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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms CDE, Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX

No. Item


Apologies for absence


There were apologies for absence from Councillor Marsie Skeete (with Cllr Owen Pritchard as substitute), Keith Makin (Chair of MSCB) and Jane McSherry (Head of Education)


Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 79 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.


Departmental Update pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Children, Schools and Families summarised the report and answered Panel Members’ questions as below;


·         ACTION Director of Children, Schools and Families to provide percentage with regards to the increase in care proceedings (para 2.15).

·         An announcement will be made soon with regards to the Benedict School re-brokering.

·         We are looking for alternative sources of funding in order sustain those services where grant funding is ending, in order to continue to reduce knife crime and continue the rise in engagement.



Business Plan Update 2020-24 pdf icon PDF 1 MB


The Director of Corporate Services introduced the report.


In response to Panel Members questions the Director of Corporate Services and the Director of Children, Schools and Families clarified;


·         With regards to the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) deficit, we are setting monies aside to offset this while we await the outcome of the consultation. CIPFA will be issuing guidance about the changes.

·         Merton did contribute to the Government consultation as part of the Society of London Treasurers response.

·         Corporately the Directorate are considering the whole SEN transport offer. The initial report has been received and there are a series of proposals we could look at including personal budgets and increasing independent travel training

·         We propose to reduce the foster carer allowance, not the fee. This would move us to a position in which our allowance is the same as the National Statutory Minimum. Carers will not see a reduction. We know that good support and training are also factors for recruitment.



Business Plan 2020-24 - savings information pack pdf icon PDF 43 KB

This report is provided separately and will be discussed as part of the preceding agenda item on the Business Plan Update.

Additional documents:


Cabinet Member priorities

Verbal update


The Cabinet Member for Schools and Adult Education is prioritising;

SEND (including DSG recovery plan, written statement of action for Ofsted, and wider strategy); Performance (including bringing in experts from organisations like Education Endowment Foundation to continue to improve on our excellent results, but also looking at variations between groups of pupils) and Places (ensuring we are offering the primary, secondary and special school places that are needed by our population).


The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services is prioritising;

Youth voice and participation, corporate parenting, the young commissioners’ pilot, reinvigorating the Children in Care Council and has volunteered to be a champion of participation and engagement for the Children’s Trust.



Merton Safeguarding Children Board pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:


Report on In house/Independent foster carers pdf icon PDF 103 KB


The report was presented by the Assistant Director of Children’s Social Care & Youth Inclusion.


We advertise all year round for the recruitment of foster carers via posters, word of mouth and the annual foster carer celebration.

At the suggestion of a Panel Member, The Director of Children, Schools and Families committed to undertaking a review of fees for foster carers in order to potentially encourage foster carers away from agency work. It was mentioned that we currently invite independent foster carers to attend our training so they witness first-hand the support and fostering community Merton that has to offer.

It was also clarified that no matter how well Merton recruits, you can not completely eradicate the need for agencies in some cases. This could be due to complex needs or safety if a child needs to be placed outside of the borough.



Support for schools to become good or outstanding pdf icon PDF 145 KB


The Head of School Improvement gave an overview of the report.


A Panel Member commented that this subject had already been discussed at length at the School Standards Panel which is attended by many of the CYP Panel present. 


In response to a Panel Members concern of the exclusions figures, the Head of School Improvement explained that the School Standards report, which is scheduled for presentation at this Panel in March, will comment and expand on exclusions.



Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Performance, Policy and Partnerships drew the Panel’s attention to the indicators with significant changes and data caveats.

Endorsement was sought to remove indicator 6 and invert indicator 21, to which the Panel agreed.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 112 KB


The work programme was agreed.