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Cabinet Decision: 24th April 2014
Title of Item/Report
Scrutiny Review of Child Poverty
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that presented the Arts, Leisure and Culture Select Committee findings following the Scrutiny Review of Child Poverty. The review sought to understand the impact of child poverty on a child’s health and education and make recommendations on local action to help prevent and mitigate against this.

It was agreed that a Members Seminar should take place on work of Dr George McGonigle.


1. The Committee supports and encourages the shift of resources from reaction to prevention and early intervention, in line with the work of the Health and Wellbeing Board and as part of the Council’s strategic approach and financial strategy.

2. A myth busting guide is produced for use by Councillors and staff to challenge some of the myths and the stigmatisation of people experiencing poverty.

3. The Committee support the contribution of the locality forums together with other forums and bodies such as Catalyst in the mapping of support and advice and that progress reports on this work be submitted to the Select Committee as part of the monitoring of the implementation of the review recommendations.

4. The Committee supports the implementation plan of the Early Help Strategy, to ensure Early Help services (including mental health and emotional health services) are aligned and co-ordinated.

5. Officers work with other partner agencies (e.g. the CCG as commissioner) to further explore the provision of speech and language therapy to children, particularly those most vulnerable, in order to input to future discussions on commissioning and/or development of these services.

6. A communication plan is developed to deliver general and targeted publicity on income maximisation and benefit take-up.

7. Officers explore opportunities to raise awareness of benefit eligibility and other support through residents’ contact with universal services.

8. The “A Fairer Start Project” being piloted in Stockton Town Centre be supported and that a report on the outcome of the pilot and feasibility of rolling out this model across the Borough be submitted to the Select Committee as part of the monitoring of the implementation of the review recommendations.

9. The Poverty Proofing the School Day initiative be supported and Stockton Schools be encouraged to take part in the project.

10. Signposting to financial help and other support together with details of free activities during the school holidays is distributed via pupils at the end of each school term.

11. Where children are refused access to school meals due to arrears, schools are provided with information which they can use to speak to parents about financial help and support available.

12. Officers assess the evidence of the benefits of providing free school meals and breakfast clubs for all primary school children and investigate whether funding is available to conduct a pilot for children in Stockton Primary Schools.

13. The good practice underway in schools to minimise the impact of poverty on children is systematically disseminated to all schools and that all schools and academies are encouraged to implement this good practice.

14. The Committee supports the relevant recommendations of the scrutiny review on welfare reform and financial inclusion, which have synergies with the review on child poverty.
Reasons for the Decision
The report presents the findings of the scrutiny review that took place as part of the agreed work programme for 2013/14.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight on Friday, 2nd May 2014

Date of Publication: 28 April 2014

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