Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report by the Strategic Planning Team Manager (copy attached) which seeks the Committee to determine whether Estyn’s recommendations have now been met and whether any further monitoring of the action plan is required.

9.35 a.m. – 10.10 a.m.



A copy of a report by the Head of Education (HE), which provided an update on the progress made in response to the recommendations made by Estyn following the 2012 inspection, had been circulated with the papers for the meeting.


The main findings of the Estyn Report showed that the Local Authority achieved ‘Good’ for the three key questions, with the exception of ‘Leadership’, which had been judged to be ‘Excellent’.      In order to improve further Estyn had made recommendations and details had been encompassed in the report.


Officers advised that there was now a framework and structure in place to try and address recommendation 2.  An extensive piece of work had been undertaken in an attempt to map the groups and activities available to children and young people in the County.  Work would continue until at least the end of the current calendar year to populate the database with information on all groups known to the Council, estimated to be around 1000 groups.  It was emphasised that the exercise was more complex and robust than just listing known groups, it also included meeting up with the groups to better understand their needs and ensure they were aware of matters such as their safeguarding responsibilities. 


It was emphasised that work was still underway with respect to ensuring a consistent database of clubs for all areas e.g. sports clubs etc.  However, clubs or organisations were not under any obligation to engage with the process.  An on-line or telephone survey of the groups would not be appropriate for this exercise, as it was a two-way contributory process which benefitted both parties.  With respect to the inclusion of organisations for children and young people with disabilities in the exercise, officers advised that these were covered either as groups specially designated for disabled people or as groups which welcomed disabled and able-bodied members.  Denbighshire's Well-being Plan 'Supporting Independence and Resilience' underpinned the County's vision for ensuring services and activities were available and accessible to everyone across the county.  Whilst other organisations held quite extensive databases on services available in the community they were reluctant to share the information with the Council on Data Protection Grounds.  


In response to a suggestion from members, officers undertook to discuss with the youth workers whether it would be feasible to offer publicity to clubs and societies in exchange for their co-operation with the process for mapping the services available in the community.


The Lead Member for Education suggested that it may be worthwhile to take a report similar to the one presented to the Committee to the Member Area Groups (MAGs) as they, in their capacity as the eyes and ears of the communities, would know of any other groups not yet listed on the database or contacted by officers.


Members and the Head of Education agreed that the vagueness of the Estyn recommendation had made it very difficult for the Council to know exactly what was required of it in order to satisfy itself that the recommendation had been fully complied with.  Nevertheless, officers were satisfied that they had an effective, well articulated process in place to establish the majority of services available to children and young people in the County.  They were satisfied that when Estyn next inspected the Authority they could effectively demonstrate to them that Recommendation 2 had now been met.  Measuring the impact of these services to the Authority and its partners and determining their value for money in delivering improved outcomes for children and young people over a long period of time would be far more difficult.  It was therefore suggested that the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group (SCVCG) should discuss the most appropriate way to scrutinise this aspect.  Following a detailed discussion it was:-


RESOLVED – that:-


(a)    based on the information provided and the above observations, the Committee concludes that the Local Education Authority has met Estyn's recommendations; and

(b)    the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group determines the most appropriate way to monitor the impact and value for money of services available to children and young people within their communities in delivering improved outcomes for them, for the Authority and its partners.


Supporting documents: