Agenda, decisions and minutes

Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 1st July, 2020 3.00 pm

Venue: Remote meeting

Contact: Fatima Butt / Jill Bell 

No. Item


ALTERNATE MEMBERS (Standing Order 34)

The City Solicitor will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members. 



There were no alternate members.



(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)


To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.


An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.




(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.


(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 


(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.


(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.



No disclosures of interest in matters under consideration were received.



Recommended –


That the minutes of the meeting held on 15 and 29 January 2020 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).


(Fatima Butt/Jill Bell – 01274 432227/4580)



(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)


Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 


Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 


If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 


Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 


(Fatima Butt - 01274 432227)



There were no appeals submitted to review decisions to restrict documents.



The Committee is asked to note any referrals and decide how it wishes to proceed, for example by incorporating the item into the work programme, requesting that it be subject to more detailed examination, or refer it to an appropriate Working Group/Committee.



There were no referrals to the Committee.



A verbal discussion will be held  with officers relating to COVID19 and how the pandemic has affected Children’s Services across the District.


                                                            (Mark Douglas – 01274 431266)

(Marium Haque – 01274 431078)

(IrfanAlam – 01274 432904)

(Jenny Cryer – 01274 434333)



This was a questions and answers session on COVID19 relating Children’s Services.  The questions had been put forward by members of Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee.  Officers from Bradford Council’s Children’s Services were responding to members questions.



Question 1


What progress has been made against the OFSTED Improvement Plan?




Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put the Council on an emergency footing, work has been continuing to implement the improvements required by Ofsted. A huge amount has been done by both our Council teams and our partners to implement new and more flexible ways of working to ensure vulnerable children are kept safe during the coronavirus lockdown. Staff were able to carry out high quality ‘virtual’ as well as real doorstep visits. In spite of the lockdown, we are really pleased that all performance against key indicators is on an upward trajectory.


The improvement programmes focuses on four main areas: Prevention and early help; social work practice; leadership and management; and children in care and leaving care. The programme team continues to be involved in supporting the response to Covid 19 and are actively involved in recovery planning with the services across Children’s Services. Key elements of the improvement initiatives we are currently working on are:


•           A permanence tracker has been developed from scratch and is actively being populated. This will help us monitor the progress of all placements far more closely.

•           All Social Work documents have now been re-written and are now compliant with statutory requirements. These are with ICT colleagues so that they can be developed into online formats to make it easier for staff and for tracking.

•           The Early Help Module is in the final stages of testing – once this is live, we will finally address the long standing issue of high volumes of no further action (NFA) cases at the front door.

•           Supervision policy is now in draft and being consulted on with staff and trades unions and a number of new standardised templates have been produced for staff to drive consistency.

•           A new challenge and resolution process has been implemented for child protection co-ordinators and for the Independent Reviewing Officers to ensure that we are avoiding drift and delay.

Officers also highlighted the importance of ensuring that policies and procedures were accurate and up-to-date.





Question 2


In the light of announcements re schools not proceeding with further re-opening plans until September, clearly policy from DfE awaited, but is consideration being given at Bradford Met level (+ by any local Academy chains) to possibility of securing temporary ‘satellite’ accommodation to expand capacity by September to actually accommodate all pupils in a socially distanced way (be that at current or reduced ‘safe distance’ levels)?



The DfE guidance prohibits schools from using public venues such as sports halls etc.  With regard to securing accommodation such as portakabins there are no temporary classrooms available nationally as they have been used for temporary accommodation for schools with delayed building projects.  To attempt  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.


RESOLUTION TRACKING 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Document “T” presents the progress made against the resolutions passed by the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, during the 2019-20 Municipal Year.




That members consider and comment on the recommendations made in the 2019-20 Municipal Year, with particular focus on recommendation areas where no or insufficient progress has been made.


                                                                        (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)


Additional documents:


The Overview & Scrutiny Lead went through the recommendations that the Committee made in 2019-20.


Members considered the progress that had been made against the recommendations made by the Committee in 2019-20.

Members agreed on the need to have more outcome focused recommendations.





That the progress made against the recommendations made by the Committee in the 2019-20 Municipal Year be acknowledged.


                                                                        (ACTION: Overview & Scrutiny Lead)



The report of the Chair of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Document “U”) includes the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for 2020/21.


Recommended –


(1)       That members consider and comment on the areas of work included in the work programme.


(2)       That members consider any detailed scrutiny reviews that they may wish to conduct.


                                                            (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)


Additional documents:


The Overview & Scrutiny Lead highlighted the areas of work as part of the Draft Work Programme 2020/21, as well as the agreed programme of detailed Scrutiny Reviews to be undertaken by the Committee.


Members discussed and agreed the 2020-20 Work Programme for the Committee.


Amendments were made to the programme.


Members also discussed the programme of detailed scrutiny reviews as agreed by the committee and the need to progress with the Alternative School Provision Scrutiny Review.





That Members discussed and agreed the Committee’s Work Programme for 2020/21.


                                                            (ACTION:  Overview & Scrutiny Lead)