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17.1 RESOLVED to agree the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.
Apologies for absence
18.1 Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Charles Clark and Kathryn Field and Simon Parr, Catholic Diocese Representative and Nicola Boulter, Parent Governor Representative
Notification of items which the Chair considers to be urgent and proposes to take at the appropriate part of the agenda. Any members who wish to raise urgent items are asked, wherever possible, to notify the Chair before the start of the meeting. In so doing, they must state the special circumstances which they consider justify the matter being considered urgent.
19.1 There were none.
Report by the Chief Executive.
20.1 The Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council introduced the report and provided an overview of the current context within which the RPPR process has been undertaken. This included reference to the purpose of the Core Offer, the Medium Term Financial Plan and the proposed savings (as set out in the report considered by Cabinet on 13 November 2018). Reference was also made to a number of continuing areas of uncertainty and the impact this is having on budget planning. The Leader also highlighted the significant work undertaken to raise awareness at the national level regarding the particular funding pressures facing East Sussex County Council.
20.2 The key points discussed by the Committee are summarized below:
Core Offer - Customer Service (Appendix 1 to Appendix A)
20.3 The Committee noted the commentary under the Customer Service section in the Core Offer which states that ‘we will expect people to use the online resources available and will provide automated responses wherever possible, so people may not always get anindividualised reply to enquires’. Members accepted that a move to providing resources online is overall a desirable development that will benefit the majority of service users. However, the Committee asked how the needs of individuals who might struggle to access online resources will be addressed. In response the Committee were assured that all Departments accept the need to ensure that appropriate mitigations are in place to meet the needs of individuals who are not able to access services online.
Standards and Learning Effectiveness Service (SLES) proposed savings (Appendix 3 to Appendix A)
20.4 In response to a question regarding the savings proposals for SLES, the Director of Children’s Services informed the Committee that the savings plan ‘captures’ the continued direction of travel for the Department – as millions of pounds have already been removed from its budget. The Department is therefore trying to ensure its services are effectively organised in the context of the ongoing budget reductions. This includes, for example, seeing what can be done to share resources and responsibilities and planning the implementation of savings so that services and schools are given as much time as possible to adapt to reduced levels of support.
Core Offer descriptions
20.5 The Committee asked for clarification regarding the descriptions in Appendix A relating to partnerships and school improvement support as set out in Appendix 1 (pages 21 and 22 of the agenda) and Appendix 3 (page 31 of the agenda). In response the Department confirmed that whilst the descriptions use ‘light touch’ language, the wording in both appendices is intended to convey the same meanings with regard to the impact of the proposed savings. The Department confirmed further clarification would be provided to Members at the RPPR Board meeting.
20.6 The Committee noted that despite the savings set out in the Core Offer, the report identified a further £10.8m deficit for 2019/20. As a result the Committee asked for more detail regarding how the Council believes it ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
Report by the Chairman of the Review Board.
21.1 The Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee agreed on 27 November 2017 to appoint a ‘Schools Coping with Change – the Way Forward’ Scrutiny Review Board. Subsequent to this and following the Council’s review of its scrutiny arrangements, the People Scrutiny Committee reaffirmed its commitment to the review at its meeting on 25 June 2018. The Board consisted of Councillors Roy Galley, Kathryn Field, Laurie Loe, Francis Whetstone and Matthew Jones, Parent Governor Representative. Councillor Galley was elected as the Chair of the Review Board. Following earlier changes to the membership of the Committee, Councillors Stephen Shing and Alan Shuttleworth and Nicola Boulter also contributed to the work of the Review.
21.2 Councillor Galley introduced the report by discussing the context of the review and highlighting some of the Board’s key findings. This included reference to the Board’s finding that in a school-led system, it will be increasingly difficult for schools to ‘stand-alone’. As a result, the Board concluded it was now a matter of urgency that relevant schools start taking forward plans to form partnerships that will help ensure their sustainability. The report also put forward suggestions as to how the Local Authority could develop its pre-existing policies regarding formal partnership arrangements. On behalf of his fellow board members, Councillor Galley also thanked the range of professionals who assisted the Board with the review process. This included senior members of staff and governors from local schools and academies, representatives of the Diocese of Chichester and the Regional Schools Commissioner. The Board also thanked relevant officers from the Children’s Services Department for their support and advice throughout the review process.
21.3 Matthew Jones, Parent Governor Representative, also commented that having an undertaken a cross-referencing process, he was satisfied that all of the recommendations were fully supported by the detailed evidence considered by the Board. Mr Jones also commented that the Board had a very clear understanding the level of change within the system. The Board’s recommendations were therefore aimed at helping schools adapt to an evolving educational environment where there will much less support available from the Local Authority.
21.4 The Director of Children’s Services welcomed the report’s reflection of the complex and challenging environment which all schools and the Children’s Services Department have been responding to in recent years. Whilst welcoming this aspect of the report, the Director also discussed the challenges the Department would face implementing some of the recommendations. This includes the Department’s view that recent evidence indicates that formal federation partnerships may not deliver savings on a scale that would help protect schools at risk. The Director also asked the Committee for its views regarding the effective size for a federation. The Lead Member for Education and Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability, also questioned aspects of the recommendations in that they appeared to him to revert to a now outdated view of the role of the local authority. The Lead Member also commented that a number of the recommendations appeared to be proposing similar ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
Report by the Assistant Chief Executive.
22.1 The Committee discussed its Work Programme which is comprised of a number of ongoing scrutiny reviews, reference groups and planned reports.
Current Scrutiny Reviews
22.2 In relation to the ‘Changing Care Market’ review, Councillor Ensor provided an update on the Board’s activities. This included discussing the Board’s initial evidence gathering regarding public expectations, community resilience and issues relating to workforce planning. The Director of Adult Social Care informed the Committee that the Department agrees that these areas do have the potential to produce effective scrutiny recommendations. However, the Director also informed the Committee of his concerns about the capacity of the Department to support a scrutiny review which looked in detail at these significant areas simultaneously. Having discussed this point, the Committee concluded that it would take steps to ensure these concerns are taken into account when considering scrutiny activity that requires substantial departmental support.
22.3 In terms of the Schools Coping with Change review, and subject to some further clarifications regarding the scope of the recommendations (as set out in Minute 22), the Committee agreed to approve that the Board’s report is submitted to Cabinet for its consideration on 22 January 2019 and Full Council on 5 February 2019.
Initial Scoping Reviews
22.4 In relation to the ‘Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children’ Initial Scoping Board, the Committee agreed that there is sufficient merit in a review of the areas identified by the Board. The Committee therefore RESOLVED to:
(1) Appoint Councillors Field, Webb and Whetstone to conduct a review of the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children; and
(2) Appoint Councillor Field to act as Chair of the Review Board.
22.5 The Committee reviewed the list of suggested topics on its Work Programme and RESOLVED to:
(1) remove the ‘CQC Area Review’ suggested topic. The Committee noted that the Changing Care Market review is considering key aspects of this subject area.
(2) Elective Home Education. The Committee agreed to keep this item as a potential scrutiny topic as the Government has not yet responded to the outcome of its consultation with Local Authorities.
(3) Isolation/Loneliness. The Committee were informed that a briefing on the impact of the Government’s recently published national strategy document is being prepared for Members.
22.6 Councillor Ungar provided the Committee with an update on the matters discussed at the last meeting of the East Sussex Better Together Strategic Commissioning Board.
Future Committee Agenda Items
22.7 The Committee noted the items listed for its future committee meetings.
Report by the Director of Adult Social Care and Health.
23.1 Following a request made at its previous meeting, the Committee considered an update report on progress with the implementation of locality working. The report was introduced by the Integrated Care System Strategic Development Manager who highlighted a number of key issues to the Committee, including:
· that the service has undergone a complex process which has sought to identify the best approach to achieving financial recovery and future system sustainability.
· that following independent reviews, the critical operational focus for locality working for 2018/19 and 2019/20 will be to better enable:
o Performance management of patient flows
o Oversight of care coordination and proactive case management
o The contribution to be made at a local level to achieving system wide financial stability.
· A review of the Locality Networks was undertaken in August 2018 to see if they were meeting their intended aim and inform how the networks could be improved. There was unanimous feedback that the network meetings were considered successful and were valued as an opportunity to network, share ideas and learning about what is happening in the local area, and build relationships, partnerships and collaborative working.
· That work is now being undertaken to revise and reset the Department’s ESBT plans for delivering further integration. This reset exercise will set out the programmes of work that will deliver measurable change over the next 6-18 months.
23.2 The Committee welcomed the report. A summary of the key discussion points is set out below:
· In response to a question raised by the Committee, it was clarified that the Locality Link Worker (LLW) team don’t work directly with clients. Instead the LLW team work as a bridge between Locality Planning and Deliver Groups (LPDG) and the wider Locality Networks (which bring together local people, organisations and communities to share relevant knowledge, insight and experience).
· In response to a query about the type of work undertaken by locality teams, the Committee were provided with the example of the practical steps being taken to engage local GPs in a dialogue which aims to improve signposting to appropriate services and community based support.
23.3RESOLVED – the Committee agreed to note:
(1) the progress made to date and the need to prioritise the health and care workforce on implementing key measurable improvements to integrated community services to supportfinancial recovery, in partnership with General Practice and the Voluntary Community Sector (VCS); and
(2) the intention to review locality working arrangements in 6 months to collectively agree what will add further value in managing patient flow, care coordination and proactive case management, and the contribution of localities to achieving system wide financial sustainability.