Agenda and minutes

Education and Business Scrutiny Commission
Wednesday 20 May 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Online/Virtual. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting. Please contact or for a link to the online meeting.

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No. Item




Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent.


Disclosure of Interests and Dispensations.





    A briefing is provided from lead officers.


    In addition a submission has been received from GoodPeople on local procurement and Section 106 opportunities.

    Supporting documents:


    The commission heard from Councillor Johnson Situ, Cabinet Member for Growth, Development and Planning and Danny Edwards, Strategy & Partnerships Manager.


    Councillor Situ welcomed the fact that the Commission was looking at this piece of work because there were 16,000 registered businesses in the borough, and the vast majority of them SMEs.  The council was absolutely committed to SMEs and there were ambitious plans for growth in the borough which was all hinged and centred around the small and medium businesses.


    There were a number of ways of achieving this.  The role section 106 and planning plays, the route through procurement the role that we have through our local economy and our partnerships, and as planning authority, the role the council plays through Section 106 agreements.  Councillor Situ explained that through a commitment within a S106 agreement which encourages and requires that 10% of construction contracts for developers go to local businesses and SMEs.  How this was currently encouraged was through specific wording in the agreements which make reference to ‘reasonable endeavours’.  What this meant in practice is that the council would encourage developers, as they're developing their contracts to put clear links with both the local economy team, and also to advertise locally.  Discussions also took place around monitoring as well.


    The council also looked at how it built up strategic relationships with developers right across the piece and how it could encourage working with local SMEs and also employment.  The vision was to ensure that the council was growing and supporting SMEs, and also providing and acting as a facilitator between big developers who are investing in the area and smaller businesses.  There was a question mark as to whether the council can go further in respect of the relationship with SMEs and that commitment of 10% of construction, and ideas of how this could be taken further had been explored.


    Councillor Situ stated that it was recognised that whilst the council monitor at the moment, it could go further in monitoring, and there is specific work being undertaken as to this could be developed. So requiring developers at each stage to have a statement of intent, which is at each phase, talk about how they will go about ensuring that 10% of their contracts are going to local SMEs and this enable the council to monitor more proactively.


    There was significant town centre growth right across the borough.  A key question was, how the council could have a specific pilot in town centres - the Old Kent Road seemed like an immediate example in which it could be shown what was possible, and set a standard for other developers. 


    Councillor Situ informed the commission that the council was looking to review the guiding policy document that supports the S106 and CIL SPD and that would provide an opportunity to strengthen the wording around particular areas of focus. 


    Councillor Situ then answered questions from the commission members.  Questions were asked around the following:


    ·  Plans in terms of online campaigns  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.





    Officer briefings have been provided on:


    -  Off-rolling

    -  NEET

    -  Exclusions 2013-17

    -  Tracking of Summerhouse cohort 

    Supporting documents:


    The chair informed the commission that Matt Jones, Head Teacher for Ark Globe and Chair of the Southwark Association of Secondary Heads (SASH) had been invited to the meeting in his capacity as chair of SASH to provide an overall perspective on exclusions in Southwark, what had driven the increase and how that might best be tackled, and also on partnership working between schools and the council to tackle the rising trend.


    Mr Jones informed the commission that he had taken part in the Timpson Review and had been around the country and had seen some of the practices being followed in other local authorities and other school settings.


    He stressed that the head teachers he worked with were wholeheartedly behind reducing exclusions, and that many of their discussions were around exclusions and the support that needed to be in place for exclusions to be reduced.  He was of the view that every exclusion, whether fixed or permanent was the result of the failure of multiple agencies and local provision.  He explained that schools did not work on these issues in isolation, and were a part of a local ecosystem that needed to function efficiently in order to reduce exclusions through the various means available.


    Mr Jones highlighted that head teachers gave great consideration before excluding a student, even for fixed term exclusions, and that permanent exclusions came at the end of multiple interactions and or interventions.  He advised that due to change in legislation that it was very difficult to exclude a child, so the exclusions that do occur are the last resort for many head teachers.  The needs of the student at the receiving end of the exclusion needed to be put foremost but at the same time there was a need to balance the needs, wellbeing and safety of other people in the school community.


    Mr Jones highlighted some of the challenges that may have impacted on the increase in exclusions, many of which were beyond the individual control of school teachers, such as:


    ·  Funding for various levels of intervention, social care, mental health and early help had been dramatically reduced over the past decade and that had inevitably impacted on how schools and other institutions can support families.

    ·  The social conditions in which some of the young people grow up in – high rates of knife and gun crime which impact on young people, either through exploitation, being perpetrators themselves or through fear of those aspects.

    Mr Jones reported that it was now very rare for an individual to receive a permanent exclusion for a single serious offence.  What the education sector was now trying to do was to negotiate respite provision so that the young person is removed from the community and has an intervention into another school or instigate a managed move process which involved negotiating with another school principal or teacher to take a student on permanently following a trial period in a new setting.


    Some of the broad problems they [schools, health  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.



    A draft report is enclosed.

    Supporting documents:


    The commission discussed the draft report on school exclusions and alternative provision.


    Commission members made a few suggestions for inclusion in the report as follows:


    ·  Correlation between exclusions and people who are known to Southwark care service and are known to have witnessed domestic violence.

    ·  Highlight cost of exclusion, both to individuals and society.

    ·  Council’s commitment to treat 100% of young people with diagnosed mental health condition.

    ·  Reflecting the connection with NEETs.

    ·  Inclusion of the figures on home educated children who previously had history of exclusions or temporary exclusions.

    ·  Intervention at primary school level.




    That the report be agreed as the final version of the report for submission to cabinet subject to incorporating the suggestions indicated above.





    A draft report is enclosed.

    Supporting documents:


    The commission discussed the Procurement strategy report and the following areas of amendment identified in light of information received at the meeting:


    ·  Recognition that the monitoring of existing S106 commitments relating to using local businesses to be tightened up.

    ·  Recommendation around South London Procurement Network (SLPN) model – reference a specific pilot such as Old Kent Road or one of the other major development sites in the borough.

    ·  SPD document – tighten up wording around, what the council can ask developers for, subject to appropriate legal advice.




    That the report be agreed as the final version of the report for submission to cabinet subject to incorporating the suggestions indicated above.


Work Programme


    The members discussed potential items for the commission’s future work programme.  The following areas were suggested:


    Impact of Covid-19 on Education


    ·  Ability to access education (particularly vulnerable children)

    ·  Re-opening of schools (and safety).

    ·  Estimated grades (under estimation of grades for children from poorer backgrounds), Consider whether want to look at outcomes of estimated grades.

    ·  Children needing to re-sit exams in the autumn - financial implications for children in light of suspension of zip cards, potentially affecting ability to travel for some students. 

    Impact of Covid-19 (and Brexit) on Businesses – Council activity (emergency response and longer term plans).


    ·  Resilience of Southwark Businesses in light of Covid-19 and Brexit (and potentially a no deal Brexit) – What can the council do to help.

    ·  Hospitality industry, night time economy, live music – very prevalent in Southwark.