Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary, People Scrutiny Commission - Monday, 3rd February, 2020 11.30 am

Venue: The Council Chamber - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions

Contact: Dan Berlin  0117 3525232

Link: Watch Live Webcast

No. Item


Welcome, Introduction and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 97 KB


The Chair welcomed all attendees to the meeting.



Apologies for Absence and Substitutions


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Kirk and Smith.


Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from the 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.


The following non pecuniary interests were declared;


Councillor Kent declared a member of his family has an EHCP.


Councillor Rippington declared a member of his family has an EHCP.



Chair's Business

To note any announcements from the Chair


The Chair, Councillor Hiscott, thanked all parents and carers for their engagement; noted that the meeting was being webcast, (available here); advised that any statements relating to EHCPs would be taken into account in the Evidence Day which was to follow the meeting; and that findings of the Evidence Day would be on the next People Scrutiny Commission agenda on the 27 February.



That the Chair’s business be noted



Public Forum

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 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by 5 pm on Tuesday 28th January.


Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12 noon on Friday 31st January.


The following public forum was received and a copy placed in the minute book;



S1: Statement from Fiona Castle

S2: Statement from Sara Stocks

S3: Statement from Jen Smith



Q1: Question from Sarah McClelland

Q2: Question from Emma Boyes

Supplementary question from Emma Boyes: What lobbying has been done and has anything come of it?

Answer:  The council has a policy team who will coordinate with central government – SEND funding is an issue Bristol is talking to government about.  We are meeting with the Department of Education, and will continue to engage with them at any opportunity.

There is a national SEND review which is an opportunity to air concerns regarding funding.


The Chair noted that the Local Government Association had provided a House of Commons briefing on local government funding and the link should be made available: briefing can be found here  


Q3: Question from Jen Smith

Supplementary question from Jen Smith:

Referring to the 98 complaints the councils received in 2018-19, given only 1 of the 21 pre-action letters issued to went to Judicial review does the Council concede that it’s placing obstacle in front of children and young people getting send support they are legally entitled to?

This question did not directly relate to the original question, the Chair allowed it and a written response would be provided.


Supplementary question from Jen Smith: what would the Council say to children and young people whose education has been affected?

Answer: Officers’ had provided a written response; written responses would be posted on the Local Offer website.


Q4: Question from Kirsty Cottier



That the public forum business be noted.




Local Area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Inspection - Update pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Additional documents:


During the discussion, the following points were made:


The report identified a high churn in senior leadership; there was a big challenge to get the right people in senior leadership post. There was confidence that Bristol had got the recruitment right this time with the new Director of Education and Skills.


The new structure had enabled achievable delivery, with a delivery group for the Statement of Action, which had collective responsibility. This protected delivery from risk of churn of staff, as the structure would still deliver.


There had been a national shortage of educational psychologist training posts; there was a requirement for more places. The Council had recruited 6 new Educational psychologists straight from training.


Regardless of the status of a school there was a duty and right to hold all schools to account. 


The inclusion agenda was being prioritised.


A key observation of inspection was that the system had not been developed through coproduction. One of key objective of Written Statement of Action (WSoA) was to drive forward co-production, it being at the heart of what we do and how we do it. Co-production was aimed at involving children and young people as well as parents and carers.


The WSoA would provide more detail on co-production and how schools would be held to account.


There had been investment in a quality assurance process, and extra capacity, so to have achieved quality as well as timely target.


There was a need to have a review of the process as a whole; to have moved away from paper based process; there was a need to re-design templates.


Strengthening of joint working and joint commissioning had been a strong improvement; this ensured we had the right data and right people around the table to make decisions.  


The Youth Council have had a focus on SEND; have worked with them and would do in the next steps.


The SEND partnership group had the Parent Carer Forum representative on it.


The group had met monthly; there were also a number of sessions across the city to help develop the WSoA.


Director of Education and Skills Chaired the Excellence in Schools group – which was a standards board which looked at a remit broader than SEND, but SEND would be prioritised.  Every Local authority had a School standards board.


There was a discussion about training and development, and the Commission was advised that there was an ongoing project looking at workforce development across the city; this would be in the WSoA; and that there would be requests for Member training as part of the Member development after the upcoming elections.


Alternative learning provision was identified as needing attention; need was being identified, so as to anticipate future demand  and ensure sufficient places to meet need.


There was a discussion about the EHCP process and funding, and Members were advised that just fewer than 500 plans – including new plans – were in the system including backlog.  There was a focus on identifying provision and to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.