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Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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Apologies were received from Councillor Bossman-Quarshie.


Declaration of Substitute Members

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Councillor Poyser substituted for Councillor Bossman-Quarshie.


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.

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There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting

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It was noted that the minutes of the previous meeting would be put to the next meeting of 4th July 2023.


Chair's Report

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The Chair gave a warm welcome to two new members of the Committee, Councillor North, and Councillor Zammit.


The Chair noted that there had been welcome news around changes to Ofsted inspections, in which it had been announced that the regulator would avoid naming individual staff and provide more information on the timing of inspections; that inadequate schools are going to be revisited within three months and that schools are going to be given more detail around safeguarding.


The Chair also noted that the Department for Education has published the results of a workforce survey, which showed that 9% of teachers had resigned from state schools. This was in addition to high levels of absence and sickness, and a high record of usage of supply teachers.


External Attendees (if any)

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Items for Call In (if any)

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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.


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Membership, Terms of Reference and Dates of Meetings pdf icon PDF 211 KB

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The Chair asked the Committee to note the report but highlighted the absence of representatives from other faiths on the Committee’s membership. The Chair will work with members and officers to fill those vacancies and implored those present to bring forward details of any potential candidates that would be interested.


Scrutiny Response Tracker pdf icon PDF 314 KB

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The Committee noted the responses within the Scrutiny Response Tracker, and thanked officers for providing them.


The Chair invited officers and the Executive Member for Children, Young People & Families to discuss the Safer Schools Protocol and whether it was working as intended. Key points raised in the discussion included:

·         Both the Executive Member for Children, Young People & Families and the Director for Learning & Achievement had visited St Mary Magdalene Academy recently.

·         The Police were finding it very difficult to recruit Safer Schools Officers, which was compounded by an overall staff shortage.

·         St Mary Magdalene Academy had not had the weekly presence of a Safer Schools Officer for a while.

·         Schools are perceiving the Safer Schools Officers as a deterrent, but the protocol itself was to help schools prevent escalations by signposting to diversionary activities and other resources in the Council that can be utilised to help.

·         There is a development plan within the protocol to help establish relationships between the schools and Safer School Officers.

·         In the absence of a Safer Schools Officer from a site, resources can be moved around to respond to incidents as and when required, but this represents a reactive approach rather than proactive

·         The Borough Commander has expressed a desire to fill the Safer Schools Officer vacancies with those that have an interest in the work required.

·         Positive feedback had been received from parents about the commissioned work from Jigsaw, tackling anti-social behaviour in and around Highbury Fields. This was an interim measure until Prospects deliver a commissioned programme of detached youth work in conjunction with Targeted Youth Support to ensure coverage of detached youth work across the borough.

·         Officers were looking at developing training with the Safer Schools Officers about trauma-informed practice.

·         There is a Youth Engagement Team in the Metropolitan Police which deliver a number of programmes in the borough, including bike building and boxing.

The Chair will take the matter of the lack of Safer Schools Officers to the Policy & Performance & Scrutiny Committee and writing to the Borough Commander.



Scrutiny Topic and Draft Work Programme pdf icon PDF 249 KB

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The Chair invited members to note the work programme and discuss potential deep dive topics for the 2023-24 municipal year’s scrutiny review. In the discussion, the following was raised:

·         Councillor North put forward a suggestion concerning children’s social care placements, and how decisions were made in Islington. It was stressed that getting the right placement first time was important in putting the borough’s young people on a pathway for success. It was acknowledged that this was compounded by budgetary issues and numerous policies showing that the market system is undermining placements for our young people on a national level. While Islington compared favourably to statistical neighbours on out-of-borough placement indicators, it was still an issue.

·         Councillor Jegorovas-Armstrong agreed with Councillor North and suggested looking at the intervention and prevention in early years. The most vulnerable young people were often those in early years whose voice may not be heard and engaging at that level would have the greatest impact and feed into Islington Together 2030.

·         Councillor Zammit put forward another suggestion for a deep-dive topic on Children with SEND needs, the impact on resources in dealing with SEND issues, as well as futureproofing the offer.

·         There was a SEND strategy, published in October, that is being refreshed continually.

·         The implementation of the SEND Green paper and work to progress that will be something undertaken as part of the usual course of business. The SEND Improvement Plan is about prevention and ensuring young people stay in school.

·         There was a national placement sufficiency crisis, in addition to a regional London crisis. There were 50% less homes than are needed for London children, and care homes were closing daily due to a multitude of reasons. There was also the issue of an ageing foster care population, with each local authority needing to approve at least five carers yearly just to maintain the status quo. The Committee were cautioned that as this was a far-reaching crisis, with both national and regional leaders and partners coming together to tackle the issue, that any deep dive on this topic should focus on what can be realistically achieved locally.

·         Officers told the Committee that the national housing crisis was not just affecting Islington families but was also having an impact on the Children’s Services directorate’s client group, with issues including a lack of suitable temporary accommodation, cost-of-living-induced rent arrears, care leavers stuck in supported accommodation, foster carers who can’t take on more placements due to not having bigger housing. It was suggested that a one-off report on this could be added to the work programme.

·         Officers picked up on the issue highlighted in the Chair’s report concerning workforce sufficiency in the education sector, stating that in Islington there was similar issues with early years practitioners, family support workers, and that there had never been so many social works leaving the profession and the children’s workforce overall. The Chair raised a concern about the Committee’s ability to make meaningful recommendations on this topic as some of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.


Scrutiny Report pdf icon PDF 9 MB

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The Chair noted her thanks to officers for the drafting of the scrutiny report into Making Children Visible and invited members to approve it, subject to any minor typos.


The Chair also expressed thanks to members and supporting officers across the Council for their hard work on the scrutiny review, and that the evidence gathering sessions was very moving.



That the scrutiny report be approved.