Lead Councillor for Children


(1)        To be the Lead Councillor for all Children’s services under Section 19(1) of the Children Act 2004; to be accountable for their delivery including when this is delivered by the Children’s Company, Brighter Futures for Children; and to exercise political responsibility for the effectiveness, availability and value for money of all of the Council’s children’s services.


            [NB – the Children Act 2004 specifies that these functions are also the responsibility of the Director of Children’s Services]


            a)   Education services – the authority’s functions in its capacity as a local education authority, except those excluded under Section 18(3) of the Act (namely certain functions relating to further education, higher education and adult education)


            b)   Social Services – the authority’s social services functions within the meaning of the Local Authorities Social Services Act 1970, insofar as they relate to children, and the local authority’s functions for children and young people leaving care


            c)   Health Services – any health-related functions exercised on behalf of an NHS body under Section 31 of the Health Act 1999, insofar as they relate to children


            d)   Inter-agency Co-operation – the new functions of the Children’s Services Authority set out in the Children Act, in particular building and leading the arrangements for inter-agency cooperation set out in (e) below.


            e)   The following functions conferred on Children’s Services Authorities under the Children Act 2004:


o    Section 10 – promoting co-operation with partner organisations to improve the well-being of children within the authority’s area

o    Section 11 – safeguarding children and promoting their welfare

o    Section 12 – establishing maintaining and operating a database of basic information on children in the authority

o    Sections 13-16 – establishing a Local Safeguarding Children’s Board

o    Section 17 – preparing and publishing a Children and Young People’s Plan setting out the authority’s strategy for discharging its functions re. children and young people

o    Section 20(9)(d) – consulting on and co-ordinating statements of proposed action in the light of a Joint Area Review report and monitoring and evaluating implementation


f)     The following functions that have been modified by the 2004 Act:


o    Schedule 2 - seconding at least one Children’s Social Worker and at least one education professional to the Youth Offending Team (Section 39(5) of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998)

o    Section 50 – duty to promote the educational achievement of looked-after children (Section 22(3)(A) of the Children’s Act 1989)

o    Section 52 – duty to provide the Secretary of State with information on individual children where so directed (Section 83(4A) of the Children’s Act 1989


            g)   The role of the Lead Member for Children’s Services is set out in detail in Statutory Guidance issued in 2009 -  The role and responsibilities of the Lead Member for Children’s Services and the Director of Children’s Services.


Brighter Futures for Children


(2)        To work with the Director for Children, Education & Early Help and the Chief Executive and Chair of Brighter Futures for Children to establish the Children’s Company for Reading, and be accountable for its delivery of the Children’s Services functions of the authority covered by the service contract.


(3)        To ensure the effective commissioning and clienting of the contract with ‘Brighter Futures for Children’ for the delivery of the following functions of the Council as Children’s Services Authority covered by the service contract:

·         Children’s Safeguarding

·         Child protection

·         Children’s single point of access, including the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Hub and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

·         Access and assessment

·         Children in Need and Court teams

·         Looked-after Children, including Leaving Care and Contact Team

·         Edge ofcare

·         Family placements, including fostering

·         ResidentialCare

·         Early Help andPartnerships

·         Early HelpService

·           Early Years and Play Services, including Family InformationService, Children’s Centres and care for Under-Fives

·         Youth service

·         Youth Offending Service, including Troubled Familiesprogramme

·         Teenage conception reduction and support to teenageparents

·         Young People not in education, employmentor training (NEET)

·         Support to childrenand youngpeople inconflict withthe lawthrough theYouth OffendingService, Sourceand otherSafer Communitiesinitiatives (jointlywith Neighbourhoods& Housing,Culture &Sport).

·         Special EducationalNeeds

·         Children & Young People’s DisabilityTeam

·         Special Educational Needs(SEND) –including exclusionand ill-health

·         Support to children with disabilities and mental healthproblems

·         Children’s Action Teams which deliver family support for Children in Need, education welfare, educational and child psychology and youthengagement services

·         Young carers

·         Children missingeducation

·         Young runaways

·         Elective HomeEducation

·         Post-16 learning

·         BehaviouralSupport

·         Nurseries

·         Quality Assurance &Improvement

·         Ensuring the proper exercise of the role of Local Authority Designated Officer(LADO)

·         Audit and QualityAssurance

·         Employment, management and supervision ofIROs

·         Business operation andsupport


(4)        In conjunction with ‘Brighter Futures for Children’:


(a)        To be proactive in developing the local vision and driving improvements for local people, including integrated children’s services, with children, young people and their families placed at the centre of their policies and activities and to communicate this vision for children to councillors, and to the boards and partnerships on which they are either present or represented.


(b)        To provide a particular focus, with the Director of Children, Education & Early Help Services and the Chief Executive of the Children’s Company, ‘Brighter Futures for Children’, on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children across all agencies. The responsibilities of the Chief Executive of the Company, the Director and Lead Councillor extend to all children receiving services in their area, irrespective of the type of school they attend, or their home local authority area.


(c)        To develop, promote and implement policies, strategies and procedural arrangements to champion children’s interests both across functional boundaries within the local authority and across local partnerships to ensure that the needs of all children and young people, including the most disadvantaged and vulnerable, and their families and carers, are addressed, with a particular focus on promoting early identification and prevention through:


·           effective coordination between Council services;

·           effective consultation and co-operation between the Council and the police, PCT, other Health Trusts, Probation Service, Connexions, the Children and Family Court Advisory Service, the Learning & Skills Council and the voluntary and community sector;

·           active leadership of the Reading Children’s Trust;

·           effective integrated and strategic commissioning, leading to integrated service delivery;

·           active membership of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.


(d)        To oversee the development and implementation of the Children and Young People’s Plan and related strategies and policies


(e)        To oversee the implementation of the following corporate strategies and policies:


·           14-19 Strategy

·           Children & Young People’s Plan

·           Children in Care Pledge

·           Early intervention strategy

·           Play Strategy (with Culture, Heritage & Recreation)

·           Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Strategy (with Education)


(f)        To be satisfied that the discharge of the authority’s statutory children’s services’ functions by Brighter Futures for Children is effective by:


·           ensuring regular access to reports and management data and asking questions about performance and outcomes

·           monitoring outputs for services against the inspection requirements developed by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI)

·           developing performance management arrangements that deliver shared and agreed outcomes across services that work with children and young people.


(5)        To ensure the direct provision of the following children’s services:


·         Commissioning Children’s Public Health 0-19 services, including health visiting and school nursing

·         Adoption – through Adopt Thames Valley – and post-adoption support


(6)        To be consulted on, and oversee and monitor the responses from Brighter Futures for Children to inspections and consultation undertaken by external bodies eg Ofsted and Care Quality Commission on children’s services provision in Reading, and on developments outside Reading affecting residents in Reading.


Corporate Parenting


(7)        To contribute to, and be satisfied that the local authority demonstrates, high standards of corporate parenting, in particular by encouraging Members to promote the educational achievement and health and wellbeing of looked after children and children leaving care.

Post is held by