Venue: By Zoom. View directions
Contact: Wyn Richards, Scrutiny Manager and Head of Democratic Services
To receive apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was received from County Councillor T Van-Rees.
The Committee was advised of the resignation of Mr G Robson as a Co-Opted Member on the Committee, and that a replacement appointment would need to be made. The Chair thanked Mr Robson for his contribution at meetings of the Committee.
Disclosures of interest
To receive any disclosures of interest by Members relating to items to be considered at the meeting.
Members were advised that they all had a personal interest in any matter relating to school budgets where they had been appointed as an LEA Governor. However, this was not in addition a Prejudicial Interest in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct.
For non LEA appointed governors it would also be a Personal Interest, but not a Prejudicial Interest in accordance with a dispensation granted by the Standards Committee in June 2021.
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.)
The Committee did not receive any 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.
To receive and consider the report of the Portfolio Holder for Education and the Portfolio Holder for Finance.
· Joint Report of the Portfolio Holders for Education and Finance – School Outturn Positions 31 March 2021 and Budget Plans 2021-22.
· £80.8m delegated to schools by the Council for 2021-22. In relation to deficits, warning notices issues to those schools with deficits of greatest concern in July 2019. Since then, schools have been working to improve their budget positions.
· At 1st April 2020, ten warning notices in place, two were during the year and two new notices issued. In one case the school refused to meet the conditions of the warning notice and had their financial delegation withdrawn.
· By 1st April 2021 there were nine warning notices in place and one school having financial delegation withdrawn. By 31st March 2021 the total cumulative reserves for schools was in a surplus position of £2.9m. The total for schools carry forward balances was a surplus of £3.2m. This is an improved position where previously it was projected to be in deficit i.e. an improvement of £5.5m during the year. This is partly due to the additional £3.3m grant funding, and an improvement in in-year positions of schools who were projecting deficits, partly due to schools being closed for a time and due to improvement in budgets by the schools themselves.
· At 31st March 2021 there are eighty one schools in a surplus position with a combined cumulative surplus of £6.9m. There are fourteen schools in a deficit balance position with a combined cumulative deficit of £3.7m.
· Cumulative balances remain a concern and a significant risk to the authority but schools are working with the Council to bring in-year budgets into balance and halt the growth of cumulative deficits.
To receive and consider the report of the Interim Chief Education Officer.
· Report of the Interim Chief Education Officer – Update on Strategic Equality Objective 5.
· The work aims to improve the opportunities and outcomes for children living in poverty and links to actions contained within the Children's Commissioner's report "A Charter for Change: Protecting Welsh Children from the Impact of Poverty".
· The first part of the report focussed on the actions for 2020-21, including:
· Pupil Development Grant;
· School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP);
· Welsh Government's Period Dignity programme;
· Statutory Guidance on School Uniform;
· Free School Meals Entitlement and Parent Pay;
· Clothing Grants;
· Supporting families who are "in work" poverty;
· Reducing Council Tax for foster carers and Care Leavers;
· Financial Hardship support;
· Housing Support through a Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme;
· Play Resource Packs.
· The second part of the report focussed on the progress on A Charter for Change Report, including;
· Meeting Basic Needs;
· The School Experience;
· Inclusion and Opportunity in the Community;
· Welsh Government and Local Authorities;
· Work with Credit Unions to widen the network of School Savings schemes.
To note that future meetings will be held as follows:
The Committee noted that future meetings were scheduled as follows: