Agenda and minutes

Children, Families and Education Select Committee - Wednesday, 28th June, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Ryan Dell  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Rita Judge with Councillor Kamal Kaur substituting.



Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting





Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 237 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed



Minutes of the meeting on 11 May 2023 (AGM) pdf icon PDF 95 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the AGM be agreed



To confirm that the items of business marked as Part I will be considered in Public and that the items marked as Part II will be considered in Private


Stronger Families Hub review pdf icon PDF 240 KB


The Chairman noted that the purpose of this item was for the Committee to review the draft findings and recommendations. There had been six witness sessions to date. The first heard from officers who gave an introduction to the Stronger Families Hub. The second and third heard from young people and their parents/ carers about their experiences of using the Hub. The fourth heard from Hub staff. The fifth heard from health representatives, and the sixth, which was held in two parts, heard from education representatives. Members thanked the witnesses for their time, noting that it was especially useful, during the sixth sessions, to hear from schools in both the north and the south of the Borough. It was further noted that without the witnesses’ and officers’ input, the Committee would have no recommendations to make to Cabinet.


Members summarised from the witness sessions that the service was greatly appreciated, and that officers were very enthusiastic to make it work. However, a ‘fragility of capacity’ had been noted across several witness sessions. Members also noted that they wanted the service to be available to all residents who needed it, and that early help was better than later help.


Members noted that an advantage of the Stronger Families Hub model was that families only had to tell their story once, but further noted the ‘fragility of capacity’. Members also highlighted a potential staffing issue around a careers pathway/ progression for Hub staff.


Members noted that there may be opportunities to learn from best practise elsewhere. However, officers noted that the Stronger Families Hub was the first of its kind as a 24/7 service, and it may be that other Local Authorities used the Stronger Families Hub to learn from themselves. Members praised officers for having the first service of its kind.


Members asked about engagement across communities, and asked whether it would be possible to advertise the Stronger Families Hub in alternative languages with a view to reaching out to a wide range of communities. This may also help with engagement in schools and faith groups.


Members noted suggested recommendation four (“To note the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s review into the effectiveness of the CAMHS referral pathway, and to review ways to enhance signposting around mental health services via the Hub and to voluntary sectors”) with a view to including reference to the private sector within this recommendation. Members also raised a point about considering the timing of getting young peoples’ feedback on the service. Officers advised that mechanisms for obtaining feedback now existed within each service area, and not within the Hub itself.


The Chairman noted issues around parental consent, and that as the Stronger Families Hub was a consent-based service, not having parental consent could have an impact on the support obtained. Safety was a priority, and so the Stronger Families Hub referral form should include an option to explain why parental consent had/ had not been obtained. Officers agreed that concerns around consent needed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.




Officers introduced the item on the draft Family Hub strategy.


Family hubs were part of the Government’s new commitment nationwide with a view to providing support and advice on a range of health and family needs. This support was available to young people aged 0-19 (and up to 25 for young people with SEND). The National Centre for Family Hubs was led by the Anna Freud Centre and supported by the Department for Education. The Early Years Healthy Development Review Report – The Best Start for Life – led by Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, championed Family Hubs as a place where families can access support in the early years of their child’s life, through the delivery of a specific Start for Life offer, including access to maternity and health services, alongside support for parenting and reducing parental conflict.


In August 2022, the Government published the Family Hubs and Start for Life

programme guide for the 75 Local Authorities funded in 2022-25, to establish their Family Hubs and Start for Life Offer. Hillingdon was not eligible to bid for funding due to the advances already made locally, in establishing Uxbridge Family Hub in December 2021 and with work underway to deliver a second Family Hub in Hayes, due in July/ August 2023.


It is the intention to provide a range of services in an integrated manner with good collaboration across services. The delivery points would include some existing centres such as libraries, thereby using Council assets. However, it was acknowledged that some areas of the Borough would be harder to reach, and so there would be a Mobile Library and Transport Community Bus. The geographical coverage across the Borough would ensure that there were a range of services available within a 30-minute walk or 1.5-mile drive for all residents, where there was an identified need.


The draft strategy was currently out for consultation and residents were encouraged to complete the survey and have their say on the proposals. The consultation was running for 12 weeks from 10 May until 30 July 2023. Consultation events had also taken place within Children’s Centres and libraries.


It was noted that some services may be moved from one location to another – this was not a reduction in service, but with a view to implementing a flexible, targeted offer and meeting community needs.


Officers noted that they were also consulting on the three early years nurseries, which were running at a deficit, and there were options within the Cabinet paper pertaining to maintaining childcare sufficiency.


Members thanked officers for the report, and noted the safeguarding remit, and asked if this remit would widen. Officers noted that the family hubs received referrals from the Stronger Families Hub, for example for one-to-one support, access to groups and activities, and that it was possible to widen the remit of the family hubs.


Members commended the progress that has been made over the past year and noted that there was a need to understand the new services and what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Youth Offer Consultation pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Officers presented the report on the proposed Youth Offer, noting that an overview was provided to the Select Committee in January 2023. The Select Committee had requested a further opportunity to provide feedback if a public consultation was approved. In March 2023, Cabinet agreed to a recommendation to conduct a public consultation, which ran from 03 April until 05 June 2023. The consultation included an online survey and facilitated consultation groups and was also promoted through 11 social media posts. The Youth Offer strategy had a dedicated consultation page, and the consultation was also promoted with schools and community groups; included in the April Hillingdon People Extra Newsletter; and in the May/ June edition of Hillingdon People. It was noted that full analysis of the consultation responses was still to be completed.


The online consultation received 123 responses, 90 of which were from Hillingdon residents, with the remainder consisting of those who attended school in Hillingdon, and some from businesses and voluntary groups. The majority of resident respondents were aged between 10 and 15 years, and 14% of those identified as having a special educational need. The highest levels of responses had come from the HA4 postcode, and the fewest came from Harefield, Northwood and Northwood Hills.


57% of respondents to the online consultation were not currently engaged in a youth service programme. 51% had never attended a programme. Respondents indicated that they would like to see more activities promoting emotional health and wellbeing support, sports, and outdoor leisure activities.


On the service being delivered in a range of settings, 58% indicated they would be more likely to attend on this basis. 51% of respondents felt that the new offer promoted inclusivity with an additional 36% feeling it partially promoted inclusivity.


14 facilitated consultation groups took place which engaged 154 children who were currently engaged in a form of youth provision across the Borough, 64% of whom were aged 10-15, and around 50% lived in the south of the Borough. 31% of respondents wanted locality-based services and respondents indicated that they would be happy to travel across Borough to visit the right centre or activity in the right place to meet their needs.


Members thanked officers for the report, and suggested youth services being run as a type of students’ forum whereby young people could run the services. Members also noted question 12 of the Hillingdon Youth Survey, which highlighted that one of the things young people wanted from a Young People’s Centre was ‘to get out of the house’. This highlighted that outdoor facilities were important for young people. Officers noted that it was important for the service to get children outdoors, but that digital emotional support was also important.


Members referenced question nine of the Youth Offer Strategy Consultation, which asked about reasons for not using youth centres. The reasons included accessibility and meeting needs and was linked to visibility. Members also noted the lack of venues in Heathrow Villages ward and noted that it was important for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Minutes of Corporate Parenting Panel pdf icon PDF 253 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous Corporate Parenting Panel meeting be agreed



Corporate Parenting Panel Membership 2023-2024 pdf icon PDF 281 KB


Members considered the report relating to membership of the Corporate Parenting Panel 2023-24. Members agreed to update the report to reflect Councillor Gill being a named substitute member.


RESOLVED: That the Committee


1.    Appointed Councillors Nick Denys, Heena Makwana and Jan Sweeting to be the permanent Elected Members on the Panel on the bases of political balance (2 Con: 1 Lab);


2.    Appointed Councillors Becky Haggar, Peter Smallwood and Tony Gill to be named substitutes on the basis of political balance (2 Con: 1 Lab); and


3.    Upon the recommendation of the Chairman of this Committee, to confirm Councillor Nick Denys as the Chairman of the Corporate Parenting Panel and Councillor Heena Makwana as the Vice-Chairman.



Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 220 KB


Members considered the latest Forward Plan, noting that the Consultation on the Hillingdon 0-19 Years Core Offer to Children, Young People and Their Families and the Youth Offer Consultation were due to come back to Cabinet in September 2023 following their consultations.


Members noted that the SEND Strategy had been expected in June 2023. Members also referenced the Children Centre delivery model, due to come to Cabinet in September. Officers would follow-up on these.


RESOLVED: That the Select Committee noted the Forward Plan



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 171 KB


Members noted the Work Programme andsuggested that the Committee should start to consider topics for the next major review.


Members made reference to previous suggestions of an audit of SEND children by school, and an audit of asylum-seeking children by school, being brought to the Committee. This could be investigated by officers.


Members also noted a School Organisation Plan, which could be brought to Committee. This could be investigated by officers.


Members noted that the Mid-year budget/ budget planning report was due to come to Committee in September.


Members suggested that questions on the Forward Plan and Work Programme could be submitted in advance of the meeting, where appropriate.


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the Work Programme