Housing by WQ0V232


									London Child Poverty Commission
Action Plan for London
1. Employment and skills
Joint Lead Commissioners:
Phillipa Langton (LSC) and Nick Drane (JCP London)

Lead Officers:
Dianna Neal, Catherine Ford, Helen Johnston, Fern Edwards, London Councils
Doreen Kenny GLA
1.1 Ministerial focus on reducing child poverty
The lack of progress on child poverty in London since 2000 contrasts with significant
improvements in educational outcomes in deprived boroughs over the same period.
While national increases in education expenditure have played an important role in
improving standards, this was also a period when there was intense policy focus on
education in London on the part of central government, including ministerial
responsibility for schools in London. Similar levels of commitment are needed if child
poverty in London is to be reduced, with clear objectives and accountabilities.

Final Report Recommendation
1. Government should set explicit objectives to reduce child poverty in London, with
ministerial responsibility for delivery.

Action so far
    Stephen Timms and Beverley Hughes appointed to lead on child poverty in

      Explicit target for London: Government Child Poverty Unit consulting on target.
       London Councils, GLA and LDA officers attending meetings.

Next steps/ suggestions
    Assess outcome after next meeting on 31 July and refer back to Commission if
1.2 Reviewing targets and resources for Jobcentre Plus in London
Employment rates for mothers have remained broadly static in London since 2000,
although there are some signs of improvement in lone parent employment since 2004.
Parental employment needs to increase faster in London than in the rest of the UK if the
2020 child poverty target is to be met. At present, the Jobcentre Plus performance
regime is set to deliver the opposite for lone parents – a job entry rate about half those in

other regions. Over time, Jobcentre Plus in London needs to move to higher job
outcome requirements for all parents in London, with resources to match.

Final Report Recommendation
2 The Jobcentre Plus performance regime should be overhauled to deliver the rates of
parental job entry in London required to make serious inroads into child poverty, and
resources should be reallocated to match new targets.

Action so far
    Discussion at CPU target setting meetings around potential to improve

Next steps/suggestions
    London Councils/GLA Officers to meet before end of July to discuss options and
       action plan.

1.3 Lone parents and part-time working
Low employment of lone parents in London is partly driven by low rates of part-time
working which reflect distinctive labour and childcare market factors in the capital. While
enabling more lone parents to work longer hours can play an important role in improving
incomes and job sustainability, it is crucial that the new changes to Job Seeker‟s
Allowance for lone parents do not force lone parents into accepting unsuitable job offers
but allow them to work around the needs of their children. Strong preferences for part-
time over full-time working are expressed not only by non-employed lone parents in
London but by lone parents who are already working full-time. The outcomes from
US welfare reform have shown negative impacts on child outcomes where lone parents
are forced into full-time work.

Final Report Recommendation
3 The availability of part-time employment needs to be taken into account in the new
regime of compulsion for lone parents, and we would welcome a clear commitment from
government that lone parents will not be obliged to accept a job demanding more than
16 hours work a week.

Action so far
    CPU report lone parents won‟t be required to work more than 16 hours.

Next steps/suggestions
    Ministerial Working Group
    Work with LSC, LDA to deliver on skills for jobs and childcare for JCP clients,
       especially lone parents

1.4 A new deal for families in London
Chapter 5 (of Capital Gains) identified the challenge of improving job sustainability and
advancement for lower income parents in London. An employment service fully oriented
to the needs of families, as proposed in Lisa Harker‟s report to the Department for Work
and Pensions „Delivering on child poverty‟ will require engagement from all partners, not

Jobcentre Plus, in delivering a step change in long-term prospects. The need for a
comprehensive service is particularly pressing in London. While the East London City
Strategy Pathfinder has made welcome moves towards developing a new deal for
families, efforts need to be coordinated across London.
Final Report Recommendation
 4 We recommend that the London Skills and Employment Board uses its
 influence to bring together the Learning and Skills Council, Jobcentre Plus,
 London Councils, Greater London Authority, South East Region of the TUC,
 employers, the London Development Agency (LDA) and government departments
 to deliver the following priorities:

     i.      All parents, regardless of benefit status, should receive high quality
             careers and training advice and be made fully aware of the array of
             training opportunities available to them.

     ii.     Clear and consistent entitlements to free childcare for non-employed
             parents undertaking training and job search, as piloted by the LDA and
             Department for Children, Schools and Families in some areas in

     iii.    High quality extended schools provision accessible to lower income
             families to make the longer working hours associated with higher
             quality jobs more practical, while delivering genuine improvements in
             educational outcomes and engagement.

     iv.     A cultural shift around flexibility in the workplace, backed up by
             measures to ensure that in-work training is equally accessible to those
             working shorter hours.
Action so far
Meeting with LSEB

    ii      Childcare: Budget 08: piloting free childcare for additional earners;
            commitment re extension of Childcare Affordability Programme (CAP)
            London Councils met with DCSF to confirm local government representation
            at CAP steering group DCSF agreed to attend ALDCS steering group in
            September In principle commitment of New Mayor to CAP

     iii    London Councils and GLA‟ s DMAG are analysing pupil level data to identify
            better ways of allocating resources to children living in poverty and so
            influence the review of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and allocations to
            extended schools services. Aim is that supportive data/analysis makes case
            for funding outside of DSG that gives LAs/schools capacity to target activity to
            vulnerable/low income children (eg childcare, out of school activities) and in
            critical age group, 8-13 (ie much investment in early years and adolescents).

   Also need to make links with: (1) Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children
   and Young People's Services – Narrowing the Gap work (2) City Challenge (3)
   health. Capital Ambition should be approached.

    iv      KPMG Business breakfast (2nd June 2008)

Next steps/suggestions
    Follow up with LSEB
    (iv) follow up with Business in the Community and the East London Business
       Alliance (ELBA)
    Develop relationships with SMEs

        (iii) Extended schools: The analysis which hopes to influence the review of the
         Designated Schools Grant and allocations to extended schools servicesis
         underway but the research has not yet been completed owing to inability to
         recruit a dedicated researcher. Also need to make links with Narrowing the Gap
         and City Challenge.

1.5 Promoting equality in employment - role of employers
The Commission endorses the view of the London Skills and Employment Board that in
order to encourage greater employer engagement, the array of pledges and accords
available in London need to be integrated and consolidated. However, the Commission
also believes that implicit within these arrangements should be the recommendations of
the National Employment Panel‟s Business Commission into Race Equality in the
Workplace. The Commission believes that these recommendations have the potential to
make a significant impact on child poverty. In order to maximise the impact of these
proposals, particularly for young people and parents returning to employment, we
recommend the promotion of measures to tackle direct and indirect discrimination,
covering such issues as flexible working, sick leave entitlement, accommodation of
religious requirements, qualifications and experience requirements in recruitment and
access to in-work training, as well as the National Employment Panel‟s findings.

Final Report Recommendation
5 We recommend that through its London Employment Programme, the London Skills
and Employment Board promotes measures for London‟s employers which tackle direct
and indirect discrimination, including access to flexible working and greater access to in-
work training for those working shorter hours.
Action so far
    LCPC discussion with LSEB 17/06/08

Next steps/suggestions
    Make links with ELBA and Business in the community - link with Stephen Evans.
    Meeting with KPMG to explore options 17/07/08

1.6 Advancement
London offers a rapid „up-escalator‟ for those who arrive in the capital with recognised
skills and qualifications, often leading to rapid career advancement and to moves out of
London. But job entry, retention and access to the up-escalator are limited by factors
which have little to do with individuals‟ abilities. Some of this inequality can be addressed
through anti-discrimination measures, such as those proposed in recommendation 5
above, but for some groups, including first generation migrants, additional action is
necessary. Even with good qualifications, when migrants from developing countries
move out of the lowest paying sectors of the labour market they still tend to remain

It is important that early experience of what can be marginalised labour market positions
does not translate into continuing low earnings across the lifecycle, as developing
country migrants are more likely to be supporting families than migrants from richer
countries. This is not simply a matter of „upskilling‟ because in many cases, the skills are
already there. This reinforces the importance of ensuring that a careers service is built
into integrated employment support services such as those offered by the London City
Strategy pathfinders, and the need for employers to think beyond „entry-level‟ jobs when
engaging with public agencies to improve employment outcomes.

Final Report Recommendation
6 We recommend that the London Skills and Employment Board, employers and trade
unions work together to develop appropriate models of career advancement for workers
in marginal positions, targeting in particular lone parents, parents in couples and first
generation migrants in low paying sectors.

Action so far

Next steps
    Influence LDA led Careers Service
    Links with TUC/Unions

2. Mental health and employment
Lead Commissioner:
Brendan McLaughlin (London Development Centre)

Lead Officers:
Mark Brangwyn, Ian Jones, London Councils, Charlotte Hall, GLA

2.1 Parents with mental health problems
London has higher rates of mental health problems than nationally with an estimated
60,000 London parents receiving incapacity benefit because of mental health or
behavioural disorders.

Despite changes to the legislative framework associated with the Disability
Discrimination Act, people with mental health problems continue to face prejudice within
the jobs market. Parents may lose employment as a result of developing mental health
problems and workless parents with histories of mental ill health may find employers
reluctant to take them on. It is also now widely recognised that there is a significant lack
of access to psychological therapies for people with mental health problems.

Poverty reduction is good for mental health, with significant reductions in self-reported
illness following measures to raise lone parents‟ incomes. But mental health problems,
particularly anxiety and depression, affect a significant minority of low income families
and this needs to be factored into efforts to raise parental employment and – in particular
- improve the sustainability of employment. Better access to psychological therapies will
be an important element in a new deal for families.

Final Report Recommendations
 7 To support an integrated New Deal for Families we recommend Jobcentre Plus,
 NHS London, the London Development Centre and Care Services Improvement
 Partnership, and local authorities should work together on developing more
 integrated support services able to meet the range of needs of parents with mental
 health problems including:
       •     accessing jobs and training
       •     help with sustaining employment, working with both individual
             parents and their employers
       •     advice and advocacy in relation to the benefits system and
       •     better access to talking therapies.

 8 We recommend that Jobcentre Plus should work with employers through the local
 employment partnerships to raise awareness and understanding of mental health
 issues and promote best practice in sustaining employment for people with mental

Action so far
    NHS London and London Development Centre has set up steering group and
       reference groups for the pilot “talking therapies” including JCP and London
       Councils to support commissioning of services and implementation of the

      programme. Meeting between London Councils and JCP to discuss increasing
      mental health and employment provision.

Next steps/suggestions
    Generate links between local authorities and pathways to work providers and
       provide actions to implement take up of services as necessary.
    Training scheme for introduction of new Employment Support Allowance (JCP)

3. Tax and benefits
Joint Lead Commissioners:             Paul Gregg (University of Bristol) and Declan
                                      Gaffney (Independent Commissioner)
Lead Officers:                        Ian Jones, London Councils, Doreen Kenny, GLA

3.1 National increases to child tax credit and child benefit
Income transfers which target both working and non-working families through child tax
credit or child benefit are effective in reducing child poverty in London. Modelling of
future options shows that increases in these elements would reduce child poverty
somewhat more in London than at national level, especially if there was some targeting
on larger families. Redistributive measures alone within plausible ranges of expenditure
could reduce child poverty by 9.2 percentage points to a level of 31% in London and by
7.2 percentage points nationally by 2010/2011. This does not take account of any
employment effect that might arise from improved work incentives. The specific
measures modelled for the Commission are:

       •     child tax credit to increase by £9 a week (taking account of the increase in
             budget 2007) and

       •     child benefit for second and subsequent children to rise to the level for the
             first child.

Final Report Recommendation
9 We recommend that in order to meet the 2010 child poverty target nationally while
making inroads into child poverty in London, government should adopt a package of
national measures based on significant increases in child tax credit and in child benefit
for second and subsequent children.

Action so far
    Budget changes in child benefit and child tax credit

Next steps/suggestions
    Assess impact of budget changes on child poverty.
    Lobby to get into PBR (GLA and London Councils lead)

3.2 Improving work incentives through tax credits
Higher costs mean that wages go less far in London. Many part-time service jobs pay
lower wages in real terms than the rest of the UK and offer no prospects, making it more
likely that parents will return to benefits. Housing costs mean that families in London are
more likely to face multiple withdrawal of benefits and tax credits, leading to severe
poverty traps. In order to bring work incentives in London in line with the rest of the UK,
reforms are essential to reduce the poverty trap faced by families in the capital.

Final Report Recommendation
10 We recommend that government should introduce a top-up to tax credits in London of
£20 a week for families with an additional £5 per child top-up to child tax credit in order
to improve work incentives and address the effect of higher housing costs in London.

Action so far
    Budget changes in child benefit and child tax credit

Next steps/suggestions
    Assess impact of budget changes on child poverty.
    Lobby to get into PBR (GLA and London Councils lead)

3.3 Stability in housing benefit
Low awareness of in-work housing benefit is a major problem in London and nationally.
In addition, the risk of administrative delays or errors when housing benefit is re-
calculated adds another barrier to taking a job.

Final Report Recommendation
11 We recommend that housing benefit awards should be fixed for six months for all
claimants who have been on housing benefit for over a year and are moving into paid
employment. Over time, housing benefit should be fully integrated with tax credits as a
housing credit, with separate adult and child entitlements as with working tax credit/child
tax credit.

Action so far
    Budget 08 announced fundamental review of HB
    Paper prepared by London Councils making the case for HB run-on; initial
       discussions with DWP and other LA Associations held, with initial positive results.

Next steps/suggestions
    Feed in proposals as part of Government‟s internal review of HB during autumn

3.4 Financial support for childcare
Support for childcare through the working tax credit is unnecessarily complicated - it is
not transparent for parents and does not allow them to calculate their childcare costs.
This is more of a problem in London, both because costs are higher and because fewer
parents can rely on informal childcare from relatives.

A move towards an income-based approach to childcare support entitlement would also
create the opportunity to deliver the support through an entitlement „smart card‟.

Final Report Recommendation
12 We recommend that the childcare element of working tax credit should be replaced
with a family income based entitlement to financial support for childcare.

Action so far
    Budget 08: Announcement of roll-out of Childcare Affordability Programme

Next steps/suggestions
    LCPC response to Treasury consultation on tax credit reform?

3.5 Positive incentives for local authorities
At present, local authorities are not properly resourced to meet the costs of dealing with
housing benefit claimants changing their circumstances. Local authorities could play a
key role in spreading awareness of in-work entitlements such as housing benefit and tax

Final Report Recommendation
13 We recommend that local authorities should be incentivised to actively market in-
work housing benefit, childcare support and other financial support for families in work to
enable more parents to make the move into a paid job.

Action so far
    Now focus of sub-group of the Ministerial Working Group on child poverty in
       London. Papers being prepared by London Councils and East London CSP on
       this issue for meeting on 29 July 2008.

Next steps
    Make recommendations to Government through Ministerial Steering Group. Feed
       in proposals as part of Government‟s internal review of HB during autumn 2008.

3.6 Savings
Parents moving out of long-term benefit receipt need to be able to make decisions for
the longer term, but poverty itself undermines the possibility of taking a longer view.
Savings are a key „protective‟ factor in reducing the chances of lone parents returning to

Final Report Recommendation
14 We recommend that the government pilots a savings scheme specifically targeting
parents moving into employment in London, bringing together lessons from the Saving
Gateway and employment retention schemes (Employment Retention and Advancement
and in-work credit).

Action so far
    Budget 08: Roll out announced of Saving Gateway.
Next step/suggestions

      London Councils researching roll-out and its relation to employment retention

4. Other Income and Cost Issues (including Transport)
Lead Commissioners:           Alex Bax, GLA
Lead Officers:                Muge Dindjer, Doreen Kenny, GLA

4.1 A minimum wage for London?
The real value of the minimum wage is lower in London than at national level. This is a
London-specific problem reflecting the high cost of living in the capital: there is much
less variation in price levels between other regions. While a London minimum wage
would have little direct effect on child poverty, it would improve the employment chances
of lower skilled workers, particularly those with dependent children, not just by raising
incomes directly but also by improving incentives on employers to offer longer term
sustainable jobs. The lowest paid sectors of the London labour market are now
effectively detached from the rest of the market, dependent on high employee turnover
and offering little in the way of sustainable opportunities or routes to advancement. We
therefore believe that the case for a London-specific minimum wage needs to be taken

Final Report Recommendation
15 We recommend that the Low Pay Commission considers the case for a London
minimum wage, on the same basis as the national minimum wage.

Action so far
    New Mayor has continued and updated London Living Wage

Next steps/suggestions
    Seek dialogue with Low Pay Commission.
    Involve TUC and Unions
4.2 Fares concessions for lower income workers
Public transport fares are a fixed cost which can act as a barrier to employment for lower
income groups. This is a particular issue in London where more lower income workers
have to commute long distances. Part-time workers, who tend to be amongst the lowest
paid, face spending a higher proportion of their incomes on travel, unless they can take
advantage of off-peak fares.

Final Report Recommendation
16 We recommend that Transport for London, working with other agencies, explore
options for fare concessions to reduce in-work costs for lower income parents,
particularly those working part-time.

Action so far
    TfL looking at options for lower-income workers, within context of cost and fares

Next steps/suggestions

5. Child development and education
Lead Commissioner:            Patrick Leeson (Chair, Association of London Directors of
                              Children's Services)

Lead Officers:                Helen Johnston, London Councils, Caroline Boswell, GLA
                              Childcare: Fern Edwards, London Councils and Doreen
                              Kenny, GLA

5.1 Childcare subsidy
As well as recommendation 12 on demand-side funding, supply-side funding is needed
to ensure provision of flexible care and to reduce the cost of provision for children with
special educational needs. The London Childcare Affordability Programme set up by the
Mayor of London and the Department for Children Schools and Families has
demonstrated clearly that there is significant unmet need for these kinds of provision.

Final Report Recommendation
17 We recommend that the flexibility and special educational needs elements of the
London Development Agency/Department for Children Schools and Families Childcare
Affordability Programme be continued and rolled out more widely

Action so far
    Budget 08: commitment re extension of Childcare Affordability Programme (CAP)
       from April 2009.
    London Councils met with DCSF to confirm local government representation at
       CAP steering group
    DCSF agreed to attend ALDCS steering group in September
    In principle commitment of New Mayor to CAP

Next steps/suggestions
    Seek clarification about future objectives for CAP

5.2 Extended schools
While there have been significant improvements in attainment levels in London primary
and secondary schools, massive inequalities associated with parents‟ economic status
remain. The developing extended schools agenda is potentially an area where (like Sure
Start) educational and child development aims converge with employment related
childcare needs. This reinforces the need for high quality provision to be targeted at
those areas where it will achieve the most.

Final Report Recommendation
18 We recommend that central government, the Mayor of London and London Councils
develop options to increase funding to extended schools serving more deprived areas in
London, specifically aiming to attract highly qualified staff.
Additional Recommendation not included in Final Report
That government pilot a dedicated funding stream to be allocated to secondary schools
on the basis of area deprivation of intake pupils‟ home postcode, to be used to improve
attainment progress and engagement between entry to secondary school and Key Stage

Action so far
See actions under 4 iii.

Next steps/suggestions
See actions under 4 iii.
Meet with DCSF and City Challenge, ideally with the findings of the DMAG research (as
per 4 iii).

5.3 Measuring low attainment
Focusing solely on measures of average attainment risks leaving behind potentially low
achievers if schools concentrate efforts on borderline pupils. There is evidence that
London pupils are doing worse in terms of low achievement than average figures would
suggest and than the population mix would lead to expect.

Final Report Recommendation
19 We recommend that government expand the range of targets for GCSE attainment to
include at least one measure of low attainment (e.g. No pass > D, No pass English or

Action so far
    Government does not want a measure outside LAA indicators

Next steps/suggestions
CPU feedback is that it is too late for such a measure to be in LAAs and government
preference for focusing on aspirations for attainment. It is about monitoring which groups
of children are having very low attainment (LAC, PRU?). To check if GLA DMAG
have/can have any data on this. There is potential to track children with very low/no
qualifications through the system via CCIS (Connexions) data. CPU have offered to set
up DCSF meeting.

5.4 Improving post-16 options
No matter how much academic qualifications improve, genuine diversity of post-16
options will always be needed, and London has performed very poorly in this regard
historically, although there has been some improvement in recent years. The
development of diplomas promises to break down the barriers between vocational and
academic qualifications and offers the possibility of a step change in the options
available to pupils in London schools, provided there is the necessary engagement from
employers and universities. While there is willingness to engage on all sides, a level of
regional coordination will be needed given the uneven spread of both employment and
third level institutions over the London region.

Final Report Recommendation
20 We recommend that local authorities work together, co-ordinated by London
Councils, to deliver a better 14-19 offer to young people in London and to commission
an improved model of engagement for London‟s schools, employers and higher
education institutes.

Action so far
    Establishment of London Regional Planning Group (RPG) to bring together local
       authorities, employers and providers and provide strategic direction for the 14-19
       reforms in London
    London Councils and ALDCS submitted a joint response to the Raising
       Expectations White Paper
    Held a London conference on 5 June which saw the launch of the 14-19
       Regional Planning Group
    First meeting of the RPG held on 17 July
    Held a London conference on 5 June
    London Councils met with Harvey McGrath (LSEB and LDA) to agree his
       attendance on Group and support at the RPG. Also agreed way forward with the
    GLA identified at „Choice‟ Development Group that a need to make the early links
       of this Regional Planning Group with the pan-London e-prospectus, as choice
       can provide key intelligence on courses across London.

Next steps/suggestions

5.5 Intensive support for literacy
Poor reading and writing scores at primary school are associated strongly with later low
achievement. Children with particular reading and writing difficulties need to be better
identified and supported through such schemes as reading recovery programmes as the
key to accessing the wider curriculum. An evaluation of the reading recovery programme
piloted in 42 London schools in deprived areas found that children gained 20 months in
reading age as well as making improvements in their literacy, social skills and their

Final Report Recommendation
21 We recommend that further dedicated resources be allocated to intensive work on
literacy for pupils missing Key Stage 1 expected levels for reading and writing.

Action so far
    ALDCS engaged in discussion with City Challenge Primary: also ensuring
       sharing of best practice through inter-borough school improvement consortia.

Next steps/suggestions
    Meet with DCSF if key leads (ALDCS, London Councils) do not feel current
       DCSF initiatives – particularly „Every Child a Reader‟ – are sufficient.
    Potential scoping of models of parents and young people studying together re
       literacy (Institute of Education report on engaging with hard to reach families).
    The LDA may be interested due to dual nature of programme – e.g. addressing
       basic skills of parents outside of labour market with preventing intergenerational
       transmission of low basic skills.
    Potential links with Mayor‟s Fund and national Narrowing the Gap report

5.6 Children missing from education
The transition from primary to secondary school is also the stage when we see the
emergence of serious problems affecting a significant minority of students. Low level
(non-statemented) special educational needs increases - much more so for lower
income children - driven by both behavioural and learning difficulties. Absence from
school, while the numbers are relatively small, becomes a problem with potentially
serious long-term consequences. Further support is needed for schemes working
alongside schools and providing additional pastoral and curricula support to re-engage
children in mainstream schooling.

There are good practice examples already operating in some boroughs. However we
have pointed out that when it comes to developing innovative approaches, London
seems to be much better at experimenting on a small scale than at building the results
over wider geographies. The barriers here are institutional, with 33 different local
authorities and a lack of mechanisms to ensure co-ordination and the spread of good
practice. Support for children missing education is just one area where government at
regional, local and national levels should be seeking to overcome these barriers,
allowing successful replication or expansion of approaches with a proven track record at
local level.

Final Report Recommendation
22 We recommend that central government works with regional and local tiers in London
to develop a model of sustainable financial support to allow expansion of successful
schemes working with children at risk of disengagement from compulsory education.

Action so far
    Work through the London Youth Crime Prevention Board to improve London‟s
       alternative provision including Pupil Referral Units.
    Held seminar on 31 March for local authority leads and PRU heads
    Event informed DCSF‟s White Paper on alternative provision
    Joint response to „Back on Track‟ White Paper from ALDCS, London Councils
       and Mayor of London sent to DCSF. Followed by a letter from LYCPB Chair to
       Minister (Kevin Brennan)..
    Compiling regional bid to DCSF to pilot PRU work
    Pilot project submitted to Mayor‟s/LDA Young Londoners‟ Fund (Rainer Crime
       Concern + 3 NGOs) progressed to full application stage. This theme will feature
       in London Youth Offer November Conference

Next steps/suggestions
    Seek meeting with DCSF, London Funders, City Challenge, LDA, LC and
    Work through the London Youth Crime Prevention Board to improve London‟s
       alternative provision including Pupil Referral Units.
    London Councils to gauge any synergy with and possible London pilots of the
       national, two-year „Narrowing the Gap‟ research and development project
       (DCSF, LGA and IDeA), linked to new Centre of Excellence (C4EO).

5.7 Improving the transition to secondary school for lower income children
Best practice examples of ways of improving the transition abound. Among the options
are opening after-school clubs in secondary schools to primary pupils from feeder
schools, summer school provision, engagement with parents and providing advice
onsecondary school choice and various pedagogical and administrative measures. We
would like to see a more effective method of developing and sharing best practice and
setting benchmark standards across London.

The Children‟s Plan has given a welcome focus to better engagement with parents, with
a strong emphasis on the transition to secondary school, and has indicated that
regulation or legislation may be required if more rapid progress is needed. We believe
that a voluntary pan-London quality improvement programme focusing on secondary
school transition would be a good way of testing what can be achieved through non-
regulatory routes. It is envisaged that addressing potentially discriminatory admissions
criteria, and promoting socially inclusive criteria, would be part of the focus of this work.

Final Report Recommendation
23 We recommend that London Councils consider the feasibility of a London-wide
quality improvement programme to set standards and promote best practice in
managing the transition from primary to maintained sector secondary schools.

Action so far
    Possibly ALDCS/City Challenge through the School Improvement Partnership

Next steps/suggestions
    Project group to be established. One task would be to distil key research in this
       area, to determine any gaps/possible further research but primarily to focus on
       supporting London schools identified through City Challenge. A LB priority area.
    To check against funded programmes under the London Youth Offer (both to LBs
       and Young Londoners‟ Fund to 3rd sector).

6. Housing

Lead Commissioner:            Brendan Sarsfield, Family Mosaic Housing Association.
Lead Officers:                Nigel Minto, London Councils and Simon Cribbens, GLA

6.1 Temporary accommodation and employment
There are about 60,000 families with children in temporary accommodation in London,
with rents often in excess of £300 a week. Employment rates are even lower for this
group than for social tenants generally. The Working Future pilot in east London has
combined directly subsidised rents for temporary accommodation with intensive in-work
support, with positive results.

Final Report Recommendation
24 We recommend that the Working Future model of subsidising temporary
accommodation rents and providing intensive support for employment be rolled out
across London as a matter of urgency.

Action so far
    In February a letter was sent to Stephen Timms, Caroline Flint and Yvette
       Cooper calling for the roll-out of Working Future. The letter was signed by the
       Mayor, Merrick Cockell (London Councils and Carey Oppenheim. Adam
       Sampson (Shelter), Belinda Porich (LHF) Stephen Timms has written this week,
       essentially saying they won't roll this model out.
    Meeting held with Caroline Flint's SPAD and lead LCPC commissioners
       responsible for Housing (September 2008)

Next steps/suggestions
    Request for a meeting with Caroline Flint requested September 2008.

6.2 Minimising disruption of school career
About half of all pupil mobility between key stages is associated with residential moves.
Mobility is also strongly associated with poorer attainment and free school meal status,
and it is important that the need to avoid disruption of children‟s education is taken into
account by social housing providers, especially given the very large numbers
of families in temporary accommodation in London. We welcome the Children‟s Plan
promise of new good practice guidance and protocols for better working between
children‟s services and housing departments. As part of this guidance it will be important
to stress the need for temporary accommodation placements to take into account
children‟s need for stability in their education.

Final Report Recommendation
25 We recommend that guidance for local authorities strengthens requirements that
when homeless families are placed in, or move between temporary accommodation,
they should be offered accommodation within easy reach of children‟s schools.

Action so far
    The Draft Mayor's Housing Strategy was published for the last administration and
       is now being rewritten. Broadly it will be a much slimmer and more focussed
       document, and the Mayor's Office favour a more flexible and light touch approach
       with the boroughs.
    Mayor's new Housing Strategy in production.

Next steps/suggestions
    How else could this be taken forward? London Councils view?

6.3 The role of registered social landlords
There is growing concern at the patterns of poor outcomes on a range of dimensions
associated with social housing tenancies which go beyond even what would be expected
given the disadvantages associated with social tenure in a heavily rationed system. We
have therefore stressed the need for a concentration of effort on the social rented sector
in London. It is important that public investment in social housing, which is vital to the
future prospects of families in London, is accompanied by the necessary investment in
social infrastructure. We cannot afford the risk of existing patterns of employment
deprivation being replicated in the future. Registered social landlords (RSLs) have a key
role to play here along with local authorities.

In the context of major investment in new affordable and social housing, meeting
housing need and improving family incomes need to be much more closely linked. Many
RSLs are already rising to this challenge but there is a need for a clearer alignment of
investment strategies and poverty reduction aims, including recognising that major
investment creates, or should create, positive incentives for landlords to engage more
fully. While it should be for RSLs to decide on the form of engagement, and funding for
poverty reduction should remain a responsibility of tiers of government, future housing
investment strategies should build in clear expectations regarding the level of
commitment RSLs need to show towards reducing poverty looking forward.

Final Report Recommendation
26 We recommend that the Mayor of London should use his Housing Strategy and
Strategic Housing Investment Plan to require social landlords and their partners to
provide closer integration of housing and employment services.

Action so far
    The Strategic Housing Investment Plan for 2008-11 was published last year, and
       cannot be re-written in retrospect. It does not include such requirements. GLA
       could consider this for uncommitted funding released over the period. However,
       the government is not in favour of increased regulatory requirements of housing
       providers - in fact they are working to decrease the requirements placed on
       providers, and therefore are unlikely to allow such conditions to be placed on
       regional housing pot resources (not least because delivering new homes is hard
       enough in the current environment). .

Next steps/suggestions
    GLA/LDA considering how they might work with the HCA to take forward this

Additional Activity
These were not explicit recommendations made in the Commissions final report,
but relevant activities currently being undertaken by London Councils with local

Supporting local authorities to tackle child poverty

   Support local authorities to reduce child poverty.
   Support to London boroughs to deliver on tacking poverty through LAAs and local
    strategies to share good practice and take new and innovative approaches.

Action so far
    Guidance around LAAs produced for London boroughs. 11 London boroughs
       have identified the child poverty target as a priority in their LAA. 11 more may
       have basket of indicators that will reduce child poverty.
    Briefing note produced for London boroughs following the publication of a pledge.

Next steps/suggestions
    Develop virtual network of child poverty leads in London boroughs.
    Make London boroughs aware of pilots to be funded by CPU
    Hold at least one event around this issue for boroughs.


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