Our Current Investigations
Over the next couple of months we're planning to look at the following areas of work:
- Manchester Youth Council
- Academies and free Schools
- Early Years Update
5/3/2013 - Safeguarding
Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd attended the March meeting along with the Missing Persons Manager for Greater Manchester Police to look in detail at Safeguarding arrangements in Manchester and how the Council and its partners can work effectively together to ensure that vulnerable children and young people in Manchester are not at risk. We were keen to hear their views and develop strong partnerships. We were dissappointed to hear that looked after children were more likely to have criminal records and are committed to decreasing the criminality of children in the Council's care. We made a number of recommendations including reviewing protocols for calling the police out to Children's Homes and requesting more information on the nature of these incidents and how they can be avoided. We are extremely supportive of the restorative justice approach and welcome the positive impact the Council's 'Troubled Families' initiative will have on looked after children.
5/2/2013 - School Funding
The Committee received two reports on School Funding at this meeting and headteachers were invited along to comment on the proposals. We endorsed the report to Executive which set out how the new funding arrangements will work and how the money will be spent. We decided we'd like to look at changes to the law on early years childcare provision and the impact this will have in Manchester at a future meeting. We requested that our Executive Member write to the government to reinforce our concerns over the High Needs Funding for post 16. We welcomed the change in arrangements for funding Pupil Referral Units which allows them greater flexibility and control over their own funds and decided to look at the work of PRUs at a future meeting. We welcomed the new Director for Education and Skills and acknowledged the importance of his role and that of the Strategic Education Partnership and Manchester Schools Alliance going forward.
19/02/2013 - Business Plans
Also in February the Committee looked at the draft Business Plan of the Directorate for Families Health and Wellbeing and the Directorate for Children and Commissioning Services as part of the Council's business planning process, with a focus on those sections relating to children and young people. The business plan would then go to the Finance Scrutiny Committee who would review all of our comments before making recommendations to Council who would decide whether to implement it. We wanted to make sure it was scrutinised in detail before this approval was sought. We were keen to hear how in the current climate of funding cuts the services offered by the Council to children and young people could be maintained, and our performance improved. Members endorsed the draft business plan and made a number of additional recommendations.
8/01/2013 - Play Strategy
In January the Committee received a report which provided further details on the Council's Play Strategy. This is a key focus of the Committee's work and members were keen to hear about developments in this area. We wanted to ensure that play resources are distributed on the basis of need, in particular to those children in poverty or deprivation. We welcomed the proposals to align play resources with youth provision and asked for ward level data on children in poverty/deprivation in order to ensure funds are being effectively targeted. We also asked the Director of Children's Services to review the amount allocated to the training budget as whilst we appreciate training is important for providers we felt that in times of limited funding this may be better spent on play itself.
Also in January the Committee received a report on Attendance and Attainment throughout Manchester. We noted that significant improvements had been made at Key Stage 2 and that the percentage of pupils making two or more levels of progress across Key Stages 1-2 in both English and Maths were well above the England average. But we acknowledged that improvements were needed in other areas and we discussed with Officers what had been done to address this and what else could be done. We were interested to know whether and how different groups had improved their outcomes, in particular any differences by ethnicity and gender, and want further analysis done on this. We welcome the improvements that have been made at KS2 level and want to congratulate those schools involved in this. We also appreciate the challenges for teachers in Manchester catering for such a diversity of pupils.
To find out more information have a look at our full work programme. This includes what topics we will be looking at, what specific issues we will be considering and who we will be hearing from. Please bear in mind that the programme is continually updated, and so dates and agenda items may change from those listed in the programme.
If there's an issue you want to contribute to, let us know. You can either send a written contribution to email@example.com or you can attend a meeting and ask the Chair if you can speak. You can also suggest a topic for us to look into by filling in our 'suggestions form.'
If you want to speak to somebody about contributing to the committee, please call our scrutiny support officer on 0161 234 4997 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Role of the Committee
"As members of the Young People and Children Scrutiny Committee, we challenge the Council and other public services to make sure that they give young people in Manchester every chance to live happy, fulfilling and succesful lives. We have discussions with these organisations and use our experience of representing children and parents in our wards to recommend to them how they can ensure their services meet your needs.
Our areas of interest include education, social care for children, provision for under 5's, disabled children, special educational needs and activities and facilities for young people.
Through this page you'll be be able to keep in touch with what we've been doing and find out what we'll be investigating over the next few months and how you can get involved." - Councillor Mike Carmody, Chair of Young People and Children Scrutiny Committee.