Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary, Children & Families Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 17th March, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Webcast - Remote Meeting. View directions

Contact: Charles Yankiah  (0161 474 3206)

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interest which they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

No interests were declared.

2.

Call-In

To consider call-in items (if any).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no call-in items to consider.

3.

Stockport and Tameside Partnership Opportunities pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Children’s Services.

 

The report proposes that the Council explores how it will work together with Tameside Council (“Tameside”) in relation to exploring the opportunities for shared services and to update the committee in relation to the secondment of Tameside’s current Director of Education to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (“Stockport/the Council”) to act as a joint Director of Education across both authorities.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer contact: Carolyn Anderson, Carolyn.anderson@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Children’s Services submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) proposing that the Council explores how it will work together with Tameside Council (“Tameside”) in relation to exploring the opportunities for shared services and to update the committee in relation to the secondment of Tameside’s current Director of Education to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (“Stockport/the Council”) to act as a joint Director of Education across both authorities.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children, Family Services & Education (Councillor Colin Foster) attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:- 

 

·         It was clarified that Stockport had been awarded Partner in Practice (PiP) status in March 2018 and one of the first local authorities Stockport was asked to partner with by the Department for Education was Tameside.  Consequently, for the past three years a very positive and productive relationship had been developed with Tameside in terms of sharing best practice and establishing relationships between the senior management teams that allowed for the sharing of ideas.

·         As a result of work undertaken with Tameside through the PiP, their Children’s Service inspection significantly improved and there had been benefits for Stockport in terms of the learning from this experience that could be implemented here.

·         Tameside’s current Director of Education was the Greater Manchester lead for education and was the appointed Senior Responsible Officer for early years work, and building on the strong partnership work that had already been undertaken between the two authorities the opportunity had been taken to appoint a single director of education with a strong leadership role over both authorities.

·         It was stated that while there would be financial savings associated with the appointment, their would be benefits for Stockport through having a strong leader with a strong presence in Greater Manchester that would have a positive impact on the senior leadership team.

·         The experience of the past 12 months had shown that significant improvements could be delivered through enhanced collaboration.

·         Concern was expressed that the report stated that one of its aim was to provide an update on the secondment of Tameside’s current Director of Education, however this had been the first time that the scrutiny committee had been made aware of such a proposal.  In response, it was stated that the proposal had initially been shared with Group Leaders before being brought to scrutiny.

·         It was stated that while updates had been provided to the Scrutiny Committee in relation to the ongoing work on the PiP, this had not clearly identified evolving nature of the breadth and scope of the relationship between Tameside and Stockport.

·         It was queried why the report had not been accompanied by an equality impact assessment in the light of the fact that the proposals encompassed those services provided children with complex needs.

·         Some members expressed an uneasiness with the principle of appointing a single director of education working across the two authorities and whether this would mean a loss of a bespoke approach and outcomes for Stockport’s children. 

·         There was a concern about an apparent lack of openness in the way in which the proposals had been brought forward and consequent lack of opportunity to scrutinise the matter in more detail at previous scheduled scrutiny committees meetings rather than having to convene an extraordinary committee to do so.

·         It was commented that the rationale being used to justify the proposals could similarly be used to appoint a single director of education for the whole of Greater Manchester.

·         It was queried why the proposed structure for the provision of education in Stockport was being centred around one individual and what would happen if that individual left. In response, it was stated that it was an opportunity to have the shared service and share the improvements and synergy and economies of scale between both boroughs. It was stated that there would not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.