Agenda and draft minutes

Children's Partnership Board
Tuesday, 26th March, 2024 4.00 pm

Venue: To be held remotely via Zoom

Contact: Catherine Ziane-Pryor  Governance Officer

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Councillor Cheryl Barnard - personal

Judith Douglas

Karon Foulkes (Siobhan Buxton nominated to substitute)

Jon Rea

Elizabeth Richardson

Sarah Fielding


In the absence of Cllr Cheryl Barnard, Cllr Samina Riaz (Vice Chair) chaired the meeting.



Declarations of Interest





Minutes pdf icon PDF 335 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2023


The minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2023 were confirmed as a true record.


Children's Services Ofsted Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB



Ailsa Barr, Director of Children’s Integrated Services, delivered the presentation, highlighting the following points:


a)  OFSTED most recently undertook a full inspection of Children’s Services in July 2022, primarily focusing on the delivery of services to Children in Need, children with a Child Protection Plan, children in care and care leavers. At that time OFSTED rated the service inadequate, and gave guidance on what needed to be improved. This presentation gives an overview of the improvement work undertaken by Children’s Services, including an update from the last OFSTED monitoring visit which took place in November 2023;


b)  OFSTED highlighted eight areas requiring attention:


  i.  the point a referral is first made to Children’s Services;

  ii.  management oversight and direction of front-line work, including management oversight in relation to the designated officer role;

  iii.  sustaining social work capacity;

  iv.  the sufficiency of placements, particularly for those with complex needs;

  v.  services for care leavers aged 21 and over, while the duty of responsibility has been extended for care leavers up to the age of 25;

  vi.  duties in relation to young people aged 16 and 17 who present as homeless;

  vii.  the quality and timeliness of return home interviews for children who go missing;

  viii.  oversight of children who are missing from education and those electively home educated.


c)  An action plan was submitted in December 2022, within the time set, with oversight from the Children’s Improvement Board, which now has the support of an independent improvement advisor appointed by the Department for Education, who Chairs the Board;


d)  any local authority with an ‘inadequate’ rating will have a period of monitoring visits undertaken by OFSTED staff. Nottingham has received three two-day visits since the full inspection, with a fourth expected shortly. These focused on:


  i.  February 2023 – Front Door activity, (MASH, Duty social workers, and the emergency duty team);

  ii.  July 2023 – Children with a Children in Needs plan or a Child Protection plan, focusing primarily on the field work social work service;

  iii.  November 2023 – care leavers over the age of 18.


These inspections are not graded, but there is a clear narrative report published on the OFSTED website and available from Children’s Services;


e)  common areas of progress have been identified across the monitoring visits. Inspectors have seen a clear link between the service’s transformation work and its improvement activity, leading to improvements in the quality of practice and the experience of practitioners. There has been an investment in posts, increasing front-line and management capacity (for example, in the first response and missing from home services, the care leavers service, and the children in care service), alongside some reduced capacity in areas where demand has reduced (such as in child protection);


f)  inspectors spend little time with senior managers, spending the majority of the visit speaking to front-line practitioners and looking through casework. Feedback from the workforce is that they feel generally supported by managers and can feel in the impact of reduced caseloads, developing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Improving School Attendance pdf icon PDF 460 KB


Additional documents:


Jennifer Hardy, Head of Access to Learning, delivered the presentation entitled Nottingham City Council: Working Together to Improve School Attendance, highlighting the following points:


a)  the Working Together to Improve School Attendance guidance was issued by the Department for Education in 2022, and is due to become statutory guidance in August 2024. Nottingham has been operating as if the guidance is statutory for a year to prepare for the shift. The guidance outlines the responsibilities of schools and local authorities to tackle problems with attendance, and includes specific guidance regarding those who struggle to attend school due to health reasons, including mental health reasons;


b)  early intervention and partnership working are key to the guidance. Local authorities are expected to have a strategic approach to improving attendance, and a team to manage it. They should work across teams, across regions, and in partnership with OFSTED and the DfE. Best practice should be shared between schools, access to services improved, and severely absent children prioritised to mitigate safeguarding concerns;


c)  the Education Welfare team has a key role, organising and chairing support meetings and supporting schools, including with formal and legal options around attendance. They will also monitor daily attendance data covering every child in the City, which is a new policy the DfE are making statutory;


d)  health-related absence is significant in Nottingham. One of the biggest upcoming changes is that, from September, schools will be expected to refer students to the local authority after fifteen days of absence for health reasons, and the local authority will become responsible for their education. This will mean establishing a new arm for the service and commissioning new interventions. Referrals have started to be received from parents directly, who have found template letters online. The service will be developing a new policy alongside schools ready for the next academic year, which will clarify the responsibilities of the local authority;


e)  prosecution for absence is an option, though it is the last resort. When the guidance was launched, the updated fixed penalty notice was a key message picked up in the media;


f)  the team now have access to a lot of new data, via the new DfE portal, comprising attendance information for 52,000 children. This will help in targeting support to the right areas, and picking up trends as they arise. The team is working on a dashboard to ensure this data can be used in an effective way;


g)  there are additional statutory amendments to take account of. School registration codes have been amended, and local authorities must submit data to the DfE on Children Missing in Education and Elective Home Education. There is a new national framework governing penalty notices for absences;


h)  the key message is that it is crucial to embed partnership working across all of the organisations making up the partnership.


Liz Anderson, Education Consultant, delivered the presentation entitled Nottingham Priority Education Investment Area: Attendance, highlighting the following points:


i)  as part of the Levelling Up agenda, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Key Messages and Items for Information


Sam Morris, Head of Children’s Strategy and Improvement, informed the Board that this will be the last meeting of the Children’s Partnership Board pending further news.


There has been a review of the different partnership meetings taking place across the City, and there appears to be a lot of overlap in membership and focus. With the launch of the Early Help Partnership, it is a good time to step the Children’s Partnership Board down pending a review at a later date, when it may return with new terms of reference.