Report by the Assistant Chief Executive.
32.1 The Committee discussed its Work Programme which is comprised of a number of ongoing scrutiny reviews, reference groups and planned reports.
Current Scrutiny Reviews
32.2 In relation to the ongoing series of reviews relating to the changing care market, the Committee agreed that a ‘Adult Social Care Workforce’ Review Board should be established. The review will focus on issues relating to:
• the recruitment and retention challenges in the independent sector; and
• with regard to future workforce needs, the effectiveness of the Council’s partnership with other organisations such as schools and colleges.
32.3 The Committee therefore RESOLVED to:
(1) Appoint Councillors Clarke, Ensor, Ungar and Webb to conduct a scrutiny review of issues relating to the Adult Social Care Workforce.
(2) Appoint Councillor Webb to act as Chair of the Changing Care Market: Adult Social Care Workforce Review Board.
(3) Agree the Terms of Reference for the review.
32.4 With regard to the ongoing scrutiny review of Support for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, the Committee were provided with an overview by Councillor Webb of some of the key developments to date.
32.5 In relation to the Scrutiny Review of Schools Coping with Change, the Committee agreed the wording of a letter to be signed by Councillor Davies and subsequently despatched to the Secretary of State for Education. In accordance with Recommendation 1 of the final report of the scrutiny review, the letter seeks clarification from the Secretary of State regarding his stance on the academy programme and the promotion of formal partnership arrangements.
32.6 In response to recent reports in the national media, the Committee discussed knife crime and its potential links to young people who are permanently excluded from school. Following further discussion, the Committee agreed that its primary focus is a concern about the numbers of young people who are not being educated in a formal school setting in East Sussex.
32.7 In response, the Director of Children’s Services acknowledged the Committee’s concerns regarding both permanent exclusion and knife crime and the potential impact both issues can have on young people and the wider community. However, and based on information supplied by Sussex Police, the current evidence available to the Department does not indicate that East Sussex is disproportionately affected by knife crime. The Director also noted that the causes of knife crime are complex. Nonetheless the Department does consider knife crime to be a serious issue and recognises that this is a significant concern for many young people in the county. The Director also suggested to the Committee that if there were to be a scrutiny review, the most effective area for the Committee to focus its attention on would be the challenges relating to permanent exclusion.
32.8 In response to the Director’s comments, the Committee requested that the Department provides Members with data relating to the rates of exclusion and school attendance in the county.
32.9 RESOLVED to:
request the Children’s Services Department to provide the information set out in paragraph 32.8.
32.10 Elective Home Education: The Committee agreed to retain this item as a potential scrutiny topic and were informed that a Private Member’s Bill is due for its next reading imminently (March 2019). The Committee was also informed that the Department expects new guidance to follow the Bill.
Reference Groups - Strategic Commissioning Review of Early Help Reference Group
32.11 The Committee was informed that the next meeting of this group will take place on 14 May 2019. The meeting would provide an opportunity for the Members of the Reference Group to feed a scrutiny perspective into the review process (ahead of the Lead Member for Children and Families considering the findings of the strategic review and taking a decision as to whether to proceed with a consultation on the draft Children’s Services Early Help Strategy on 20 May 2019).
Future Committee Agenda Items
32.12 The Committee noted the items listed for its future committee meetings.