Agenda and minutes

Improving Lives Select Commission - Tuesday 6 September 2022 10.00 a.m.

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

Contact: Martin Elliott, Governance Adviser Tel: 01709 254407 email:  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 14 June and 26 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meetings held on 14 June and 26 July 2022 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.

Additional documents:


Resolved: - That the Minutes of the meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on 14 June and 26 July 2022 be approved as a correct record of proceedings.


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest.


Exclusion of the Press and Public

To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.


There were no items of business on the agenda that required the exclusion of the press and public from the meeting


Questions from Members of the Public and the Press

To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.


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



To receive communications from the Chair in respect of matters within the Commission’s remit and work programme.


The Chair welcomed attendees to the meeting and those watching virtually. She also welcomed Mr Dick Madden, a Local Government Association Peer who was observing the meeting. Mr Madden was facilitating the forthcoming development sessions “Effective Scrutiny of Children Services”


The Senior Governance Advisor outlined that further details of the sessions would be circulated by email.


Corporate Parenting Panel - Update

To consider any updates from the Corporate Parenting Panel.


The Chair provided an update of a recent event to celebrate the achievements of looked after children which she and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People attended.


The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of Corporate Parenting Panel was to take place on 20 September 2022. An update would be provided to the next meeting.


Rotherham Local Area Special Education Needs and Disability - Written Statement of Action update. pdf icon PDF 376 KB

This report provides the Improving Lives Select Commission with an update and progress on Rotherham Local Area SEND Written Statement of Action (WSOA) which was submitted and accepted by Ofsted in January 2022.


Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People to the meeting. Also in attendance were Nathan Heath, Assistant Director for Education and Inclusion, Helen Sweaton, Joint Assistant Director for Commissioning, Performance and Quality (representing the Integrated Care Partnership), Julie Day (Head of Service) and Ms Kayleigh Harrison from the Rotherham Parents Carers Forum (RPCF).


Councillor Cusworth introduced the report, highlighting the progress made since the 2021 joint inspection of Special Educational Needs and Disability Services. This inspection was carried out by Ofsted and the Quality Care Commission and identified areas requiring significant improvement to be addressed through a written statement of action (WSoA).


The WSoA was considered by this body in March 2022. This report provides an update on actions as of August 2022.


To oversee the WSoA delivery and accountability, a SEND Executive Board was established, which was jointly chaired by RMBC Director of Children’s and Young People’s Services and Integrated Care Board (ICB) Deputy Place Director, Rotherham. The Cabinet Member highlighted that a strong partnership approach had been adopted including the Integrated Care Partnership, school  and college leaders, RPCF and other key stakeholders to deliver SEND improvements across the borough. Subgroups had been established in each of the areas identified for improvement which were as follows:


                    The variability in the quality of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP),

                    The effectiveness of the graduated response to identify and meet children and young people’s needs, especially in key stages 1 and 2;  

                    The quality of provision for children and young people’s preparation for and transition to, adulthood;

                    Communication with all parents and carers of children and young people with SEND about the local offer, and the accessibility of the information included within the local offer.


The Cabinet Member referred to Appendix 1 which outlined the Rotherham local area WSoA and Appendix 2 which gave an overview of performance against each area of improvement.  The governance and audit process for monitoring progress and evidencing impact was noted.


The Assistant Director for Education and Inclusion outlined that the WSoA was a live document which was constantly updated. He noted that external oversight and support in Rotherham was overseen by the Department for Education (DfE) and National Health Service England Improvement (NHSEI) on a quarterly basis.


It was stressed that the authority was not working alone in its improvement journey and good practice from other local authorities was shared through its relationship with the DfE lead. The Assistant Director reiterated the commitment to co-production across all key areas, noting the engagement of young people in service design and improvement. 


The Assistant Director outlined risks and challenges within the SEND system.  It was noted that there were anticipated changes to how SEND will work on a national, local and individual level It was noted that RPCF had contributed to the authority’s response to the recent Government Green Paper on SEND reorganisation. It was also highlighted that RPCF was part  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Looked After Children and Care Leavers Sufficiency Strategy 2023 - 2027 pdf icon PDF 386 KB

This report provides an update on the delivery of the previous strategy and the development of the new Strategy.

Additional documents:


The Chair noted that this item has come before the committee to scrutinise and comment on the draft strategy prior to the final version being considered by Cabinet.


She welcomed the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People to the meeting, along with Helen Sweaton, the Joint Assistant Director for Commissioning, Performance and Quality and Andrew Dyson, Senior Auditor.


The Cabinet Member introduced the report and outlined that it gave an overview of the delivery of the previous strategy and the development of the new one. She gave an overview of listening events, core group meetings and benchmarking against best practice which had informed its content. The draft strategy provided latest data trends, priorities and delivery plans.  The Cabinet Member welcomed any comments and feedback on its content and direction.


The Joint Assistant Director gave a short powerpoint presentation. It was noted that local authorities had a duty to provide or procure placements for children looked after by the local authority. The legislation and guidance included Children Act 1989, Sufficiency Statutory Guidance 2010, Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2011).  The contents of the Sufficiency Strategy were informed by statutory guidance and regulated by Ofsted.


It was noted that whilst there was a duty to procure ‘placements’, the strategy referred to these as ‘homes’ as this was the stated preference of looked after children.  The presentation highlighted progress made since the previous strategy was introduced and noted that some of the aspirations articulated in the previous iteration would be reflected in the update.


It was outlined that reliance on Independent Fostering Agencies had reduced but further work was needed to recruit more in-house foster carers. This aspiration was to be continued in the refreshed strategy/ delivery plan. Progress had also been made to develop local residential provision and secure block-bookings for Rotherham children to achieve best value.  Work was to be continued to explore opportunities for regional collaborative working arrangements. A review of Rotherham Fostering Framework had been undertaken to ensure that it continued to deliver high quality placements and value for money. A dynamic purchasing framework had been implemented to ensure that sufficiency was achieved for Rotherham care leavers.  Partnership working had also been undertaken with Adult Care and Housing to ensure that sufficiency was achieved for vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds.


The Senior Auditor outlined that based upon the results of the audit, substantial assurance could be provided that the controls articulated in the strategy were operating effectively.  This opinion contributed to the production of the Council’s Annual Governance Statement. The audit report made two recommendations which were accepted. In summary these were to ensure that the outcomes of the 2019-22 LAC Strategy were included in the refreshed document and to ensure the monitoring arrangements were included.


The Chair invited Members of the Commission to ask questions.


It was noted that the anticipated reduction in LAC number would provide an opportunity to look improve the quality of support.  Clarification was sought on how outcome measures and aspirations  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 328 KB

To consider and approve the Commission’s Work Programme.


The Committee considered its Work Programme.


Resolved: - That the Work Programme for 2022/23 be approved.


Improving Lives Select Commission - Sub and Project Group Updates

For the Chair/project group leads to provide an update on the activity regarding sub and project groups of the he Improving Lives Select Commission.


The Senior Governance Adviser provided an update on future activity including the forthcoming informal session to consider the draft Early Help Strategy to be held on September 21, 2022.


Resolved: - That the update be noted.


Urgent Business

To consider any item(s) the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.


There was no urgent business.


Date and time of the next meeting

The next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission take place on 25 October 2022 commencing at 10am in Rotherham Town Hall.




That the next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission take place on Tuesday, 25 October 2022, commencing at 10am at Rotherham Town Hall.