Agenda Item No.











The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, in presenting the report, advised that the Wales Audit Office had made the following four proposals:


·               The Council should establish and refine a performance management regime which will formally and systematically test the extent to which the Joint Education Service (JES) was providing a service that delivers to its expectations. 

·               The Council should undertake a risk assessment of the impact of the JES and update it on a regular basis.  It should include any high scoring strategic risks in its corporate risk register.  The Education and Skills Directorate should regularly and formally monitor and manage the remainder 

·               The Council should ensure that there is sufficient investment in the development of the scrutiny function (in the Council and within the collaborative structure), including regular reviews of its success and challenges, as it becomes a feature of the performance management regime 

·               The Council should consider how the value of the service can be increased during the period of the contract, to justify the fixed contribution to the service


It was further noted that work to address the four proposals had been taken forward as follows:


·               An interim performance management framework had been developed (Appendix 1) to measure progress on outcomes and organisational processes.  The interim performance management framework would be replaced by a commissioning framework which was currently in development for consideration by the Joint Education Committee.  It was intended that the new arrangements would be in place from April 2014.

·               A risk assessment had been undertaken and the completed document was attached as Appendix 2 to the report.  The high scoring risks were being added to the corporate risk register.   The remaining risks were being monitored on a quarterly basis by the Learning and Skills Directorate Management Team.

·               The draft initial terms of reference for the joint scrutiny committee were attached as Appendix 3 to the report.

·               A bid for resources to support the development of joint scrutiny arrangements for the Central South Consortium (CSC) had been made to Welsh Government in September, which had been well received by officials as innovative and meeting the criteria of the Welsh Government's Scrutiny Development Fund.  However, in light of the need to revise the governance arrangements of the regional education consortia following the Robert Hill review, colleagues in Welsh Government had advised that the terms of reference for the joint scrutiny committee be reconsidered in accordance with the CSC's new governance arrangements. 


Members in referring to progress of the Joint Scrutiny Committee were advised by the Chief Learning and Skills officer that the current position was not known although there had been some suggestion that joint scrutiny of this nature may not be the way forward. 


Notwithstanding the above, work remained to be completed and put in place in regard to robust arrangements to demonstrate an increased value for money in relation to the Joint Education Service.  From April 2014 the Welsh Government, on the basis of a national model for regional working, was expected to stipulate the level of funding that the Council must provide to the JES by way of a ring fencing agreement as well as the services that must be provided. 


The Chairman in conclusion referred to the earlier approval in the meeting that a work programme schedule be established where representatives of the CSC would be invited to Committee meetings and noting that an annual report would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in due course. 


Having considered the report it was subsequently




(1)       T H A T the actions taken in response to the proposals in the Wales Audit Office report be endorsed.


(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee establishes a programme of work to scrutinise the Joint Education Service.


(3)       T H A T the report and the above recommendation be referred to Cabinet in order to advise of the intention of the Scrutiny Committee to hold the Joint Education Service to account.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       In recognition of the actions taken and proposed.


(2)       In respect of the Scrutiny Committee’s monitoring role.


(3)       In order to advise Cabinet of the Scrutiny Committee’s intention.â€



Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 9th December, 2013