Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Hybrid Meeting

Contact: Janet Kelly 01352 702301  Email:


No. Item


Appointment of Chair for the meeting

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That Councillor Paul Cunningham be appointed as Chair for the meeting.


            The Facilitator informed the Committee that in the absence of the Chair and Vice Chair, a Chair would need to be appointed for the meeting.


            Councillor Davie Mackie nominated Councillor Paul Cunningham and this was seconded by Councillor Mel Buckley.  On being put to the vote, Councillor Cunningham was appointed Chair for the meeting Chair for the meeting.




That Councillor Paul Cunningham be appointed as Chair for the meeting.


Declarations of Interest (Including Whipping Declarations)

To receive any Declarations and advise Members accordingly.

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None were received.



            Councillor Dave Mackie referred to Agenda Item 5 and sought clarification on whether he should declare an interest as he was a member of two Town and Community Councils.   The Facilitator advised Members that that provided this information had been included on their Code of Conduct Form then they did not need to declare an interest during the meeting



Forward Work Programme and Action Tracking pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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(a)      That the Forward Work Programme be noted;

(b)      That the Facilitator, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee, be authorised to vary the Forward Work Programme between meetings, as the need arises; and

(c)     That the progress made in completing the outstanding actions be noted.



In presenting the report, the Overview & Scrutiny Facilitator outlined the items listed on the Forward Work Programme which was attached at Appendix 1.  There were no proposed changes, but Members were referred to the additional items included for the 1February 2024 meeting.  


Referring to the Action Tracking report at Appendix 2 it was confirmed that a workshop was being arranged to look at the new menu which would be attended by the Chair and Vice Chair, with feedback provided to the Committee.  With regard to the Self-Evaluation Report Education Services 2022-23 it was confirmed that Jennie Williams would be preparing a Briefing Note on the school condition grades which would be circulated to the Committee.


Councillor Dave Mackie referred to the training data appendix from the GwE Annual Report, which had been circulated to the Committee following the last meeting.  He explained that the information that he had requested had been as follows:-


   What training was being offered to teachers in Flintshire;

   What training was being devised;

   What was the purpose of the training;

   How many people were expected to attend the training.


            Councillor Mackie asked if the training data document could be refined to include the above information explaining that he would be happy to meet with officers to discuss this.  The Facilitator agreed to pick this up with officers following the meeting.


            Councillor Mackie also referred to Out of County Placements and reflected on a workshop held a number of years ago which had been helpful.  He asked if this could be included on the FWP for Members to gain a better understand of what was involved and also maybe assist with possible solutions to the budget pressure.  He also suggested that a workshop be provided to Members on Out of County Placements following every County Council election.


            The Facilitator advised that Out of County Placements fell under the terms of reference of the Social & Health Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee. She agreed to pass on the request following the meeting and ask that the Committee be invited to any consideration on this matter.   With regard to the request for a workshop she agreed to speak to the Democratic Services Manager to ask that it was included on the forward planning for future workshops for Members.


            Councillor Gladys Healey spoke in support of the comments made by Councillor Mackie around Out of County Placement and referred to a proposal within her ward which would support young people and assist with reducing the budget overspend.  She asked if an update could be provided on this.  The Facilitator agreed to speak to officers in Social Services with regard to Councillor Healey’s request for information.


The recommendations, as outlined within the report, were moved by Councillor Arnold Woolley and seconded by Councillor Dave Mackie.




(a)      That the Forward Work Programme be noted;


(b)      That the Facilitator, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee, be authorised to vary the Forward Work Programme between meetings, as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Budget 2024/25 – Stage 2 pdf icon PDF 123 KB

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(a) That the Education and Youth portfolio’s cost pressures be noted;


(b) That the Schools’ budget cost pressures be noted;


(c) That the Education and Youth portfolio’s options to reduce budgets be noted;


(d) That the options to reduce the delegated schools’ budget be noted;


(e) That a report on issues around recruitment and retention be included on the Committee’s Forward Work Programme; and


(f) That a report on Demographics and how this would impact future budgets be included on the Committee’s Forward Work Programme.




            The Strategic Finance Manager introduced the report the purpose of which was to review and comment on the budget pressures and cost reductions under the remit of the Committee. 


            The Strategic Finance Manager and Strategic Finance Manager (Education) provided a presentation on the Medium-Term Financial Strategy and Budget Setting 2024/25 which covered the following points for the Education & Youth Portfolio:


·         Purpose and Background

·         The additional budget requirement for the Council

·      Additional Budget Requirement – Ongoing Risks

·         Overall Position after initial solutions

·         Summary and Conclusions

·         Summary Education and Youth Cost Pressures

·         Education & Youth Budget Reductions

·         The 2024/25 Budget Challenge – our approach

·         Education and Youth Budget Reductions (1)

·         Education and Youth Budget Reductions (2)

·         Summary Education and Youth Budget Reductions

·         Education and Youth Budget Reductions (3)

·         School Cost Pressures

·         Summary Schools Cost Pressures

·         School Budget Reductions

·         Education and Youth Portfolio and Schools Ongoing Risk

·         Out of County

·         Next Steps for the Budget Setting Process 2024/25

·         Budget Process – Stage 2

·         Budget Process – Stage 3 (Final) 


            Councillor Dave Mackie in referring to the presentation, recommended that the following items be included on the Committee’s Forward Work Programme, which was seconded by Councillor Jason Shallcross:-


·         Recruitment and Retention – A report on issues around recruitment and retention within the Education & Youth Portfolio; and

·         Demographics – A report on demographics and how this would impact future budgets.


In response to a question on safeguarding by Councillor Mackie, the Senior Manager (School Improvement) commented that since the pandemic the level of complex cases in schools had increased.  It was explained that schools had significant responsibilities when it came to Safeguarding and Child Protection with the portfolio providing additional support to schools with up-to-date advice and guidance.  Safeguarding was complex and continually changing especially with regard to online safety.  It was explained that because Safeguarding was prioritised that this placed increased pressure on the team and their capacity to support schools.


In response to the suggestion made by Councillor Mackie for the additional items around recruitment and retention and demographics, the Strategic Finance Manager (Education) advised that the issues around recruitment and retention was a wider issue affecting all portfolio’s, therefore consideration would need to be given on how this could be taken forward.  She also explained that there was evidence of changes in demographics and that these should be expected in the future.  It was highlighted that the demography in the specialist provision was increasing in numbers and complexity.  There were reductions in the numbers of pupils in primary schools and she explained how this year a larger year 6 group of pupils had been transitioning to secondary schools with smaller nursery and reception classes.  This unfortunately would impact schools as the regulations required that 70% of school funding was based around pupil numbers, with funding following the pupils.  It was difficult to predict forecasts around demography and any reductions in school budgets should also consider the demographic reductions in schools.  


            Responding to Councillor Andrew Parkhurst’s question on staff increases, the Strategic Finance Manager  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Flintshire County Summer Playscheme 2023 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

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(a) That the Committee support Youth Services in liaising with Town and Community Councils around a three-year in principle funding cycle for community play provision;


(b) That the Committee endorse Youth Services to work with a range of partners, such as Adult Community Learning to offer an extensive training package for all Play Development team members to ensure quality Play Work delivery was of the highest standard;


(c) That the Committee endorse Youth Services to liaise with Town and Community Councils to opt for either three or six-week sites only, to allow for ease of recruitment, planning, business continuity and efficient use of recourses;


(d)  That the Committee endorse the 'Transition Programme' by Flintshire Play Development and Youth Services, in order to effectively prepare children for the next stage of their lives through play-based coping strategies, which had been shown successful in the past academic year; and


(e) That the Committee commit to supporting the Play Sufficiency Action Plan through advocacy, attending meetings, and attending local events which would help develop the PSA Action Group, champion inclusivity, attract additional external funding, increase community engagement and help create stronger networks which would have a positive impact on children’s health and wellbeing.



The Senior Manager (Flintshire Youth Services) introduced a report to provide feedback on the Flintshire County Summer Playscheme 2023. 


            The Lead Officer (Play Development) provided a detailed update on the Summer Playscheme 2023, reporting that Flintshire offered a total of 56 safe site locations for

playschemes, with the duration of these schemes spanning 3, 4, 5, or 6 weeks, depending on the specific requirements of the Town and Community Councils.  In total 3,681 children registered county-wide for Playschemes, resulting in a total daily registration count of 11,907. 1,200 play sessions were delivered, or 8,000 hours of contact time. 69 staff were employed on short term contracts for the Summer where they received 5 days of training prior to delivery.  In continuation with the commitment to fighting holiday hunger, 5,000 bottles of water and 3,000 snacks bars were provided.


This year's Summer Playschemes introduced Welsh language into play activities across all sites which aligned with Flintshire County Council's Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.  Additionally, at least one Welsh-speaking staff member was present at 10 sites which enabled a more extensive provision for Welsh-speaking children.  Also, during the summer of 2023, 32 children and young individuals enrolled in the Buddy Scheme, granting them access to their local community Playscheme. The Buddy Scheme supported inclusivity, accessibility, and engagement for all children, regardless of their abilities. The funding for the Buddy Scheme was secured through the Families First grant.


The Lead Officer (Play Development) reported that the Playschemes were supported by 30 Town and Community Councils with a variety of schemes provided.  As part of recommendation 3, outlined within the report, it was proposed to change this to either a 3- or 6-week scheme.  This would assist with the management and staffing of the sites, and it was explained how having two 3 weekly sites could benefit a community.  Currently it was difficult to grow the service and he referred to the recommendation that Town and Community Councils consider the possibility to commit in principle to a 3-year funding cycle which would enable long term objectives and provision in communities to be considered.


The Lead Officer (Play Development) also reported that the Flintshire Play Development was planning an innovative and sustainable future to the delivery and commitment to children in Flintshire. Using the successful summer holiday provision as a blueprint, the aim was to provide holiday provisions during all school holidays.  The benefits of this commitment were outlined within the report.


            Councillor Ryan McKeown asked how many children who attended the summer playschemes in 2023 received free school meals, how this compared to previous years and was there comparable data on children receiving school meals across Flintshire.  He referred to the 25 schemes which ran 4- or 5-week schemes across the summer of 2023 and asked whether officers envisaged these schemes increasing to 6 weeks or reducing to 3, as proposed in recommendation 3.  He also asked when contact would be made with Town and Community Council’s around proposed changes for the Summer Playscheme  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Member of the Press in Attendance

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There were no members of the press in attendance.



(The meeting started at 2.00 pm and ended at 4.04 pm)