Agenda and draft minutes

Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 3rd January, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Woodside Room - George Meehan House, 294 High Road, N22 8JZ. View directions

Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 


No. Item



Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 


By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.


The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.


The Chair referred Members to item one on the agenda regarding filming at the meeting and Members noted the information contained therein.


Apologies for absence


None.  The Chair welcomed Venassa Holt who had recently been appointed as a Parent Governor representative on the Panel.


Items of Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).




Declarations of interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:


(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.





To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of 7 November 2022.


It was noted that the webcast of the last meeting of the Panel, on 7 November 2022, did not appear to be available on-line.  It was agreed that this would be rectified.




That the minutes of the meeting of 7 November 2022 be approved.


Scrutiny of the 2023/24 Draft Budget and 5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/2028 pdf icon PDF 395 KB

To consider and provide recommendations to Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC), on the Council’s 2023/24 Draft Budget and 5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2023/2028 proposals relating to children and young people.

Additional documents:


Josephine Lyseight (Head of Finance (People)) introduced the 2023/24 draft budget for 2023/24 and 5 Year Medium Term Financial Strategy in respect of children and young people.  She reported that the proposals had been developed before both the government’s Autumn Statement and the Local Government Finance Settlement.  The implications of these for Haringey were currently being analysed by officers.  The proposals included additional growth of £14.8 million, £4.9 million of which was for Children’s Services. 


The proposals to make revenue savings of £1.5 million were in addition to existing targets.  £1 million of this would come from improved commissioning.  There was also a growth proposal to add £1 million to the budget in order to mitigate the effects of inflation on commissioning.  It was also proposed to save a further £0.5 million through extension of existing savings programmes.  This involved continuing to work with young people to support their needs and prepare them for stepping down from high cost placements to placements with families.  The Children’s Service had so far proven to be exceptionally effective in delivering savings targets. 


The Panel noted that the number of children being taken into care nationally had gone up and this was often due to mental health issues.  Beverley Hendricks (Assistant Director for Social Care) reported that an increase of people with mental health needs was being seen in Haringey.  There was demand modelling and a LAC sufficiency strategy and this had focussed on identifying children who could no longer be cared for in their home and planning with partners regarding early intervention to prevent needs from escalating.  The Panel asked whether the proposals to reduce the number of high cost placements by greater use of foster care were realistic.  Ms Hendricks reported that not all foster carers lived in the borough. Recruitment of foster carers was being extended to communities that it had not been previously possible to engage with.  She was confident that recruitment targets could be met.  Targets for had been met through schemes like supporting foster carers to build additional bedrooms. 


Ms Lyseight outlined the growth proposals, which amounted to circa £4.9 million.  There would be additional funding for:

·         The increased cost of social care placements;

·         The rising demand and cost of SEND transport;

·         2022/23 base budget pressures;

·         Continuation of the extension of free school meals;

·         Rising Green Youth Centre; and

·         The Social Workers in Schools scheme.

There was one additional proposal for capital funding and this was for the Safety Valve programme, The majority of the scheme would be funded by the High Needs Capital Allocation Fund and an application made to the Department for Education (DfE) Safety Valve Capital Programme that was pending approval would assist in the delivery of associated revenue budget savings.  Approval of the Council’s bid was still awaited.


In answer to a question regarding Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), Brian Smith (Schools Finance Manager) stated that it was split into four blocks.  These were all calculated differently in a way that was determined by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.


Haringey Safety Valve Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider an update on Haringey’s participation in the government’s Safety Valve programme.


Jackie Difolco, Assistant Director for Early Help, Prevention and SEND, reported that the High Needs Block recovery plan had evolved into the Safety Valve programme.   Updates had previously been received on the plan, which aimed to reduce the overspend and improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND.  A report had been made to the September Cabinet meeting on proposals to enter the Safety Valve programme and these had been endorsed.  If no action was taken, there would be a deficit of £78 million by 2027/28.


There was strong support from Cabinet for the proposed programme, which included strong oversight and scrutiny.  It would be the biggest current savings programme by the Council. There were three work streams associated with the programme - Demand Management, Effective Commissioning and Leadership and Governance.   If successful, the programme would lead to a surplus of £1.6 million in 2027/28 and a reduction of the high needs deficit to £30 million.  The savings made would be £48 million over five years.   The Demand Management programme would lead to a reduction of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans of 611, putting Haringey in line with the average for other London boroughs. 


Capital proposals had been developed that would reduce unit costs through the development of in borough provision for an additional 118 places for children and young people within mainstream education settings.  A review of bandings and top ups would also be undertaken and action would be taken ensure that there were effective commissioning arrangements.  A large number of projects were now taking an early intervention approach, supporting schools and developing a graduated response to meet demand and reduce the need for specialist support.  There would be strong partnership arrangements to create shared ownership and change the culture of the SEND system in Haringey.  Ms Difolco provided examples of some of the projects with the three workstreams as well as details of the savings that would accrue from all of them in each year.


The proposals had been submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) in October.   Feedback had now been received that the proposals might need to be revisited in the light of the announcement of the new budget settlement.  They were being reviewed with finance colleagues but it was likely that the overall proposals would still remain the same and a request that the £30 million deficit be written off following successful delivery of the programme would still be made.  Work with partners to implement the proposals had already begun.  Once approval from the DfE had been obtained, communication and engagement plans would be developed further.  Robust governance processes had been developed and the Schools Forum had agreed to the transfer of 0.5% from the Schools Block to the High Needs block to reduce the overspend.  Schools were very supportive of the programme as they knew that it would improve outcomes.  There was a Safety Valve Steering Group that had oversight of the programme including relevant Cabinet Members.


In answer to a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Haringey Educational Attainment 2022 pdf icon PDF 771 KB

To report on test and examination results for Haringey schools for 2022.


James Page, the Chief Executive of Haringey Education Partnership, provided an update on test and exam attainment.  The current data was the first nationally validated data that there had been since 2019.  There had been an overall reduction in attainment.  There were gaps in early years and primary, where there had not been any changes to grading or assessment.  In secondary schools, higher grades had been obtained but was reflective of a change in the baseline and performance had actually declined.  There had been an impact from Covid and the lost learning arising from it. 


Haringey’s relative performance had been very positive with improved standings compared to other London boroughs and nationally.  In early years, the percentage achieving Good Learning and Development had declined by 4% but the decline elsewhere had been higher and this had allowed Haringey to improve its position in the top quartile in London.  There was a similar picture in the percentage of children passing their Phonics test.  In Key Stage 1, the percentage reaching the expected standard for Reading, Writing and Maths was also down but not as much as elsewhere and this had enabled Haringey to almost reach the London average.  In Key Stage 2, the percentage reaching the expected level in Reading, Writing and Maths had only declined very slightly whilst elsewhere the decline was 5% in London and 6.5% nationally.  This had enabled Haringey to reach the London average for the very first time.  In the Attainment 8 measure of GCSE, Haringey had risen higher above the national average, which was especially welcome with the return of exam based assessment.  The borough had slipped below the average during the period when assessment was by teacher assessment.  In addition, the attainment gap for Black Caribbean and Turkish young people for GCSE had also reduced.  Finally, A Level results continued to be above the London average.  There had therefore been strong performance all the way from early years to post 16.  Top priorities for development were closing further the attainment gaps for Black Caribbean young people at GCSE, for Turkish and Kurdish young people at Key Stage 2 and for EAL students at both points.


In answer to a question regarding the comparatively low levels of attainment for applied general qualifications at Key Stage 5, Mr Page stated that this was probably due to a range of factors.  At post 16, more than half of young people went to providers who were out of borough and this was particularly true of those in the east of the borough.  There was also strong A Level provision in the west of the borough.  It was likely that it was a selection issue and that a comparatively large proportion those that remained came from the lower attaining cohort.  He would nevertheless check with the data. In answer to a question regarding the impact of Covid, he reported that HEP and the Council had worked with schools to bring them together during the pandemic.  This enabled them to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.


School Place Planning pdf icon PDF 423 KB

To report on and consider the process for school place planning and proposed action to address changes in demand.

Additional documents:


Nick Hewlett, Interim Assistant Director of Schools and Learning, reported that the Panel’s review on the Haringey Family of Schools had made specific reference to the impact of the reduction in demand for school places.  This was having a large impact on the sustainability of schools and their ability to respond to the range of demands that were placed upon them.


Nick Shasha, School Place Planning Lead, reported that the Annual School Place Planning report was behind much of the action that was taking place to address this issue.  The peak years for demand for primary school places were 2012-14, when there were over 3,000 first place reception preferences made.  There had been a gradual decline since then and this figure had gone down to around 2,500.  There had already been a number of temporary and permanent reductions in the number of entry forms in several schools but more still needed to be done to reduce the number of surplus places.  Discussions and consultation was taking place regarding reductions in the Planned Admission Number (PAN) at a number of schools.  There were two key guidelines behind these:

·         Parental preference would not be undermined; and

·         Schools could immediately revert back to their previous PAN should local demand warrant it.


The latest school place planning report stated that the projected annual demand for reception places would be 2,600 by the end of the decade so there was unlikely to be any change in the near future.  It was felt that the current decisions were well based on the information available currently.  Recent National Office for Statistics data had also continued to show a reduction in the birth rate.  In respect of secondary schools, there had been an upward trend in demand for places but this had now tapered off.  Whilst there was likely to be surplus places in future, this was not anticipated to be as large as for primaries and the need to address the issue was therefore not as pressing. 


In answer to a question, Mr Shasha stated that the reductions in demand for places were due to a number of factors including the high cost of housing, Covid, Brexit and a long term decline in the birth rate.    The reductions had occurred over a number of years.  Mr Hewlett stated that the impact on schools would be considerable, particularly on their finances.  There would be a need to have some challenging conversations with a number of them regarding this, including the diocesan authorities.  The issues were particularly challenging for smaller schools and there now a lot more schools that were one form entry. 


In answer to a question, Mr Shasha stated that the trends were not unique to Haringey and were also being experienced in neighbouring boroughs.  Mr Hewlett stated that, although there were significant housing developments taking place in the borough, these would probably not make much difference.   Some schools would benefit but not all.


The Panel noted that schools within geographical clusters met together from time-to-time.   These  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.


Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Challenge - Outcome

To report on the outcome of a recent LGA Peer Review on children’s services.


Ms Hendricks reported on the outcome of the recent Peer Challenge that had been undertaken on children’s social care within the borough by a team from the Local Government Association (LGA).  This had been undertaken in November 2022 and its final report was now awaited. Peer challenges were undertaken by invitation from local authorities and this had been done in preparation for Ofsted inspection.  The challenge had been an extensive process, including reviews of documents, data and case files, interviews and focus groups.  In addition, there had been observation of practice.  The scope of the challenge had been wide ranging. 


A number of strengths had been identified by the team.  In particular, the Early Help Panel had been found to be well attended and the social workers in school scheme had been shown to have an impact.  There was also a greater range of services that were available now to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), which was found to be well resourced and structured.   There were a number of areas in respect of the MASH and the Front Door that were identified for further consideration. These included reviewing the contribution of partners to the MASH and governance arrangements and developing live data reports.  In respect of permanency planning, senior leaders were found to be committed to this.  The Foster to Adopt approach also promoted early permanency. They were also impressed by the quality of special guardianship assessments that were undertaken.  Amongst areas identified for further consideration were the additional capacity in permanency planning so that it was considered across the spectrum.  The workforce was identified as a strength and they were seen as passionate and committed. Consideration was recommended to responding to areas where there was higher staff turnover and reflecting the reasons for this in the workforce strategy action plan.   The voice of the child was seen as an area of particular strength.  Evidence was found that children were listened to and that their input shaped services.  It was felt though that consideration should be given to strengthening the evidence that of the child’s voice being used to influence plans.  Leadership was seen as a strength, with a permanent, stable and committed leadership team.  


Ms Hendricks reported that a ‘Getting to Excellence Board’, was to be established and there would be a range of activities developed in response to this, many of which would require the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders.   This would include developing further the political engagement and there would be a range of activities in support of this, such as training for Members.  Panel Members would be requested to be involved as part of this. 


In answer to a question, Ms Hendricks reported that one area of concern that was identified was infrastructure.   It was felt that the environment needed to be created where practice would thrive.  The Cabinet Member stated that the challenge had confirmed that children’s social care was not just the responsibility of the Children and Young People’s Service.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 284 KB

To consider the future work plan for the Panel.

Additional documents:


It was noted that it was unlikely that the proposed review on physical activity and sport could be completed by the end of the current municipal year.   Panel Members stated that they wished to look in detail at the issue of children and housing.   There was an overarching review of housing taking place and a scrutiny review on this matter would be able to feed into it.


It was noted that it would take time to develop a scope and terms of reference for this and that it would also unlikely to be possible to complete a review on this by the end of the year.   Physical activity and sport had also been identified as an area for review in response to feedback from young people who had attended the Scrutiny Café.  It was therefore agreed that the review on physical activity and sport would proceed as planned and that a scope and terms of reference for a review on children and housing be developed for discussion at the next meeting of the Panel.  An informal meeting between the Chair and relevant officers would be arranged to facilitate the development of this.




1.         That the draft scope and terms of reference for the proposed review on physical activity and sport be agreed and recommended to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee; and


2.         That the scope and terms of reference for the proposed review on housing and children be developed and submitted to the next meeting of the Panel.