Cost of Living Support Icon



Minutes of a meeting held on 18th September, 2017.


Present:  Councillor L. Burnett (Chairman); Councillors Ms. R.M. Birch, N.P. Hodges, M.J.G. Morgan and Ms. S.D. Perkes.


Co-opted Members: Dr. C. Brown, Mr. P. Burke and Mrs. J. Lynch-Wilson.


Also present:  Councillors R.A. Penrose (Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture) and L.O. Rowlands.





These were received from Councillors A. Hampton (Vice-Chairman), B.T. Gray, M. Lloyd, Mrs. J.M. Norman and Mrs. M. Wright. 



272     MINUTES –  


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 17th July, 2017 be approved as a correct record.





No declarations were received.





The report had been referred by the Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee on 10th July, 2017 for the Committee’s consideration and outlined the actions taken within Children and Young People Services during 2016/17 with regard to placement provision for Looked After Children (LAC) and the priority actions for 2017/18.  Officers had analysed the financial position, the demand for placements and spending patterns as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report and which demonstrated the volatility of the placement budget and the significant impact individual cases could have on overall expenditure.  The report also highlighted that with the exception of the increase in placement commitments, the Children and Young People Services Division had made good progress in delivering the actions agreed in the budget programme and the Corporate Strategy, as demonstrated by the regular monitoring reports.  It was further noted that within the first quarter of 2017/18 there were pressures on the budget as a result of the increasing complexity of need amongst those children and young people the Council was currently supporting and the associated challenges in identifying placements, both internally and externally.  This also appeared to be linked to an emerging national shortage, however, the pressures would be monitored closely and reported through the budget programme.


The Chairman took the opportunity to raise awareness of the Council’s corporate responsibilities as a Corporate Parent, and advised Members that if they had any detailed queries in respect of the report to refer such to the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer who would seek responses from the Department and e-mail Members accordingly..


It was subsequently


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the reference and the report be noted.


Reason for recommendation


In light of the contents contained therein.





Cabinet had referred the report for consideration on 31st July, 2017 to the three Scrutiny Committees Social Care and Health, Corporate Performance and Resources and Learning and Culture.  The Scrutiny Committees received six monthly update reports on the work carried out and the latest update provided Members with details of the work that had been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults who required specific Council services and to ensure that these arrangements were effective. 


The Head of Achievement for All, in presenting the report, referred to the table on page 2 of the report which showed the number of referrals from April 2016 to March 2017 as being well over 1,000.  He also detailed the extent of child protection concerns raised with the Local Authority and covered allegations against professionals and the new safeguarding duties under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act which applied to adult protection, with safeguarding being preventative as well as protective. 


With specific reference to the section at Section B on Safeguarding in Learning and Skills, the Head of Service advised that this continued to evolve in response to continuous review and the requirements of national, regional and local developments in legislation, guidance and policy.  The Directorate Senior Management Team routinely monitored operational safeguarding practice across the Directorate and safeguarding training was delivered consistently across the Directorate to standards set by the Local Safeguarding Boards.  All employees and volunteers were expected to comply with statutory and local guidance in relation to safeguarding children and adults.


There was also a safeguarding website, although further work was required and this was being addressed with the Central South Consortium. 


The Managing Director and Resources section of the report also outlined ongoing progress in relation to compliance with the Council’s Safer Recruitment Policy and it was encouraging to note that compliance rates continued to improve.  Compliance with the policy for the reporting period was on average 94% compared to 76% for the same reporting period in the previous year. 


The Chairman referred to the phenomenal workload of 100 child protection referrals per month and, in her view, to deal with the amount of child protection conferences that had been undertaken, was excellent work by the staff. 


In seeking information regarding when the formal of figures would be available, the Head of Service advised that the next report would provide further detail on this.  The Chairman also asked whether there had been any incidents or any issues of child wellbeing as a result of non-compliance with the Safer Recruitment Policy and, in response, the Head of Service advised that there had been no direct link. 


In response to a further query from a Member as to whether all learning and support staff were on the EWC register, the Head of Service advised that all staff would have undertaken a DBS check specified by the Vale of Glamorgan.


Having considered the report, it was subsequently




(1)       T H A T the report be noted.


(2)       T H A T a six monthly update be presented to the Committee on work carried out to improve corporate safeguarding arrangements and the effectiveness of relevant policies.


(3)       T H A T the Committee acknowledges the improvements being made with compliance.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To note the recent developments in corporate arrangements for safeguarding.


(2)       To allow the Scrutiny Committee to exercise effective oversight of a key area of corporate working.


(3)       In recognition of the work being undertaken to date.





The Head of Governor Support presented the report, advising that in 2016/17 a total of 30 courses had been held covering 10 different topics ranging from the twice yearly education update and briefing sessions for Chairs and experienced Governors to induction training for newly appointed Governors.  A summary table of the data from the 437 completed evaluation forms for 30 Governor training courses during the 2016/17 academic year was presented as below:



% of good or very good evaluations

1. How well did the course   meet its stated aims and objectives?


2. How useful was the   course content to your needs?


3. How effective were the   course providers?



The Head of Governor Support also took the opportunity to remind all present of the Local Authority Governors Appointments advert that was due to close on 21st September, advising that the Local Authority Panel was due to meet on 4th October, 2017 to consider applications.


In considering the report, a Member referred to an issue that had arisen over the summer holidays in relation to Governors she was aware of discussing school matters on social media i.e. Facebook and suggested that further training on the use of social media should be considered.  In particular that Governors be reminded to observe matters of confidentiality.


The Head of Service advised that in relation to the incident the Member was referring to, as this had happened over the summer holidays it had taken a little longer to be addressed.  However, the matter had now been dealt with.  All Members were reminded of the principles of conduct for all Governors, with all Governors throughout the Vale being asked to adhere to it.. 


The Chairman suggested that at induction training it could be made more explicit as to what was not and what was within Governors’ remit.  The Head of Service advised that he was meeting with officers of the Central South Consortium (CSC) the following day and would advise them of the Committee’s comments. 


The Chairman also asked whether in future reports the information could be split into mandatory and non-mandatory training.  The Head of Service stated that such information was collected and that he would provide this in time for the next report to Committee. 


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the report be noted, having regard to the comments raised above at the meeting.


Reason for recommendation


Having regard to the contents contained within the report and discussions held at the meeting.





Cabinet had, on 4th September, 2017, resolved “That the proposals as set out in the report be approved in principle as the basis for referral to Scrutiny Committee (Learning & Culture) for consideration and consultation with service users, their families, staff and trade unions prior to reaching a final determination”.


The report outlined that the Local Authority provided the EOTAS provision to enable students to access an alternative to mainstream school.  This was required for pupils who were medically unfit to attend school and those requiring an alternative to mainstream schooling because of their additional learning needs. 


The report highlighted that in July 2016 108 young people had been recorded as receiving EOTAS in the Vale of Glamorgan.  At that time, this was the fifth highest in Wales.  EOTAS provision could be organised by the school, via a range of alternative providers or by the Local Authority through placements at the PRU known as Ysgol Y Daith.  The PRU offered learners with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties an alternative to mainstream schools.  Currently the provision was split according to Key Stages.  Key Stage 3 provision for 12-14 year olds was located at Amelia Trust Farm and Key Stage 4 for 14-16 year olds at the Old Magistrates Court in Cowbridge.  Transport to and from each venue was provided.


A recent performance review of the PRU conducted by the Central South Consortium (CSC) raised some important issues for the Council to consider.  These related to the effectiveness and appropriateness of the curriculum delivered at Key Stage 3 as well as the CSC identifying issues relating to low attendance, limited breadth of curriculum and poor outcomes.  Concerns had also been expressed over the suitability of the environment and associated safeguarding and health and safety concerns.  The current categorisation of the school was Improvement Capacity C and Support Category Amber.  The PRU, like a number of educational establishments, was required to maintain standards in accordance with legislation pertaining to education, and as such, was subject to inspection by Estyn. 


Currently the Key Stage 4 PRU operated on a part time basis.  Learners spent part of their learning timetable at the PRU studying GCSEs and the remaining time with the training providers.  It was proposed that a similar model would be delivered at Key Stage 3.  This would involve students receiving 25 hours of tuition per week, part of which would be delivered at the PRU and the remainder on placements with various other internal and external providers.  The changes proposed in the report focused on the location and operating model of the Key Stage 3 provision.  It was anticipated that at some stage in the future, the Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 provision would be delivered from a single location.  During the interim period, continual efforts would be made to identify and exploit the synergies and opportunities that arose between the Key Stages.


In addition to some of the performance issues identified at the current Key Stage 3 PRU provision, the physical environment was also considered to be a limiting factor for the service.  The Council's Health and Safety Team assessed the provision in October 2015 and raised significant concerns.  Subsequently, the trade unions had made representations to management about staff safety on the site.  Therefore, to ensure and safeguard the safety of students and staff, it was proposed that the services currently provided from Amelia Trust Farm should be relocated to Llantwit Major Youth Centre.  This would provide a more manageable site from which services would be delivered from January 2018.  The current lease arrangement with Amelia Trust Farm was due to expire at the end of July 2017.  The Council was required to give three months' notice to terminate the lease arrangement


Work had also been undertaken previously relating to the future use of Llantwit Major Youth Centre.  The conclusion of this work in 2015 was that Cabinet declared this building surplus to requirements.  It was proposed that the relocation of the PRU to this site would be on an interim basis until the new co-educational school in Barry was completed.  Upon completion, the Youth Centre site in Llantwit Major would be surplus and options for the future operation of the premises could be reconsidered.


To accommodate the PRU at the Llantwit Major site, a number of minor modifications would be required to the building to create the appropriate classroom environment and ensure the security of the site.


It was proposed that the relocation of the service would take effect from January 2018.  In order to deliver the revised operating model, a procurement exercise would be required to produce a framework of potential suppliers that would be accessed to provide appropriate learning packages for students.  This timescale had been designed to enable an efficient and effective procurement process to be delivered, in addition to undertaking the important and necessary consultation activities that were described later in the report.


Potential framework suppliers would include youth support services and training providers.  The learning packages would consist of a mixture of national curriculum learning such as literacy and numeracy, personal and social education and vocational opportunities.  Providers would offer full time places for an academic year. These places could then be utilised to satisfy the needs of the student on either a full or part time basis as is the case with the current Key Stage 4 arrangements.


As part of the procurement process and ongoing contract management arrangements, providers would be regularly monitored with quality assurance processes being put into place.  Monitoring outcomes on a contractual basis gave the Local Authority the assurance that students would achieve.  If a provider did not maintain the required quality of provision, the Council would have the option to cease the provision and develop another option with an alternative provider.


In considering the report, Members raised a number of questions as outlined below:




In referring to incidents of absconding and violence on the   site, the report referred to consideration for the erection of a fence not   being a viable option.



Fences could be erected at the Llantwit Major site more   easily than at the Amelia Trust Farm site. The AMF was also a sizeable site   to consider. The PRU standards were reported as Amber and both the CSC and   Challenge Advisors had advised on health and safety issues. 


Should the decision be to leave the service  at Amelia Trust Farm, this could   potentially be putting the young people  at risk


The Llantwit site was a temporary proposal as eventually the   PRU would be based at Barry Comprehensive School.



The timing of the consultation was quite short and a Member   queried whether it would be meaningful and in particular whether the Council was   going down a route that it shouldn’t be?







The whole idea of the PRU was that it was an alternative to   mainstream school a Member’s concern related to the fact that if it went to   Llantwit it would be next to a nursery.




The Lead Officer for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing advised   that the Council had to start with consultation in the first instance and staff   had also been involved.


It was important to note that should the decision be to   leave the service at the PRU at Amelia Trust Farm, this could potentially be   putting the children at risk. 


The Officer was keen to advise that it was not a cutting   exercise it was about doing the right thing.    The budget would provide additional funds to provide further   improvements.  As the Lead Officer he   was concerned about the safety aspect and he was not prepared to carry the   responsibility if a child was hurt.


As the report referred to some of the young people being unmanageable,   a Member found it hard to believe that they could actually be brought back   into the classroom.

The Lead Officer in response advised that they were   currently utilising the resources of an ACT trainer provider and a pilot project   had been undertaken with the more challenging of students, with the success   that a number of them had actually attended sessions which they had not done   before.  Evidence had also shown that excellent   results had been made to date in pupil behaviour.   Other providers had also been used to   motivate and encourage and provide students with a fighting chance.  There had also been a marked improvement in   attendance as well as some welfare wellbeing issues having been addressed.


The Head of Service also advised that at Key Stage 3, it was   not experimental as the initiatives had actually worked at Key Stage 4 with bespoke   packages also being identified for individuals.  The opportunities that they had afforded at   Amelia Trust Farm would also be able to be used as it would be a provider to   the Council.  This was also an area   that needed to be utilised and investigated more in a cost effective   way. 


The Lead Officer further stated that EOTAS was rising and   schools were using the service as an option to deal with behaviour, however   in the future the department would be asking if they have done everything   possible before a young person was referred to the PRU. 


The Chairman queried what the time gap was for the provision   of service at Llantwit Major and the establishment of the Centre of   Excellence.

The Head of Service for Strategy, Community Learning and   Resources stated that the earliest date would be 2021/22.



Following full consideration of the report, it was subsequently




(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to continue with the aim of bringing the PRU back to Barry and developing a centre for behavioural excellence.


(2)       T H A T the Council maintains the aim of reintegrating pupils into mainstream school wherever possible and that this is considered an urgent factor.


Reason for recommendations


(1&2)  For Cabinet to be apprised of the views of the Committee and for Cabinet consideration.





The performance results for Quarter 1, 1st April to 30th June, 2017, for the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 3 were presented for Members’ consideration.


The performance report was structured as follows:


Page 2: Provided an explanation of the performance terms used within the report. The performance report used the traffic light system, that is, a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) status and a Direction of Travel (DOT) indicator to aid performance analysis.


Progress was reported for all key performance indicators by allocating a RAG performance status, Green related to performance that had met or exceeded target, Amber related to performance within 10% of target and Red related to performance that had missed target by more than 10%.  A DOT arrow was also attributed to each measure indicating whether current performance had improved, stayed static or declined on last year’s first quarter performance.  An upward arrow (↑) indicated that performance had improved on the same quarter last year, a static arrow (↔) indicated performance had remained the same and a downward arrow (↓) showed performance had declined compared to the same quarter last year.


For actions, a Green status related to a completed action or one that was on track to be completed in full by the due date.  An Amber status related to an action where there had been a minor delay but action was being taken to bring this back on track by the next quarter.  A Red status related to an action where limited progress had been made, and an explanation must be provided including any planned remedial action(s) and where appropriate a revised completion date.


Section 1: Outcome Summary – Provided an overall summary of performance and highlighted the main developments, achievements and challenges for the quarter.  It included an evaluation of the progress made against actions and performance indicators as well as corporate health (resource) impacts which supported the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.


Section 2: Performance Snapshot – Provided an overview for each Well-being Objective, describing the status of Corporate Plan actions and performance indicators.  A RAG status was attributed to each Well-being Objective to reflect overall progress to date and contributed to the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.  For ease of scrutiny, any actions / PIs attributed a Red status were presented in full here.


Section 3: Key Achievements and Challenges – Highlighted the key achievements and challenges to date in achieving the intended outcomes for the Well-being Outcome.


Section 4: Corporate Health: Use of Resources and Impact on Improvement – Provided a summary of the key issues relating to the use of resources and the impact on delivering improvement during the year.  The focus was on key aspects relating to staffing, finance, assets, ICT, customer focus and risk management.


Appendix 1: Provided, by Well-being Objective, detailed information relating to the Service Plan actions which had contributed to Corporate Plan actions.


Appendix 2: Provided detailed performance indicator information linked to each Well-being Objective which showed for the Council’s planned activities, how much the Council had done, how well it had performed and what difference this had made. It must be noted that new annual and quarterly reported performance indicators had been introduced as part of the Council's revised Performance Management Framework and for a number of these data would not be available as this year would be used to establish baseline performance.  A Not Available (N/A) status would be attributed to all such measures with commentary provided confirming this status.  As part of continuously seeking to improve on the Council’s approach to performance management, it would continue to develop its key measures within each Well-being Objective to ensure these most accurately reflect the Council’s Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes. 


Appendix 3: Provided additional performance indicators which contributed to the Well-being Outcome but did not form part of the Corporate Plan basket of key performance indicators.


An overall Green RAG status had been attributed to Well-being Outcome 3 to reflect the good progress made to date in achieving improved outcomes for residents and customers. 


In noting that there were only a few areas where there was slippage, it was accepted that in some areas the data was not available until Quarter 3 and Members were aware that the next quarter would provide more information and detail with it being subsequently


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Quarter 1 performance monitoring report be noted.


Reason for recommendation


As part of its monitoring role in effectively assessing Council performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009 and reflecting the requirement of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act that it maximises its contribution to achieving the well-being goals for Wales.





The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer presented the report, advising that it proposed arrangements for strengthening democratic accountability and scrutiny of the School Improvement function in the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service.  As Committee was aware, the Central South Consortium was responsible for school improvement on behalf of five Local Authorities, Bridgend, Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil and the Vale of Glamorgan.  The scrutiny of the Consortium was currently undertaken on an annual basis by the relevant Scrutiny Committee in each Local Authority and the representatives of the Consortium invited to attend meetings when necessary on an ad hoc basis. 


The accountability of the Consortium and the scrutiny structure was critically important since the statutory responsibility for the performance of schools resided in individual Local Authorities.  Therefore, a joint Working Group was proposed to be established from representatives of the five Local Authorities and constituted with the Chairmen of the above respective Scrutiny Committees and Scrutiny Support Officers with the view to considering proposals to deepen the Consortium's relationship with the scrutiny function and to consider regional performance and share best practice and information.


It was intended that the Working Group would offer an element of co-ordinated scrutiny with a specific focus on regional working.  A research paper published by Cardiff Business School in 2013, found that a co-ordinated model of collaborative scrutiny could offer: 

  • A clearer specification of the accountability role that joint local scrutiny could perform in scrutinising collaborations and partnerships and how Elected Members best contribute to this role
  • The presentation of a clear rationale for regional service delivery and regional scrutiny to Elected Members;
  • Further clarity on the governance and service delivery configurations of Welsh public services;
  • Sufficient resource and capacity to deliver collaborative scrutiny;
  • Guidance to partnerships, Consortia and other collaborations. 

It was proposed to establish a Working Group consisting the Chairmen of  the Education Scrutiny Committees in each of the Local Authorities (or a nominated representative of the Scrutiny Committee) supported by a nominated Scrutiny Officer in each case.


The Working Group's terms of reference would be to consider standing items such as:


(i)        The Consortium's progress against its three-year Business Plan on a regional basis;

(ii)       Regional performance trends;

(iii)      The sharing of best scrutiny practice across the region;

(iv)      The Group to also report annually to the relevant Scrutiny Committee in each Local Authority and / or feedback to the next meeting of the relevant Scrutiny Committee in each Local Authority; 

(v)       To share a note of its meetings with the Joint Committee and to receive a response to these from the Joint Committee.


The Central South Consortium model had been based on a similar model to the Regional Education Consortium serving the west of Wales and Powys model, which had been held as an example of good practice by the Wales Audit Office.  The Forward Work Programme had been developed by the Working Group, and a copy of that document was attached at Appendix A to the report. 


The previous Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee advised that he had also been involved in a number of meetings of the Working Group and that all five Counties’ Scrutiny Chairs had supported its establishment, together with the Central South Consortium.


The current Chairman advised that she had attended her first meeting of the Group in July 2017.


Following consideration of the report, it was subsequently


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the proposed arrangements attached at Appendix A to the report be recommended to Cabinet for approval.


Reason for recommendation


So that the proposed arrangements as detailed in the report and attached at Appendix A to the report be recommended to Cabinet for approval.





The draft Annual Report detailed at Appendix A to the report provided the details of the role of Scrutiny, how Scrutiny was undertaken in the Vale of Glamorgan and highlighted key achievements from the work of each Scrutiny Committee, significant events during the year and future working.  This was all specifically in relation to the Council agreement that the work of Scrutiny should be closely aligned to four wellbeing objective outcomes that formed the main basis of the Council’s new Corporate Plan which was published in April 2016. 


Committee was advised by the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer that in accordance with Section 7.4.4 of the Council’s Constitution, Scrutiny Committee’s must report annually to Full Council on their workings and make recommendations for their future work programmes and amend their working methods if appropriate.  The Annual Report was subsequently to be submitted to Full Council in September 2017 and then be made available on the Council’s website.  Tabled at the meeting was a copy of additional paragraphs that had agreed by the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee for inclusion into the report under the heading Public Engagement.  Having considered the additional information, in referring to the paragraph that members of the public were welcome to submit written representations to the Committee that could be included on the agenda for forthcoming Committee meetings, Members stated that this was ambiguous as members of the public would not be able to submit written representations until the agenda was actually available. 


It was therefore suggested that the paragraph be amended to reflect the public participation guidance.  It was also suggested that it was timely for a review of the Public Participation Guide to be undertaken.


Following comments that the report was a very good summary of the work of the five Committees over the previous year, it was subsequently 




(1)          T H A T the draft Annual Report be approved with the amendments as outlined below (shown in bold) to reflect the Public Participation Guide be referred to Full Council.


Public Engagement


Arrangements for public speaking at meetings of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees have been in place since February 2016.  These are designed to enhance / increase opportunities for public participation in the Council’s democratic processes.  It is acknowledged that there is a need to increase the promotion of the process through publicity and officers from Democratic and Scrutiny Services would work with the Communications Unit on this aspect. 


A Member of the public may register to speak at any of the five Scrutiny Committees.  Registration can be completed online or by calling the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Section.  A Guide to Public Speaking at Scrutiny Meetings has been made available to members of the public via the Council’s website and can be found at:


Members of the public are also welcome to submit written representations to the Committee that can be included on the agenda for the forthcoming Committee meeting.


Matters can also be discussed with Scrutiny Committee Members by contacting them directly. 


Councillors are able to submit a “Request for Consideration” and / or “call-in” a decision made by the Cabinet that would result in the matter being considered by the appropriate Scrutiny Committee. 


Contact details for the Vale of Glamorgan Councillors can be found on the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s website at:


(2)       T H A T a review of the Public Participation Guide be undertaken.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       Having regard to the contents contained therein.


(2)       In view of the need to regularly review documents.





The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer advised Members of progress in relation to the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and referred to Appendix C which detailed the forward work programme for the Scrutiny Committee for 2017/18.


Appendices A and B to the report detailed the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee and the status of each decision.  Following consideration of the report it was




(1)       T H A T the following actions be deemed as completed


19 June 2017

Min. No. 69 –  4th Quarter Scrutiny Decision   Tracking Of Recommendations And Proposed Work Programme Schedule 2017/18 (MD)   – Recommended

(2)   That the work   programme schedule attached at Appendix C to the report be approved and   uploaded to the Council’s website.

Work programme schedule uploaded to the Council’s website.


20 March 2017

Min. No. 950 –   Individual Schools Progress Panel Meeting (MD) – Recommended

(5)   That the report   and its recommendations above be referred to Cabinet for consideration and /   or approval.

Cabinet, on 24th   April, 2017, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C3536 refers)



(2)       T H A T the Work Programme schedule attached at Appendix C to the report be approved and uploaded to the Council’s website. 


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       Having considered the status of the actions.


(2)       To advise Members and the public of the work programme of the Committee.