Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: 78 St John's Road, Isleworth, TW7 6RU

Contact: Irene Bowles, 020 8583 2075, Email: irene.bowles@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence, Declarations of Interest and Any Other Communications from Members

Apologies have been received from Councillor Tom Bruce and Mr P Enright.

Decision:

a)    Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Tom Bruce, Stephen Davis, Charlotte De Lacey, Paul Enright, Ben Foley, Sarah Roscoe, Phil Ward, Jacqueline Willis and John Wright.

 

Apologies had also been received from Alan Adams and Michael Marks.

 

b)   Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

 

c)    Communications from Members

The Chair had received notification from Paul Enright of his intention to resign as the RC Diocesan Board representative, due to the restrictive voting rights given.

Minutes:

a)    Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Tom Bruce, Stephen Davis, Charlotte De Lacey, Paul Enright, Ben Foley, Sarah Roscoe, Phil Ward, Jacqueline Willis and John Wright.

 

Apologies had also been received from Alan Adams and Michael Marks.

 

b)   Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

 

c)    Communications from Members

The Chair had received notification from Paul Enright of his intention to resign as the RC Diocesan Board representative, due to the restrictive voting rights given.

2.

Minutes of the meeting held on 9 May 2016 pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 May 2016 were agreed as a true and accurate record, with the following amendment, and were signed by the Chair.

 

Item 81(b) – SEN Task and Finish Group update: The first part of the section should read “The Group want to look and see if the points model of allocating funds can be improved upon:”

 

 

a)    Matters Arising from the Minutes

Item 82.4 Update on insurance buy-back service

Members reported that no Service Level Agreement (SLA) reports had been received.  Shabana Kausar advised that information on the opt-out process would be circulated by 18 July 2016, and SLAs would be discussed at the September 2016 School Forum meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 May 2016 were agreed as a true and accurate record, with the following amendment, and were signed by the Chair.

 

Item 81(b) – SEN Task and Finish Group update: The first part of the section should read “The Group want to look and see if the points model of allocating funds can be improved upon:”

 

 

a)    Matters Arising from the Minutes

Item 82.4 Update on insurance buy-back service

Members reported that no Service Level Agreement (SLA) reports had been received.  Shabana Kausar advised that information on the opt-out process would be circulated by 18 July 2016, and SLAs would be discussed at the September 2016 School Forum meeting.

3.

2015/16 DSG Outturn and 2016/17 DSG Budget Pressures pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Decision:

Members noted:

1.    The total grants received in 2015/16

2.    The 2015/16 DSG Overspend of £2.2m

3.    The DSG reserve balance available in 2016/17

4.    The total balances held by maintained schools at the end of 2015/16

5.    The number of schools with a deficit balance

6.    The 2016/17 budget pressures.

 

Members resolved:

1.    To recommend to the Lead Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services that the Council should continue, if possible, to operate a contingency reserve in 2016/17 of 1.54%.

2.    That the Chair should write to the DfE, on behalf of Schools’ Forum, expressing concern that no news of the consultation on DSG funding has yet been received.  With the imminent end of the school year, there may not be time for schools to respond fully to the consultation.

Minutes:

Members agreed that the main issue was how to manage the increasing pressures on DSG.

 

It was noted that there were four schools, at 31 March 2016, with a deficit balance (total amount £175K).  Members were concerned that other schools could be vulnerable.  Shabana Kausar confirmed that this would be the case if the MFG was increased to 3%.  The formula funding changes would give a better indication when announced.

 

Members agreed that the picture for most schools was getting worse, with the majority heading towards deficit balances.  There were already significant issues for schools trying to continue to provide a good service.  Shabana Kausar suggested that all schools need to plan for “worst case scenarios” and think about how they would manage a 3% budget reduction.  The Chair confirmed that all Secondary Schools had already made cuts and/or redundancies. Many schools had used reserve funds to set a balanced budget for 2016/17.

 

[Merle Abbott and Penny Stephen arrived at 6.25pm]

 

Shabana Kausar reminded members of the risk of assumptions made for DSG, especially the estimate of numbers for EY and High Needs SEN.  Changes to EY funding had still not been announced by the Government, although April 2017 continued to be cited for implementation.

 

[Roger Shortt arrived at 6.27pm]

 

Members noted:

1.     The total grants received in 2015/16

2.     The 2015/16 DSG Overspend of £2.2m

3.     The DSG reserve balance available in 2016/17

4.     The total balances held by maintained schools at the end of 2015/16

5.     The number of schools with a deficit balance

6.     The 2016/17 budget pressures.

 

Members resolved:

1.     To recommend to the Lead Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services that the Council should continue, if possible, to operate a contingency reserve in 2016/17 of 1.54%.

2.     That the Chair should write to the DfE, on behalf of Schools’ Forum, expressing concern that no news of the consultation on DSG funding has yet been received.  With the imminent end of the school year, there may not be time for schools to respond fully to the consultation.

4.

Feedback from Managing Behaviour Task and Finish Group

Report to follow

Decision:

Penny Stephen (Senior Adviser (Vulnerable Groups Cross Phase)) advised members that the Task and Finish Group would bring their report to Schools’ Forum in Autumn 2016, with a view to implementing decisions from April 2017.   She advised that a 4 level model would be recommended.

Minutes:

Penny Stephen (Senior Adviser (Vulnerable Groups Cross Phase)) advised members that the Task and Finish Group would bring their report to Schools’ Forum in Autumn 2016, with a view to implementing decisions from April 2017.   She advised that a 4 level model would be recommended.

 

[Penny Stephen left the meeting at 6.38pm]

5.

School Reserves - Feedback and recommendations from Schools' Forum representatives

Item for discussion

Decision:

The Chair reminded members that it was the collective responsibility of Schools’ Forum, not the LA, to agree a Balance Control Mechanism for schools.  He advised that it would be difficult to fight for more funding for schools, if some schools had large, uncommitted, balances.

 

Members resolved that:

1.    Shabana Kausar would provide an update on balances held by schools at 31March 2016 at the September 2016 meeting, to include percentage figures.

2.    A reasonable school balance reserve figure of 8.3% was unanimously agreed.  If school reserves exceed this figure, further information would be required as part of the Budget Plan, and should include details of planned capital projects, time frames, etc.  Members agreed the need for transparency.

Minutes:

The Chair reminded members that it was the collective responsibility of Schools’ Forum, not the LA, to agree a Balance Control Mechanism for schools.  He advised that it would be difficult to fight for more funding for schools, if some schools had large, uncommitted, balances.

 

Merle Abbott informed members that the SEN Task and Finish Group would recommend that, where schools make a request for additional funding from the High Needs Panel, the Panel should take account of balances and reserves.

 

(Lorna Goodwin arrived at 6.45pm)

 

Members generally agreed that there needed to be transparency and proper accountability from schools on their reserves.  Whilst there was no desire to clawback funds from schools, the responsibility for this rested with Schools’ Forum and not the Local Authority; it was important to have a mechanism in place should the need arise.

 

Members resolved that:

1.     Shabana Kausar would provide an update on balances held by schools at 31March 2016 at the September 2016 meeting, to include percentage figures.

2.     A reasonable school balance reserve figure of 8.3% was unanimously agreed.  If school reserves exceed this figure, further information would be required as part of the Budget Plan, and should include details of planned capital projects, time frames, etc.  Members agreed the need for transparency.

6.

Update on 2017/18 DfE consultation on DSG national funding formula

Decision:

Members had heard earlier in the meeting that nothing had yet been received from the DfE, and that the Chair would write to them to express concern.

Minutes:

Members had heard earlier in the meeting that nothing had yet been received from the DfE, and that the Chair would write to them to express concern.

7.

Update on 30 hour consultation pdf icon PDF 519 KB

Decision:

Members noted the consultation response submitted by the Council on 6 June 2016.

 

Chrissie Elam (Head of Early Years and Childcare) agreed to provide some information to schools to help them to formulate responses to the consultation.

Minutes:

Members noted the consultation response submitted by the Council on 6 June 2016. 

 

Headteachers were very concerned that they were being asked to agree to provision before knowing the level of funding that the increase in hours would bring.

 

Chrissie Elam (Head of Early Years and Childcare) agreed to provide some information to schools to help them to formulate responses to the consultation.  It was crucial that schools, as well as the LA, responded to the Government consultation.

 

Members noted that, if schools did not make plans to increase provision for 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours per week, rolls in school Nursery classes could fall, and lose their viability.

8.

Update on 2017/18 De-delegated services pdf icon PDF 629 KB

Decision:

Members noted:

1.    The proposed change outlined in Stage 1 of the National Funding Formula Consultation with regards to removing the option for schools to de-delegate

2.    The 2015/16 outturn relating to de-delegated budgets

3.    The proposal for the Council to withdraw the offer to operate the Conditions of Service Scheme from 1 April 2017, both for services offered through the Council’s buy-back service and de-delegated funds.

 

Shabana Kausar agreed to undertake market research over the summer, to identify potential alternative providers who could give presentations to schools early in the Autumn Term.

 

Following the strong concerns raised by members, Shabana Kausar agreed that:

a)    It might be possible to extend the service until 31 August 2017

b)    It might be possible for the Council to fund some procurement expertise to work with schools to obtain alternative provision.

 

Members resolved:

That the Chair should e-mail Councillor Tom Bruce, expressing the strong concerns of Schools’ Forum at the proposed withdrawal of the Conditions of Service Scheme from schools.  This e-mail would be copied to Alan Adams and Michael Marks.

 

Members resolved:

1.    To task officers to report back on the following in relation to Trade Union Facilities Time in schools:

a.    To confirm if the current process and agreement are in accordance with the current legal requirements

b.    To provide suggestions for Schools’ Forum to consider with regards to operational process.

 

Marilyn Bater agreed to share the Facilities Agreement document with Officers, in order that this could be used as a basis for moving forward.

Minutes:

Members note the services allowed to be de-delegated (see 3.3 of the report attached to Item 7 of the Agenda pack), and that the decisions of the relevant phase Schools’ Forum meeting were binding on all phase schools.

 

Shabana Kausar informed members that, to continue with the conditions of service scheme, there needed to be Council HR input, but this would be outsourced from September 2017.  There would only be HR personnel to cover strategic and statutory functions.

 

[Marais Leenders left the meeting at 7.50pm]

 

 

Members noted:

1.     The proposed change outlined in Stage 1 of the National Funding Formula Consultation with regards to removing the option for schools to de-delegate

2.     The 2015/16 outturn relating to de-delegated budgets

3.     The proposal for the Council to withdraw the offer to operate the Conditions of Service Scheme from 1 April 2017, both for services offered through the Council’s buy-back service and de-delegated funds.

 

Shabana Kausar agreed to undertake market research over the summer, to identify potential alternative providers who could give presentations to schools early in the Autumn Term.

 

Following the strong concerns raised by members, Shabana Kausar agreed that:

a)    It might be possible to extend the service until 31 August 2017

b)    It might be possible for the Council to fund some procurement expertise to work with schools to obtain alternative provision.

 

Members resolved:

That the Chair should e-mail Councillor Tom Bruce, expressing the strong concerns of Schools’ Forum at the proposed withdrawal of the Conditions of Service Scheme from schools.  This e-mail would be copied to Alan Adams and Michael Marks.

 

Members resolved:

1.     To task officers to report back on the following in relation to Trade Union Facilities Time in schools:

a.     To confirm if the current process and agreement are in accordance with the current legal requirements

b.     To provide suggestions for Schools’ Forum to consider with regards to operational process.

 

Marilyn Bater agreed to share the Facilities Agreement document with Officers, in order that this could be used as a basis for moving forward.

9.

Feedback from SEN Task and Finish Group

Decision:

The work of the Task and Finish group was ongoing.  Proposals would be brought to the next Schools’ Forum meeting.

Minutes:

The work of the Task and Finish group was ongoing.  Proposals would be brought to the next Schools’ Forum meeting.

10.

2017/18 Special School, SEN Resource Centre and PRU planned places and projected cost pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Decision:

Members noted:

1.    The planned places for  SEN Resource centres in 2017/18

2.    The planned places for Special Schools in 2017/18

3.    The planned places for Woodbridge Park in 2017/18

4.    The proposal to review and identify options for funding the service provision at Woodbridge Park for 2017/18

5.    The financial implications.

 

Members resolved:

To task officers to identify saving proposals across High Needs Block and bring a report to the next Schools’ Forum meeting.

Minutes:

Shabana Kausar reminded members that the costings contained in the report (attached at item 10 of the Agenda pack) were an estimate based on planned places; these figures would need to be refined, and should be available in October 2016 to enable pressures to be identified.  Figures would be modelled in the Autumn Term and fed back to Schools’ Forum.

 

It was explained that there were not many places where savings could be made.

 

Members noted:

1.     The planned places for  SEN Resource centres in 2017/18

2.     The planned places for Special Schools in 2017/18

3.     The planned places for Woodbridge Park in 2017/18

4.     The proposal to review and identify options for funding the service provision at Woodbridge Park for 2017/18

5.     The financial implications.

 

Members resolved:

To task officers to identify saving proposals across High Needs Block and bring a report to the next Schools’ Forum meeting.

11.

Review of centrally commissioned DSG budgets pdf icon PDF 251 KB

Decision:

Members noted:

1.    The outcomes of the review undertaken by council officers on the centrally retained DSG budgets

2.    The further work being undertaken across specific budget areas to be reported back at the next Schools’ Forum meeting

3.    The proposal for the Council to cease funding central support services from DSG from 1 April 2017, releasing savings to fund DSG pressures across SEN.

 

Minutes:

Shaban Kausar confirmed that there were no further areas of statutory services where savings could be made.

 

As part of the review, other options had been identified as potential areas for making savings:

Ø  Traveller Service

Ø  Learning Support Service

Ø  Safeguarding and Review Team

Ø  CAMHS and Education Team.

An update would be brought to the next meeting.

 

Members noted:

1.     The outcomes of the review undertaken by council officers on the centrally retained DSG budgets

2.     The further work being undertaken across specific budget areas to be reported back at the next Schools’ Forum meeting

3.     The proposal for the Council to cease funding central support services from DSG from 1 April 2017, releasing savings to fund DSG pressures across SEN.

 

12.

Forward Plan Update

Decision:

The updated Forward Plan would be circulated with the Agenda papers for the next Schools’ Forum meeting.

Minutes:

The updated Forward Plan would be circulated with the Agenda papers for the next Schools’ Forum meeting.

13.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Schools forum will be held on 19 September 2016 at 6pm

Decision:

The date of the next meeting was noted as Monday 19 September 2016 at 6pm.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was noted as Monday 19 September 2016 at 6pm.  It will take place in Committee Room 3 at the Civic Centre.

 

Members should note that parking is available on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park, and is free after 5.30pm.