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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE

Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 

Items
No. Item

6.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Uzma Naseer.

7.

Items of Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).

Minutes:

None.

8.

Declarations of interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:

 

(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.

 

A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.

 

Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

None.

9.

Deputations/Petitions/Presentations/Questions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

None.

10.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To approve the minutes of the meetings of 19 October, 13 December and 19 December 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED:

 

That the minutes of the meetings of 19th. October, 13th December and 19th December 2016 be approved.

11.

Cabinet Member Questions

Minutes:

Councillor Elin Weston, the Cabinet Member for Children and Families reported on key priorities from within her portfolio and answered questions from the Panel as follows:

 

·         Since the Panel’s budget scrutiny meeting on 19 December, the government had announced proposals for the National Funding Formula for schools, which would lead to a real terms cash cut for schools of 2.7%.  Every school in the borough would be affected to some extent.  The changes would be phased in over two years and would need to be taken on board alongside other budgetary pressures.  The recent data on test results had put Haringey 10th amongst English local authorities for the Progress 8 performance measure.  The budget reductions arising from the National Funding Formula changes could put this position at risk.  Representations would be made by the Council concerning this. Haringey was classed as an inner London borough for the purposes of the new funding formula and, as such, Haringey’s schools would be amongst the most badly affected by the proposals in London.

 

·         In answer to a question, she stated that the Council had not invested resources in Tottenham University Technical College (UTC).

 

·         In answer to a question, she stated that she was happy to circulate details of the outcome of the recent consultation on the funding of early years education in the borough.  The government’s tight timetable for the three year free early education offer had made putting the necessary arrangements in place challenging.  Providers had been broadly supportive of the Council’s proposals, which involved a universal base rate and a supplement of 40p. per child.  The additional amount that had been paid in excess of the funded level by the Council to providers of the two year old offer would be maintained but tapered down in the next two years.   Responses from residents had shown that most people were prepared to pay between £150 and £300 per week for full time care.  This amount did not take into account free hours.  Residents expressed concerns about fee increases and maintaining standards.  Some settings in the North Tottenham were already experiencing low occupancy rates and the Council was committed to re-examining provision in that part of the borough so that it met the needs of the community.

 

·         The Early Help team had now been in place for over a year.  Work had taken place with over 900 families, including 2,500 children.  There had been positive outcomes in approximately 500 cases.  493 families had been stepped down from intervention whilst 71 had been stepped up into social care. A new initiative had recently been introduced called Conversation for Change, which involved families being contacted within 24 hours of referral and a meeting arranged within 5 days.  Specific work was undertaken by the Early Help team with schools.   For example, the Early Help team had established a ‘team around the school’ at Park View to support the school with concerns about behavioural issues.  The Schools Forum provided support for the service and had recently  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Haringey Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To receive a presentation from the Chair of Haringey Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB), Sir Paul Ennals, on the LSCB’s Annual Report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sir Paul Ennals, the Chair of Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), introduced its annual report for 2015/16.  This was his third and final report as Chair as he would be stepping down in two months time.  It was normal for LSCB chairs to move on after such time.  He was pleased with the progress that had been made in the last three years.  The partnership felt strong and had improved its effectiveness.  It worked together well and challenged effectively. 

 

There were nevertheless challenges to be faced.  There had already been severe budget pressures on the Police and Council and NHS services were now facing similar challenges.  In addition, schools would now have to address budget reductions.  It could sometimes be difficult for partners to admit to the extent of the difficulties that they faced.  The only way forward was for partners to be sharper and smarter in their approach. 

 

He felt that the setting up of the Council’s Early Help Service had been of particular significance.  This facilitated interventions at key transitional points and allowed families to be stepped down or up into social care. 

 

It was never possible to say with absolute confidence that all children were safe.  However, the increase in the number of schools in the borough that were now rated as either good or outstanding by Ofsted had helped to improve levels of safety.  Public health indicators for the borough were mixed but better overall than predicted. 

 

Although the Police had performed well locally, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary had judged the Metropolitan Police’s arrangements for safeguarding to require improvement.  One particular issue for the LSCB was that the Borough Commander was not responsible for all of the Police that the LSCB worked with.  Police teams also worked with a number of different LSCBs. 

 

Although he felt that safeguarding arrangements were broadly robust at the moment, there were likely to be big changes in the next year.  The LSCB would have to manage with less money and consideration would need to be given to streamlining services including sharing and collaboration with other boroughs.

 

In terms of his replacement as Chair, the LSCB executive would be meeting shortly to consider options.  Although his contract ended in May, he was not intending to finish his work until such time as a successor had been appointed to facilitate a smooth transition. 

 

He answered questions from the Panel as follows:

 

·         There had been no change in the financial contribution from the Police Service. They currently contributed 2% of the LSCB’s budget.  90% came from the Council.  The level of the Police contribution was based on Metropolitan Police policy.  He hoped that a more equitable system of funding could be developed in time.

 

·         The number of meetings of the LSCB had been reduced from six to four per year and most boroughs were taking similar steps.   The LSCB’s sub groups were where most of the most significant work took place, including analysis of data and consideration of cases of CSE.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

2016 Test and Examination Results pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To consider the 2016 test and examination results for Haringey schools.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jane Blakey, the Head of School Performance, Standards and Provision, reported that there continued to be strong improvement in test and examination results.  The current results were the best to date.  Of particular note was the fact that they borough was 10th nationally for performance against the new Progress 8 measure.  Priority areas for improvement were Key Stage 2 reading and the performance of African Caribbean and Black African pupils. 

 

In answer to a question, she reported that the progress made by Turkish pupils was above the Haringey and national average.  They only area where they did not do quite so well Key Stage 2 English.  Despite being born here, some Turkish children could lack fluency in English.  This could be due to English not being the dominant language at home. 

 

The continuing improvement in results could be due to a number of factors.  There were good leaders in schools and 96% were rated either good or outstanding.  There was forensic use of data which prevented problems and addressed areas of under performance.  Officers and school leaders were also always up to date on the OFSTED inspection framework.  Officers collected targets from schools and challenged them, where appropriate.  In addition, there was a lot of support provided between schools.    There was also strong accountability through the Corporate Plan Priority 1 Board.

 

In answer to a question, she reported that performance by black African girls varied between different communities.  For examples, Nigerian and Somali girls had very high levels of attainment.  However, other groups did not have such high levels and it was therefore important to break down the figures. There was a black achievement steering group that was looking at relevant issues.  A conference had taken place that had been addressed by Dr Tony Sewell, author of “Generating Genius”.   High expectations and no excuses were the key messages from this.  The Steering Group had put together good practice guidelines for holding schools to account.  A programme was also being developed that was aimed to assist high attaining young people in getting into the top universities. 

 

Panel Members noted that the African Caribbean community had been in Britain for over half a century and the majority of young people from it could now be more accurately described as Black British.  Ms Blakey commented that the categorisation had been based on census data.

 

In answer to a question regarding post 16 attainment, she stated that the Steering Group was aiming to ensure that all young people reached their full potential.  There was a split between the east and west of the borough and the aspiration was to close this gap.  Work was taking place with 6th forms to encourage them to work together and develop further vocational options.  The introduction by OFSTED of the use of retention as a performance measure meant that many schools had become more selective in which young people they enrolled.  The borough’s Sixth Form Centre had aimed to be inclusive in approach but had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Financial Health of Haringey Schools pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To report on the financial health of Haringey schools.

Minutes:

Anne Woods, the Head of Audit and Risk Management, reported that a wide range of tests were used to assess the financial strength of schools.  There was a high degree of correlation between those schools that had deficits and those schools that had been audited had only received limited assurance in their audit reports.  Only one of the schools with a negative balance had received substantial assurance.  The vast majority of schools with deficits had received limited or nil assurance.  Audit had never been able to give a school full assurance yet and the vast majority of schools with reserves had received substantial assurance.  If basic processes were not right, any issues that arose were likely to be more significant.

In answer to a question she stated that the optimum level of reserves was between 5% and 8%.  In answer to another question regarding the amount of funding that remained unspent, Mr Abbey commented that there was a widely held view that that this should be re-distributed amongst schools.  However, they were nevertheless required to account for any revenue budget amounts above 5% that were not spent.  It was noted that it was likely that schools would have to deal with a 10% cut in budgets and, in such circumstances, it would be prudent to provide for this within reserves.   Special schools had a range of additional financial challenges, including the need to maintain lower staffing ratios and maintain comparatively large buildings.  In addition, funding followed individual children.

15.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To consider the work plan for the Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED:

 

That the work plan be approved.