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Agenda and draft minutes

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Convery and Woodbyrne.

2.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of substitute members.

3.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 364 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

5.

Chair's Report

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Jon Stansfield, Parent Governor Representative (Primary) to the committee.

 

The Chair advised that the Government’s Schools White Paper had been published. It called for higher targets for English and maths and behaviour, all schools to be academies and more Ofsted inspections.

6.

Items for Call In (if any)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

None.

7.

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.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The chair advised that public questions would be taken at the end of each agenda item.

8.

Draft Recommendations

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair stated that that the draft recommendations, which included input from officers, had been circulated. The draft was a near-final iteration. The Chair asked members to delegate to her the authority to finalise the recommendations which she would do in consultation with members. This would enable to recommendations to be agreed before the end of the municipal year.

 

RESOLVED:

That the approval of the recommendations be delegated to the Chair in consultation with members.

 

9.

Education Outcomes 2021 pdf icon PDF 557 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cate Duffy, Corporate Director, Children’s Services, presented the report.

 

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

·         There were no public examinations in 2020 or 2021 and school level performance data was not published in the way that it normally would be.

·         In 2021, children were assessed by their teachers using a variety of assessment methods. There was flexibility in how assessments could be conducted.

·         Whilst school level data was not published, local authority national data had been published. This data could not be compared with outcomes from previous years due to the methods of the assessment being different but it was possible to see if outcomes were different. Nationally and locally, attainment had increased under teacher assessment. Nationally gender gaps and pupil premium gaps widened but in Islington they did not. At GCSE level there was virtually no gender gap in and the pupil premium gap was about half, and in some cases less than half, than it was in 2019.

·         There were many views about the robustness of the methods of assessment used in teacher assessment. However, there were more children in 2020 and 2021 who achieved the grades they needed to enable them to take their next steps.

·         A member raised concern about the figures indicating that Islington appeared to have performed worse than both the London average and the national average at Key Stage 4 for those with Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and Special Educational Needs (SEN). The officer stated that data comparisons in any year were difficult because the cohort of children with EHCPs who were entered for GCSEs varied dramatically. These children had a wide variety of needs and it was also a small cohort of about 70 young people which made it statistically difficult to compare. These children had to be looked at on a child by child basis. Ofsted recognised these difficulties and when they went into schools they tended not to look at this data in relation to the performance of a school.

·         A member of the public raised concern about the outcomes for black Caribbean children on free school meals. The officer stated that this was a small group of about 80 children and so it was difficult to make statistical comparisons. Also, methods of assessment differed nationally, across London and between Islington schools. This was a cohort that was tracked and would continue to be tracked.

·         A member asked whether the results of black Caribbean boys had decreased as a result of other factors such as discrimination. The officer stated that although the results for this cohort were lower in 2021 than in 2020, they were still higher than when examinations took place in 2019. At the time, there were concerns about teacher assessment and unconscious bias nationally but it was difficult to draw conclusions about the effect on outcomes. To try and safeguard against bias schools were supported to blind mark so teachers did not know whose papers they were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Project Search pdf icon PDF 375 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Candy Holder, Head of Pupil Services, presented the report.

 

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

·         The report followed a report at the December 2021 meeting in relation to transition. The council had an ambition to develop supported internships. Demand would grow as the number of young people with Autism and Social Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH) were projected to increase significantly.

·         There had been some successes already. Regionally there were many opportunities, many of which were in hospitals or hospitality. An offer with a wide range of opportunities would be developed. The cost implications for the council would not be significant as the education element would be drawn down from the funding agency. There was capacity in the 14 to 19 team. There were resources to develop and finding business opportunities would be a challenge. At first, opportunities would be sought through the council and its services and major contractors. Larger employers could also be asked to offer placements.

·         In response to a question about ensuring that supported internships followed an education programme and were not young people working unpaid, the officer stated that one of the objectives of the programme was for those who had completed their supported internships to enter paid employment, where appropriate, with the same employer. There had already been some successes with this.

·         The Community Wealth Building team were undertaking a piece of work on measuring social value e.g. ensuring the planning application process required significant planning schemes to deliver social value.

·         A member of the public asked about the cost per student. The officer stated that money would be allocated according to needs. Local resources would be used. The cost would be equivalent to that of full time education.

·         In the UK there were different brands of Supported Internships. These included Project Search, Project Choice and Royal Mencap Society. In response to a question from a member, the officer stated that all these schemes could be used.

·         The Chair stated that it was important that young people were not working two years without getting paid under any of the schemes.

·         The chair asked if full-scale implementation could be brought forward from the three years stated in the report. The officer would report this request back to the Progress Team.

·         The Chair asked about the mechanisms in place to monitor effectiveness of the whole scheme and also of the three different potential providers. The officer stated that there had been successes so far but there were small numbers and outcomes were dependent on the student. Work would be undertaken on how the Supported Internship schemes could be evaluated and outcomes compared.

 

RESOLVED:

1) That the report be noted.

2) That regular updates be submitted to the committee.

3) That officers consider the feasibility of reducing the proposed three-year schedule until full-scale implementation.

11.

Islington Safeguarding Children's Partnership Annual Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Laura Eden, Director of Safeguarding, presented the Islington Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Annual Report on behalf of Alan Caton, Independent Scrutineer of the Partnership.

 

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

·       The report set out the work and activities of the Safeguarding Partnership and sub-groups in 2020/2021.

·       Legislation required the report to be completed annually and to be presented to several boards and committees in Islington, one of which was the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee.

·       A member asked if it was known why Islington had a higher rate of Children in Need and Children Looked After than statistical neighbours. The officer advised that there were high levels of children in Need in Islington but the numbers had decreased in recent years. The figures were masked by some children with disabilities who are receiving family support rather than an allocated social worker and were classed as Children in Need. There were also good early intervention services. In relation to Children Looked After, Islington had the second highest rate per 10,000 children. Work was taking place to ascertain the reasons for this. When reviewed by Ofsted, the service was advised that the right children were being brought in to care. Islington had a higher proportion of Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) than other boroughs.

·       In response to questions about the Child Q case review, the officer advised that when police went into schools where a child was suspected to be a victim of child abuse or neglect, they would go in jointly with a social worker that had been agreed by a local authority manager. The phrase ‘appropriate adult’ was used for when children were arrested and required an appropriate adult to be present when they were interviewed. This could be a parent or an appropriate adult from a commissioned organisation. The Chair stated that Ofsted were asked to undertake an inspection after the Child Q case and were critical of the teachers saying they should have challenged the police and asked whether teachers were aware they should challenge the police where necessary and whether they felt empowered to do this. The officer advised that it was hoped teachers would intervene but in reality an unspoken hierarchy could prevent challenge. Safeguarding Partnerships only had to complete a review when a child died or was significantly injured but the Hackney Children Safeguarding Partnership had chosen to undertake a review to learn from the case and share the learning with other boroughs. The case review on Child Q would be brought to the relevant Islington Safeguarding Partnership sub-groups to analyse lessons to be learnt and help collect and understand data e.g. stop and search and strip searches. Police had given assurances about there being no strip searches within Islington schools and the police were on board with learning lessons. There was a training and development issue around the hierarchy of agencies. The Child Q case report would be circulated to members.

·       A member asked how feedback from children and parents about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Youth Offer pdf icon PDF 270 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Curtis Ashton, Director – Young Islington, presented the report.

 

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

·       Islington’s youth provision included Lift, Platform, Rose Bowl, CYP, Soap Box and The Zone. As a result of an extra £500,000 a year investment, the universal youth work offer would continue to be responsive to the needs of Islington young people. Since February 2020, there had been engagement with young people and key stakeholders to design and formulate a new borough wide universal youth work offer.

·       Data had shown that the previous offer did not engage with some communities e.g. Somali, Turkish, Bangladeshi and LGBQT communities and young people with disabilities plus young people from poorer and more deprived backgrounds.

·       The development of the new universal youth work offer coincided with the ending of a number of youth offer contracts.

·       The procurement process was slightly hampered by COVID-19 and the council did not receive the number of bids that were anticipated. Lot 1 was awarded to London Youth and St Mary’s. Lot 2 was awarded to Isledon Arts and Lot 3 was awarded to Fourth Monkey. However this provider for Lot 3 withdrew so it had been brought in-house.

·       As part of the Lot 1 contract, London Youth and St Mary’s would be leading on an annual report and helping with youth related leadership opportunities.

·       As part of the Lot 2 contract, there was a newly appointed youth worker for Lift. A minimum of 1,500 Islington young people would be engaged each year across Lift and Rose Bowl.

·       As part of Lot 3, the council was creating a small internal youth work focussed team that would be supported by the Brandon Centre.

·       Eligible staff members from Isledon Arts were being TUPEd across to Islington Council and this would continue for the foreseeable future.

·       A Youth Hub Manager and a Senior Youth Officer had been appointed for Platform and would be starting in April. Services users had been involved in the recruitment.

·       Work was taking place with key stakeholders on a programme of sessions. This would include cooking, access to safe spaces and open mic sessions.

·       In response to a member’s question about how many days/hours Brandon Centre staff would be at Platform, the officer advised that there would be a full time worker on site who would be responsive to the needs of young people. There would be a trained psychologist providing six counselling sessions to young people who needed it and these could be extended or the young person referred if necessary. A leaflet with contact details of the youth worker had been sent round to young people via social media networks and had been posted on the Platform website.

·       A member raised concern that between January 2022 and April 2022 there was no youth worker in post. The officer responded that since the beginning of January 2022 there had been Targeted Youth Support staff on site. No young person had been turned away or left without support during  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Youth Offending Service Update pdf icon PDF 557 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Curtis Ashton, Director – Young Islington, presented the Youth Offending Service (YOS) report.

 

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

·       There had been inspections in 2014 and 2015 and inspection outcomes were not good. Since then there had been significant change with much success in terms of key performance indicators and the work being undertaken.

·       The first time entrants figure had improved substantially.

·       In 2016, Islington had the worst custody rate in the whole country but now Islington outperformed statistical neighbours and the London average.

·       There had been improvement in the reoffending rate.

·       There had been progress made in relation to disproportionality. There was an over representation of boys from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and a project funded by the Youth Justice Board had resulted in a number of recommendations being made. Further work would be undertaken.

·       Covid had impacted on the way services were delivered. All young people were still seen virtually with the most vulnerable seen through home visits.

·       The YOS was awaiting an inspection.

·       Much work had taken place to prevent knife crime. The YOS had produced an award winning film which was shown in schools and to young people involved with the Service. It showed the dangers of carrying a knife which was particularly significant as in 2021 there had been the largest number of teenagers in London killed by knife crime with 31 people killed.

·       Partners were brought together in multi-disciplinary panels to plan and be respond to the needs of young people and help young people turn their lives around. These included health professionals, psychologists, education and social care. It was important to ensure that victims were supported as well and restorative justice principles were important.

·       As the data related to young people aged 10-17, a member asked who supported those aged 18 and over. The officer advised that the YOS supported young people aged 17 and 18 in line with the legislation. Those who were aged 18-24 who were at risk of offending were supported by the Integrated Gangs Team (IGT). It was a multi-agency team which could wrap around young people and provide support to them in terms of emotional wellbeing, help with their housing, help to remain in education, training, or employment. The police service was a key partner and there were daily tasking meetings The IGT supported victims and perpetrators.

·       In response to a member’s question about how the YOS team supported parents, the officer stated that there was a Parental Officer based within the YOS and the Parent Champions Group as well as robust parenting programmes.

·       A member asked if young people were tracked to see how successful interventions were at keeping young people out of custody up until the age of 25. The officer stated that this data was not collected. If a person offended post 18 they would be involved with and supported by the Probation Service. It would however be possible to look at data for the IGT and see  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Quarter 3 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 813 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In the discussion the following main points were made:

·       A member asked about the split between Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) and those who were not. An officer advised that there at the end of February 2022 there were 392 Looked After Children. There were currently 70 UASC Children Looked After (CLA), many of whom had been put into hotels by the Home Office, incorrectly identified as adults and following local authority age assessments, had been taken into care. There were also 140 care leavers who were unaccompanied and separated adults out of 590 care leavers. It was expected the number of UASC would slow down unless another hotel for asylum seekers was opened in the borough. There was a national transfer scheme for boroughs such as Islington which were over their quota but to date this had not been as effective as necessary.

·       A member of the public referred to a leaflet about every young person having had 100 hours of work experience and eleven outstanding cultural experiences by Year 11. An officer confirmed this was an aspiration.

·       A member asked about placement stability. An officer stated that shorter-term stability meant children moved two or more times after they came into care. At the end of Quarter 3 the figure was 9.4% which was better than last year. Last year there were more issues with the placement market during Covid and lockdown periods when more people were not accepting children into their homes. Some children moved for positive reasons. Long term stability was the number of children that had been in care for two and a half years and stayed in the same placement for two years. Approximately 85% were in long term placements. The most common children to move placements and therefore not be in long term placements were those who had entered care aged 14+.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.