Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - The Shire Hall, St. Peter's Square, Hereford, HR1 2HX

Contact: Matthew Evans, Democratic Services Officer 

Note: Please note that this meeting will be held on 14 January. It has been moved from the date of Monday 20 January. 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Graham Andrews and Paul Andrews.


Named Substitutes

To receive details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.


Councillor John Hardwick acted as a substitute for Councillor Graham Andrews.


Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of interest in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.



There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 440 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting on 25 November 2019.


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting on 25 November 2019 are agreed as a correct record and be signed by the chairperson.



Review of budget and corporate plan proposals for 2020/21 relating to the remit of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 419 KB

To review the budget and corporate plan proposals for 2020/21 relating to the remit of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.

Additional documents:


The committee considered a report from the Leader of the council which contained the budget proposals for 2020/21 and the draft corporate plan as relating to the remint of the children and young people scrutiny committee. The chief finance officer (CFO) and the director of children and families (DCF) provided the presentation attached to the circulated report.


During the course of the debate the following points were raised:


·         It was queried how the corporate plan took account of the priorities contained in the children and young people’s plan. The DCF explained that the corporate delivery plan, underpinning the corporate plan, made specific reference to the children and young people’s plan.

·         The reduction in the number of new entrants to care was welcomed and it was queried how this reduction could be explained. It was queried whether the application of thresholds for admitting children to care had in the past been too cautious. The DCF explained that a number of initiatives over the previous 18 months accounted for the reduction including the alternatives to care panel, early help assessments and the more co-ordinated approach which ensured that needs were identified and co-ordinated support provided. The assistant director safeguarding and family support (ADS&FS) commented that the alternatives to care panel had been established in September 2018 to provide a process to challenge the grounds on which children were taken into care. The Panel ensured that professional were held accountable for ensuring that all potential services had been made available to children and families prior to becoming looked after. The leaving care looked after children reduction strategy was also raised and the focus on reunifying children with their families and seeking special guardianship orders. The ADS&FS commented that without undertaking a review of earlier cases the application of thresholds would be difficult to appraise but it was noted that in June 2018 Ofsted had found that all children in the care system were there appropriately.  

·         There was a query regarding the social care pooled budget of £2 million. The CFO explained that funding had been provided from central government for social care and a budget had been established to enable funding to meet identified need, such as children transitioning to adulthood who continued to require social care. Proposals were being developed for the operation and allocation of the pooled budget which would be reported to the committee in due course.

·         The rate of inflation used to calculate the cost of the replacement of Peterchurch primary school was queried; at 6% the rate of inflation was considered to be in excess of the general inflation rate. The CFO explained that the rate used in the calculation was based on the inflation of prices and costs in the construction industry which exceeded the general inflation rate.

·         It was queried whether the consultation results that had identified investment in council-owned care homes as a priority was supported by other forms of evidence and feedback from local residents. It was queried whether the investment allocated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Young Carers Support Service pdf icon PDF 337 KB

To review the Young Carers Support Service (YCSS) for Herefordshire against the specification for the service following its implementation in April 2018.


Additional documents:


The committee received a report from the director for children and families relating to the young carers support service (YCSS). The early help manager introduced the report and advised the committee of the statutory duty of the council to young carers and the specification for the service which had emerged through the Joint Carers Strategy 2017-2021. The four objectives of the YCSS were outlined, in particular the promotional work that was ongoing around the service including digital material and presentations at schools and the GP forum. The service operated by undertaking an early help assessment of the family of a young carer from which a package of support could be compiled. Young carers were encouraged to complete evaluations of their experiences at the end of the intervention. 


The committee made the points below in the discussion that followed:


·         It was estimated that there were between 400 -700 carers in Herefordshire and the number the service had been in contact with was 83. The proportion of carers that the service supported was felt to be low but it was acknowledged that some young carers did not require or want support. There was concern if families did not want a young carer, who required support, to have contact with the service and it was queried how this could be overcome. The EHM explained that it was not an easy barrier to overcome but promotional materials such as the youtube video that had been developed was important in demonstrating the support that the service could provide. The priority for the service was to ensure that those with need were getting the help that they required. Presentations to the GPs Forum had been provided to ensure young carers and their families could be signposted to the service and notions that the service sought to take children into care could be dispelled.

·         It was queried whether children that have been supported had been consulted on how to engage other young carers. For older children a closed group on a social media platform was proposed and it was suggested that the social media details should be included on the services promotional posters. Details of where the poster had been distributed were sought. The EHM confirmed that a question regarding effective engagement with young carers could be added to the evaluation that was completed following intervention. The early help family support team manager (EHFSTM) explained that a number of children that the service works with do not initially identify as young carers and work that was undertaken in primary schools was effective in raising awareness. The poster was distributed to all schools and GP surgeries and adding social media details to the poster would be looked into.    

·         The committee queried the definition of a young carer. It was clarified that young carers were not only carers for parents but could also care for siblings. The EHFSTM explained that a question, about jobs in the home, posed of children to determine if they were a young carer was:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.


Work programme review pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To review the attached work programme for 2019/20 and consider the outcomes of the peer on peer abuse in schools spotlight review.

Additional documents:


The committee considered a report from the democratic services officer which provided the work programme for the remainder of the current administrative year, the outcomes of the peer on peer abuse in schools spotlight review and the recommendation tracker.


The committee noted those items that would be presented to the next meeting on 16 March 2020.


RESOLVED: That the committee’s work programme 2019/20, as attached at appendix a, is approved.


The committee considered the outcomes of the peer on peer abuse in schools spotlight review. Two amendments to the recommendations in the report were proposed as below:


·         Recommendation vii be expanded to include encouragement to schools to also receive the vulnerability training provided by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner and training from the West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre; and

·         Recommendation xi be expanded to include in the business to be considered at future meetings of the spotlight review the monitoring of progress and proposal of recommendations.


The director children and families outlined a number of factual corrections or elements that required clarification in the wording in the report. The Chairperson explained that the proposed corrections and clarifications would be investigated after the meeting and would be included in the final report to the executive, if appropriate.


RESOLVED: That the committee agrees the recommendations and outcomes of the peer on peer abuse in schools spotlight review (appendix b) for submission to the executive, subject to the amendments to recommendations outlined above and evaluation of appropriate factual corrections.      


The committee considered the recommendations tracker and the Chairperson provided an update on the response received from the Wye Valley Trust to correspondence concerning occupational therapists which would be shared in due course.


RESOLVED: That the committee notes the recommendation tracker in appendix c.


Date of next meeting

The next meeting of the children and young people scrutiny committee will be held on 16 March 2020.


The next meeting would take place on 16 March 2020.