Agenda and minutes

People Committee
Thursday, 10th October, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Civic Offices - St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA. View directions

Contact: Cathy Hayward, Committee Services Officer  Tel.: 020 8770 4990, Email:


No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Chair Councillor Marian James welcomed attendees.


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Elliott Colburn with Councillor Tom Dummond attending as substitute. There were also apologies received from Rev’d Kevin Lewis.


Declarations of interest


For item 5 Andrew Theobald declared he is a Trustee of Sutton Community Transport.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 4 July 2019.


A Member commented that at meeting 4 July 2019 it had been stated that Nick Ireland was a Director on the Cognus Board as opposed to a non-executive Director. The chair clarified the position was non-executive Director.


RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting held on 4 July be agreed as an accurate record with the amendment that Andrew Theobald had been present at the meeting.


Petition - SEN Transport pdf icon PDF 184 KB


Report to follow

Indicative timing: 20 minutes

Additional documents:


Dr Alan Courtney presented the petition, the main points raised were:


Parents have had safety concerns since the new tendered arrangements for SEN transport had been in place.

There had been a lack of clear communication to parents about changes.

The transport providers’ staff do not have the necessary training or safeguarding clearances.

Transport had been cancelled at very short notice.

There had been poor handling of complaints by Cognus.

Parents had been unable to contact Cognus, and calls and emails had not been responded to, and inaccurate information had been provided.

Vulnerable children had been put at risk.

Parental trust in the service provided needs to be restored.

It was requested that the service was removed from Cognus and returned to being provided by the Local Authority.   


Members of the Committee clarified:


Members asked about communication between parents and the providers, the petitioner confirmed parents had been able to contact providers but on doing so had on occasions been provided with confusing information.


The petitioner explained that the ‘Meet the Provider’ events had been during the daytime, this resulted in those with day time commitments including those working not being able to attend.  


Terry Clark, Head of Commissioning & Health Integration presented the report.


Members asked about the disparity between the information provided in appendix A of the report and information provided by the petitioner. The Head of Commissioning & Health Integration explained that appendix A showed the detailed checks undertaken during the tender process. In addition training records had been checked, and any further specific training to meet the needs of the child would be requested before a route started. If a provider did not initially meet the Council’s requirements of the tender process they would not have the opportunity to provide transport for the Council.


The Head of Commissioning & Health Integration agreed to provide a more contextual version of appendix A to Members of the Committee.


Members asked about the number of calls made cancelling transport at short notice, the  Head of Commissioning & Health Integration understood that no cancellations had been made on the day. The petitioner mentioned he had examples where cancellations had been made on the day it was due to be provided.


The Head of Commissioning & Health Integration reported that all required transport had been offered, although not all offers were taken up by parents/children and that the application process had remained unaltered. Members noted the reason for the increase in numbers of re routing shown in the report was due to the new arrangements and the use of the new providers. The only change to the process had been the change to the procurement system.


Kieran Holliday, Head of Pupil Based Commissioning explained transport is provided to about 40% of those children with EHCPs. It was recognised that there had been some difficulties during the change from the previous arrangements to the new providers including that communications with parents had been at a late stage and this had resulted in anxieties and concerns  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Youth Offending Service Progress Report pdf icon PDF 173 KB

The People Directorate is ambitious for all children and young people it is responsible for. Young People who offend have often experienced trauma in their early childhood and it is the responsibility of Children’s Services to work with young people and their families in a restorative way to prevent offending and reduce the rate of reoffending. Sutton’s Youth Offending Team statistically out performs or equals all national data relating to Young people offending. Children’s Services is proud of its success to date and its continuous improvement journey in supporting some of our most vulnerable young people. This report sets out the role and responsibilities of the service, governance and inspection arrangements, service developments taking place and performance. 


Indicative timing: 20 minutes


Additional documents:


Laura Noulton, Integrated Youth Services Manager and Jackie McCarthy,Head of Service, Family Support and Care planning presented the report.


The Integrated Youth Services Manager explained the team’s work and the role of partner agencies including the police and families, this work included prevention work. Work in partnership with schools has supported 16 and 17 year olds remaining in education and year 6 pupils who present risk factors that could lead to exclusion in secondary school, this had resulted in a reduction in levels of exclusions.


Members analysed performance information in the report in detail and The Integrated Youth Services Manager provided clarification of some figures.


Members thanked the team for the impact of the work completed and recognised the positive results and outcomes for young people outlined in the report.




The Youth Offending Service, (which is part of the Integrated Youth Service (IYS)  progress report be noted. 


Sutton Safeguarding Adults Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

This report highlights the annual progress made by the Sutton Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) and its members.  Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults is a key priority across Sutton and board objectives align with the Ambitious for Sutton Plan.  This prioritises multi-agency partnership working in Keeping People Safe at home and in the community, giving individuals the ability to continue Living Well Independently and access to resources and services thereby Keeping People Safe.


Indicative timing: 15 minutes


Additional documents:


Luke Addams, Interim Assistant Director of Adult Social Services presented the report.


Members noted the work of the Sutton Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) and emphasised the successful partnership with its members. They recognised a peer review of the SSAB had taken place and the feedback had been positive. The review also recognised the range of achievements made within Safeguarding and the progress being made.


Members expressed concerns that other boroughs sometimes do not inform Sutton of placements made in this borough. The Assistant Director explained there is no requirement for boroughs to do so, however, there are requests to neighbouring boroughs to share information where appropriate.


It was confirmed that the Safeguarding Adults Review (concerning a fire death) report would be published in due course. 


All attendees agreed the promotion of Adult Safeguarding was important and welcomed the achievements noted in the report. Members noted the Peer Review of the SSAB and adult social services safeguarding practices which had taken place 20-22 February 2019 and drew attention to the positive feedback as outlined in appendix C of the report.




1.    The achievements of the Sutton Safeguarding Adults Board in 2018/19 be noted.


2.    The priorities of the Sutton Safeguarding Adults Board for 2019/20 be endorsed.


Pupil Place Planning Update - Education item pdf icon PDF 180 KB

Children, young people and their families are at the centre of Sutton’s ambition to ensure that its residents can make informed choices about their lives, to stay active, to live well independently and to stay safe. The London Borough of Sutton in partnership with schools from across the Borough, have a very strong track record in ensuring a sufficiency of school places in response to the changing demographics experienced in recent years.


Indicative timing: 20 minutes


Additional documents:


Kieran Holliday, Head of Pupil Based Commissioning presented the report.


Members clarified:


The limitations of the role of the Local Authority in the Planning application for the school on the Rosehill site detail of which was included within the report.


All children and young people requiring a school place now had been allocated place.


In debate Members suggested the figures of projected applications for school places provided to this Committee previously had been accurate, and therefore the shortfall in places had been known for sometime. Limitations of the role that the Council can play in the delivery of free schools was noted. It was also noted that creating additional places in existing schools would impact on schools already expanded.




1.    The latest position on the 2019 planning round for reception and year 7 places across schools in the Borough be noted.


2.    The latest position on the expansion of Hackbridge Primary School be noted.


3.    The project completion report on the delivery of Harris Academy Sutton on the former hospital site in Belmont be noted.


4.    The latest position with respect to the DfE managed delivery of a new free school on the disused all weather pitch site at the Rosehill site be noted.


Councillor Marian James provided a statement to the Committee that Fiona Phelps would become the acting Managing Director of Cognus, Sutton Council’s education services provider. She added that further information would be provided to Members of the Committee from Officers following the meeting.



Early Findings of the Independent Expert - Education item pdf icon PDF 128 KB

The Local Area’s Vision, as a result of the work carried out following the SEND Area Inspection, is that in Sutton, we are collectively ambitious for our children. Together we want to provide them with the best chances to achieve their best outcomes in life, whatever their starting point, and to prepare them effectively for adulthood. Being ambitious for our children and young people is a key driver for Sutton Council and for the Local Area.


Indicative timing: 30 minutes



Additional documents:


Sharon Scott, Independent Expert presented the report.


The Independent Expert drew attention to the fact that the report presented early findings.


Members asked about compliance by Cognus under the Children and Families Act 2014, in carrying out EHC needs assessments as it was understood that children with SEN must have EHCPs.  The Independent Expert explained that  this was not the case: an EHC needs assessment (or plan) was not required for children with SEN whose needs could be met by the resources normally available in schools.


Members reported they had been provided information by parents who reported that they had not seen improvement in the service.


Members raised concerns about the disparity between the information provided in the report presented and experiences reported by some parents via social media. The Independent Expert explained that she had not met with the EHCP action group as a group as it would have been unfair to meet with one group and not with others. The EHCP group had been invited to individual meetings with the Independent Expert and two open meetings which some members had attended. The Sutton Parents Forum is the formally recognised group and there had been engagement with this group. Members suggested that the EHCP group, could if they wished, work with the recognised body, the Sutton Parents Forum and meet with Independent Expert via this group.


It was requested that parents with concerns should contact the Independent Expert to outline their concerns.       


The Independent Expert explained she had attended the SEN panel, and outlined the compliant processes in place which she had observed. It was noted that decisions from the panel could be provided to parents.


Members discussed the Stocktake Day, attended by professionals, the Chair suggested a stocktake day was held for parents.


Members drew attention that past issues could not be dismissed. Attendees referred to the need to take learning from the past, and past concerns were acknowledged. It was recognised there was a requirement to move forward and continue the progress made through the SEND improvement work undertaken to date.







1.    The progress that has been made and the findings to date be noted.


2.    A further update be received at the next People Committee in December 2019. 


Update on the Written Statement of Action - Education item pdf icon PDF 154 KB

The Local Area’s co-produced vision is that, “We are collectively ambitious for our children. Together we want to provide them with the best chances to achieve their best outcomes in life, whatever their starting point, and to prepare them effectively for adulthood”.  Our children and young people with Special Educational Needs and / or Disabilities (SEND), and their families, are at the centre of Sutton’s ambition to ensure that its residents can make informed choices about their lives, to stay active, to live well independently and to stay safe.


Indicative timing: 40 minutes



Additional documents:


The report was presented by Fiona Phelps, Assistant Director.


The Assistant Director provided an overview of the presentations given by Local Area partners at the recent Stocktake Day.


The Assistant Director noted that the key to this and further improvement was all partners working together.  It was agreed that the SEND Learning and Development Strategy would be provided to Members of the Committee. The Sutton Education Partnership will be making collective decisions which create the best outcomes for the Local Area. The self evaluation document is a live document which is continually updated with input from partners across the Local Area: the final version will be the one in place when the Revisit is announced. 


The Chair made attendees aware of the recent report from the Ombudsman which included a checklist for Councillors.




1.    The actions, achievements and outputs of the Written Statement of Action as summarised at Appendix A be noted.


2.    The intention to continue the SEND improvement journey across the Local Area be endorsed.


Any urgent business

To consider any items which, in the view of the Chair, should be dealt with as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances (in accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972).


There was no urgent business.