Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda item

Agenda item

Notices of Motion - Notice of Motion 1 - Worcestershire Children First (Agenda item 6)

To receive the report of the Head of Legal and Democratic Services on any Notices of Motion received by him (Lilac pages).


Councillors are asked to note that any Notices of Motion must be received by the Head of Legal and Democratic Services no later than noon on Tuesday, 8 January 2019.    



The Council had before it a Notice of Motion set out in the agenda papers standing in the names of Mrs E B Tucker, Prof J W Raine, Mr M E Jenkins and Mrs F M Oborski.


The motion was moved by Mrs F M Oborski and seconded by Mrs E B Tucker who both spoke in favour of it, and Council agreed to deal with it on the day.


Those in favour of the motion made the following comments:


·         The establishment of Worcestershire Children First would create a democratic deficit in terms of members' ability to oversee the performance of educational services. There were concerns about the implications for future budgets, the future dual role of the Director of Children, Families and Communities as Chief Executive of the Company, the funding of SEND, the ability to transfer funds between different parts of the service, the relationship with the Schools Forum and Head Teachers Association, the way contentious decisions would be made and the future of the company at the conclusion of the intervention period. Schools had concerns about the value for money of the Babcock Prime contract and the lack of control over future contract arrangements. There would be minimal councillor representation on the Board. A scrutiny exercise was necessary with full partner consultation

·         The creation of the company represented a huge change for the Council and members were unaware of all the implications. There were queries about how the democratic oversight would work, how members could continue to fulfil their role as corporate parents, the mechanisms for the control of spending, and the governance and scrutiny arrangements

·         It was contended that contrary to other views expressed, the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Panel had not undertaken a detailed scrutiny of the transfer of educational services into the company in November 2018

·         Educational Services were not under the direction of the Secretary of State and it was therefore a decision taken by this Council to include it. It was that aspect of the proposals that required full consultation and scrutiny.


Those against the motion made the following comments:


·         The Cabinet Member for Children and Families emphasised that the Council had no option under the direction of the Secretary of State but to move children's social care into an alternative structure. He stressed that the company created for this would be wholly-owned by the Council not independent of it. It was considered better to integrate educational services into the company to avoid fragmentation of education provision. Determination of the democratic involvement in the company had not been finalised but a Board would be established with Council representation (albeit not the lead member). Members would still have the opportunity to scrutinise the service and continue to undertake their role as corporate parents. The Council retained its legal responsibility for safeguarding. The budget would be set by Council and there would be no additional precept. Design principles were being worked on and these would be underpinned by key performance indicators established by the Council. There had been a full engagement process. The company would go live in October  

·         The Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Panel had already considered the widening of the scope of the Worcestershire Children First to include educational services at its November 2018 meeting.


On a named vote, the motion was lost.


Those voting in favour were:


Ms P Agar, Mr C J Bloore, Mr A Fry, Ms P A Hill. Dr C Hotham, Mr M E Jenkins, Mr R C Lunn, Mr P M McDonald, Mr L C R Mallett, Mrs F M Oborski, Prof J W Raine, Mrs M A Rayner, Ms C M Stalker, Mrs E B Tucker, Mr R M Udall, Mr T A L Wells. (16)


Those voting against were:


Mr B Clayton, Mr A A J Adams, Mr R C Adams, Mr A T Amos,  Mr T Baker-Price, Mr R W Banks, Mr R M Bennett, Mr G R Brookes, Mrs J A Brunner, Ms R L Dent, Mr N Desmond, Mr S E Geraghty, Mr P Grove, Mr I D Hardiman, Mr P B Harrison, Mr M J Hart, Mrs A T Hingley, Mrs L C Hodgson, Dr A J Hopkins, Mr A D Kent, Mr S M Mackay, Ms K J May, Mr P Middlebrough, Mr A P Miller, Mr J A D O'Donnell, Ms T L Onslow, Dr K A Pollock, Mrs J A Potter, Mr A C Roberts, Mr C Rogers, Mr J H Smith, Mr A Stafford, Mr C B Taylor, Mr R P Tomlinson, Mr P A Tuthill, Ms R Vale, Ms S A Webb. (37)

Supporting documents: