Agenda and minutes

Children,Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday, 9th September, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams Meeting

Contact: Earl Piggott-Smith  Tel: 01902 551251 or Email:


No. Item


Welcome and Introductions

 [The Chair to welcome everyone to the meeting. The Scrutiny Officer will then read out a list of those invited to the meeting to confirm who is in attendance.]


Cllr Rita Potter, Chair, welcomed everyone to the virtual meeting and advised it was being live streamed to the press and public. Cllr Potter advised that she was not expecting any exempt or restricted items on the agenda. A recording of the meeting would be available for viewing on the Council’s website at a future date.


Meeting procedures to be followed

[The Chair will explain how the meeting will proceed, how questions are to be asked and any matters of meeting etiquette.]


Cllr Potter explained the protocol to be followed during the meeting for asking questions and reminded everyone that microphones should be muted and cameras off, unless they have been invited to speak.


Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, invited all attendees to introduce themselves to confirm they were present at the meeting.




Apologies were received from the following members of the panel:


Cllr John Rowley

Cyril Randles


Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest recorded.



Minutes of the previous meeting (22 January 2020) pdf icon PDF 440 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]


The correct date for the agenda title should be 9.3.2020 and not 22.1.2020 as stated. The panel approved the change and approved the minutes of the meeting.


Minutes of the previous meeting ( 3 February 2020) pdf icon PDF 458 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]



That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 February 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.



Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes]


There were no matters arising from either set of minutes.


Update on the Council's response to the Covid-19 crisis and future plans relating to children and young people (report to follow) pdf icon PDF 756 KB

[Emma Bennett, Director of Children's Services, to update the Panel about how the Council has responded to supporting children and young people during the Covid-19 crisis and the impact on future priorities]



Cllr Potter invited Cllr Dr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills and Cllr John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, to make a few introductory remarks before the main report was presented. 


Both Cllrs wanted to formally place on record their thanks to employees working across the services for the excellent work done during the lockdown to support children and young people, and the professionalism shown during a very challenging time for the City.


The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills also wanted to record his thanks to Emma Bennett and her team for their hard work in ensuring that children services were able to get things back to normal as possible. The excellent response from Headteachers during the lockdown period was also recognised.


Emma Bennett, Director of Children's Services, introduced her presentation and commented on the positive benefits of the work done to build on the existing strong working partnerships between children's services and schools. The Director of Children’s Services wanted to also express her thanks to schools in recognition of the considerable work by teachers and others working in the sector to help schools re-open safely.


The panel endorsed the comments of the Cabinet Members about the work done by the service in partnership with schools during and after the lockdown.



The panel queried the arrangements for grouping pupils in ‘bubbles’ within schools to meet social distancing rules and what would happen in response to a reported case of Covid 19. The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills advised that depending on the ‘bubble’ arrangements, either year group or class, within the school would determine how many children were sent home.


The panel queried the support offered to children and families who are feeling anxious about returning schools and in particular those children with previous history of mental health issues.


The Director of Children’s Services advised the panel of the preparation work done to help schools open last week. A series of training sessions were arranged with schools to help prepare them to welcome children back and to offer reassurance.


The Director of Children’s Services commented on the attendance rates at schools. It was reported that the attendance rate for Wolverhampton primary schools was 84 per cent, this compares to the national rate of 87 per cent. The attendance rate for secondary schools was 91 per cent compared to the national rate of 82 percent.


The situation will become clearer in the future as the quality of attendance data improves from schools. The Director of Children’s Services commented there has been an increase in positive Covid cases across the City, reflecting the national picture. There have been a few individual cases in schools across Wolverhampton.


The panel were reassured that there was no evidence of an outbreak in schools and also each case is investigated. The evidence suggests that the disease has been transmitted through the community rather than within the school and the situation is being managed with the support of colleagues in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel 2019 20 - Draft Work Programme (report to follow) pdf icon PDF 420 KB

[Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, to present report]


Additional documents:


Julia Cleary, Scrutiny and Systems Manager, presented the draft work programme and explained the new approach agreed at Scrutiny Board meeting for all panels to consider the cross-cutting theme of ‘Connected City’ and digital considerations when developing ideas for the work programme.


The panel were invited to comment on the draft work programme and to suggest ideas, following the guidance, of topics that could be added.



            The panel agreed to note the report.