Children’s Learning and Development.

 

In the presentation and discussion the following main points were made:

·       In January 2020, 67% of two year olds and 83% of three year olds were in government funded places. These places brought money into the borough and supported the whole early years system.

·       The take up of early education entitlements had remained stable over the last three years.

·       Since the easing of lockdown, the take up of places for two year olds had increased with 70% take up for Autumn 2020. Numbers always increased between Autumn and Spring but there were 177 fewer three and four year olds in provision this Autumn compared to last year.

·       There had been a steady increase in the number of children returning since 1 June and vulnerable children and those with SEND had also returned in good numbers. There were now approximately 3,500 children aged 0-5 in early years settings. This figure did not account for those children in bubbles that had been sent home to isolate. If they had been included, the figure would have been approximately 4,000. This was lower than the expected 5,000.

·       An Ofsted briefing in November 2020 stated that providers were concerned that the pandemic had significantly impacted the learning and development of children and there was particular concern about vulnerable children.

·       Attending high quality early education positively impacted upon children’s outcomes to GCSE and beyond and many disadvantaged young children had missed several months of their early education. Further equalities analysis was being undertaken to determine which groups were most affected.

·       There was no government funding available for an equivalent catch up programme in the early years as there was for school-aged children.

·       The vacancy rate across all setting types had increased from 12% in January 2019 to 20% in November 2020. Voluntary sector nurseries and school-based provision had the highest vacancy rates.

·       The childcare sector was experiencing significant flux due to the impact of COVID; changing working patterns, furlough, redundancy and unemployment rates. It was too early to know how long this would last or what the longer-term impact would be but childcare and employment were closely linked.

·       Increasing numbers of providers were reporting sustainability issues and concerns about viability. The council was awaiting a DfE decision on Spring term funding methods and whether existing protection for providers would continue. Without protection, funding losses were likely and this would impact upon the whole system including supporting arrangements for securing high quality places for two year olds, supporting children with SEND and priority places for vulnerable children.

·       If providers closed due to what could be a short-term lack of demand, there could be a longer-term lack of supply which would impact on families’ ability to take up and sustain work.

·       Providers most at risk of temporary or permanent closure were voluntary sector nurseries (many of which offered affordable childcare through LBI subsidy) and school nursery classes. This would disproportionately affect lower  ...  view the full minutes text for item 220.