agenda for these minutes
20 January 2011
Ms Roberts (Chairman), Mr Bowman, Ms Flemington, Mr Ryles and Mr Turner
Councillors Hart (Vice-Chairman), Haywood, Leadbetter, Moulding and Owen
Mr Jones (Director of Employment Strategy), Mrs Rogers (Joint Secretary Management Side) and Ms French (Unison)
Cllr Greenslade, Mr King
PP/13 Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman
AGREED that Ms Roberts and Councillor Hart be elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively for the remainder of the current year.
AGREED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2010 be signed as a correct record.
PP/15 Budget 2011/12
The Staff Side requested a detailed breakdown of the 54.6m cuts the council needed to make following the proposed reduction in Devon s government financial settlement of 26m in 2011/12. The Staff Side would also welcome a breakdown of grants now taken back by the government and which ones the council would retain.
The Vice-Chairman referred to the significant government grant cuts (totalling around 40m) and many of the specific grants significantly reduced, eg the Early Intervention Grant had reduced by 17%. Some grants had been rolled into direct funds or the government had taken back. A number of the school grants had been mainstreamed into the Dedicated Schools Grant and the new pupil premium replacing other deprivation funding would go direct to schools. Identified demographic and cost pressures amounted to 14-15m. There were further costs to the Council from both new concessionary fares responsibilities and new public health service responsibilities. The overall effect was that savings of 54.6m were necessary to offset cost pressures and grant reductions and the council would not be reducing spending by any more than it had to.
AGREED that a detailed breakdown of the 54.6m savings and a breakdown of changes to grants be forwarded to the Staff Side when available.
PP/16 Service Priority
The Staff Side requested a copy of the proposed service priority being carried out with the Council s restructuring.
The Vice-Chairman reported that once the two new proposed Strategic Directors for People and Place were in post following the Council meeting on 17 February 2011, this work would be firmed up, with the new service structure substantially in place by September 2011. Senior management were currently reviewing essential, highly desirable and other services and the restructuring in particular was a moving feast but the Vice-Chairman would pass details to the Staff Side as soon as he was able to do so.
AGREED that service priority and restructuring details be passed to the Staff Side both in draft and final form when available.
PP/17 Exclusion of the Public and Press
AGREED that the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information.
PP/18 Financial and Operations of the Atkinson Secure Children s Home
(Councillor Leadbetter declared a personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of his family involvement with the Atkinson Secure Children s Home and withdrew from the meeting for this item).
The Partnership considered a report of the Executive Director of Children and Young People s Services and Manager of the Atkinson Secure Children s Home following the Partnership s request last year for an annual report reviewing the role of the Atkinson Unit each financial year. Since then governance of the home had changed, now with an Executive Board chaired by the Cabinet Member Children s Health Wellbeing, which included representatives of the Staff Side and met quarterly and the home was under the new management of Mr Pete Spearman.
The report gave the January 2011 financial position statement and details of occupancy, Ofsted regulation, facilities, partnerships and development for 2011/12.
There had been a significant improvement in the operation of the home, which had now achieved both local and national accolades and was now recognised as a centre of excellence. For the first time the home had received a Good overall rating with some outstanding features from Ofsted, whose inspectors noted significant improvements. Accreditation and work on learning journeys were Excellent. The restraints rate decrease from 2009 to 2010 was 81.35% and the single separation rate decrease over the same year period was 81.08%. The difference between 2005 and 2010 was 92.3% and new child focused policies and Restorative approaches were paramount within the home. From April 2010 the home was operated as a traded service and self financing of DCC with the breakeven point calculated on the average occupancy rate and unit selling price p/night, ideally on 10-12 beds but with flexibility and in the future the unit looked strong in the market place. The support of staff had significantly contributed to its viability and there had been a marked improvement in staff absence. The home had been invited to join the Children s Commissioning Support Resource (joint initiative with the Welsh Assembly, Welsh Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Social Services in Wales which would give the home a competitive advantage. The home was also now concentrating upon regaining a contract for Youth Justice Board placements. The Board and manager were also looking at using part of the home or adjacent buildings to develop a stepping stone for children and young people prior to their reintegration into the community. Working with the Trustees of the home had made the background to its operation, costs and legal implications complex and a comprehensive options appraisal was being carried out.
The Staff Side congratulated all those involved in the home s progress (including the improvement in restraint rates) and wished the home to remain within the local authority since it was a beacon for DCC, Devon s young people and staff. The Staff Side wished to be involved with issues around the Trustees and the options appraisal. They also requested details of how many Devon placements were still out of county.
The home had now positioned itself to provide excellent child focussed care for DCC and other placing authorities and the home would continue to maximise revenue whilst maintaining a quality of service and holding the safeguarding of children and young people at the forefront of the service.
The Partnership reviewed whether it should continue to receive updates on the role of the Atkinson Unit each financial year, given the change of governance and the home s success over the past year. However, the Staff Side would welcome a report next year given the options appraisal being carried out.
(a) that the manager forward figures of Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) placements in the home and how many were still out of county, to the Staff Side;
(b) that a report be made to the Personnel Partnership in January 2012 covering the options appraisal and reviewing the role and financial position of the Atkinson home;
(c) that the continuing need for an annual report to this Partnership be reviewed next year.
PP/19 Dates of Future Meetings
Wed 27 April 2011
Thurs 20 October 2011
Fri 20 January 2012
Thurs 26 April 2012
commencing 10.30am (10am Management Briefing)
The meeting started at 10.30am and finished at 11am
The Minutes of this Committee are published on the County Council's Website at:-