Agenda and minutes

The Shareholder Committee for the Dorset Centre of Excellence (DCOE) - Monday, 13th March, 2023 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ. View directions

Contact: Chris Harrod  Email:


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


No apologies were received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.


The minutes of the previous meeting, held on 5 December 2022, were signed and confirmed as a correct record.


Declarations of Interest

To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable interest as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct. In making their disclosure councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.


If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.



No declarations of interest were made.


Public Participation

Representatives of town or parish councils and members of the public who live, work, or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area are welcome to submit up to two questions or two statements for each meeting.  Alternatively, you could submit one question and one statement for each meeting.  


All submissions must be emailed in full to by 8.30am on Wednesday 8 March 2023. 


When submitting your question(s) and/or statement(s) please note that: 


  • no more than three minutes will be allowed for any one question or statement to be asked/read  
  • a question may include a short pre-amble to set the context and this will be included within the three-minute period 
  • please note that sub divided questions count towards your total of two 
  • when submitting a question please indicate who the question is for (e.g. the name of the committee or Portfolio Holder) 
  • Include your name, address and contact details.  Only your name will be published but we may need your other details to contact you about your question or statement in advance of the meeting. 
  • questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the agenda 
  • all questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting.   


Dorset Council Constitution Procedure Rule 9 



There was no public participation.


Councillor Questions

To receive questions submitted by councillors.  


Councillors can submit up to two valid questions at each meeting and sub divided questions count towards this total.   Questions and statements received will be published as a supplement to the agenda and all questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting. 


The submissions must be emailed in full to  8.30am on Wednesday 8 March 2023.


Dorset Council Constitution – Procedure Rule 13 



No questions were received from councillors.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 314 KB

To consider the Forward Plan.


The Forward Plan was noted.


Report of the Independent Chair of the Board of Directors pdf icon PDF 339 KB

To consider the report.


The Chairman of the Board introduced his report, which set out the activity that had taken place since his previous update in December.


Officers responded to comments and requests for clarification, details included:


  • The Terms of Reference for the Finance Sub-Committee had recently been reviewed and had a considerable amount of work to be undertake, which meant that it was meeting approximately every six weeks.
  • The Chairman of the Sub-Committee was a chartered accountant, with significant experience in education and the rest of the sub-committee’s membership were well-experienced with matters of a financial nature. The Sub-Committee was currently charged with reviewing the budget, development of the business plan and ongoing financial projections.
  • Day to day financial reporting was now easily accessible, including management accounts, which had proved to be exceptionally useful.  An audit was to be undertaken at year end, and so strong desire from the Board to ensure accounts were up to date.
  • Since the Head Teacher had been appointed and had been in post since January, the Managing Director could focus on the strategic aims of the school, which had not been possible beforehand as he had been overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school.
  • The feedback from the staff and pupil surveys was being collated to be fed back to the Board of Directors, although initial feedback indicated that parents/carers were more engaged and that the situation at school is improving. In terms of staff results, feedback had been positive and tri-angulated with other data available.
  • A committee had been established by the Board of Directors to explore opportunities for community outreach and perform the kind of ‘deep dive’ exercise that wasn’t possible in standard board meetings, which was proving to be positive in terms of engagement and developing a long-term leisure strategy that would maximise community use.
  • Data surrounding the usage and financial profile would be available at the next shareholder committee and would form part of the business plan to be put forward at the next meeting of the Shareholder Committee.
  • The Board was putting a huge amount of time and resource into ensuring that the school is in an inspection ready situation based on the action plan that it had submitted. The Managing Director was Confident that OFSTED would find a greatly improved school and governance structure. It was in the hands of OFSTED to determine whether standards had been consistently met, and how it was going to measure this i.e. from launch of the school, or from submission of the action plan.





Dorset Council Commissioning Report pdf icon PDF 428 KB

To consider the report.


The Corporate Director for Commissioning and Partnerships introduced her report, which provided an overview of the current position relating to the enhanced cooperation between Dorset Council and the Dorset Centre of Excellence (DCOE), and the progress made in the recovery plan.


Officers responded to comments and requests for clarification, details included:


  • It was anticipated that there would be some growth in terms of pupils after Easter for the summer term. The School was inclusive and worked exceptionally had to ensure that all needs were met by the school and that they could remain in this provision
  • The Business Plan was being revised which had impacted the pace of delivery, however, this was being closely monitored and was not expected to impact the council’s capital strategy, as information continued to be shared as appropriate.
  • There had been an intensive period of support for the school and Monitoring visits were frequent to ensure that the school is delivering on its aims and was well supported during its establishment phase and fully complying, once this had been achieved, it was agreed that monitoring would be done half-termly.
  • Contrary to some comments that had been made in the media and speculation on social media, there was indeed a need for Dorset Council to increase SEND capacity in both North and East Dorset.





Urgent Items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.



There were no urgent items


Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following items in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within meaning of paragraph x of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended)


The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.




There was no exempt business