Agenda and draft minutes

Children and Young People Scrutiny Board - Thursday, 18th January, 2024 6.00 pm

Venue: Crompton Suite, Civic Centre, Oldham, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1NL. View directions

Contact: Constitutional Services 

No. Item


Apologies For Absence


There were no apologies for absence received.


Urgent Business

Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair


There were no items of urgent business received.


Declarations of Interest

To Receive Declarations of Interest in any Contract or matter to be discussed at the meeting.


There were no declarations of interest received.


Public Question Time

To receive Questions from the Public, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.


There were no Public Questions for the Board to consider.


Minutes of Previous Children and Young People Scrutiny Board Meeting pdf icon PDF 268 KB

The Minutes of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Board held on  16th November 2023 are attached for approval.


Noted that questions not received a response from Inspector following the last meeting.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 16th November 2023 be approved as a correct record.



Youth Justice Plan 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 760 KB

Additional documents:


Paul Axon (Chief Executive Officer) and Kelly Rennie (Operations Manager) both from Positive Steps presented a statutory report, which had been approved nationally by the Youth Justice Board about the Youth Justice Plan 2023/24. Which was presented to the Scrutiny Board over the delegated responsibility and service provisions provided by Youth Justice.

An overview was provided to members about what Youth Justice Services do and what the main objectives are for Positive Steps, these were the following:

  • Reducing the number of first- time entrants (FTE) into the criminal justice service
  •  Reducing re-offending by children subject to statutory Court Orders or Out of
  • Court Disposals
  •  Reducing the use of custody for Children

While additionally:

  •  Effectively safeguarding the children, we work with
  •  Effectively protecting the public from harm
  •  Enhancing the voice and experience of victims of crime committed by children

It was also noted by Members that the vision of Oldham Youth Justice Services is to provide provisions which is the following:

  • Child First in its effective partnership approach
  • Ambitious and inspirational for the children and families it works with
  • Truly collaborative and led by the voice of the child
  • Pursuing excellence in governance and leadership
  • Achieving outstanding outcomes in inspection programmes

Members were informed about the crime figures around ethnicity. With a discussion taking place around the data and training being conducted by Positive Steps to tackle unconscious biases in the justice system. It was noted that the Youth Justice Services have carried out exercise and training around            Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) related issues, even having a serving Police Officer who was currently on secondment undertake diversity and unconscious bias training. It was noted that in general children involved with the Justice System, can have difficult relations with the Police Force, with positive steps trying to encourage one to one session with said Police Officer to try and remove any stigma children using the service may have.

Cllr Colin McLaren raised questions around implementing recommendations on the experience of BAME children within a review, with it being noted by Paul Axon that a review was still currently underway with multi-agency partners, who are aiming to feedback voices to the Youth Justice Board.

It was noted that black and minority ethnic backgrounds are over-represented at all stages of the criminal justice system in Oldham.

Cllr Colin McLaren asked questions concerning prevention and targets that Youth Justice was taking to tackle criminality at a young age. It was noted that an early intervention programme for children who had received no further action taken against them by the Police and Crown Prosecution Services had been underway with the hopes of being able to help 52 children throughout the year.

Reverend Jean Hurlston asked a question expressing a keen interest to see Youth Justice Services work with families as well as Children, with Kelly Rennie informing members that caseworkers will work with children and families in a two-sided attempt at approaching a child’s circumstance and understanding their family background.

There was a discussion  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Oldham Safeguarding Children Partnership Annual Report pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Board considered and discussed the Oldham Safeguarding Children Partnership Annual Report 1 April 2022- 31 March 2023. The report was presented by Dr Henri Giller the Independent Chair of the Oldham Safeguarding Children Partnership.

It was noted by Dr Henri Giller for additional context that report covered the second year of a three-year strategy, which had been developed by Oldham Council, Greater Manchester Police, and the Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group. To guarantee that all children and young people in the area receive protection and safeguarding.

Members noted the key strategic aims which were the following:

  • Excellent practice is the norm across all practitioners in Oldham
  • Partner agencies hold one another to account effectively
  • There is early identification of new safeguarding issues
  • Learning is promoted and embedded
  • Information is shared effectively
  • The public feel confident that children are protected


Members also noted that performances have continued to be scrutinised and monitored by the Partnership Performance Management group. Data presented showed that contact to MASH was at 29,647, contacts converted to referrals was 5,372, 2906 s47 enquires initiated, 543 children looked after as of March 2023, 507 children on child protection as of March 2023 and 273 children electively home educated.

Members noted safeguarding priorities for 2022-23, with the Partnerships five priority areas for that year being Neglect, complex and contextual safeguarding, domestic abuse, children’s mental health and the impact of trauma and transitions. It was further explained that the Partnership had undergone specific developments on modern slavery and the contextual safeguarding around the topic.

Members noted the role of independent Scrutiny within the partnership with there being provisions carried out by an independent person who assesses the effectiveness of the arrangements which had been enacted. It was noted that whole relevant agencies are working with the Safeguarding Partnership, Oldham had faced continued difficulties in staffing across the different partner agencies within April 2022- March 2023. It was further explained that between partnership agencies quality assurance and information sharing is a standard practise, as well as across partnership agency training developments designed to prioritise safeguarding concerns which had been identified.

Members noted that the demand in terms of contact received was significant, with there being 1,200 active cases. It was further explained that Oldham are receiving significant more contact than neighbouring authorities, however it was noted that this does not translate into an increase in referrals being made.

It was expected that the demand placed on Children’s Safeguarding Services would continue to grow, with Dr Henri Giller stating that Partnership Agencies would agree on the increase in demand. A suggested solution to slow down increase demand, was earlier intervention strategies.

Cllr Lucia Rea stated that for strategic aims, the Safeguarding team should promote and raise awareness around safeguarding issues through increased advertising, to increase public awareness. It was further stated that schoolwork, around identifying signs and symptoms would be vital, with effective communication being key to safeguarding risks.

Cllr Colin McLaren asked how the safeguarding team are “strengthening the transitional safeguarding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Response to the local area inspection on support and provision for children and young people who have special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND) pdf icon PDF 871 KB


Matthew Bulmer (Director for Education) presented the ‘Response to the Local area inspection on support and provision for Children and Young people who have special education needs and/ or disabilities (SEND)’ to the Scrutiny Board.

Members noted that a joint Ofsted/CQC area SEND inspection of the Oldham partnership had taken place in June 2023. Following the Conclusion of the Inspection the Managing director of Children and Young People for Oldham Council along with the Chief Executive for the Integrated Care Board were informed that the Inspection report had found Oldham Partnership to be inadequate.

Members noted improving government structures was taking place, with a Local Inclusion Partnership Executive Board having been set up. The aim of the partnership board was to bring together key statutory partners including the Oldham MBC, Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board and system partners. To set up an evidenced based local inclusion plan in setting out how the needs for young people and children are delivered in line with the national standards.

Members noted Service Improvements within section 5 of the report. It was discussed that several PAP actions have been completed, a joint area data dashboard had been developed and a speech and language therapy recovery plan had been developed.

Councillor Colin McLaren said that they were pleased to see steps were being taken to address the inadequate outcome of the inspection report and wished to see how the journey will be and what the focus and objectives will be.

Matthew Bulmer said that tackling issues around school age children receiving a SEN report was a priority, with there being 45,000 children and only 3% having an education plan. It was also said that reducing the waiting list for speech and language therapy was an objective, with 1,800 being on a waiting list at the current time. In addition, new governance structures such as the Partnership Executive Board should help with meeting objectives, being provided with comprehensive data and meeting regularly every quarterly.

Councillor Colin McLaren said that he wished to see the steps taken to address staffing issues.

Matthew Bulmer in response stated that demand on the system is at all-time high, with Oldham Council having the statutory duty to provide provisions and support children with SEN needs. It was explained that significant additional resources have been used in Oldham at Oldham Council within the value 11 million pounds.

Reverend Jean Hurlston asked a question concerning sustainability and ‘balancing the books’, and if the increase in demand on the service was down to more children having disabilities.

Matthew Bulmer responded that Covid had played a huge part in increasing demand on the service, especially in younger children. It was also stated that in general there had been an inherent increase in the complex demand on the system. With there being a stigma around parents not trusting the system, with additional support being needed to upskill the workforce to deal with growing demand. However, it was noted that this would require more money from central  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 381 KB


Update provided by the Chair, additional update in June 2024 requested over operation Sherwood.


Item 3 and 4 of the work Programme to be a workshop.


Resolved that: the Work Programme be approved.




Key Decision Document pdf icon PDF 432 KB


Upgrade and Refurbish of Spring Meadows, Stanley Road, Shaw and Medlock Children’s Centre.


The Urgency of this matter is due to:


1)    The decision is needed to deliver a comprehensive refurbishment programme to meet the Family Hub Programme timescales agreed with the Department of Education as part of the requirements of the Family Hub grant and the local Family Hub Board.

2)    The decision cannot wait until the end of the call-in period because it will delay the start of the programme plan, specifically delaying confirmation of contractors being on site in the first Family Hub on the 15 January as planned with both the contractors and children’s centre staff.


Rule 13 and 14

To consider any rule 13 or 14 decisions taken since the previous meeting.



The Chair noted that there was no update on rule 13 and 14.