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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Woolf and subsequently from Councillor Bell-Bradford and Zaleera Wallce.


Declaration of Substitute Members


Councillor Jeapes substituted for Councillor Woolf.


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.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 76 KB




That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2020 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them subject to the following amendment:


Minute 185, bullet point 5 ‘point of inclusion’ to be replaced by ‘point of exclusion’.



Chair's Report


The Chair stated that she had presented the Equalities in Educational Outcomes report to the Executive and it had been well received. She thanked Councillor Comer-Schwartz for her support and stated that the Leader had thanked the committee for its hard work. The 14 recommendations in the report would be responded to at the next meeting of the Executive. The Chair thanked officers and members. She also thanked Councillor Woolf for his work as Vice-Chair of the committee, welcomed Councillor Ozdemir as the new Vice-Chair and Councillor Caluori as a new member of the committee.


Items for Call In (if any)




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.



The Chair advised that public questions would be taken at the end of the relevant agenda item.


Membership, Terms of Reference and Dates of Meetings of the Children's Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:


Zoe Lewis, Democratic Services, presented the report which set out the membership, terms of reference and dates of future meetings.


In the discussion the following point was made:

·         In relation to the terms of reference, the Chair clarified that in the event that a vote was necessary, the co-opted members would be entitled to vote on any item considered by the committee related to education.



That the report be noted.


Executive Member Annual Report

Additional documents:


Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families and Deputy Leader, gave a presentation on the work that had been undertaken by Children’s Services in the last year.


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

·         Children’s social care safeguarding services had been rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted.

·         There had been investment in the Targeted Youth Service to reduce youth violence, as well as in domestic abuse, and better detection rates.

·         There had been positive outcomes in terms of those in education, employment or training.

·         Good progress had been made against all the recommendations to reduce exclusions from school.

·         Over half of the Fair Futures recommendations had been implemented so far.

·         The work of Children’s Services had been significantly affected by COVID-19. Schools had been closed except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers and some year groups in the summer term.

·         Together with voluntary sector partners 1,192 food parcels had been delivered to needy families.

·         Approximately 3,000 IT devices had been distributed to children and young people.

·         Many services had had to close during lockdown but many maintained contact virtually e.g. safeguarding, Bright Start and work on the digital curriculum for schools.

·         Work was undertaken with schools and early years’ providers, parents/carers, community partners and Public Health on reopening schools and making them COVID-safe.

·         Work was undertaken with community partners such as the Mother Tongue Supplementary Schools to help support BAME parents, children and young people.

·         Risk assessments had been undertaken for the safe return of key services.

·         Work was being undertaken to support the emotional wellbeing of children and young people.

·         Holiday play schemes had been run over the summer and these had been well attended.

·         14,944 lunches had been distributed over the summer holidays to those attending holiday play schemes, adventure playgrounds and Launchpad activities.

·         Bright Start picnics for children under-5s and their families had taken place in community green spaces over the summer holidays and these would continue into the autumn. These had included a free Lunch Bunch lunch.

·         Work had been taking place to support young people into further education or training following their GCSE and A-Level results.

·         The future would be adjusting to the ‘new normal’. There would continue to be social distancing in schools. Ongoing and emerging needs included poverty/low income, housing needs, physical and mental health of children and parents/carers, insecure work, children’s access to technology and learning at home and having safe spaces to play.

·         The importance of public health and the value of prevention and early intervention had been underlined during COVID-19.

·         Priorities included getting people back on track, increasing face to face contact, trying to get a testing hub set up in Islington, offering hybrid learning and a recovery curriculum and challenging inequalities.

·         As part of the equalities work, actions would be taken forward from the joint study with the Youth Justice Board to address the disproportionality of BAME young people in the youth justice system.

·         The mental health and wellbeing of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 197.


Scrutiny Initiation Document and Presentation pdf icon PDF 61 KB


Tania Townsend, Head of Strategic Programme and Strategy gave an introductory presentation.


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


·         COVID had heightened the challenges many children and families already faced.

·         All communities and every aspect of children’s services had been affected by COVID-19. The experiences of children, young people and their families had varied and for some the first wave would have been difficult. A number were vulnerable, suffered from digital exclusion or had poor physical and mental health. Others may have found that relationships improved with quality time spent with families, there was resilience in some families and across communities, many engaged in home learning and found that there were further study or work opportunities.

·         The loss of routine may have made re-engagement difficult, there could be more NEETs (those not in Education, Employment or Training), exam results could disrupt plans and there could be impacts on mental health and emotional wellbeing.

·         Some families suffered from worsening finances, grief related trauma, restricted access to community health, limited access to food and outdoor play space.

·         Young carers had missed out on respite.

·         The social and emotional impact of COVID-19 could affect childhoods for many months and even years to come.

·         COVID-19 exposed disparities between groups of children, young people and their families.

·         Professional relationships had been disrupted and the change to using electronic communication had happened quickly.

·         There had been increased risk to the workforce of trauma, burnout and fatigue with staff operating under extraordinary circumstances for a lengthy period. Staff had shown flexibility, creativity and determination.

·         Potential impacts of the wider system supporting children and young people included: Some parts of the system had been paused or slowed down e.g. family and magistrates courts; there was a reduction in funding and income across the children’s sector; there were new ways of working with communities and across public services and there would be a refocus on health and social inequalities, prevention and early intervention.

·         Children and young people would be front and centre in recovery, restoring and resetting their support to ensure they were safe, cared for and would succeed in learning and thrive.

·         The ‘levelling up’ of inequalities that affected childhoods and life chances would be important.

·         The Chair asked about the report from Ofsted referenced in the Scrutiny Initiation Document and was advised that this report had been requested and would be circulated once received.



That the Scrutiny Initiation Document and introductory presentation be noted.



Children's Services Quarter 1 2020/21 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 267 KB


Mark Taylor presented the report which set out performance for Quarter 1 of 2020/21.


In the discussion the following points were made:

·         The report was in a new format.

·         Some indicators had been affected by COVID-19 and some figures were only reported annually.

·         The Chair stated that much of the report was positive, including that early years settings had improved to good and outstanding, that EHP plans were in place and participation rates had improved.

·         In response to a question from a member of the public about the number of unique visitors to the music website, an officer stated that she would find out and send the answer to the resident. In general, officers were pleased with the number of families that had engaged with online resources.

·         There were careers online videos and careers leads in every school were working online. Many primary schools used the World of Work as an enrichment tool.



That the report be noted.


Disproportionality of BAME young people in the youth justice system


Curtis Ashton presented the report. He stated that he could present the more detailed report to a future meeting. The action plan would be published by 2 October 2020.



1) That the action plan be noted.

2) That the report be presented to a future meeting of the committee.