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Apologies for absence.
Apologies were provided by Councillor Paul Wray and Councillor David Nevett
To consider the extent, if any, to which the public and press are to be excluded from the meeting.
There were no items on the agenda that contained exempt information
Declarations of Interest, if any.
There were no declarations of interest made.
[A period not exceeding 20 minutes for statements from up
to 5 members of the public on matters within the
Committee’s remit, proposing action(s) which may be
considered or contribute towards the future development of
the Committee’s work programme].
A public statement was made by Les Monaghon in relation to how the Council can work with artists’ to use underutilised spaces.
Reference was made to certain public art projects that had taken place in Doncaster. These included ‘Right Up Our Street’ and ‘The Desire Project’ which had all been received well, however, concern was raised that it could prove difficult to sometimes exhibit in public. Mr Monaghon spoke about ‘Relative Poverty’, a photographic exhibition created with destitute families in Doncaster over a 2 year period to provide a way for those people to have a voice about why they were in that situation.
It was explained that libraries, when used as a venue for such exhibits were not going to reach across all of Doncaster. Mr Monaghon spoke about the potential places where the public might feel more comfortable to go into such as shops or the credit union in Colonades. It was considered that these were places where such projects could be shown and where there would be less of a barrier. Mr Monaghon spoke about how the work represented something that could be related to. It was explained that more needed to be done to remove those barriers and get people to listen. Members heard how the ‘Relative Poverty’ exhibition could hang from ceilings and be put up and taken down the same day. It was explained that it was a flexible exhibit that fitted with showing the new and different. Members were informed that the exhibit had been shown at the Minister, at Bawtry and Tickhill and there was a wish to move further into those spaces that people were familiar with such as town centre shopping centres. It was added that the project was not seen to tally with what the Frenchgate was about. It was questioned what spaces were available where the public did not fear that were readymade.
Members briefly discussed suitable vacancies that would be appropriate for artwork.
Members offered their support to help this project reach a wider audience and understood some of the issues that created barriers. It was recognised that it was a world hidden to many people.
As part of the discussion, reference was made to the potential of Council buildings, commercial properties, Tourist Information Centre and the entrance to the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust office, which all experienced a fair amount of footfall. It was commented that art on its own was not enough and it needed to generate discussions.
It was recommended that the Chair forward a short note to Cabinet Members around Members support for the project.
Doncaster Caring DGT theme
The Committee received a financial update from the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. It was outlined that since being on its improvement journey, the Trust was judged as “Good” and more recently had received “Outstanding” Ofsted ratings for two Children’s Homes, and its Fostering and Adoption Services.
Looked after Children and Impact on 2018/19 - The number and level of complexity of looked after children cases continued to rise for the Trust during 2018-19 to an all-time high of 593 in September 2018 when it peaked and had since decreased. It was stated that significant measures had been taken to arrest this increase and Children in Care numbers (that had increased alongside other measures) presently stood at 559 at December 2018. It was reported that Children’s Services across the country and South Yorkshire sub-region had been experiencing similar cost pressures
Concern was raised by Members about the ongoing pressure of rising numbers and demands. Members were assured that the Trust had developed reporting with the Council to offer greater transparency of the numbers.
Reference was made to the significant increase in referrals since 2014/15 to 2017/18. It was of the opinion that too many families were being referred in and were presently caught up within the system.
Finances – Members were told how additional funding of £6 million had been approved by Cabinet with £4.1 million (69%) of the £6m relating to 2017-18 cost pressures brought forward into 2018-19. It was explained that a range of measures had been introduced to reduce costs. The Council have indicated that the budget for 2019-20 will be re-based for the Trust to start with a balanced budget going forward.
It was commented that in respect of the future financing of services, there was a move towards more shared service to reduce overhead costs and work alongside the Council.
Contract Management and Overview and Scrutiny – Members were told about the Trust Children in Care Strategic Overview Group that met on a fortnightly basis, a Joint Resource Panel (that consisted of representatives from the Council, the Trust and Doncaster NHS CCG). Members were also reminded about the joint commissioning work taking place with Doncaster NHS CCG as well as innovation and partnership work that had been outlined in the report.
Other mechanisms referred to included the Monthly Operational Finance Meetings, Joint Performance and Finance Meeting and Quarterly Performance Monitoring Group. Members were provided with assurances that these helped ensuring that there would be a robust processes and closer working relationships between the Trust and the Council.
Support for Care Leavers into Independence – Reference was made to Doncaster Council being the first Local Authority in Yorkshire to support its care leavers by exempting them from paying council tax (in place for young people leaving the care of Doncaster Council until the age of 25).
DCST Governance – It was explained that the Department for Education (DFE) had conducted a review late 2018 of the governance arrangements of the Trust. Following that ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
The Panel received a report updating Members on the Panels work plan for 2018/19. A copy of the work plan was attached at Appendix A of the report taking account of issues considered at the OSMC workplanning meeting.
Members were advised of the following changes to the Overview and Scrutiny Workplan;
· Brexit Update meeting – to be arranged for the end of February 2019
· Revised Company Structure at Doncaster Children's Services Trust (Forward Plan Item) – to be considered at the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Meeting on the 5th March 2019.
The Chair also made Members aware of the response made in relation to the correspondence raised by the Committee around “2018-19 Finance and Performance Report and Delivering for Doncaster Booklet” which would be circulated to the Committee.
Concern was raised that 10% was quite significant when looking at the figure. It was felt that this needed further explaining and agreed that the Panel would wait to see what Officers would say at the Committee’s meeting on the 28th February 2019.
Reference was made back to the public statement and the potential of void properties being utilised and links that could be made with commercial premises. The Senior Governance Officer advised that the use of void shops were under the remit of the Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel
RESOLVED that the Panel note the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee Workplan 18/19 – January 2019 update.