Issue - meetings
Improvement Plan for Children and Families
Meeting: 28/10/2021 - Cabinet (Item 62)
To endorse the draft Strategic Improvement Plan and draft Operational Plan.
- Appendix 1 – Draft Improvement Plan v0.11, item 62 PDF 1 MB
- Appendix 2 - Operational Plan v0.3, item 62 PDF 927 KB
The cabinet member children and families introduced the item and explained that the draft plan had been widely circulated and feedback received had been taken on board. The operational plan was designed to be a live document so would be updated regularly. A number of updates and briefings had been provided to all councillors on this plan.
Cabinet members queried the steps being taken to improve recruitment and retention of staff and heard that this was a regional and national challenge. They also noted that financial support had been provided from the earmarked reserve for children’s services improvement and that it was hoped additional financial support would be forthcoming from the Department for Education.
Thanks were expressed to everyone who had contributed to the plans and to staff working on the front line of the service.
The chairperson of the children and young people scrutiny committee commented on the plan saying that:
· The majority of the plan was felt to be good;
· The scrutiny committee had not yet formally reviewed the plan;
· The role of scrutiny going forward had still to be shaped;
· SEND was not mentioned enough in the plan;
· There was a lack of detail on how talk community could be involved.
It was noted that, if the grant funding bid was successful, some of that resource might be used to develop the work on areas such as talk community. Councillors had played an important role in putting the plan together and it was hoped this would continue.
Group leaders and representatives generally welcomed the plans. It was highlighted that:
· The way the plans were implemented would be key;
· The plans represented the start of the journey;
· Many of the issues identified had been highlighted in the past, it was hoped this plan would produce lasting improvement;
· The phrase ‘family centred county’ was suggested in place of ‘child centred’ by one group;
· In some areas the financial arrangements needed more detail.
The cabinet member children and families closed the discussion, noting that mechanisms to give assurance were built into the plans and that further work would take place on areas such as the role of talk community.
It was resolved that
a) Cabinet note the activity undertaken to inform and develop our Strategic and Operational Plans;
b) Cabinet endorse the Strategic Plan accepted by the independently chaired Improvement Board on 11 October 2021 in order that it can be presented to the Department for Education, in compliance with the non-statutory improvement notice.
The leader of the council made closing comments expressing the determination of all involved to get this right and that it would require a team effort throughout the council and working with partners. He appealed to communities to support this effort and commended community volunteers who were a vital part of this. Hearing the voice of the child was important and the leader would be exploring ways for him personally to hear from children and young people.