Agenda and minutes

Children's Select Committee - Tuesday 25 October 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Matt Hitch Email:  Democratic Services Officer


No. Item



To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from the following:


·       Cllr Kelvin Nash

·       Cllr Caroline Corbin

·       Dr Mike Thompson – Clifton Diocesan RC Representative

·       Nikki Barnett - Further Education Representative


Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on 20 September 2022.

Supporting documents:




To approve the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 20 September 2022, as a true and correct record.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.



The chairman declared a non-pecuniary interest that he was a trustee of the 4 Youth charity.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chairman.


There were no announcements.


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.



If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.



To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Tuesday 18 October 2022 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday 20 October 2022. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.


There was no public participation.


FACT (Families and Children's Transformation) programme

To receive an update on the FACT programme, including how it will be monitoring the implementation of its key objectives over the next 12-18 months.

Supporting documents:


The Families and Children’s Transformation (FACT) Programme Lead explained that they were a multi-agency initiative focusing on the principles of early intervention and prevention.  He introduced a report on their key priorities, as well as the governance and systems in place for monitoring and reporting on their projects. He outlined the three key projects they were currently working on namely, Early Support Assessment, Transitional Safeguarding and Family Help, including further detail about the timeline for the delivery of these projects, as shown in paragraph 48 of the report.


The programme leader elaborated on the goals of the Family Help project, including joining up services to improve the consistency between different agencies and making a central database of information for the public. He noted that they would report at the end of March 2023 to review whether the changes made had improved outcomes. He explained that as part of this project a pilot study was being run in Warminster and Westbury, to explore a local delivery model where local groups would work closely with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) to coordinate services.


During the discussion key points included:


• Members thanked the programme lead for the report and stated that they admired the ambition of the project to improve practice, systems, and culture.

• The governance of the FACT programme included a multi-agency operational board, which the chair of the Children and Families Voluntary Sector Forum sat on, to ensure that local groups were involved in the delivery of the services.

• The committee emphasised the value of working directly with local groups such as town and parish councils, the Wiltshire Community Foundation and Community First.

• The members of Warminster and Westbury Area Boards present at the meeting highlighted that they would welcome close engagement with the pilot study in their areas. They stressed the importance of working with local youth clubs and considering transportation issues in rural areas. The chairman of Warminster Area Board also invited representatives from the project to attend one of their meetings.

• The project lead noted that they had looked for examples of good practice in other local authority (LA) areas and that most came from urban conurbations. They had been working closely with Research in Practice, a national charity that had put them in touch with useful contacts.

• Oxford Brookes University would assist with the evaluation and monitoring of the Family Help project and would play a role in establishing short term performance indicators.

• Members noted that they would like the opportunity to review an interim report on the indicators in advance of the publication of final report on the Family Help programme in 2024.

• In response to a question about how it would be ensured that a central online directory for the public would be kept up to date, the project lead explained that Wessex Community Action’s Wiltshire Together platform would be used, and that funding was in place for its development and maintenance. The site would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.


Children and Young People's Mental Health

To consider a report on child and adolescent mental health services provided through Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, as well as a separate report on the bespoke child and young people’s mental health services funded directly by Wiltshire Council.

Supporting documents:


Provision Part-Funded Through Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust


The Executive Place Director for Wiltshire at BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) Integrated Care Board introduced a report about how Wiltshire Council, together with partners, commissioned targeted and specialist CAMHS provided by Oxford Health. The Associate Medical Director at Salisbury Community CAMHS explained that they received referrals to a single point of access (SPA) where families could then be signposted to the relevant services. She highlighted the impact of the services being delivered, noting that they met regularly with young people to hear about their experience of CAHMS. She mentioned that waiting times for services were broadly in line with the national average and was pleased to report that around 50 percent of all children achieved a full recovery, compared to the national averages of between 34 and 44 percent.


The Associate Director at Thames Valley CAMHS also provided an update, stating that had been an increase in the number of mental health referrals for young people since the pandemic, particularly in relation to eating disorders. In response to this, they were in the process of enhancing their Crisis and Resolution Home Treatment Service, so that additional resources were put into treating people in the community. The changes involved working closely with schools and had led to a reduction in the number of admissions to in-patient or residential units. Part of the additional investment had been running a pilot study for young people with eating disorders called Hospital at Home. As part of this study people that had been referred for an in-patient bed were instead being treated at home. Of the 26 young people receiving treatment at home in the past year, in only one case was it necessary to transfer their treatment to hospital. Due to the success of this study, the Hospital at Home programme was being expanded and an equivalent service would also be set up for people with learning disabilities and autism.


During the discussion the following points were made:


• Members thanked the directors for the report and welcomed the inclusion of information about the impact of the services provided.

• It was noted that an Assessment and Liaison Paediatric In-patient with Eating Disorder (ALPINE) model pilot study was being undertaken to reduce the use of tube feeding in treating young people with eating disorders.

• Although the average waiting time for a mental health assessment was nine and a half weeks, the directors clarified that all children referred to the SPA were signposted to the relevant service within 24 hours.

• The Associate Medical Director at Salisbury Community CAMHS noted that they were improving collaboration with partners in the voluntary sector to provide interventions at an earlier stage. She also confirmed that children requiring an emergency appointment would be seen within 24 hours. In addition, work had been undertaken to review recruitment, which had been increasing in recent months.

• The Associate Medical Director also reported that they were working on an equivalent to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.


Capital expenditure on school buildings

To receive an update on the School Capital Programme following an earlier report to Cabinet in February 2022.

Supporting documents:


The Head of School Place Commissioning gave an update about the School Capital Programme approved by Cabinet in February 2022, including an overview of Wiltshire Council’s statutory responsibilities. She explained that the council was responsible for the maintenance programme for community, voluntary controlled and foundation schools, but not for academies or voluntary aided schools. However, as the council was ultimately responsible for the provision of a sufficient number of school places, it did finance expansion of all schools regardless of type. The head of service noted that a portion of the budget was always held back each year in order to respond to emergency maintenance issues. She also highlighted the impact of inflation of building costs on the capital programme.


During the discussions the following points were made:


• It was confirmed that Section 106 money from developers could only be used for additional building and not for the maintenance of schools.

• Members sought reassurance about whether delayed work might place too high expectations on the building programme for the following year. In response, the head of service noted that they undertook a rolling five-year programme of condition surveys and spent approximately £3 million per year on maintenance to manage the demand. However, she did note that the school estate was aging which was increasing demand over time. 

• The head of service highlighted the importance of ensuring that there was sufficient funding left for maintained schools as a greater number of schools became academies up until 2030.

• It was reported that an extra surveyor had been recruited to the school team.

• It was confirmed that an academy would be technically responsible for ensuring school places were available for their children if they had a maintenance issue preventing a school from opening. However, the head of service reassured the committee that Wiltshire Council would be involved in supporting efforts to ensure that alternative provision was available.

• The Leader of the Council noted that crisis management was not a traded service, so it would not be possible to guarantee that costs of providing support could be recovered.

• The head of service clarified that when a maintained school became an academy the school building would be transferred on a 125-year lease that would specify the maintenance requirements for the building. Once all schools had become academes by 2030 then Wiltshire Council would no longer receive maintenance funding from government for school buildings. All schools would continue to undergo an annual assessment by Wiltshire Council’s Health and Safety team.

  The head of service noted that when schools became academies it would be prudent for Multi Academy Trusts to keep some reserve funding to deal with maintenance emergencies, but this might be more challenging for some smaller trusts.




To thank the Head of School Place Commissioning for the update and note the report.



This is the first opportunity for the committee to consider, at the same meeting, the three reports offering an overall review of performance linked to adoption:

·       Wiltshire Council Adoption Service: 2021-2022 Year End Report

·       Adoption West’s annual report

·       Adoption West Joint Scrutiny panel’s annual report

Supporting documents:


The chairman noted that the Standing Task Group had recommended that the different reports linked to adoption were presented to the Children’s Select Committee simultaneously to enable committee members to have a holistic overview of adoption in Wiltshire.


Wiltshire Council Adoption Service: 2021-2022 Year End Report


The chairman referred the committee to the suggestions of the Standing Task Group as outlined in the report.


Adoption West Annual Report 2021-22


The chairman reminded members that he was the chairman of the Joint Scrutiny Panel. He reported that the panel had met on 19 October to consider the report, which it felt was positive. He highlighted that one key newly developed area of work, undertaken by the Birth Link team, was a pilot group in Bristol supporting birth families.


Adoption West Joint Scrutiny Panel Annual Report


Cllr Carole King, Wiltshire’s representative on the Joint Scrutiny Panel, explained that she felt that the success of the organisation was built upon partnership, being equally owned by six LAs and representing a diverse population. She was pleased to report that the number of Wiltshire’s children being placed outside of Adoption West’s geographical area had reduced since the previous year. She also highlighted that the organisation had achieved a good Ofsted result earlier in the year. Although there were now fewer adopters, the support in place for people adopting children had improved including a website with detailed information.




1. To note the three reports provided and the overall adequate performance of the council with regards to adoption, as well as the performance from Adoption West.

2. To refer this item to the Children’s Select Committee’s Standing Task Group to engage with the three report’s authors to develop an overarching cover report introducing each of the three reports – this should enable simplification of each report (not having to reference the other two reports) as well as clarifying the relationship between the Local Authorities and Adoption West, and the responsibilities for performance at different stages of the adoption journey.


Regular updates

Updates on information valuable for the committee, but unlikely to require a decision. 


Members of the committee are therefore invited to indicate in advance of the meeting if they would like further information or have questions on these regular updates, so that relevant officers can be invited to attend the meeting.


The chairman reminded the committee that they were invited to indicate in advance of the meeting if they would like further information or have questions on these regular updates, so that relevant officers can be invited to attend the meeting.


Update from Wiltshire Youth Voice Representative

An update including a summary of recent activities of the Wiltshire Youth Union (WYU) and Children in Care Council (CiCC).

Supporting documents:


The chairman introduced the report and stated that he was looking forward to engaging with the Child and Youth Voice Team, and the young people they work with, during the relevant forthcoming task groups and rapid scrutiny exercises.


School Ofsted Judgements

An update including information regarding the most recent Ofsted Inspection reports, presenting an ongoing view of the effectiveness of schools as seen by Ofsted Inspection.

Supporting documents:


The committee was pleased to see that Wiltshire was slightly above the regional average for the number of pupils attending a good or outstanding school. Members welcomed the report but sought clarification about the figures in tables 3 and 4 in the report. They also stated that they would appreciate feedback about how confident schools were about forthcoming A level exams given the disruption caused by the pandemic to the current Year 13.


DfE Changes - Update from Department for Education

An update on developments relating to children’s services arising from the Department for Education.

Supporting documents:


The report was welcomed by members. The chairman did raise concern about the increase in the number of young people vaping and spoke about the importance of educating children about this issue through their schools.


Working together to improve school attendance

The DfE published new non-statutory guidance in May 2022 to help schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities maintain high levels of school attendance. The guidance applies from September 2022.


This regular update is an opportunity for the committee to be aware of the latest requirements for schools, trusts, governing boards and local authorities in maintaining high levels of school attendance, as set out in the guidance.

Supporting documents:


The chairman reminded the committee that The Department for Education (DfE) had published new non-statutory guidance in May 2022 to help schools, trusts, governing bodies and LAs maintain high levels of school attendance. He also welcomed news that Wiltshire was performing well in terms of school attendance. A question was asked about the catching up that children had to do after a period of exclusion.


Schools Forum's update

To receive a very brief update highlighting key items from the last meeting of Schools Forum to enable the Children’s Select Committee to be informed in a timely manner of the work undertaken by the Schools Forum through the year.

Full agendas and minutes for the Schools Forum can be accessed here  Schools Forum | Wiltshire Council.

Supporting documents:


The report was welcomed by members. The chairman noted that the committee would receive a briefing on school budgets, which was likely to be split into two sessions.


Corporate Parenting Panel update

To receive a very brief update highlighting key items from the last meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel to enable the Children’s Select Committee members, as Corporate Parents, to be informed in a timely manner of the work undertaken by the Corporate Parenting Panel through the year.

Supporting documents:


The committee received an update highlighting key items from the last meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel.


Directors' update

To receive a verbal update from Directors highlighting any key issues (current or emerging), successes or milestones in their respective areas since the last meeting of the committee, which may not require a full agenda item and are not covered elsewhere on this agenda.


The Director of Family and Children’s Services reported that they had had a positive visit from the DfE the previous week where the DfE had complemented the cross-council work done to support care leavers, including in housing provision. She also mentioned that an annual discussion with Ofsted was expected to take place by the end of November and a corporate peer review was due to take place shortly.


She then reminded the committee that her team had reviewed the use of Aspire House within the council’s Stronger Families Service and found that an outreach model had been more effective than the continued use of Aspire House. The Aspire House building would now be used as part of the tendering process for services, as a new children’s home, to enable more Children in care to be housed within the county. 


Cabinet Member and Portfolio Holders' update

To receive a verbal update from the Cabinet Member and / or Portfolio Holders highlighting any news, successes or milestones in their respective areas since the last meeting of the committee, which may not require a full agenda item and are not covered elsewhere on this agenda.


The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Education and Skills made the following announcements:


• She reminded the committee that it was National Care Leavers’ week. She explained that cabinet members had been challenged to live off of Carer’s Allowance, £57 per week, which she was doing that week.

• She would, along with the chairman and officers, be attending the National Adult and Children’s Conference in Manchester, which would be a useful event allowing Wiltshire to compare its practice to other LAs.

• A Dyslexia awareness event had recently been held in County Hall and work was going on with schools to achieve the British Dyslexia Quality Mark.

• The Leader and she were due to meet representatives from Wiltshire Youth Council later in the afternoon.

• Discussions were due to commence the following week to prepare the budget for the following year.


The Leader noted that he was waiting for further detail from central government about plans for LA Multi Academy Trusts, but that Wiltshire’s bid was still being considered.


Chair's update

To receive a verbal update from the chair on any work undertaken or news since the last meeting that would not require a full agenda item and would not be suitable under Chairman’s Announcements (where no debate is allowed).


The chairman highlighted that he had met with officers to organise a briefing about school budgets to be bought to the committee, as noted in the earlier School’s Forum item.


Overview and Scrutiny Activities Updates

The committee will receive updates from active Task Groups, Rapid Scrutiny exercises and the committee’s board representatives.


A report by the Senior Scrutiny Officers providing an update on Task Group activity since the last meeting is attached.

Supporting documents:


The chairman advertised vacancies to the following task groups and rapid scrutiny exercises:


Rapid Scrutiny Exercises


High Needs Block Funding – 9 November

Road Map to excellence – 1 and 9 December


Task Groups


Children and Young People’s Mental Health

Youth Provision and Youth Service Funding

Access to Post-16 Education



He also noted that options for a rapid scrutiny exercise into Wiltshire Council potentially establishing a Multi Academy Trust would be discussed when further information was available.


Forward Work Programme

The Committee is asked to note the attached documents showing the relevant items from the overview and scrutiny forward work programme and the latest version of the strategy list for the Children, Education and Skills directorate.

Supporting documents:


The chairman noted that the vice-chairman and he would be meeting on 1 November to shape the Forward Work Programme for the forthcoming year and invited suggestions from the committee for items that they would like to see added. 


Date of Next Meeting

To note that the next scheduled meeting is due to be held on Tuesday 17 January 2023 at County Hall, Trowbridge, starting at 10.30am.


The date of the next ordinary meeting was confirmed as Tuesday 17 January, at 10:30am.


Urgent Items

Any other items of business which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.


There were no urgent items.