Agenda and minutes

People Scrutiny Commission - Monday, 28th November, 2022 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR

Contact: Ian Hird  07552 261506

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 103 KB


The Chair welcomed all attendees to the meeting, including Trish Mensah who was attending her first meeting representing Bristol Older People’s Forum following the retirement of Judith Brown from that role.


The Chair then explained the emergency evacuation procedure.



Apologies for Absence and Substitutions


It was noted that apologies for absence had been received from Cllr Scott.



Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from councillors. They are asked to

indicate the relevant agenda item, the nature of the interest and in particular

whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.


Any declaration of interest made at the meeting which is not on the register of

interests should be notified to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion.




Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.


The Commission RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting of the People Scrutiny Commission held on 26 September 2022 be confirmed as a correct record.


It was noted that Cllr Massey, in submitting her apologies for the 26 September meeting, had arranged for a substitute member to attend in her place although that substitute had not subsequently been able to attend the meeting. 



Action Tracker pdf icon PDF 113 KB


The Commission noted the action tracker in relation to the 26 September meeting.


The Chair commented that following the Commission’s endorsement (on 26 September) of the report from the working group on inclusion in mainstream education, he had presented the report to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board and the Bristol Learning City Excellence in Schools Group; there was an outstanding action to complete in terms of the report being presented to the Race Equality Steering Group.



Chair's Business

To note any announcements from the Chair.


a. Judith Brown, Bristol Older People’s Forum

The Chair moved a formal vote of thanks to Judith Brown following her retirement as the Bristol Older People’s Forum representative at People Scrutiny Commission meetings.

The Chair and other members also expressed their appreciation of her valued contribution to the Commission’s discussions over many years.


b. Ofsted Joint area SEND revisit in Bristol: 4-6 October 2022

At the request of the Chair, the interim Director of Education and Skills gave an update on the report published by Ofsted following the SEND revisit inspection carried out from 4-6 October.


Summary of main points raised/noted:

1. The inspection report had identified that sufficient progress had been made in 4 of the 5 areas of significant weakness identified at the initial inspection, including the area’s improvement plans and self-evaluation. However, insufficient progress had been made in relation to the remaining area of significant weakness, namely the fractured relationships with parents and carers, lack of co-production and variable engagement and collaboration.


2. Further work would be taken forward in all 5 areas, and in line with Ofsted’s anticipated requirements, an accelerated action plan would be developed in relation to the area where insufficient progress had been made. All of this work would inform the development of the SEND partnership plan, to be published in early 2023.


3. In relation to the issue of repairing the fractured relationships with parents and carers, it was acknowledged that ensuring effective co-production would be essential moving forwards and that improvement work must be implemented at pace. The accelerated action plan would include defined key outcomes and milestones and would be overseen by the Department for Education.  The detail of the accelerated action plan would be shared with scrutiny members; the Chair suggested it would be appropriate for members to be briefed at an appropriate point before the action plan was finalised, to allow an opportunity for scrutiny input to be taken into account.


4. It was noted that as part of the further action to be taken, officers would arrange to meet representatives of the Bristol Parent Carer Forum.


c. External investigation into social media monitoring (further to the Commission’s consideration on 26 September 2022 of the fact finding report into the use of social media by Council staff in respect of the Bristol Parent Carer Forum)

The Chair reminded members that at their last meeting, the Commission had agreed a motion calling for the Mayor and Chief Executive to arrange an external investigation into this matter; subsequently, at their meeting held on 18 October, the Full Council had agreed a separate motion calling for the Mayor to progress an independent inquiry. 


The Chair advised that he had now been informed that the outcome of the Ofsted Joint area SEND revisit would be reported to the Cabinet in January and that the Mayor’s decisions on the key elements of the People Scrutiny and Full Council motions (i.e. whether to progress a further investigative process and to reinstate the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Public Forum pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.


Any member of the public or councillor may participate in Public Forum.  The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda.  Public Forum items should be emailed to and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:


Questions - Written questions must be received at least 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that questions must be received in this office at the latest by 5.00 pm on Tuesday 22 November 2022


Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received at latest by 12.00 noon on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that petitions or statements must be received in this office at the latest by

12.00 noon on Friday 25 November 2022


Please note: questions, petitions and statements must relate to the remit of the People Scrutiny Commission.


Public questions:

It was noted that the following public questions had been received (written replies had been circulated and published in advance of the meeting):


Q1. Jen Smith - topic: Agenda item 10 – Education Health and Care Performance

In response to a supplementary question from Jen Smith, officers reiterated the very significant impact of the pandemic in terms of increased difficulties faced by some of the city’s children and young people, together with the pressures faced by schools during the pandemic.


Q2. Jen Smith - topic: Agenda item 10 – Education Health and Care Performance

In response to a supplementary question from Jen Smith, officers stressed the key importance of and their commitment to progressing an improved partnership and co-production approach with parents and carers; further progressing improved partnership work with schools was also of critical importance. 


Public statements:

It was noted that a public statement had been received as follows:

- Statement from Jen Smith - topic: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).


The Chair noted the issue raised in the statement around providers suspending or withdrawing services to families in some cases due to the Council not making payments to cover the cost of provision.  The Chair indicated that he would raise this issue with the Chair of the council’s Audit Committee with a view to the Audit Committee potentially looking into the detail of this matter.



Quarterly Performance Report - Quarter 1, 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 983 KB


The Commission considered and discussed the quarter 1 2022/23 performance report.  It was noted that this report had been prepared in line with the new corporate approach to performance reporting, with performance progress tracked under each of the themes in the Council’s Corporate Strategy, plus a data appendix specific for the Commission; in relation to the performance metrics and actions reported for this quarter against the People Scrutiny Commission remit:

- 25% of priority measures were on or above target (4 of 16).

- 57% of priority measures had improved (8 of 14).

- 83% of actions were currently on track or better (24 of 29).


It was noted that members had submitted the following questions/points in advance of the meeting (these are set out below together with written responses from officers):


a. Questions / points raised in advance by Cllr Townsend


1. Covering report: Theme 1 - NEET

‘If these children are NEET, then how is university their next step? Is this the intention of this wording or is this about aspiration? If aspiration, what does the evidence tell us about those who are NEET aged 17-18 moving into university?’


Officer written response:

This comment in the cover report (linked to CYP Theme) is in relation to “BPOM217: 17-18 year-old Care Leavers in EET”, not related to NEETs.  Apologies if this wasn’t clear.


2. Covering report: Theme 2 - work for priority groups

‘A key group for this city is supporting those with learning difficulties into paid work – what are these pathways?  How do these conjunct with the WECA responsibilities? Is this ‘WE WORK’?  Or is this programme at the Bristol level? Whilst WECA do not fund the EHCP plans for those up to the age of 25, most young people will have their plans terminated long before the year they turn 25, so how is the adult learning element of the WECA responsibility and funding targeted at this group and is this effective?’


Officer written response:

This relates to priority BPPM270 and the provision of targeted experiences of work for young people pre-16 delivered by the Bristol WORKS Team. The Bristol WORKS team is funded through a mix of external funders including WECA as part of their West of England Careers Hub. By providing career inspiration and information, the team are supporting young people most at risk of becoming NEET to achieve improved post-16 pathways and outcomes. The WORKS Team is also contributing to delivery of the WE Work for Everyone programme through specific activities for young disabled people with learning difficulties and autism.

In relation to adult learning provision for young people whose EHCP has ceased, WECA are responsible for commissioning the Adult Education Budget for learners aged 19+. The City of Bristol College are the main provider of programmes for learners with high needs in Bristol. At their last full inspection in 2019, they were awarded ‘Good’ status.


3. Covering report: Theme 5 - related to the above:

‘WE WORK: how/is this different from Theme  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.


Corporate Risk report (People risks) - Quarter 2, 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 274 KB

Additional documents:


The Commission considered and discussed the quarter 2 2022/23 corporate risk report.


Summary of main points raised:

1. It was noted that currently one critical external risk was identified for the People directorate: BCCC5 - Cost of living crisis impact on citizens and communities. The risk tolerance level and progress on mitigating actions against this risk were also noted.


2.CRR50 (Impact of Adult Care Charging Reforms Legislation): It was noted that this risk would reduce as the government had announced through the recent autumn statement that adult social care charging reforms would be delayed until 2025. As per discussion earlier at this meeting, it was noted that the local position in terms of residential home care supply/availability and staffing had improved since last year, noting that some parts of the South-West, e.g. Cornwall, continued to experience care home closures and ongoing, post-pandemic residential care staffing/recruitment issues.


The Commission RESOLVED:

- To note the report and the above information.



Education Health and Care performance update pdf icon PDF 340 KB


The Commission considered a report setting out the latest Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) performance update.


Summary of main points raised:


1. In terms of this latest performance update, it was noted that the most significant points were:

a. The number of EHC Needs Assessments (EHCNA) finalised had increased in 2022 compared with 2021.

b. Performance continued to be affected by the rise in new EHCNA requests.

c. In overall terms, the EHC plan timeliness target of 50% had not been achieved.

d. All EHCNA requests which were over 52 weeks had now been finalised.

e. 85% of annual reviews had taken place over the last 12 months and 75% had been processed so far this year.


2. The Chair welcomed the improved position during September in finalising EHCPs and commented that the update report included the appropriate level of detail.


3. In response to a question from Cllr Bailes, it was noted that an increase in staff had been achieved in both the Statutory SEND Team and the Education Psychology service; in addition, through partnership working and the new allocation system, the Education Psychology service had been able to assess more children and young people prior to the summer holiday period, and the Statutory SEND Team had ensured consultation paperwork was available as soon as schools re-opened in early September, enabling plans to be finalised promptly thereafter.


4. It was anticipated that the increase in requests for assessment was likely to continue into 2022/23. Currently, weekly meetings continued to take place between the Statutory SEND service leads and key officers from Education Psychology and Children’s Social Care to plan work within resources and agree the best achievable balance between overdue cases and those EHCPs than could be issued within the 20-week timescale. All 20 cases which had exceeded the 52-week timescale would have finalised EHC plans by 30 November 2022. 


5. In response to a point raised by Cllr Townsend, it was noted that, as now required by the DfE, basic annual review information would be submitted by the authority as part of the census (SEN2) return.  It was anticipated that IT improvements through developing the electronic casework system and continuing work with schools would improve the Council’s data and delivery on its statutory duties.


6. Members noted that the report included a proposal to set up a working group to agree KPIs for EHC needs assessments for 2023.  In discussion, the Chair and Cllr Weston both welcomed the opportunity to discuss this matter further but it was agreed that it would be more appropriate to consider this through a People scrutiny member briefing(s) to which all Commission members could be invited.


On the motion of the Chair, seconded by Cllr Weston, the Commission RESOLVED:

1. To note the report and the above information.

2. That an update on EHCP performance should continue to be submitted to each meeting of the Commission.

3. That a People scrutiny member briefing(s) be set up to agree KPIs for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Adult Social Care transformation - topic focus: housing pdf icon PDF 283 KB

Additional documents:


The Commission considered and discussed a report setting out the scope of housing work included in the Adult Social Care (ASC) transformation programme and the progress made on increasing the supply of specialised and supported housing, as well as supporting people to live independently in their own tenancies.


Summary of main points raised:


1. It was noted that:

- Joint working between Adult Social Care and Housing had enabled the development of new specialised and supported housing in the city. This included accommodation for people with complex needs (which there was a shortage of in the city, putting pressure on ASC budgets due to expensive ‘out of area’ placements).

- The two services were working together on a pipeline of new specialised and supported housing, including through partnership working with registered providers. Savings were being built into the ASC budget between 2024/25 and 2026/27 on the basis of this housing being available.  The example of specialist, affordable accommodation highlighted at appendix A (Addison apartments, Sea Mills) was noted. Officers also explained in detail the example of the approach taken, in collaboration with a registered provider, in successfully moving an individual to specialist accommodation; in this case, this had the double benefit of achieving an improved quality of life for the individual concerned whilst also delivering a financial saving for the authority.

- ASC and Housing were also working collaboratively on a project to support individuals with care and support needs to live independently and sustain tenancies within the Council’s general needs housing. This had enabled ten people to move from supported accommodation to their own general needs home, with eight identified for possible moves, and work underway to identify up to another 152 through to 2023/24. 


2. The progress as outlined in the report and as highlighted by officers in presenting the report was generally welcomed. 


3. In response to a question, it was noted that the principles of the Better Lives at Home programme were effectively embedded through this approach.


4. Cllr Weston referred to a care home in Brentry that had closed, with the site then having been redeveloped.  It was possible that this building might have been suitable for conversion for specialist accommodation purposes. In discussion, officers confirmed that there was regular liaison with providers, and with the Council’s housing/landlord service and housing associations to spot opportunities for specialist accommodation development as suitable sites/buildings became available.  For example, a current scheme being developed at a site in Fishponds included 8 specialist flats as part of a mixed development.  Cllr Weston suggested that appropriate site opportunities falling outside but close to the city’s boundary should also be considered, for example in relation to the Cribbs New Patchway development, which in time would be well served by public transport and other local infrastructure.


5. In response to a question, it was noted that the aim was to try to secure sustainable solutions for those people with complex needs, recognising that bespoke solutions were required in some cases.


6. It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Tackling disproportionality in the youth justice system pdf icon PDF 281 KB


The Commission considered a report updating on action being taken to tackle disproportionality in the youth justice system.


Summary of main points raised:

1. It was noted that:

- The Identifying Disproportionality in the Avon and Somerset Criminal Justice System report (March 2022) had outlined the findings of the review linked to priority themes within the criminal justice system; the data had identified disproportionate outcomes for people from black and ethnic minoritised groups in Avon and Somerset.

- The Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and Chief Constable were leading on the programme management approach to implementing the recommendations from the report.

- Data indicated that there was disproportionality, particularly for black and multi-heritage young people at both a national and local level across the youth justice system.

- Governance arrangements were in place to oversee the development and monitoring of an

action plan to implement the recommendations from the review, with a key focus on improving data collation and analysis and actions to address disproportionality.


2. It was noted that from Bristol’s perspective, local actions were prioritised through the youth justice action plan, with full commitment to delivering the identified actions.


3. Whilst noting the detail set out in the report and the context of early intervention and preventative work, Cllr Weston suggested that, as part of the approach, instances of anti-social behaviour in localities should be tackled effectively.


4. Cllr Craig referred to the important issues around equalities and diversity that need to be

addressed within the city’s teaching system / workforce; within the context of the Belonging Strategy, a number of organisations and networks in the city were working to address the lack of representation and diversity within teaching staff as part of an ongoing, collective effort to improve the situation.  Work was also starting with academy trusts on a pilot working towards 100% inclusion of pupils. 


5. In discussion, it was suggested it would be important to learn from examples of innovative best practice from elsewhere in delivering education / youth services, e.g. work being taken forward in Croydon and some other London borough councils.  Cllr Townsend stressed the critical importance of ensuring an inclusive approach to education services.


6. Cllr Craig highlighted the importance of also delivering focused interventions; for example, co-ordinated activity had taken place to improve significantly the representation of people from black and ethnic minoritised groups in terms of the city’s magistrates.


7. The Chair suggested that it would be useful to provide a further update in 6 months’ time (this could be through a briefing to members rather than via a formal report).


The Commission RESOLVED:

To note the report and the above information.



Family Hubs and Start for Life programme update (information item) pdf icon PDF 265 KB


The Commission received an information report providing a summary of the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme, including an overview of the programme’s ambition and an update in relation to Bristol’s current position in the process.


In brief discussion, it was suggested that at an appropriate future point, a progress update could be the subject of a wider member briefing for all councillors.  


The Commission RESOLVED:

To note the report and the above information.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 169 KB


The Commission received the latest update of the scrutiny work programme.


Summary of main points raised:

1. Discussion took place on identifying a topic that could be the subject of an in-depth inquiry/policy investigation day in March 2023. It was agreed that an email poll of members should be carried out, asking members to express their preference between the following topics:


Topic 1 – looking into the issue of support for vulnerable young adults (including mental health support) as they transition from secondary school to college or employment, and in terms of transitional care support as young people move into adulthood or leave care.


Topic 2 – looking into the issue of ‘adult services’ trauma-informed support for people at risk of homelessness, particularly focused on those people who have chaotic lifestyles.


It was noted that once the topic was identified, further work would need to take place with relevant People directorate officers on the specific detail / lines of inquiry to ensure a focused inquiry day.


2. It was suggested that the next update on Adult Social Care transformation could be focused on the theme of direct payments.


The Commission RESOLVED:

To note the latest update of the work programme and the above information.