VOLUNTEERS are sought to help shape Durham County Council services for children and young people.

The authority needs to appoint three parent governor representatives to its children and young people’s overview and scrutiny committee.

PGRs play a key role in helping to shape the council’s education services, using their expertise, knowledge and experience to influence how the council and its partners develop and deliver services in the future.

Over the past year, the committee has considered issues ranging from elective home education, school funding and children and young people’s mental health, to child poverty and educational outcomes.

Applicants must have been elected by parents to represent them on a school governing body and must be the parent of a child currently attending a council-maintained school or being educated outside of school with funding from the local authority.

People employed by the council or at a school maintained by the authority as either teaching or non-teaching staff cannot apply. Elected members and anyone already serving as a PGR for another authority are also ineligible.

The committee holds six scheduled meetings per year, starting at 9.30am and usually concluding around 11.30am.

Due to Covid-19, the meetings are currently being held virtually so the successful applicants would need to have access to IT and the internet to be able to participate. 

There are also opportunities for applicants to be involved in extra focused pieces of work undertaken by the committee.

Joanne Norman, who previously served as a PGR, encouraged eligible applicants to get involved.

“It has been an extremely rewarding experience for me to serve as a PGR on the Children and Young People’s OSC,” she said.

“It has enhanced my role as a parent governor and allowed me to see the ‘bigger picture’, not just in terms of education, but also with regard to physical and mental health, youth and family services and the local economy.

“It helps put many of the challenges my school faces into a local and national context and highlights the breadth of responsibility the local authority has towards our young people.

“My involvement has also been beneficial personally. My confidence has improved and, being given the opportunity to contribute to a review group, has given me a great sense of achievement. 

“I would encourage more parent governors to get involved and provide different perspectives to the committee.”

For details or to apply call Diane Close or Ann Whitton on 03000-268141 or 03000-268143 or email scrutiny@durham.gov.uk. The application deadline is Friday, June 25.