Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Alyson Grice/Samantha Morris  Overview & Scrutiny Officers

No. Item


Apologies and Welcome


Apologies were received from Bryan Allbut and Tracey Onslow.


Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip




Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 28 January 2019).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.





Worcestershire Children First pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Additional documents:


The Cabinet Members with Responsibility for Children and Families, and Education and Skills and the Director of Children’s Services had been invited to the meeting to update the Panel on developments relating to Worcestershire Children First (WCF), an alternative delivery model for Children’s Services.  The DfE appointed Children’s Commissioner had also been invited to the meeting.


By way of introduction, the Assistant Director of Families, Communities and Partnerships provided the Panel with a presentation to update Members on developments.  During the presentation, she made the following main points:


·         The move to the Alternative Delivery Model aimed to support and sustain the ongoing Children’s Services improvement work.

·         Broadening the scope of the services would allow a single, unwavering focus on improving services for children and young people and would bring all improvement work together in one place, including children’s social care and all of education and early help provision.

·         Education was fundamental to the well-being of children and young people.

·         Although broadening the scope would bring financial benefits, the main driver was to integrate service provision for children and young people.

·         WCF would be a company limited by guarantee (CLG) and would be ‘not for profit’.

·         The company’s vision and mission would be broadened to reflect the inclusion of educational services and early help as well as social care.

·         Design principles had been developed to test the decisions to be made.  For example, the focus on prevention would be crucial and would be at the heart of everything the Company did.

·         The aim was to make the company lean and efficient.  The Council’s 2019/20 draft budget included growth money for Children’s Services and some of this would be company specific.  This would be carefully scrutinised to ensure a focus on what was needed.  At the same time, it would be important to ensure the Company was adequately resourced.

·         The relationship between the Company and the County Council needed to be positive and based on trust.

·         The Panel was reminded that the Director of Children’s Services had been appointed as Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First, an appointment signed off by the DfE.  The Chairman’s role was currently being advertised and the aim was for an appointment to be made by March.

·         The Director of Resources was a new post and an appointment should be made by March.  Council appointed Non-Executive Directors (1 Officer and 1 Member) would also be in post by March.

·         A report would go to the March Cabinet meeting which would include a refreshed business case, recommendations on the remit of Babcock and further detail on the smaller services to be included in the ADM.

·         Worcestershire Children First would operate in shadow format from 1 April 2019.


Members were given the opportunity to ask questions and the following main points were raised:


·         In response to a question about the benefits and disadvantages of broadening the scope of the ADM, the Children’s Commissioner reminded Members that he had been appointed in relation to social care and, as such, it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 358.


Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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The Panel reviewed its work programme and considered which issues should be investigated as a priority.


In the course of the discussion, the following main points were made:


·       At Council on 17 January a request had been made to include Kinship Care on the scrutiny work programme.  It was agreed that this would be best considered by a scrutiny task group as this would be a better forum to hear the views of parents and carers.  The task group would be led by the Chairman of the Panel.  The priority for this issue would be discussed by the Chairman and Vice Chairman at a forthcoming agenda planning meeting.

·       Vulnerable Children Educated at Home was an issue of national concern.  It was suggested that the County’s MPs should be invited to attend this discussion and asked to feedback Members’ views to central government.

·       Members were reminded that Overnight Unit-based Short Breaks for Children with Disabilities would be considered by Cabinet in June.  The Panel would meet beforehand to allow its views to be considered as part of the Cabinet discussion.