Agenda Item No. 5












At its meeting on 16th September, 2014 the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) was requested to endorse the Improvement Plan for 2013/14 and refer any recommendations to Cabinet and Council.  The report had been presented to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) as the lead Scrutiny Committee due to the fact that the publication of comparative information had been embargoed by the Wales Audit Office until 3rd September, 2014.  Officers had therefore been unable to report to some of the Scrutiny Committees in time and the decision had therefore been made to refer the report to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) as lead Scrutiny Committee, then to Cabinet and subsequently to Full Council for its meeting on 29th September, 2014. 


Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) although endorsing the contents of the report for submission to Cabinet also recommended that issues identified in relation to DFGs, NEETS, Adult and Children’s Services be referred to the relevant Scrutiny Committees for consideration and officers for the service areas also be invited to a future meeting of Corporate Resources.


For the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) the concern raised was in relation to Objective 8 "to reduce the number of young people aged 14 to 19 who were not in employment, education or training (NEET)".  The report highlighted that the intended outcomes for the year had been partially achieved and work would continue in the long term to improve via the Welsh Government Youth Engagement and Progression Framework.  Officers had come to this conclusion because significant work had been undertaken to improve identification, monitoring and engagement of young people most at risk of and those who were NEET.  However, despite making progress against the challenging targets the Council had set itself to reduce the number of leavers in Years 11, 12 and 13 not all targeted performance had been achieved in relation to reducing known NEET levels.  The recently agreed Wales Accord on the Sharing of Personal Information (WASPI) would improve the sharing of information about young people who were NEET which was enabling better tracking and improved understanding of performance in this area.  In addition mobile youth support services had been developed which were targeting NEET young people, including those in more rural areas, and officers had closely worked with Job Centre Plus to develop job surgeries.  The Council had also increased the use of social media and 1 to 1 support in schools in order to better engage hard to reach young people. 


Further increases had been made in respect of the number of alternative education programmes in secondary and special schools and early intervention.  Youth workers had been directed at the primary and secondary transitional period with a view to intervention to combat the risk of NEET at the earliest possible point.  The annual NEET statistical release had shown that the Vale of Glamorgan consistently sustained a reduction in its NEET percentage rate over the last five years. 


The recommendation from the Scrutiny Committee Corporate Resources was therefore considered in conjunction with the Improvement Plan which had been recently circulated to Members with the Council Summons for the meeting on 29th September, 2014.  The Lead Officer for Youth and Community Learning provided the Committee with a presentation which detailed an overview of service performance and the progress on work being undertaken to date.


In commencing the presentation, the Lead Officer advised that the Annual Destination Data published by Careers Wales showed that in 2013/14 the proportion of Year 11 leavers who were NEET was 3.8% and the Council’s target was 3.25%.  Whilst performance had not met the target, there had been a slight improvement on the Council’s performance of 3.9% in 2012/13.  The proportion of Year 12 leavers who were NEET was 2% compared to the target of 1.95% which mirrored the Council’s performance in 2012/13.  The proportion of Year 13 leavers since 2013/14 who were NEET was 4.8% compared to the target of 3.9% and the Council’s 2012/13 performance of 4.4%.  It was highlighted that the Annual Destination Data was a snapshot of student destinations in October.  Analysis of the data provided through Welsh Government 5 Tier Model of which tiers 1-3 were NEET showed good progress had been made in engaging young people between April 2013 and March 2014. 


A copy of the presentation was also tabled at the meeting for Members’ information which covered the first two quarters of 2014.


In advising Committee of work to date, reference was made to the number of young people referred to EET in the current year being 323.  The number of young people who had progressed into EET from all training providers was 120 and the number of young people dropping out of EET was reported as 67%.  The percentage of NEET young people achieving accredited outcomes was 206.  From this 34 young people had completed courses and gained qualifications/accreditations.  There had been a total of 321 pre/post 16 referrals, of which 229 young people had been engaged and of these 67 young people had dropped out.  However, 43 had been re-referrals.  18 young people had been referred to other agencies and 12 had been counted as known but difficult to reach.  In conclusion, 206 young people had positively been engaged. 


Further statistics were provided as detailed below:


·         Tier 1 (unknown) in April 2013 was 2.1% of 16-17 year olds and 3.7% of 18 year olds. In March 2014 unknowns had reduced to 1.12% and 1.3% respectively.

·         Tier 2 (known but not able to be engaged) in April 2013 was 0.82% of 16 -17 year olds and 0.63% of 18 year olds. In March 2014 this stood at 0.67% and 1.23% respectively.

·         Tier 3 (known and ready to engage) in April 2013 was 6.1% of 16-17 year olds and 5.93% of 18 year olds. In March 2014 this has reduced to 4.2% and 5.85% respectively.

·         Tier 4 (engaged in 16 hours or less EET) in April 2013 was 1.6% of 16-17 year olds and 2.39% of 18 year olds. In March 2014 this had increased to 6.9% and 4.46% respectively.

·         Tier 5 (fully engaged) in April 2013 was 89% of 16-17 year olds and 87% of 18 year olds. In March this stood at 87% for both age categories.

·         The sample population data indicated that a total of 206 young people were positively engaged. 103 (50%) were post 16 young people, enrolled on courses and or are working towards gaining accreditation. Half of these young people had been on their courses less than 3 months, and the other half between 6-12+ months.

·         34 (17%) of post 16 have completed their courses gaining qualifications/accreditations

·         31 (15%) of pre 16 are on prevocational courses/working towards gaining accreditation within the first quarter.

·         38 (18%) indicate Careers Wales tier 3 young people had positively progressed into tier 4 or 5 between April - June.

·         45 of the young people from the Vale were part of the ACT traineeship courses and working towards gaining qualification/accreditation.


The Lead Officer further advised that as a result 120 young people were "better off’ as a result of a collaborative approach by training providers, 38 young people from Tier 3 had moved to Tier 4 and 5, 17 had  progressed into volunteering and 14 to apprenticeships, 13 had gained employment, 10 had gained work experience and 3 had succeeded for TR&T. 


The Lead Officer also pointed that discussions also took place on a regular basis with providers and they were regularly challenged in relation to the support and the work that had been undertaken for young people.  The service was constantly trying to consider other ways to encourage young people and seeking advice and guidance in relation to good practice which could be used throughout the Vale.  Schools were being supported to assist in identifying young people and it was anticipated by the end of December 2014 the Council would be able to see the impact the service was having in schools.  Both Bryn Hafren Comprehensive and St. Richard Gwyn had endorsed the work currently being undertaken and that this was also being applied at Barry Comprehensive to support targeted groups of individuals. 


Members requested that an update report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in January 2015 but expressed the view that it should be an aspiration to provide a youth worker in every school although further resources would be required.  Discussion then ensued regarding preventative work with it being considered that the triggers for bad behaviour should be further explored.  The process was also about offering different types of learning as opposed to just in the classroom.  Schools timetables also provided obstacles on occasions as it was not always practical for youth workers to fit into the school timetable.


Members were keen to ensure that any tracking system was standardised across all schools in the Vale with the Director of Learning and Skills, in response, advising that she would use her meetings with Headteachers to reiterate the priority as it was   critical work that needed to be undertaken.  A Member referred to the work of VIBE in the Llandough area and considered that this was an excellent initiative that needed to be further developed.  The Lead Officer stated that the VIBE experience had been extremely positive but that funding had run out which would mean that the Council would have to intervene to ensure the project continued.


In referring to how young people were being identified the Chairman asked what work was being undertaken to assist in this process. The Youth Engagement and Progression Officer, who was also present at the meeting, advised that one of her main roles was to work with providers in order to seek the information and engage with young people.  This was undertaken by the use of the framework and a multi-agency approach.  On a regular basis the Department met with Careers Wales and also received lists of young people on a monthly basis.  This information was then developed and updated on a regular basis although it was accepted that if young people did not want to engage, there was only so much that could be done to encourage them. The Council could and would make every effort to encourage engagement but it was individual choice as to whether they took part.


Following consideration of the reference and the presentation, it was subsequently,




(1)       T H A T the issues affecting performance in relation to NEETS be noted.


(2)       T H A T Cabinet and Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) be informed that the Scrutiny Committee would, as identified in its work programme, continue to monitor the provision of NEETS but would request that Cabinet give consideration to further resources being provided to support work in schools as outlined above.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       In view of the contents of the report and the information provided at the meeting.


(2)       That it be noted that the Committee will continue to monitor the provision of NEETS and to request Cabinet consideration regarding future resources."