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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, ROTHERHAM. S60 2TH

Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


In relation to Minute No. 34 (2018 Education Performance Outcomes), Councillor Cusworth declared a non-pecuniary interest as the Chair of Governors of Brookfield Junior Academy; Councillor Jarvis declared a non-pecuniary interest as a Governor of St Ann’s Primary School and Councillor Pitchley declared a non-pecuniary interest as a Governor of Aughton Early Years Centre.


Questions from members of the public and the press


There were no questions from members of the public and the press.




Improving Lives Performance Sub-Group

The next meeting of the sub-group was to take place on Tuesday November 20, 2018. The outcomes from the meeting would be reported back to this Committee in December.


Corporate Parenting Panel (CPP)

Councillor Cusworth provided Members of the Select Commission with an update from the previous meeting of the CPP. A sub-group had been established to examine the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) process and its impact on foster carers. The outcomes of this would be reported back in due course.


Health Select Commission

Councillor Jarvis provided Members of the Committee with an update of the Health Select Commission meeting held on October 18, 2018 which considered reports on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Social and Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) Strategy for children and young people.


In respect of SEMH provision, Councillor Jarvis reported on areas which were working well, namely: the reconfiguration of the Pupil Referral Unit provision; the improved quality of teaching and learning; well-established partnerships with a shared commitment to working together; good practice models in some areas and the joint work on the trailblazer bid. Areas for future work include the co-production of a strategy taking into account the progress on the CAMHS local transformation plan and five steps to collective responsibility.


Councillor Watson provided additional information about the “attachment friendly” initiative and the training which was being rolled out across the schools which would support the SEMH strategy. Take-up across the school sector had been very popular.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 18th September 2018 pdf icon PDF 143 KB


Consideration was given to the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on 18th September, 2018, and matters arising from those minutes.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on September 18, 2018, be approved as a correct record for signature by the Chair subject to the following corrections:


Inclusion of Councillor Pitchley’s apologies.


Minute 26, the following section should state


Early Help

Referrals – improvement in numbers coming from schools (39% of referrals) however, very few from the general health economy.


Further to Minute No. 22 (Domestic Abuse Update), the action plan and engagement time table will be circulated to Members of the Commission.


Further to Minute No. 23 (Children Missing Education), an evaluation of the Controlling Migration Fund would be scheduled as part of OSMB’s agenda in early 2019.


Demand Management and Placement Sufficiency pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, introduced the report outlining that the numbers of Looked After Children (LAC) had increased significantly over the course of the past year by 116 (which equated to a 21% increase). Councillor Watson cited the historical failings of poor social practice; complex abuse investigation and the National Crime Agency operations had contributed to the high numbers of children and young people in care and without these factors, qualified that there was an approximate 4% increase in numbers which was broadly in line with the national average.


The Head of Service (Looked After Children) stated that 2017 Ofsted Inspection ‘dip-sampled’ numerous cases and it concluded that no child was in care inappropriately. Whilst there was confidence that care decisions were robust, the increase in numbers was having an impact on placement sufficiency and related budget.


The numbers of Looked After Children (LAC) had increased from 488 at the end of 2016/17 and from 590 in January 2018 to 651 by the end of August 2918. Whilst this was reflective of a national trend of increasing numbers of children in care the rate of increase within Rotherham was even more marked.


As a result the provision of placements had not been able to keep pace with this increased demand and the reliance on commissioned placements (Independent Fostering Agencies/IFAs and Out of Authority Children’s Homes/OoAs) had increased from 48.3% (293 of 607 children) in January to 52.2% (340 of 651 children) in August. Of more concern, this had increased from 43% at the end of 2016/17 when only 211 of 488 LAC were in commissioned placements.


Both the increase in LAC numbers and increased reliance on commissioned placements presented the most significant budget pressure currently being faced by CYPS. As at the 28th August 2018 the budget projection for OoAs was £12.3M for 62 placements at an overspend of £3m; and for IFAs was £11.5M for 278 placements at an overspend of £3.7M. As a result if current practice was perpetuated, the current £6.7M overspend was likely only to increase over the course of the lifetime of the Sufficiency Strategy.


The Head of Service suggested that there were grounds for cautious optimism that ‘the tide is beginning to turn’, based on the following evidence:-


·           In the first 5 months of 2018 the average net monthly increase in LAC numbers was 9.4. In the following 4 months this had reduced to 3 (although large sibling groups being admitted to care can easily revers this improving trend.)


·           Over the same period the average age of admission of a child to care reduced from 8.8 years in the first 5 months of the year to 6.5 in the following 4 months. This is relevant as performance data evidences that the younger a child is admitted to care the shorter their time spent in care, the lower their average placement costs and the sooner they are likely to be supported to a permanence placement.


·           In 2017/18 the average number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


2018 Education Performance Outcomes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, introduced the report, highlighting to Members that the reports were unvalidated so may be subject to minor changes. In most instances, Rotherham pupils performed better than the national average. There were still concerns about the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and pupils from Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) communities as outlined.


It was reported that the influence of the Local Authority was limited as the majority of schools in Rotherham are now academies. However, since the appointment of the Assistant Director in the summer, the Rotherham Education Strategic Partnership has been established. This has brought together the local authority, multi-academy trusts, special schools, teaching alliances, sixth form and further education colleges and the university campus to identify synergies and areas of mutual support.


The reports outlined areas of concerns; which included the new performance measures in Mathematics and English, which had not met expectations. This was a pattern that had been noted in other local authorities. Further reference was made of progress scores and future prediction of results based on Key Stage 2 performance.


The proportion of pupils attending a good or better Rotherham school was 78% as at July 2018 compared to 66% in August 2012. The proportion of Rotherham schools judged as good or better was 81% as at July 2018 compared to 66% in August 2012; this compared to the national average of 86% as at July 2018. The gap to the national average is 5%.


OFSTED have introduced changes to the statistical reporting of inspection outcomes from June 2018. This has resulted in our proportion of good or better schools decreasing by 2% which is in line with the national average decrease.


Performance at Key Stages was summarised as follows:


·           Performance in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) for a ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD) has continued to rise and was, again, above the national average (by 1.4% in 2018).

·           In Phonics, the percentage of pupils passing the phonics screening check in year 1 increased by 2% to 81% in 2018.

·           In KS1, 65% of pupils met the expected standard (EXS+) in reading, writing and mathematics (R,W&M) combined in 2018, compared to 64% in 2017. Rotherham has improved by 1% and was in line with the national average at 65.4%.

·           In KS2, 61.5% of pupils met the EXS+ in R,W&M combined in 2018, compared to 60.8% in 2017. Rotherham improved by 0.7% and is 2.5% below the national average. In the higher standard (HS) for R,W&M combined at KS2, Rotherham improved by 1.1% to 8.2%; this was 1.7% below the national average at 9.9%.

·           In 2018, the average KS1-KS2 progress score for Rotherham LA in reading was -0.6 (sig-), in writing was +0.7 (sig+) and in maths was +0.0. The progress measure in reading was identified as significantly below the national average; the progress in writing was identified as significantly above the national average.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Work Programme and Prioritisation


The Senior Adviser (Scrutiny and Member Development) gave a verbal update on the work programme and prioritisation.


In respect of the meeting to be held on December 4, 2018, the Committee was to consider the following reports:


-          Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children's Board Annual Report

-          Rotherham Safeguarding Adult Board Annual Reports

-          Update Missing from Education


The Senior Adviser was to circulate guidance from the Centre for Public Scrutiny to inform Members’ lines of enquiry.


In reference to the meeting to be held on January 15, 2019, the following items would be considered:


-          Lifestyle Survey

-          Update on Post Abuse Services and Barnardos ReachOut

-          Update on Domestic Abuse.


The Chair suggested two areas of work for in-depth scrutiny:


-          Prevent (to be undertaken as a spotlight review)

-          Holiday Hunger


The Senior Advisor would contact the Committee to seek expressions of interest for the work on Holiday Hunger.


RESOLVED:-  That Improving Lives Select Committee notes the update.


Date and time of the next meeting

Tuesday, 4th December, 2018 at 5.30 p.m.


Resolved:-  That a further meeting be held on Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, commencing at 5.30 p.m.