Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Reason for the decision
In March 2021, Cabinet approved the creation of the programme and agreed to delegate authority to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Leader and the Cabinet Members for Integrated Children’s Services and Education and Skills, to take necessary actions, including but not limited to, entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as required to establish the programme and undertake relevant preparatory work within normal delegated spend thresholds.
The programme commenced in April 2021 and resource has been seconded to deliver the programme. In accordance with the decision of Cabinet in March 2021, a further key decision is needed to confirm the scope, objectives, outcomes and funding of the Reconnect Programme, together with confirmation of the governance and delegation arrangements to enable Reconnect to successfully achieve KCC’s aim of reconnecting children and young people in Kent to: learning missed; sport, activities and the outdoors; health and happiness; friends, family and communities; and economic wellbeing.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected children and young people, and it is recognised nationally and internationally that children and young people have sacrificed more than most over the course of the pandemic. The County Council determines it vital that the whole Kent community supports our children and young people to reconnect with the things they have missed over the past year.
The programme will run from April 2021 until the end of August 2022 and will be available to all children in Kent, from the age of 2 to 19 years old (or 24 years old if they have special educational needs and/or disabilities). The programme’s activities and support will meet different levels of need and will be in addition to, rather than instead of, existing services.
The programme will be delivered via a combination of existing networks and structures, including Local Children’s Partnership Groups and new “Theme Teams”, which will co-ordinate local delivery of the programme and make recommendations on where programme funding should be spent. A “Network Champions” scheme has been established to expand the reach of the programme and promote engagement and involvement with the programme at a local level.
An initial governance structure, consisting of a multi-agency Executive Board and an operational Delivery Board, has been established to oversee Reconnect and manage the allocated budget. The Delivery Board will lead on the operational delivery of the programme, and co-ordinate the “Theme Teams”, and the Executive Board will provide strategic direction for the programme. Reconnect will also link to existing KCC governance structures, reporting to CYPE’s DMT, CMT, Cabinet and Cabinet Committees as appropriate.
The options considered were:
· Option 1 – do nothing.
· Option 2 – use existing structures only to deliver new initiatives.
· Option 3 – use existing structures and create new temporary structures to deliver new initiatives.
· Option 4 – use new structures only these to deliver new initiatives.
Option 3 was selected as the best option for delivery of the programme because existing networks and connections can be utilised, and additional structures and resources can drive the programme and create change. This option carries a funding requirement because resources are required to introduce, integrate and manage new structures, but this option provides the framework that gives the programme the greatest chance of success.
Alignment of the programme to KCC’s strategic objectives
The County Council’s stated vision for Children and Young people is:
“We want the best for all children in Kent. Our driving ambition is to deliver the best outcomes we can for all children, young people, and their families. We constantly aim for Kent to be the most forward-looking area in England for care, education and learning, supported by specialist and early help services so that we are the best place for children and young people to grow up safely, learn, develop and achieve.”
The Reconnect programme seeks to support the achievement of this vision, providing enjoyable opportunities for children and young people to engage in to help them be safe, learn, develop, and achieve.
Cabinet agrees to:
1. Set the scope of Reconnect as per section 4.1 of the attached report.
2. Agree the aims, strategic objectives and outcomes of Reconnect as per section 3 of the report.
3. Agree a specific Reconnect reserve of £10m, the funding principles and the criteria within which Reconnect will operate as set out within section 6 of the report, including the Funding Framework that is intended to provide sufficient flexibility to respond to the needs of the County and the allocation of additional funding sources that may become available over the life of this project, as set out in section 6.4 of the report.
4. Confirm the governance arrangements for Reconnect, as set out in section 8 of the report.
5. Delegate authority to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education to take necessary actions, including but not limited to, entering into relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as required to implement Reconnect.
6. Delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Finance, after consultation with Leader, to update, review and amend the proposed distribution of funding in response to changing need, including use of additional funding within the scope of the programme.
Publication date: 24/06/2021
Date of decision: 24/06/2021
Effective from: 02/07/2021