Emergency Cabinet meeting 18 September
The webcast of what I am told was an acrimonious debate with Labour’s Jamie Audsley in conflict over the number of speakers allowed to is not viewable. However, it case it is put on check it out at
Charlotte Davies submits questions on the Children’s Services crisis to Scrutiny
Charlotte Davis has submitted the following questions to the members of the Scrutiny Committee considering the Children’s Services crisis on 19 September.
- What evaluation of Looked After Children is carried out to check whether the trauma they experience has had an adverse effective on their cognitive sensory processing i.e. control of motor skills; sound processing; binocular vision and visual processing.
- What is the minimum, average and maximum times it takes to assess the effects of trauma on Looked After Children and to decide a package of support to reduce the trauma and the adverse effects?
- What is the minimum , average and maximum time it has taken to approve SEN Education Health Care Plans?
- How many parents have taken Croydon Council to tribunal to contest the EHCP; on how many occasions have the parent’s appeals been upheld?
- How much has the Borough spent in the last year on lawyers to represent the Council in EHCP tribunals?
- What support are parents given during the EHCP process, including monitoring the parents anxiety levels given that over-anxiety exacerbates every aspect of the situation.
- What strategies does the Council have in place to identify and learn from good practice which fundamentally changes children’s lifetime opportunities?
Charlotte is a former teacher and runs Fit2Learn which helps to correct children’s motor, hearing and eye co-ordination problems which can affect their learning:
See her Croydon Citizen contributions at:
Special Needs not part of Commissioner’s brief
I enquired of the Council:
‘One of the problems primary schools have faced has been the length of time statements have been approved for children with special needs. Is the Special Needs work part of the Children’s Services operation that now has the Government’s Commissioner in charge. If so do you know whether it is in her remit to look at the procedures involved in SEND and the time it takes?’
I have received a reply stating ‘that the Commissioner is not looking at SEN. The service will be inspected separately as part of the SEN Local Area Inspection carried out by Ofsted and the CQC.’ (Executive Officer to Barbara Peacock, Executive Director People)
Clarification on Local Plan
Like many others who gave evidence at the Local Plan (Partial Review) Examination Hearings in May I have been struggling trying to understand what the Council’s proposed modifications are. I therefore wrote as follows to Steve Dennington, the lead Council planning officer at the Hearings.
‘I and many others are very disappointed by the small number of modifications to the Local Plan which are being consulted on.
There were many alternative modifications put forward at the Examination Hearings, but there does not seem to be a document that sets out what they were and why the Council has rejected them as modifications.
In addition to the D(iscussion) set of documents on the website, I assume you have seen the Inspector’s draft report, which does not appear to be available publicly.
Given the fact that there was no transcript of what was said, especially by you and your colleagues, those who gave evidence are at a disadvantage in they do not know why their evidence providing alternative information, analysis and evidence has been ignored.
This means that in the consultation you have the upper hand and those who gave evidence have one arm tied behind their back, i.e. they are at a disadvantage which undermines the value of the consultation.
I wonder whether this would be grounds to write to the Secretary of State to say that the consultation exercise is fundamentally flawed and the resultant Inspector’s report should be referred back.
There may also be a case to have another Hearing session so that these issues can be discussed.’
I am still waiting for his reply. I copied it to Chris Banks, the Inspector’s programme officer. He tells me that the Inspector has not prepared an interim report.
‘I do realise that he stated at one point that he would. Instead you need to read through the Inspector Discussion Documents and the subsequent LBC response in tandem with the Main Modification Documents. All the documents are on the Examination web site.’
Reading these is absolutely crucial in order to be able to work out how the alternative wordings could be suggested in the modifications consultation.
I have also passed on to the Inspector the Corporate Risk Register report going to the General Purposes and Audit Committee meeting on Wednesday 20 September. It has sections on risk with regard to ‘affordable’ housing and temporary accommodation, as these may have implications for the Inspector judging whether the Plan is sound, effective and deliverable.