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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 22nd April, 2013.

 

Present: Councillor N.P. Hodges (Chairman); Councillor Ms. R. Birch (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. K. Edmunds, H.C. Hamilton, T.H. Jarvie, F.T. Johnson, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, R.A. Penrose and E. Williams.

 

Co-opted Members:  Mr. P. Burke (Roman Catholic Church); Dr. C. Brown (Parent Governor - Secondary Sector) and Mr. L. Kellaway (Parent Governor - Primary Sector).

 

Non-voting Observers:  Mr. G. Beaudette (Primary Sector) and Mr. D. Treharne (Welsh Medium Education).

 

 

1086   APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor Mrs. M.E.J. Birch.

 

 

1087   MINUTES -

 

Following confirmation that on receipt of a completed request for consideration of matter regarding an issue in relation to the School Surplus Places Review the Chairman agreed that the matter would be considered by the Committee.  It was subsequently 

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 18th March, 2013 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1088   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

1089   SCHOOL ADMISSION ARRANGEMENTS 2014/2015 (REF) -

 

Cabinet had, on 8th April, 2013, referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for information.  However, during consideration of the matter, Members raised a number of queries which were unable to be addressed at the meeting in relation to admission arrangements and as such it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the reference and the report be deferred for consideration at the May meeting in order that the relevant officer could be in attendance.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To allow officer attendance.

 

 

1090   IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2013/14 (MD) -

 

The Committee was advised that the Corporate Plan was a key means of the Council complying with the Local Government Measure 2009 which required Councils to set improvement objectives annually and demonstrate continuous improvement.  The draft Corporate Plan had been approved by Cabinet on 25th February, 2013 following the conclusion of consultation with key stakeholders and partners.  The report referred to eight improvement objectives which had been proposed for 2013/14 which included three which had been carried forward from 2012/13 and which had been amended to reflect the areas of focus for further improvement work in 2013/14.  These were reported as

 

·         To promote sustainable practices throughout our domestic waste management services with a particular focus on promoting waste prevention, reducing landfill and increasing recycling.

·         To reduce the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants to children and young people and to adults to achieve the Welsh average performance of 2011/12 as a minimum.

·         To implement effective and sustainable workforce planning for the Council.

 

For completeness Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed objectives for the Council and provided the rationale for each.  The improvement objectives for 2014 within the Scrutiny Committee's remit were noted as Objective 4 - to support and challenge schools in order to improve pupil attainment levels at Key Stage 3 and Objective 8 - to reduce the number of young people aged 14 - 19 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET).

 

Members were further informed that the Council was required to consult on the Improvement Objectives and they would be published on the Council's website during April 2013 with comments being invited from the public.  A summary of the results of the public consultation would be included in a final report to Cabinet.

 

In considering the relevant objectives Members felt that under Objective 4 the target of an increase of 1% was not challenging enough and that this should be reconsidered.  With regard to Objective 8 it was also agreed that earlier identification of NEETS was essential and that targeting pupils at the end of Year 9 would be more appropriate.  The Democratic and Scrutiny Officer advised Members that a progress report on NEETS was due to be presented to Committee shortly.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider increasing the targets identified for 2013/14 under Objective 4 by more than 1%.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider introducing measures for the early identification of NEETS at the end of Year 9.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       The Committee considered that an increase of 1% was not stretching enough.

 

(2)       To assist with the early identification of NEETS.

 

 

1091   SUMMARY OF SCHOOL INSPECTION REPORT FOR THE SPRING TERM 2013 (CLSO) -

 

The report advised that Cogan Nursery School had been inspected during the Spring Term 2013 and provided a summary of the investigation findings which were appended to the report.

 

The inspection feedback highlighted that for wellbeing, learning experiences, the learning environment and partnership working the judgement for the school was deemed excellent and overall the inspection found that the current performance and prospects for improvement were good. 

 

Members having considered the report were extremely pleased that in four areas the school was demonstrating excellent work. 

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for information in recognising the good work that had been achieved.

 

(2)       T H A T a letter of congratulations be forwarded to the school by the Chairman on behalf of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To inform Cabinet of the good results following the schools inspection.

 

(2)       To extend congratulations to the school.

 

 

1092   SERVICE PLANNING 2013/2017 (CLSO) -

 

The report referred to the new service planning arrangements that had been reviewed to reflect the new senior management restructure.  There would now be just 8 Plans in total providing a strategic overview of each Directorate.  Members had been notified of the revised format through a report to the Scrutiny Committees in February 2012.  The new service planning template had been approved by the Council’s Corporate Management team in August 2012 and the Council had agreed with the Wales Audit Office to use the revised plans as supporting evidence in meeting its obligations for self assessment under the Local Government Measure. 

 

A new service planning template had been approved by the Council's Corporate Management Team on 29th August, 2012 and the new plans addressed a number of key questions which were aimed at enabling services to improve how they measured and provided evidence of their contributions to the priority outcomes identified in the Corporate Plan.  Furthermore, following a review of existing service performance measures, proposed measures for 2013/14 would be presented to all Scrutiny Committees during July 2013 along with end of year performance reporting.

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the changes to service planning arrangements be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To note the revised service planning format.

 

 

1093   SERVICE PLAN 2013-17 - LEARNING AND SKILLS -

 

The Learning and Skills Service Plan included details of the Directorate's broad functions, its service outcomes and objectives, necessary consultation, partnership working, performance data and Estyn Inspections.  The Plan also contained 12 service objectives and included further details on how the service areas would achieve those objectives. An action plan attached as an Appendix to the report outlined the timescales involved and how the work would be resourced.

 

Having considered the report and the action plan it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the service plan be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In recognition of the role of scrutiny in performance and to meet the Auditor General for Wales' recommendation as outlined in the 2011/12 Annual Improvement Assessment Report.

 

 

1094   SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DR) -

 

The appendices to the report (A and B) set out the progress in respect of recommendations that had been made by the Scrutiny Committee. Members were requested to review the progress against each recommendation to assess where further action may be required, to ensure that the required action had been undertaken and to confirm which recommendations could be accepted as completed.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the recommendations deemed completed below be accepted :

 

21st January, 2013

Min. No. 756 - Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2012 to 30th November 2012 (CLSO) – Recommended

(2)   That an amendment to the Penarth Learning Community Capital Scheme to increase the 2013/14 budget to £4.923 million (funded from a transfer of £97,000 from the St. Cyres Demountable Budget plus an additional £60,000 revenue funding) and to also increase the 2015/16 budget by £3,000 (funded from revenue contributions) be endorsed and referred to Cabinet and Council for approval.

Endorsed by Cabinet on 25th February 2013 and approved by Council on 6th March 2013 (Minutes C1220 and 936 respectively refer).

Completed

Min. No. 757 - Proposals for Development of a Youth Cabinet and Youth Mayor Position for the Vale of Glamorgan (CLSO) – Recommended

That Cabinet be informed of the Committee’s support to the establishment of a constituted Youth Cabinet and the development of an election process for a Youth Mayor position.

Cabinet, on 4th February 2013, resolved that the establishment of a constituted Youth Cabinet and the development of an election process for a Youth Mayor position be noted and a further, more detailed report be brought back to Cabinet regarding its implementation (Min. No. C1204 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 758 - End of Year Performance Report – National Strategic Indicators, Public Accountability Measures, Service Improvement Data (MD) – Recommended

That the performance results be noted and the information as requested above be made available in due course.

[Up to date attendance data to be emailed to Members; further report on performance improvement.]

E-mailed to Members in January 2013.  Performance impact progress meetings agreed by Committee in February and meetings are being arranged.

Completed

Min. No. 762 - Report of the School Places Review Task and Finish Group (Exempt Information – Paragraph 15) (CHAIRMAN) – Recommended

That the School Places Review Task and Finish Group Report be approved and together with the recommendations referred to Cabinet for consideration.

Cabinet, on 4th February 2013, noted the contents of the report (Min. No. C1214 refers).

Completed

18th February, 2013

Min. No. 872 - Review of the Future Delivery of Education Services in Wales: Second Report (CLSO) – Recommended

(1)   That the tabled draft response to the WLGA be endorsed subject to the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services being requested to include as part of the Council’s response reference to the importance of appropriate funding being available for schools.

Referred to Cabinet meeting of 18 March 2013.

Completed

(2)   That the Chief Learning and Skills Officer submit a further report to the Scrutiny Committee once the delivery options for education services were published by the Welsh Government.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 873 - Progress Report for Oakfield Primary School (CLSO) – Recommended

That progress in meeting the recommendations contained within the Post Inspection Action Plan be noted with pleasure and that the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

Cabinet, on 18 March 2013, noted the report and resolved that a Cabinet working Group be established to give long term support to the School and provide update reports to Cabinet (Min. No. C1253 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 874 - Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) (Updated) 2012 (CLSO) – Recommended

That the final draft copy of the Welsh Medium in Education Strategic Plan for 2012-2015 be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for approval.

Cabinet, on 18 March 2013, approved the Plan (Min. No. C1254 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 876 - Summary of School Inspection Reports for the Autumn Term 2012 (CLSO) – Recommended

(2)   That the Cabinet be requested to expedite as soon as practicable improvements to the toilet facilities at the PRU.

Cabinet, on 18 March 2013, agreed the recommendations of the Committee (Min. No. C1255 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 877 - Inspection of Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People (LAESCYP) (CLSO) – Recommended

That the Framework for the Inspection of Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People be noted and that the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

Cabinet, at its meeting on 18 March 2013, noted the report and a further report on this item was discussed later in the agenda (Min. No. C1256 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 878 - Individual School Progress Meetings (CLSO) – Recommended

(1)   That a panel be established of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) constituted with three members of the Committee (minimum of at least two Elected Members) to be drawn from the ten members and the four statutory co-opted members on the basis of arrangements set out in the report and to meet with individual schools when required.

The first meeting of a Panel has been arranged for 23rd April, 2013.

Completed

(2)   That the panel arrangements and officer support be reviewed within 12 months.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 879 - Central South Performance Stocktake Report (CLSO) – Recommended

That the findings of the Central South Consortium’s termly performance Stocktake be noted and that the Cabinet be requested to ensure that appropriate support is available to raise standards in English and in particular Maths in schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Cabinet, on 18 March 2013, noted the contents of the report (Min. No. C1257 refers).

Completed

18th March, 2013

Min. No. 992 - Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2012 to 31st January 2013 (CLSO) – Recommended

(2)   That Cabinet be requested to increase the Penarth Learning Community capital budget by £80k. funded from a revenue contribution from Schools.

Agreed by Cabinet on 8th April 2013 (Min. No. C1287 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 994 - Summary of Draft Self Evaluation Report of Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People (CLSO) – Recommended

That the summary document be endorsed and the final report forwarded to Members as outlined above.

Sent to Members on 15th April 2013.

Completed

Min. No. 995 - Central South Consortium Joint Education Service Progress Report: February 2013 (CLSO) – Recommended

(1)   That the financial report referred to above be circulated to all members of the Committee.

[The financial report that had been presented to the recent meeting of the Joint Education Service]

Sent to Members on 16th April 2013.

Completed

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the Committee's role in maintaining effective tracking of its recommendations.

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