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Agenda item

Child Poverty


The Committee considered a report of the Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services which updated Members on the progress of the

Child Poverty Working Group (CPWG) since the last report in September 2017 (for copy see file of minutes).


With regards to Child Poverty, the Chairman commented on an increase in demand for the School Benevolent Fund.


Councillor Crute referred to the replacement of the Child Poverty Act with the Welfare Reform Act in 2016 and the removal of the reference to income and child poverty.  Although figures for employment had improved, the quality of employment had reduced and it could not be assumed that working households were not struggling.


Councillor Charlton referred to ‘Smarter Budgeting’ training and queried the number of staff yet to receive training.  The Strategic Manager, Think Family Services confirmed that the training was being embedded into the training programme and would continue to be delivered to a wide range of staff such as Health Visitors, School Nurses, Housing Providers.  In answer to a further question from Councillor Charlton, she confirmed that there was a need to target staff working in areas of deprivation.


Councillor Blakey referred to the severity of child poverty and the worry that there were families who were not engaging with any services, and praised volunteers for picking up the work.


Councillor Considine queried the level of involvement School Governers had and the Strategic Manager, Think Family Services confirmed that they were targeted and encouraged to take up the offer of training and to use the ‘top tips’ included in the leaflet.


The Corporate Scrutiny & Performance Manager again referred to comments submitted by Co-optee Mrs Evans who highlighted that there was a national debate with regards to ‘period poverty’ and postpubescent missing school due to lack of sanitary products and this had not been highlighted in the leaflet.


Councillor Hall commented on an increase in child poverty due to reduced government funding and it was important that this was highlighted to MP’s.


The Senior Project Worker, Investing in Children referred to young care leavers living in poverty and a recent campaign to highlight the struggles of living on £59 per week.  She emphasised the Councils responsibility for young people until the age of 25 and the Strategic Manager, Think Family Services, confirmed that the Voluntary and Community Sector Alliance worked closely with Children and Young People’s Services to ensure access to a range of services.


Councillor Crute suggested that Members needed to consider how to monitor performance indicators and whether to upgrade any to key performance indicators.


Councillor McKeown referred to the Early Years Foundation Stage standards for speech and language and the effect on teaching to bring children up to the required standards.  The Strategic Manager, Think Families Service confirmed that this was a key priority for the One Point Service and there was additional work being done to get children school ready, such as reading in libraries.




That the report be noted.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714