Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education - Thursday, 20th October, 2022 11.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - The Guildhall, Portsmouth. View directions

Contact: Karen Martin, Tel: 023 9284 1704 or James Harris, Tel: 023 9260 6065  Email: democratic@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

25.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were no apologies.

26.

Declaration of Member's Interests

Minutes:

Councillor Horton declared a non-prejudicial interest in that she is Vice-Chair of Governors at Craneswater Junior School; For transparency, Councillor Terry Norton declared a non-prejudicial interest in Item 5 - The inclusion of Police Community Support officers in Early Help and Prevention as he is the DeputyPolice and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and Isle of Wight. 

 

27.

Dedicated Schools Grant 2022-23 Quarter 1 Budget Monitoring and Revised Budget pdf icon PDF 236 KB

Purpose

The purpose of this report is to inform the Cabinet Member of the projected revenue expenditure of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for the current financial year 2022-23 as at the end of June 2022, along with proposed budget revisions.

 

RECOMMENDED that the Cabinet Member:

 

1)    Notes the forecast year end budget position for the Dedicated Schools Grant as at 30 June 2022, together with the associated explanations contained within this report.

 

2)    Approve the delegation to the Section 151 Officer or their delegated representative, the responsibility to adjust the Early Years block budget in line with the DSG allocation adjustments annually in July.

 

3)    Approve the proposed pre-opening grant to the Wymering Free School of £250,000 as set out in paragraph 7.8 of the report.

 

4)    Approve the revisions to the 2022-23 budget as set out in Appendix 1 and section 8 of the report.

 

Minutes:

The report was introduced by Alison Egerton, Group Accountant, informing members that the report provides an update on the position at the end of Quarter 1 of 2022/23 financial year.  The forecast position as at the end of June 2022 is an underspend of £340,500 and this relates to the planned under spend on the growth fund which will be carried forward at year end to support the committed expenditure to schools in 2023/24; the SEND and some of the early years budgets are forecast to be on budget. 

 

Alison Egerton highlighted the table in table in section 7 of the report which sets out the forecast position, the proposed use of any uncommitted balances and sets out proposals requesting the delegated authority for the section 151 officer or their representative to adjust the early years budget in line with the early years block allocation adjustments that are received in July every year from the Department for Education. She added that the report also requests approval to provide Wymering School with a grant to support the school through the first term of opening and section 8 sets out the proposed budget revisions for the 2022/23 financial year, the details of which are set out in the report including the proposed use of the carry forward balanced to support the changes.

 

The Cabinet Member noted that the quarterly report comes regularly to this meeting, that the Schools' Forum supported the investment in the Wymering School and that it will be valued by schools so that they are very willing to support that decision.

 

Councillor Norton added his support for the investment in Wymering School adding that given the current climate it is reassuring that this level of support has been allocated to it. 

 

Councillor Tom Coles joined the meeting at 11.37am.

 

DECISIONS:

1.    Noted the forecast year end budget position for the Dedicated Schools Grant as at 30 June 2022, together with the associated explanations contained within this report.

2.    Approved the delegation to the Section 151 Officer or their delegated representative, the responsibility to adjust the Early Years block budget in line with the DSG allocation adjustments annually in July 2022.

3.    Approved the proposed pre-opening grant to the Wymering Free School of £250,000 as set out in paragraph 7.8 of the report.

4.    Approved the revisions to the 2022-23 budget as set out in Appendix 1 and section 8 of the report.

 

28.

Children, Families and Education Portfolio Budget Monitoring Report for the First Quarter 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 255 KB

Purpose

 

To inform the Cabinet Member of the projected revenue expenditure within the portfolio cash limit and the Capital Programme for the financial year 2022/23. This report sets out the budget position and contributing factors to the projected spend within the portfolio as at the end of June 2022.

 

RECOMMENDED that:

 

1)    The Cabinet Member notes the Children, Families and Education Portfolio forecast revenue and capital budget positions, as at the end of June 2022, together with the variance and pressure explanations.

 

2)    In consultation with the Cabinet Member, Directors develop a savings plan which will eliminate the overspend currently being forecast, progress against which is monitored by the Cabinet Member and the Director of Finance on a regular basis. 

Minutes:

Angela Mann, Finance Manager, introduced the report which covers the rest of the budget.  She informed members that overall, there is a budget pressure of £1.9m, just over £1m of which relates to covid costs. The remainder includes pressures relating to school transport, family safeguarding, placements for looked after children and indigenous care leavers.  There is also pressure due to cost of living and energy cost increases and staffing pressures in homes and in the fostering service.

 

The Finance Manager explained that these are offset by underspends elsewhere including in the budget for under 18s asylum seeking children, asylum seeking care leavers and she noted that some high-cost placements are forecast to reduce.  In terms of the capital projections, the Finance Manager stated that these are detailed the report and that on budget.

 

The Cabinet Member commented that the costs associated with covid seem to be segueing into increases to the cost of living and it is no surprise that they translate into pressures on children, families and education.  There had been good progress on home to school transport, but increased costs and demand have had an impact and thinking needs to be done around this national issue. We had been seeing positive impact of using the family safeguarding model and it is very difficult to tease out what would have happened current pressures had not arisen.  We are not complacent about the overspends and are constantly thinking creatively around how to manage them. The capital projections provide a good news story in some ways, but it has been a result of sort of descoping some projects to managing within the budget.  It is therefore worth noting that some things which would have been beneficial will not happen as the money does not have the same value it had before. 

 

In response to members questions about home to school transport, Mike Stoneman, Deputy Director of Children's Services and Education, explained that:

·       The main reasons for the increased costs are due to increased demand and increased fuel costs. 

·       There are strict criteria for claiming home to school transport and these children and young people have complex SEND and meet those criteria.

·       There is a discretionary element to it and so transport will be provided where possible, eg. if there is space on route then it will be offered at a charge.

·       In a very small number of cases, there it is not possible to offer a child a school place within three miles for a secondary school or two miles for a primary school, those costs will be covered.

·       In terms of mitigating the increased costs, the service is looking at making routes more efficient, trying to broaden the market and also having a review to see can we do things differently such as using our own transport and relook at independent travel training word where appropriate.

·       Despite this it is unlikely that the overspend will come down significantly in the short term, but the service is doing everything it can  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

The inclusion of Police Community Support officers in Early Help and Prevention pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Purpose

 

To provide information relating to the inclusion of Police Community Support Officers in Early Help and Prevention.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member explained that she had requested this information item as early help can interrupt the patterns that put children in crisis situations. 

 

Katy Willcox, Service Lead Early Help and Prevention, introduced the report informing members that the report provides an overview of the early help and prevention service with a particular focus of the introduction of the Police Community Support Officers. The service provides support to families with children are aged between nought to 19 and covers services provided both by Portsmouth City Council and by Solent NHS including specialist family support workers working in partnership with the Youth Offending Team and the inclusion of Police Community Support Officers (PSCOs) in Early Help and Prevention. PSCOs use two main tools to reduce anti-social behaviour and child exploitation and more efficient joint working and interventions have improved outcomes for children and young people.  Among the first cohort of children, re-referrals have decreased dramatically, and the risk of exploitation has either been eliminated or reduced to 'low', among more recent contacts, although some cases remain open, risk of exploitation has reduced to low or there are no further concerns.  A case study was included as part of the report.

 

The Cabinet Member thanked the Service Lead for the detailed and rich report, adding that it brought to life many issues being faced by young people and the importance of early intervention to improve outcomes.  She noted that this had a longer-term financial benefit and the intensive support provided was worth the investment to turn a child's life around.

 

Members welcomed the report and the positive impact on behaviour changes.

 

In relation to the role schools play, the Cabinet Member noted that there is pressure on schools relating to educational attainment but that for most schools' relationships and what's best for the child comes first.  There had been work earlier in the year to refresh contacts in key services for schools, including the Police.

 

Mike Stoneman, Deputy Director of Children's Services and Education, confirmed that schools are looking for greater engagement with the Police and work is underway to help improve those relationships and that schools are very inclusive.

 

Sarah Daly, Director of Children's Services, clarified that the service had a very good standard of referrals from schools and the link co-ordinator role is embedded in the service and helps keep in touch with vulnerable children and families. Demand at the front door is being supported by strong systems, schools can pick up the phone to discuss the best way forward and there are very few complaints from school leaders about social care systems.

 

Councillor Terry Norton noted that six liaison officers will return, and the Police has a comprehensive child centred policing approach. He commented that health partners are working together and asked if there was more cross-portfolio work to be done to create environments where children and young people can be safe. 

The Cabinet Member commented that despite all the pressures on services, strategic work is being done to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.