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Cabinet Decision: 19th February 2015
Title of Item/Report
Review of Children, Education and Social Care Delivery Arrangements - Children's Services
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to report that provided Members with proposals for delivery and succession planning arrangements in Children’s Services.

In September 2014, Cabinet agreed there was a need to review the arrangements for service delivery in Children’s Services following the receipt of a report from CMT.

Cabinet had previously accepted the need to take forward the work under Shaping the Brighter Future (SBF) to ensure there was capacity and resilience moving forward within the Council. CMT also highlighted some pertinent facts relating to the work being undertaken in the Shaping the Brighter Future Programme which highlighted the need to prioritise a review of Children’s Services in order to ensure there was resilience moving forward in the Service over the coming years.

The Council had encountered significant reductions in Government funding. Between 2010 and 2015 there was a reduction of £52m and this included at least £3m in respect of Early Intervention Grant which had a significant impact on the service. In addition, the reduction in National allocation of Education Services Grant and the conversion of some schools to Academies had seen funding for the service reduce by £1.8m. An element of this had been accounted for in the Council's MTFP and a review of Education, Early Years and Complex Needs identifies the savings of £1,050 required to deal with the ESG reduction.

CMT had oversight of the review, and the review had included input across a number of service areas within the Council

As part of the Review, the Corporate Director and Human Resources Manager, had met with relevant Heads of Services affected by the Review (3 Heads of Service), all 3rd Tier Managers within Children’s Services (13 posts), and a number of 4th Tier Managers from across Children’s Services (13 people seen). The Corporate Director had also met previously with the Children’s Social Care Team Managers.

In total, 29 one to one interviews had taken place and staff had been given the opportunity to discuss their current role and areas of responsibility, their own thoughts on the current structure and how it might be improved, and also their own thoughts in relation to Succession Planning and how long they saw themselves working for Stockton Borough Council.

Meetings had taken place with the teaching and non-teaching Trade Unions to discuss issues and proposals arising from the previous Cabinet report and need to achieve the required ESG savings. Further service review consultation would take place with both trade unions and employees subject to Cabinet’s approval of the proposal and recommendations in the report.

In undertaking the Review the Director wanted to consider the scope and breadth of the services, with a view to ensuring that wherever possible there was capacity to improve quality and performance within the service areas and to ensure there was additional capacity to drive the Big Ticket agenda. The Director also wanted to take the opportunity to realign some services.

The operational Heads of Service - Head of Education, Early Years and Complex Needs and Head of Children and Young People Operational Services, had very broad areas of responsibility which gave rise to capacity issues and some service areas could be better realigned. In addition there was a changing role for the local authority in supporting schools and academies, whilst there was a need to focus on improving social work practice to achieve better outcomes for children and young people.

The Head of BUSI supported the operational services in adults and children services with performance and intelligence information and systems and leads on external inspection however responsibility for performance, planning and inspection could be delivered by more focussed operational Heads of Service roles whilst the longer term visioning and service change was better aligned to the transformation agenda. There were also a number of capacity issues arising from the significant workload of FOIs, DSARs, and complaints which may be more efficiently and effectively managed corporately. Other areas of responsibility, such as Independent Review, could be managed by an operational Head of Service.

Of the 3rd Tier Managers within CESC, the majority were now over 50 years of age, with five Managers 55 years or more, there were only three 3rd Tier Managers under 50. Most 4th Tier Managers were also over 45 years of age, with some over 50 years of age.

Throughout the Review process, it was evident that staff were very positive about working in Stockton and working for the organisation.

One of the key issues highlighted during the interviews however, was that whilst staff were positive about working in Stockton Borough Council, a significant number stated that they did not feel their workload was manageable, this was particularly noticeable in Children’s Social Care, and most indicated this was impacting on their work / life balance and health and some indicated that they were considering looking for other posts or were considering retiring within the next few years, unless there were structural solutions.

Social Care Team Managers had indicated that the number of staff they were line managing was not tenable and was impacting on their ability to ensure effective supervision and practice of their staff. The known increase in requests by Social Workers for part-time working would impact further.

Only a small number of Managers in CESC felt they had capacity to take on additional areas of responsibility.

The Review had highlighted that there were some opportunities for succession planning, albeit there were gaps in identifying any staff who may want to move to 2nd Tier Social Care role over the next few years.

There would be a need to review some elements of the proposed structure late in 2015 to accommodate any changes required to implement the North of Tees MASH developments.

It was proposed that all three of the proposed new Heads of Service be responsible for the performance, quality and outcome measures for their area and for preparation for their areas subject to Ofsted Inspections.

The report identified the new Head of Service posts as:-

Head of Safeguarding and Looked After Post
Head of Early Intervention, Partnership and Planning
Head of Schools and SEN

The report highlighted the proposed responsibilities and expectations of the new Head of Service posts.

The proposals would achieve the identified Education Support Grant saving.

It was proposed that all 3 new Head of Service posts be restricted to applicants from within the scope of the review in the first instance. A Members appointment process would be required and in view of the timetable detailed below it was important that these arrangements be made in late April 2015 to enable the appointed Heads of Service to participate in the appointment arrangements to their structure. It was appreciated that this would be a particular busy time for members. It was proposed that the appointment arrangements be delegated to the Director in consultation with the Cabinet Member Children and Young People.

The proposals for the functions of the Business Support and Improvement Service were detailed within the report.

It was anticipated that some temporary additional resource would be required, in addition to the permanent structure outlined above, to carry out the reviews of Children’s Centres, School Place Planning and School transport as outlined in the Council MTFP saving proposals in June 2013. This work would be resourced on a fixed term basis and had not been included within the permanent responsibilities of the 3 new Head of Service posts.

It was also anticipated that further work be required to review the administration and clerical arrangements to support the proposed new service.

Subject to Cabinet and Council approval it was proposed that staff consultation would commence on 2nd March 2015. Should the proposals be agreed this would enable recruitment to the new structure to take place in late April / early May 2015. It was anticipated that implementation be phased over the course of a few months with full implementation in September 2015.


1. The Review of Children’s Services be noted.

2. The deletion of the current three Heads of Service posts be approved:-

Head of Children and Young People’s Services
Head of Education, Early Years and Complex Needs
Head of Business Support and Improvement

3. The reconfiguring of Children’s Services and the creation of three new Heads of Service posts be approved:-

Head of Safeguarding and Looked After Children
Head of Early Intervention, Partnership and Planning
Head of Schools and SEN

The Director of CESC in conjunction with the Cabinet Member, Children and Young People to be delegated authority to make the Member Panel appointment arrangements.

4. The consultation be approved with staff and Trade Unions in relation to the revised structure for Children’s Services and the final amendments be delegated to the Corporate Director, in consultation with relevant Cabinet Members.

5. The savings made in relation to the Education Support Grant be noted and the funding identified for the reconfiguration of Children’s Services identified at Paragraph 39 and 40 of the report be agreed.
Reasons for the Decision
To produce improvements in the delivery of services to children, young people and their families and to ensure appropriate succession planning within the service area.
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, 27th February 2015

Date of Publication: 23 February 2015

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