LEARNING AND CULTURE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 26th March, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor L. Burnett (Chairman); Councillors  B.T. Gray, S.J. Griffiths, N.P. Hodges, M. Lloyd, Mrs. J.M. Norman, Ms. S.D. Perkes and Mrs. M. Wright.

 

Co-Opted Members:  Mr. P. Burke (Roman Catholic Church),) and Mrs. J. Lynch-Wilson (Parent Governor - Primary Sector),

 

Non-Voting Observer:  Mr. N. Want (Vale Youth Forum).

 

Also present:  Councillor R.A. Penrose (Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture), Councillors G Kemp, K. Mahoney and N. Moore.

 

 

821            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -  

 

These were received from Councillor R.M .Birch, Mr. A. Rickett (Church in Wales), Dr. C. Brown (Parent Governor - Secondary School.

 

 

822            MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 12th February, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

823            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor M. Lloyd declared an interest in Agenda Item 8 advising that he was a Parent Governor of Rhws Primary School and had been granted dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on matters relating to the school except for issues affecting terms of conditions of employment.

 

Councillor Ms. S. Perkes declared an interest in Agenda item 9 Reshaping Youth Services advising that she had been granted a dispensation by the Standards Committee to speak and vote at meetings where matters involving the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s reshaping services strategy are discussed.   

 

 

824            SERVICE PLAN 2018 - 22: PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT; REGENERATION AND PLANNING; STRATEGY, COMMUNITY LEARNING AND RESOURCES AND ACHIEVEMENT FOR ALL (DLS) -

 

The Director of Learning and Skills informed Committee that the Service Plans for 2018-22 specifically identified how each Head of Service would contribute towards achievement of Corporate Plan Wellbeing Outcomes by asking two questions: 

  • “Which wellbeing objective does the service contribute to and what actions will we be taking this year to achieve these?”
  • “How will be manage our resources to achieve these actions and support our service?”

Appendix 1 to the report contained the Service Plans for those service areas which contributed to the wellbeing outcome that the Committee was responsible for monitoring with the key areas of note being reported as: 

  • Section 1 - Introduction:  Sets the context for the Service Plan and provides an overview of the service area, the purpose of the plan, and the key service considerations which have informed development of the plan.
  • Section 2 - Priorities for 2018-22: This section outlined the specific actions that the service will be taking during 2018/19 to contribute towards the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and Outcomes and the relevant Scrutiny Committee responsible. It also identified the key enabling actions the service will be taking to support its achievement of the Well-being Outcomes for example through reshaping of its services.
  • Section 3 - Outlined what actions the Service would undertake during 2018/19 to contribute to Year 3 of the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives. It also described how the service would manage its resources to deliver its priorities in the Service Plan and outlined key workforce development priorities, significant ICT projects, required budget savings and areas of focus in relation to assets, procurement and major capital projects.  This section also identified how the service will engage with stakeholders and work in partnership/ collaborate to achieve its priorities and incorporates a service risk evaluation.
  • Appendix A and B (within the Service Plan) contained the Service's Improvement Action Plan for 2018/19.
  • Appendix C detailed the risk evaluation scores for service specific risks and those corporate level risks which impact on the service.

The Achievement for All Service Plan incorporated a contribution to one other Well-being Outcome, namely Outcome 4.  The Performance and Development Service Plan incorporated its contribution to one other Well-being Outcome (Outcome 1) and Corporate Health and the Regeneration and Planning Service Plan incorporated its contribution to two other Well-being Outcomes, namely Outcomes 1 and 2.

 

For ease of reference, Members were informed that the proposed actions relating to some of the Well-being Outcomes had been struck through within the Plan to indicate the areas that did not form part of the remit of the Committee.

 

All Service Plans incorporated the actions CP1 and CP2 demonstrating commitment to the Council’s corporate priorities; reshaping services and the Council's Workforce Plan. Each Plan included AC10 and AC12 demonstrating contributions to the Corporate Plan priorities around equalities and Welsh language respectively, which fell within the remit of the Committee. Progress against these would be reported via quarterly performance reports to the relevant Committee.

 

In response to a query as to why a number of actions were taking a year to complete, the Director of Learning and Skills advised that it was normally a year for actions to be reported but that some actions did not take as long as a year, some may take longer to implement and some had only recently been identified.  The Chairman noted that some Service Plans were adopting the same actions for 2018/19 as for 2017/18 but with no explanation being provided.  The Director stated that there could very well be some actions that had moved forward and that it would be difficult to comment with certainty without referring to the specific action.  However, she requested that if any Member wished to seek further information on any action she would be happy to forward response to them direct.  The Head of Performance and Development advised that the Corporate Plan was currently two years old and a review was to be undertaken.  The Head of Achievement for All advised that the system itself would pick up end dates and that some actions which would be completed would be reported at that stage.

 

In referring to AC7 - To further develop tracking systems for pupils of ALN and monitor impact, a Member in recognising the size of the challenge that existed asked for sight of the KPI in future reports.  The Head of Achievement advised that it was a long-term project with an implementation date of September 2019 with it subsequently being requested that progress be shown in future reports of the journey to be taken.

 

In relation to a query in respect of sickness absence and the reference to the amount of sickness in terms of stress related illness, the Director advised that sickness absence had been an issue across the whole of the Council and from their point of view it was more favourable in schools.  She took the opportunity to advise there was a sickness absence report that was regularly reported to the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee and the Chairman asked the Democratic Services Officer to make arrangements for that report to be e-mailed to all Members of the Committee for their information.  It was further noted that if there was sickness absence, then there was also an extra cost for cover for the various roles which had to be borne by the service area. 

 

Although not directly attributable to the remit of the Committee in respect of the outcome An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale, a Member queried the current position in relation to the Council identifying a gypsy and traveller site.  The Chairman advised that a representative from the Regeneration and Planning Department would be attending the next meeting of the Committee to provide an overview of the Historic Environment in the Vale of Glamorgan and would request that an update be provided at that time.

 

In referring to the Barry Waterfront School Programme, Committee was informed that monies of £23,000 for 2018/19 had been put aside in order to undertake preliminary work on Band B schemes.  The expected start date on the build was September 2020 although negotiations were still ongoing with the Consortium and a consultation also needed to be undertaken which would commence later in the year.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T officers address the comments and provide responses as outlined above and that the Performance and Development, Regeneration and Planning, Strategy, Community Learning and Resources and Achievement for All Service Plans for 2018-22 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having considered the report and in view of discussions at the meeting.

 

 

825            TARGET SETTING FOR 2018/19 (DLS) -

 

In presenting the report the Director of Learning and Skills referred to the fact that the Council Performance Management Framework was the mechanism through which key priorities and targets were monitored and realised. Following sign-off by the respective responsible Directors for each wellbeing outcome targets were being reported directly to Scrutiny Committees for challenge and thereafter to Cabinet for ratification. 

 

This approach to target setting and internal challenge was in-line with the Wales Audit Office’s proposal for improvement from its Corporate Assessment of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in August 2016.  Due to the timing of target setting for the year, data was only available for quarter 3 for those measures reported on a quarterly basis. For those measures reported on an annual basis, proposed targets had been informed by the previous years' trend data (where available) and estimated data as at quarter 3. For some measures that were new for 2017/18 and which were collected annually, there would be no data available until 31st March 18. As a result, services were establishing baseline performance for the measures, so it had not been possible to set a target. Targets would however, be set and reported to Members once end of year data became available.  Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed targets for the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee.

 

There were 48 performance measures proposed for collection during 2018/19, 45 of which were existing measures that were due to be carried forward in 2018/19. The Corporate Performance Framework was made up of 42 measures aligned to the delivery of the Corporate Plan's Well-being Outcome 3. In addition there were also 3 Public Accountability Measures that were not directly linked to Corporate Plan delivery, but could be aligned to this Well-being Outcome for monitoring. The collection and reporting of these PAMs would enable the service to continue to benchmark performance with other Local Authorities.

 

There were 4 performance measures that were proposed for deletion from the existing 2017/18 framework (CPM/168d: LAC pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs at grades A* to A, CPM/093: FSM including LAC leave compulsory education/work-based learning without qualifications, CPM/053: books issued in Welsh and CPM/233: arts projects secured with S106). A rationale for these proposed deletions had been provided in the Appendix. There were also 3 new performance measures that had been proposed for inclusion  in the Corporate Performance Framework for 2018/19, that relate to Library Standards, pupils assessed in Welsh at Foundation Phase and Year 11 pupils studying Welsh. A rationale for proposing these new measures was also provided in the Appendix.

 

Of the 42 measures that make up the Corporate Performance Framework, targets have been proposed for 35 measures.  For 7 measures target setting was not applicable, because the Welsh Government data set has not been disaggregated at the local level, so data is not available (CPM/165, CPM/171, CPM/172, CPM/173, CPM/174, CPM/175) or because the service is establishing its baseline performance  in 2017/18 (CPM/180). In relation to the additional measures, targets have been set for all 3 PAMs.

 

With regard to the 3 additional measures, 2 targets had been set to improve on the previous year's performance. For 1 PAM a target (PAM/003: Pupils achieving Outcome 5 at Foundation Phase) had been set below the previous year's performance, to reflect the changes in the Foundation Phase. It was also possible to compare proposed targets with national benchmarking data for 2 PAMS (PAM/004: Pupils at KS2 achieving Core Subject Indicator and PAM/005 and Pupils at KS3 achieving Core Subject Indicator). In both instances the targets for these measures had been set above both the Welsh average and top quartile performance for 2016/17.

 

A Member queried whether the Department was being ambitious in relation to KPIs at Key Stage 2 for children who exceed targets.  The Director of Learning and Skills advised that  these were set at individual school level and although the Council had not set a target it did not mean  that individual schools have not set their own ambitious targets.  The department was keen to reduce the number of KPI’s that were reported in view of the current demands on schools however, she would certainly take on board the comments made and discuss with officers.

 

The Head of Achievement for All advised that in a previous report which had been presented to the Scrutiny Committee at the last meeting regarding performance the Challenge Advisor had highlighted the information that was available for pupils achieving above the expected levels and reassured Members that this was a very positive picture in comparison to other local authorities in Wales.

 

In referring to CPM072 - the average speed of answer for calls on the Welsh Language line (second) the Head of Performance and Development stated that this was a local PI that the Council set itself and that responses to Welsh language calls should be the same as response to English medium calls.  The aim in future would be to seek to engage people to conduct transactions online rather than contact by telephone. 

 

In referring to results for Year 11 pupils in respect of pupils eligible for free school meals and non- free school meal data a Member queried whether the Council held a breakdown in relation to Looked after Children.  The Head of Achievement of All advised that this information was not available in the report but in the overall report that had been provided by the Challenge Advisor on performance this information was available.  Aware that the Indicator did not appear in the target setting information, and that the information contained in the review report should include a measure in respect of Looked After Children and whether they leave education with an external qualification the Chairman stated that  expectations for Looked After Children should never be lower. 

 

In referring specifically to Welsh education for adults the Head of Service advised that the Council was doing very well with its Welsh language courses and in response to a query as to whether the number of Members of Barry Town Council who were also undertaking courses could be added to the information, the Head of Service asked that the information be forwarded in order that the figures could be amended.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the performance results and progress towards achieving key outcomes in line with the Corporate Plan, Wellbeing Outcome 3 - All Vale of Glamorgan Citizens have the opportunity to achieve their full potential be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the proposed PIs for deletion and the proposed Performance Indicators for 2018-19 as identified in the report be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

In order that a relevant set of performance indicators against which the Committee could demonstrate achievement of its wellbeing outcomes and consistently set challenging yet realistic performance improvement targets for the priorities in line with requirements under the Local Government Wales Measure 2009 are reported.

 

 

826            QUARTER 3 (2017-18) PERFORMANCE REPORT: AN ASPIRATIONAL AND CULTURALLY VIBRANT VALE (DLS) -

 

Committee received the performances of Quarter 3 1st April to 31st December, 2017 for the Corporate Plan Wellbeing Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale.  The performance report demonstrated the progress being made to achieving the Corporate Plan outcomes aimed at making a positive difference to the lives of Vale of Glamorgan citizens.  The performance report was structured as follows:

 

“Section 1: States the overall RAG status attributed to the Well-being Outcome. 

  • Position Statement: Provides an overall summary of performance in relation to the Well-being Outcome and      highlights the main developments, achievements and challenges for the quarter.
  • Performance Snapshot: Provides an overview for each Well-being Objective, describing the status of Corporate      Plan actions and performance indicators. A RAG status is attributed to actions and measures under each Well-being Objective to reflect overall progress to date and contributes to the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Performance Exceptions: For ease of scrutiny, any actions or PIs attributed a Red status are presented here      including commentary on the performance.  Members have requested additional direction of travel information to be included in the performance exceptions section and this is reflected in the new report format.
  • Achievements: Highlights the key achievements to date in delivering the intended outcomes for the  Well-being Outcome.
  • Challenges: Highlights the key challenges that are or could impact on achieving the intended outcomes for the Well-being Outcome.

Section 2: Corporate Health - Managing our Resources 

  • Provides a summary of the key issues relating to the use of resources and the impact on delivering improvement during the quarter. The focus is on key aspects relating to People, Finance, Assets, ICT, Customer Focus and Risk Management (both service level and corporate risks) contributing to the Well-being Outcome.

Glossary: Provides an explanation of the performance terms used within the report. 

  • The performance report uses the traffic light system, that is, a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) status and a Direction of Travel (DOT) to aid performance analysis.
  • Progress is reported for all key performance indicators and actions by allocating a RAG performance status.     
  • The risk matrix defines the level of risk by translating impact/magnitude and Likelihood/Probability into an      evaluated level of risk.

Appendices 

  • Appendix 1: Provides, by Well-being Objective, detailed information relating to the Service Plan actions which have contributed to Corporate Plan actions.
  • Appendix 2: Provides detailed performance indicator information linked to each Well-being Objective which show for our planned activities, how much we have done, how well we have performed and what difference this has made. It must be noted that any annual reported performance indicators that have been introduced in 2017 as part of the Council's revised Performance Management Framework will not be have data available until end of year as this year will be used to establish baseline performance.  A Not Available (N/A) status will be attributed to all such measures with commentary      provided confirming this status.  We will continue to develop our key measures within each Well-being Objective to ensure these most accurately reflect our Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes.
  • Appendix 3: Provides additional performance indicators which contribute to the Well-being Outcome but do not form part of the Corporate Plan basket of key performance indicators. These are made up of statutory and other national performance indicators.”

An overall AMBER RAG status had been attributed to Well-being Outcome 3, 'An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale', to reflect the good progress made towards achieving improved outcomes for residents and our customers during the quarter.

 

A detailed report outlining the progress for the quarter towards achieving the Wellbeing Outcome 3 was provided at Appendix A to the report.

 

In referring to an Amber status for visitors to the library, a Member queried to what extent the targets around social media were included and as the pages on social media did not appear to be very vibrant, could more effort be made to promote the use.  The Director informed the Committee that the number of hits on the website were counted as library visits and that she would discuss the social media content site with the relevant officer to try to make it more engaging and attractive.

 

In referring to the Performance Indicator on the percentage of complaints dealt with within target time, it being noted that the target for 2017/18 was 85% and for Quarter 3 it was being reported as 56.6% the Head of Performance and Development advised that it was a corporate indicator and across the board throughout the Council, the Council was aware that not enough complaints had been dealt with in the timescale.  However, this was as a result of the fact that it appeared that officers were not closing down the complaints register and that in effect the performance was not as bad as the indicator suggested, it was merely the recording of the closing down part of the process that was not being kept up to date.

 

In referring to the challenge of grant funding for Families First a Member queried whether the Council could seek further funding opportunities elsewhere.  The Head of Achievement for All stated that grants were in place for the next few years and that for the service the challenge was around the moving of the goal posts as to what the grants could be used for. 

 

In response to a query as to whether the Council was applying for all the grants that it could apply for, the Director stated that in general this was the case however in relation to match-funding schemes if the Council did not have the funding to match it could not apply.

 

In noting that a reference was made to schools being able to obtain credit cards it was agreed that a report be brought to a future Committee to provide an update on the pilot that was being trialled.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the report be noted and the performance results and remedial action to be taken to address areas of underperformance and to tackle the key challenges identified be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T a report in relation to the credit card pilot scheme with schools be presented to a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council was effectively assessing its 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.

 

(2)       To apprise Members.

 

 

827            REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2017 TO 31ST JANUARY, 2018 (DLS) -

 

In presenting the report the Principal Accountant advised that the projected outturn for revenue and capital expenditure within the Committee’s remit had improved from the position that had previously been reported advising that it was now anticipated that the service area would break even after the transfer of £564,000 from the Learning and Skills reserves.  The Directorate had taken a number of steps to mitigate the complex needs overspend for the service including freezing non-essential expenditure and holding budgeted posts vacant.  It had also been proposed that £258,000 would be funded from the Council Fund however it was anticipated that this may now not be necessary.

 

In referring specifically to the various service areas within the Directorate Committee was informed of the following:

 

Schools - The delegated budget relating to schools was expected to balance as any under/over spend was carried forward by schools.

 

Strategy, Culture, Community Learning & Resources - It was projected that the service would outturn with a favourable variance of £182k after drawing down £289k from reserves.  There was an adverse variance of £75k relating to the schools long term supply scheme, however, premiums would be increased from April 2018 to ensure the scheme was sustainable in the future.  There was an adverse variance of £14k anticipated on education transport which was managed within the Environment and Housing Directorate.  This was offset by favourable variances of £84k relating to staffing, £34k on ICT SLA income from schools, £54k from payments to non maintained nursery schools, £32k in Libraries, pension payments of £41k, £17k relating to Broadband and union backfilling of £9k.  The Catering service would draw down £16k from the Catering reserve to outturn at budget to fund urgent gas works required in schools as well as the school holiday enrichment programme.  The Schools Invest to Save Reserve would be used to cover the £99k adverse variance in relation to redundancies in schools, which was covered by a statutory requirement to be funded centrally.  £105k from the Rationalisation reserve would be used to fund revenue costs in relation to the Barry Secondary school transformation, £22k from the Rationalisation Reserve would be used to fund one off staffing costs at Penarth Learning Community, a further £20k of the Rationalisation Reserve would be used to fund the cost of Welsh immersion for primary pupils transferring from English medium to Welsh medium schools and £17k would be transferred from the rationalisation reserve to cover amalgamation costs at St. Helens Primary school.  £10k of the Adult Community Learning reserve would be used to cover the adverse variance which was as a result of maintaining the service following a reduction in funding from Cardiff and Vale Colleges.

 

Directors Office - It was anticipated that this service would underspend by £30k due to a freeze on expenditure and non-replacement of one post which had been held vacant in order to partially mitigate the overspend on complex needs.

 

Achievement for All - This service was currently predicted to outturn with an adverse variance of £567k which would be partially met by transfers from reserves of £275k resulting in an adverse variance at year end of £292k.  A £403k adverse variance was projected on the recoupment income budget.  This budget was set for recouping income from other Local Authorities that purchase placements at Ysgol Y Deri.  The budget had been under pressure for a number of years as a result of a demographic increase in the number of Vale pupils presenting with complex needs which had resulted in less placements being available for other Authorities to purchase. 

School Improvement - It was anticipated that this service would underspend by £80k due to a freeze on expenditure and non-replacement of a senior post which had been held vacant in order to partially mitigate the overspend on complex needs.

 

Appendix 2 to the report provided a list of the savings to be achieved during the coming financial year for 2017/18 and Appendix 3 detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st January, 2018.

 

Following queries as to the non-filling of vacancies and their impact on reducing the deficit, it was queried whether the Council had done any work in comparing performance when staff were in post, the Head of Achievement for All advised this was a difficult question in terms of specific monitoring as the monitoring was not undertaken in that particular way and with a smaller staff base, people were being asked to do more. Officers were aware of the situation and were continually monitoring in relation to impact.

 

In referring to the marketing and disposal of the Eagleswell site a local Member advised that she was aware that the contractor for the Bonvilston Flood scheme was currently using the school as an area for storage and queried whether they were paying rent to the Council for its use.  The Principal Accountant advised that she would refer the query to the relevant Department and provide a response to Members via email. 

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the position with regard to the 2017/18 Revenue and Capital Monitoring be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having considered the contents of the report.

 

 

828            PROPOSED RECONFIGURATION OF PRIMARY PROVISION IN THE WESTERN VALE (REF) -

 

Cabinet had on 22nd January, 2018 referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration having approved that the Director of Learning and Skills in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture be authorised to undertake a consultation from 5th March, 2018 for a period of seven weeks on the profile to establish a 210 place primary school with a 48 part-time place nursery class at Rhoose Point and the migration of Llancarfan Primary School into the new site.  As part of the consultation process, the Scrutiny Committee was being asked to consider the report. 

 

The Operational Manager for Strategy and Resources also provided a PowerPoint presentation a copy of which was tabled at the meeting for Member’s information. The Operational Manager commenced by advising that the consultation was currently live and the proposal was to reconfigure primary provision in the Western Vale through: 

  • The creation of a new 210 place primary school, with a 48 part time place nursery class at the land north of the railway line, Rhoose
  • The migration of staff and pupils from Llancarfan Primary school into the new site and
  • Extending the age range of the school

Llancarfan Primary School comprised the original Victorian school building containing two classrooms. The school was on a small site (slightly offset by the use of the adjacent tennis club courts) with difficult and congested access through the village and lanes leading to Llancarfan. The four separate buildings and small sloping site did not meet 21st Century School design guidance standards for primary schools which had been used for all new builds completed through the 21st Century Schools programme. These schools comprised a fully accessible one or two storey building providing all the required educational functions within a single building set in grounds meeting current outdoor curriculum needs.

 

Llancarfan Primary School had a pupil capacity of 126. The school was currently operating with a surplus capacity of 19 places (15%). This capacity was set to increase to 28 places (22%) as demonstrated by pupil projections in the report. The Vale of Glamorgan had made a commitment to Welsh Government to reduce the number of surplus places in schools. Within the primary sector, this equated to an agreed target of 10%. Llancarfan Primary School incurred a high revenue cost per child at £4,490 per child compared to the Vale average of £3,697 per child. Llancarfan was the 5th highest primary school in terms of revenue cost per child. The majority of pupils attending Llancarfan Primary School resided outside the catchment area.

 

The Council’s adopted Local Development Plan (LDP) (2011-2026) attached at Appendix A to the report, Policy MG1, allocated a total of 787 new dwellings in Rhoose over the LDP period. The allocations comprised 87 dwellings at land south of the Railway Line, and 700 new dwellings at land north of the Railway Line.  The allocation to the south of the Railway Line had been completed and was now fully occupied with children in the school system (planning reference:  2012/00937/FUL).

 

The majority of children attending Rhws Primary School resided within the Rhoose area.  The Council had a statutory duty to review the number of types of schools in the area and to make the best use of resources to raise standards in schools. 

 

Based on current projections by 2023 there would be an anticipated shortfall of 90 primary school places in the Rhoose area.  There was also a need to accommodate the demand however a new 210 place school would result in 10% surplus capacity when considering the projected increase in pupil numbers from both new developments in Rhoose in addition to the projected pupil numbers that would migrate over from Llancarfan Primary School.  Reviewing the wider needs of the western Vale offered an opportunity to establish a new 21st Century School while addressing community needs and surplus capacity challenges.

 

Llancarfan Primary School was situated 3.7 miles from Rhws Primary School. The projected number on roll at Llancarfan Primary School for 2023 was 98 pupils with 28 (22%) surplus places.

 

Rhws Primary School was a grade 2 listed building. The school site was restricted in size and potential for further development opportunities were limited, and would not be able to accommodate the total projected increase in demand for pupil places. Llancarfan was a small rural school with an admission number of 18. Mixed age teaching was therefore necessary in managing classes with associated difficulties in terms of the planning and delivery of the national curriculum. An admission number of 18 with mixed age classes also made it difficult to manage statutory class size limits of 30. Migrating the school to larger accommodation with a new catchment with sustainable numbers would enable the school to continue its success while catering for a greater pupil population.

 

In order to meet future demand, ensure best use of resources and to reduce overall surplus capacity in line with Welsh Government targets, the report proposed to migrate Llancarfan Primary School to a new, larger 210 place school in the Rhoose Point development. Catchment areas would be redefined to distribute the current catchment area of Llancarfan school amongst Rhws, Llanfair, St. Athan and St. Nicholas Primary schools, and to also realign existing catchment areas in Rhoose.

 

Committee was informed that migrating the school would address a number of challenges: 

  • The staff and pupils at the existing Llancarfan site would benefit from a new school build at 21st century school standards.
  • Increasing amounts of surplus capacity at Llancarfan School would be addressed.
  • Increasing demand for pupil places within the Rhoose area would be met.
  • Revisions to catchment areas within the Western Vale were expected to increase pupil numbers at other schools, improving future sustainability and contributing to the Council's commitment to reduce surplus capacity in its schools.
  • Small site issues associated with the school on a confined site such as the provision of outdoor sporting facilities.
  • Congested access to the school through the village and lanes would be addressed.
  • A nursery would be established supporting continuity and progression in children’s learning from age 3 and would support stability of numbers for the school.

During the discussion a Member referred to the work of the Task and Finish Group on Surplus Places of the Scrutiny Committee stating that the proposal being considered appeared to be the final proposal as a result of the work of that Group and advised that he wholeheartedly supported the proposal recognising the changes in demography in the Llancarfan area.

 

The local Ward Member a Member of the Committee stated that he had two issues to raise with regard to the report advising that in his view the report reflected a purely educational perspective and there was an absence of the impact on the local community.  The village of Llancarfan was currently served by a hub of a school, a pub and a community hall and the removal of the school would adversely have an impact on the nature of the village and for Rhoose it would provide a dividing line down the middle of the village with the new school and the current school in competition.  Rhws Primary was also a Listed Building which could benefit from investment from Section 106 monies advising that in his view he would prefer to see the current school upgraded rather than a new one established.  It was also in his view inappropriate to name the new school Llancarfan as it would be sited in Rhoose and requested that the Council revisit the naming of the school.   However, in response the Operational Manager advised that the naming of the school would be  a matter the new Governing Body with final determination by Cabinet.

 

The Operational Manager further advised that the new school would be single form entry and that 210 had proven to be an optimum number in relation to finance and the delivery of education.  The Cabinet Member, with permission to speak, also advised that they would be considering the views of the residents as it was not the intention to divide the Rhoose area but it would be important to consult and consider the responses when received.  He was fully aware that there were repair bills for the Rhws School and officers were currently looking at a schedule of repairs to address the issue.

 

Following a query as to whether there would be transport for pupils from Llancarfan, the Operational Manager advised that where appropriate these would be met by the Council. 

 

A local Member for Llantwit Major advised that she wished to reassure the Member for Rhoose that in her area where a similar scheme had taken place similar apprehension had been considered however both schools were working well together.  A Member also requested the criteria for 21st Century Schools be circulated to all Members of the Committee for information together with the details of the other options that had been discounted.

 

The Chairman, in conclusion, advised that in noting the local Ward Member’s concerns the majority of Members of the Committee appeared to be in support of the proposal following which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED

 

(1)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee supports the resolutions of Cabinet in that consultation be authorised from 6th March, 2018 for the period of 7 weeks on the proposal to establish a 210 place primary school with a 48 part time place nursery class at Rhoose Point and the migration of Llancarfan Primary School into the new site.

 

(2)       T H A T the comments made at the meeting be referred to Cabinet for its consideration following the consultation process.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In view of the Committee’s support for the consultation to be undertaken.

 

(2)       In order that concerns raised at the meeting can be shared with the Cabinet.

 

 

829            RESHAPING OF YOUTH SERVICES (REF) –

 

The report detailed the necessity to change the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Support Services in order to meet the expectations of the National Youth Strategy and the Welsh Government’s Educated Other Than at School (EOTAS) Framework guidance for Local Education Authorities.  Cabinet had considered the report at its meeting on 19th February, 2018 and also considered the young people’s recommendations for changes to youth provision in the context of the overall proposals for developing the Vale Youth Offer.  Cabinet approval had been sought to implement changes to the way in which the service was delivered and structured subject to a period of engagement and consultation with staff, trade unions and young people.  Cabinet had agreed that the proposals including the development of partnerships with national voluntary youth organisations and community groups be approved in principle as a basis for referral for consideration to the Scrutiny Committee prior to making final determinations. 

 

The Lead officer for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing prior to providing a PowerPoint presentation informed Committee for clarification purpose that the department was not closing all youth provisions but will be reconfiguring the service. Young people had been consulted on the delivery of the service and the factors that had been considered were:

  • EOTAS (Educated other than at school)
  • Sufficiency audit on universal services and the youth offer
  • Strength of the Voluntary sector in the Vale and the vagaries of funding
  • Professional registration of staff with EWC
  • Co - production of services greater value for money
  • Scope for growth
  • Meeting needs of young people
  • Support for schools
  • Children’s Commissioner / Assembly Member emphasis on universal provision.

A summary of the timeline of key activities for the project were set out at paragraph 52 of the report with implementation of changes scheduled for August/September 2018 which included a timeline provided for opportunity to engage with not only the Scrutiny Committee but staff and the trade unions on the proposed operating model.  The Lead Officer stated that the Youth Service provision was presented under two themes being targeted and inclusion and Universal Access services.  Universal Access Services employed 67 staff, operated 50 weeks per annum and was delivered during week days, weekends and over the school holidays.  The cornerstone of the service was the voluntary engagement of young people. 

 

The current curriculum needed to be more challenging and varied in order to engage more effectively with young people.  Universal services were on offer to young people aged 11-25 and were available on a voluntary basis, after school hours at traditional community based youth clubs, participation projects, holiday schemes and through project work. The service was delivered from community halls, schools and youth hubs across the Vale of Glamorgan.  The service was predominately part time and offered after 6pm in three-hour sessions.  The service was drop-in and was available to young people voluntarily.  Young people attended when they choose to and as often as they wished. The purpose was to assist in the transition into adulthood and to provide a curriculum of personal and social education.  This was determined by the Principles and Purposes of Youth work as prescribed by the National Youth Strategy (Appendix A).

 

The Targeted and Inclusion Service offered direct support to young people aged 11-25 who were identified as being involved in anti-social behaviour and were at high risk of becoming involved in crime.  Support was also aimed at young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) or those identified at risk of becoming NEET, including looked after children (LAC). 

 

Changes to the structure of the Youth Service would have the most impact on the universal aspect of provision.  There would need to be changes to how staff worked in order to support the quality and consistency of delivery.  This would include improved recording of the impact and outcomes of the service and greater responsiveness to delivering services in line with the needs of young people.  The service would support the Council Wellbeing Strategy and become more supportive of schools and address local community issues.  Welsh Government had recognised this model as one which, drove up standards.  By making such changes the Council could deliver an improved service and have a greater impact than at present.

 

The Local Authority was mindful that the policy changes described above required further collaboration or commissioning of services with external service providers in order to deliver the enhanced ‘Youth Offer’.  A number of well-established voluntary sector providers had ceased to operate in recent years.

 

The Lead Officer advised that the new model outlined in the proposal would seek to build on the current areas of provision which were successfully commissioned or provided collaboratively with national voluntary organisations and these included: 

  • the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in schools which is managed under direct licensing arrangements with Duke of      Edinburgh Award Wales;
  • Welsh language provision which is provided by Urdd Gobiath Cymru;
  • outdoor pursuit and sports leadership courses which are delivered in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wales.

The Council would also seek to further develop these provisions with well-established local community groups as there were several community based youth clubs who had a thriving membership with whom the service had a good working relationship.  Of note, with support the groups could apply for grant funding such as the Strong Communities Grant Fund.  The Committee was further informed that the structure of the service was being proposed would alleviate the current stress factors under the existing service.  It would also ensure the services offered provided greater consistency in delivering the Youth Offer, improved outcomes and impact on the lives of young people and communities and improve opportunities to access external funding together with an opportunity to seek business sponsorship. 

 

The proposals were also consistent with the Council’s Reshaping Services programme which sought to mitigate the impact of reduced financial resources and increasing service demand by evaluating and adopting alternative forms of service delivery model to protect priority services.

 

The proposal would include a restructuring of staff contracts and would increase staff hours and reduce the number of part time rolls.  Staff would also act in a mobile or peripatetic manner supporting more than one provision in any one week.  Staff would be expected to support activities organised by their work colleagues on an out of county or Vale-wide nature for example Duke of Edinburg expeditions.  The proposal would also recommend the disposal of Llantwit Major Youth Club premises.  The centre had been listed for disposal for some time and leasing consultation of moving the PRU into the premises was not approved which had resulted in in determination of disposal as a reality.  Therefore the building had been listed for sale.

 

In referring to savings and risks, the Lead Officer stated that the loss of management roles from the structure would provide more operational staff but would put staff at risk of redundancy.  The reduction of part time roles would result in staff at risk of redundancies.  The development of community groups and sustainability issues was a potential risk, however, there had been some success in this area with community libraries attracting up to £1m additional funding.  With regard to future possible incomes partnership with voluntary sectors could lead to grant funding of projects and growth and provide opportunity to link to businesses.  The partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh Award would assist with outdoor pursuit training and leadership course funding and the greater co-production would offer an opportunity to grant community projects and attract grant funding. 

 

A Member sought clarity in relation to the registration of youth workers with the Lead Officer advising that part time staff should have a Level 2 qualification as a minimum although the local authority recommended Level 3 and professional staff Level 3 or above including Degrees and Masters Degrees. This prompted a further question in relation to if the local authority was working with other community groups would they have to be Members of the Education Workforce Council.  Although this was not a requirement the Lead officer stated as a Council we would be advising that they were. 

 

The Chairman then asked the representative from the Trade Union, Unison to make their representations to the Committee.  Ms. S. Townsend-Ryan advised that the national strategy recognised open access and that the current youth workers had the relevant qualifications and were registered with the Workforce Council.  However, if the proposals were accepted, in the rural areas, the contact via youth workers would be with unregistered officers.  She also stated that over a quarter of young people were unaware of the universal services and that young people lived in a digital world and for a number of years a promise had been that advertising would take place on social media.  However, this had not taken place.  The problems she advised were in the back filling of spaces and that there would be problems to fill the hours proposed.  The report also referred to the need to restructure the Youth Service with volunteers but she advised that the service should be supplemented not replaced.

 

Following a query re clarification, the Union representative advised that in terms of comments made re universal access and would this be the end of the qualified youth worker the suggestion was that as it would no longer be universal  therefore it would not be a youth worker doing the work. 

 

In response to queries relating to recruitment and back filling of positions  Members were advised that currently the service provided 6190 hours but with the changes being proposed the future hours would be in excess of 8200 and this would make a considerable difference to the service provided to young people.  There would not be as many part time positions but the number of hours would increase. 

 

In referring to Llantwit Major Youth Centre a Member queried the running costs of the building and was advised that these were in excess of £20,000.  Should a Community Asset Transfer application be made there was the possibility that the Council could itself consider provide rate relief to a group/charity organisation if they decided to take on the service.  The Youth Service Department would also support a community group in their endeavours.

 

The Chairman referred to a letter which she had received from a local community group who had missed the deadline for registering to speak at the meeting. She would refer the queries to the officer for a response as the group were interested in developing future provision in Llantwit Major.  The Lead Officer confirmed that there were a number of groups interested in the project and that he would be more than pleased to work with them if they wished to engage with the Council.  He stated that there had been a significant interest in the Llantwit Major premises and Town Council had also expressed an interest.

 

Following a query from the Chairman as to whether the Lead Officer would commit to continued provision, the Lead Officer advised he had made a commitment to the Colwinston Group and until they were ready to take over the service the Youth Service provision would continue and that commitment could also be given to other support groups.

 

In further querying the qualification in relation to the Education Workforce Council registration, the Lead Officer stated that he would encourage any group to adopt the Vale of Glamorgan training approach. The Council would also check on the persons appointed to see that they were who they said they were and whether there were any issues.  It was an approach they wished to ensure took place although he could not force people to register.  However, he was aware that national groups already insisted that their staff were registered.

 

A Member of the Committee also stated that they had been a volunteer in various capacities and that the enthusiasm of people at the start of an initiative was commendable but on occasions as it became too difficult volunteers fell by the wayside.  Although noting that recruitment of volunteers was an issue the Leader officer reassured Members that the department would continue to support and work with community groups.

 

In referring to the costs for the Council on the number of redundancies the Lead Officer could not commit to a figure as the detail of the actual number of personnel who may leave or remain with the service could not be given at this stage.  There were also some issues in relation to the number of redundancies and legal advice was being sought.

 

A Member, although aware that the increase in hours was important for the service, sought reassurance that the hours were being worked and not lost to unproductive hours for example driving from one place to another place. This the Lead officer stated would be addressed.

 

Following a query as to whether the young people would have to be members of clubs it was confirmed that they could just drop in.


Councillor N. Moore with permission to speak, queried that if the services were going to be stopped in Penarth and Llantwit Major how would the services be delivered.  The report referred to savings of £244,000 but the figures in his opinion did not  appear to add up.  The Lead Officer advised that the budget had saved £182,000 and the services would be delivered wherever the young people requested the service.  If there was a need for a mobile service that would also be provided. 

 

Following consideration of the question and answer session, the Chairman stated that she considered that there appeared to still be a significant amount of detail that needed to be provided in particular in relation to conversations with the Third Sector providers which had not yet taken place. The Chairman stated that the Committee  would welcome such information. The Lead Officer however reiterated his concern that providing further information before the consultation was concluded would cause a further delay and that it was important to restructure the service to ensure that the staff were not kept waiting any longer.

 

Having considered the Lead Officers representations a Member queried whether it would be prudent for the Committee to approve the report and consider calling in the structure later in the process to avoid undue delay for staff.  However, a number of Members considered that they needed more certainty with regard to the proposals and following a vote it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T Cabinet be requested to forward the final proposal post consultation to the Committee for consideration prior to the final decision being made.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

The Committee felt there was certain detail that was required following the consultation in order to make an informed decision in particular with regard to potential providers.

 

 

830            CO-OPTED AND OBSERVER MEMBERSHIP OF THE LEARNING AND CULTURE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HDS) -

 

The report provided Committee with an update of the current vacancy position regarding non-voting observer representatives on the Scrutiny Committee and the appointment of a member to the Co-opted Church in Wales position.

 

The Democratic Services Officer advised Committee that at the Annual Meeting on 24th May, 2017 the following positions had been appointed to the Scrutiny Committee: 

  • Co-opted Members (with voting rights) - 

One representative each from Roman Catholic Church, Church in Wales, Parent Governor - Primary Sector and Parent Governor - Secondary Sector. 

  • Non-Voting Observers -

One representative appointed from the following sectors - Primary, Secondary, Special, Headteachers, Welsh Medium Education, Free Churches and Vale Youth Forum (of which two representatives are invited).

 

Committee was informed that the Church in Wales Co-opted Member position with voting rights had recently been filled however, with regard to non-voting observer vacancies on the Committee these positions had been vacant for a considerable amount of time in excess of four years for some positions. The  Governor Support Unit had sought to fill the non-voting positions through two advertising campaigns that had taken place in April and November 2017.  The criteria for nominations was outlined in paragraph 6 of the report with nominees being invited to submit information about themselves limited to a single typed sheet of A4.  A copy of the invitation that had been sent during the process was attached as an Appendix to the report.  In terms of seeking to encourage representation on the Committee Members suggested that the criteria be amended to reflect the provision of retired teachers taking up some of the positions with for example a criteria of having been teachers within the last three years of retiring.  Also aware of headteacher commitments it was further suggested that it may be an opportunity to encourage aspiring headteachers to take up the positions and again that the criteria be amended to reflect this .

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

(1)       T H A T the application received from the retired teacher from within the Welsh Medium sector be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T the Chairman, in consultation with the Democratic Services Officer and the Governor Support Unit address the issue of criteria as outlined above and that further advertisement for the positions be undertaken in light of the revised criteria with copies of the adverts being forwarded also to Clerks of Governing Bodies for consideration by Governing Bodies.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order that the appointment of the non-voting observer position for the Welsh Medium sector can be made.

 

(2)       To consider the criteria for future advertisement of the positions and in order that all Clerks of Governing Bodies and Chairs of Governing Bodies can be asked to consider supporting the appointment of teachers to the Scrutiny Committee in non-voting positions.