This meeting was ‘technical’ and gave an interesting insight into the new Overview and Scrutiny committee structure. Committees have always had the ability to create Topic groups but usually didn’t. These are important issues and the committee has formed working parties. These will scrutinize the principal issues and produce a report for the committee. If additional resources are needed the Overview and Scrutiny Board will vet the proposition before transferring it to Council.
Darren Wise, lead member, will investigate social care for adults (see Addendum One). A much bigger topic than he was unaware of and he massively underestimated the time implications. He believed the Topic could be done in about three meetings. Jason Frost, the chair, (8 minutes) hinted this might be inadequate. Darren will be on a sharp learning curve.
The second topic (see Addendum Two) is investigating school readiness. Frankie Walker, lead member, gave an impassioned introduction (14 minutes) complete with a blizzard of statistics. Frankie is principally concerned with the impact of poverty. The key indicator is Free School Meals but there are other elements. She’s driven by the notion that current resources might not be used effectively. Jason was helpful pointing out there are both very poor wards and wards with significant pockets of poverty (26 minutes). Frankie insisted that the first point of call would be very poor wards so that best practice could be developed.
At last, ‘backbenchers,’ are taken seriously.
Addendum One: Social care for adults
- To understand the current SEND and social care provisions for adults to assess their strengths and weaknesses · Regulate and create a local authority quality assurance process and written framework for current and future SEND adult provisions to meet · Signposting for current 16-25 provisions and employment opportunities · Investigate current provisions for 25+ and explore the areas to improve employability opportunities · Scrutinise Havering borough’s own delivery to modernise/update the current service model in place.
Addendum Two: School Readiness
- Defining what school readiness is in accordance to the Government guidelines and Havering’s framework · To understand and explore the inequalities within Early Years children’s school readiness and the effect of this on individual’s long-term development · Reviewing how non-English speaking, ethnic minority parents access Havering’s resources