Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall - County Hall. View directions
Contact: Elizabeth Patterson
To receive apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence.
County Councillor P Davies (Portfolio Holder for Education)
County Councillor A Davies (Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transport)
C Turner (Chief Executive), L Lovell (Interim Head of Education), G Rees (Education Consultant), C Rees (Education Advisor), S Quibell (Strategic Programme Manager, ALN) and E Patterson (Scrutiny Officer)
T Bate (Lead Estyn Inspector), K Newby-Jones (Estyn Link Inspector)
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
No declarations of interest were received.
Declarations of Party Whip
To receive disclosures of prohibited party whips which a Member has been given in relation to the meeting in accordance with Section 78(3) of the Local Government Measure 2011.
(NB: Members are reminded that under Section 78 Members having been given a prohibited party whip cannot vote on a matter before the Committee.)
No declarations of party whip were received.
To receive the Estyn Inspection of Powys County Council July 2019 together with the draft Post Inspection Action Plan.
To scrutinise the two documents for assurance that the Post Inspection Action Plan addresses the concerns raised within the Inspection Report.
The Chair introduced the meeting advising that Scrutiny Members would be focussing on each of the Inspection recommendations in pairs and that this focus would continue through the production and agreement of the Post Inspection Action Plan and on into the monitoring phase. It is intended to examine the document produced and undertake a gap analysis to be assured that all the recommendations made by Estyn are being acknowledged and addressed.
The Portfolio Holder for Education introduced the Estyn report outlining his view of the severity of the report and how alarming the concerns highlighted within the report were. He listed a series of issues and acknowledged the weak leadership both corporately and from Members. He noted the lack of transparency and loss of trust between the Cabinet and Scrutiny. He recognised that there were too many schools in Powys and too much was being spent on buildings and leadership which was ultimately had the potential to affect the viability of the Authority.
The Portfolio Holder went on to say that a Conference had been held with the Primary and Secondary Heads who had asked the service to make political decisions.
He confirmed that he fully accepted the recommendations from Estyn and that decisions had to be made in 2020 for implementation by 2021.
The Chair explained that there had been a misunderstanding over the last week regarding what documents were expected to be provided to this meeting. The production of the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) was not as complete as had been expected but that it was understood that there was a desire to get the information correct. The acknowledgement that there are too many schools was refreshing along with the acknowledgement that if nothing is done the Authority will be bankrupt.
The Chief Executive assured the Committee and Estyn that the Authority fully accepted the findings of the report. The Authority moved quickly to appoint an Interim Leadership Team comprising of Ms Lovell (Interim Head of Schools) an internal appointment, G Rees (Service Improvement Officer), C Rees (Education Advisor) and D Lewis (Education Advisor). The team are working on the PIAP which is 90% complete but scrutiny comments are welcomed on the high-level actions and if any thing is not clear or appears to have been missed. A full version will be shared with Cabinet, Scrutiny and the Improvement and Assurance Board before the meeting with Estyn at the end of November. Work on this started in July and there are significant improvements needed which cannot be completed overnight. The PIAP will detail short term and longer-term actions. It can be expected that this journey will take two years as it will have to be done properly to leave a legacy for learners who are at the heart of considerations along with the wider community.
The Interim Head of Schools confirmed that the service fully accepted the recommendations the gravity of which are clear.
The Service Improvement Officer advised that he had been appointed with two colleagues ... view the full minutes text for item 50.
To receive a verbal update from the Chair of the Learning and Skills Scrutiny Committee.
No Chair’s briefing was given.
18th November 2019 – Schools Service Budget
29th November 2019 – School Finance (jointly with representatives from Finance Panel – moved from 22nd November 2019)
20th January 2020
2nd March 2020 – Verified results, ERW annual report
6th April 2020
8th November 2019
16th December 2019
Scrutiny Working Group dates:
8th November 2019 – Early Years
25th November 2019 -WESP
The work programme as outlined in the agenda was confirmed subject to the additional of a session on the Post Inspection Action Plan.