Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Panel
Wednesday, 6th March, 2019 5.00 pm

Venue: Room F11 - Town Hall

Contact: Michelle Ossei-Gerning
020 8726 6000 x84246  Email: michelle.gerning@croydon.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

14/19

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 16 January 2019 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 16 January 2019 were agreed as an accurate record.

 

15/19

Disclosures of interest

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.

 

 

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interests.

 

16/19

Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

17/19

Update on actions agreed at previous meeting(s)

Minutes:

The Panel agreed to circulate actions outside the meeting.

18/19

Children in Care Performance Scorecard pdf icon PDF 306 KB

The Children in Care Performance Scorecard of January 2019 is attached.

Minutes:

The Panel was referred to the Children’s Performance Dashboard provided in the agenda pack with updated data included (up to and including January 2019).

 

Officers described the implementation of a new process for bringing children into care. This involved a new panel where requests to bring children in to care where discussed in detail before any decision to progress was implemented. Emergency referrals into care would also have to go through this route.

 

However, officers also described how they were working and exploring new ways to support children to stay in their family settings avoiding the need to come into care; oversight was provided in order to give support to families where children are likely to come into care. 

 

The new approach to bringing children into care was also focused on providing early access to permanency planning allowing for a more timely approach.

 

The Panel discussed the data provided through the scorecard. There was a specific focus on LAC 13 – the percentage of LAC with a Personal Education Plans (PEP) reviewed in the last six months. Panel Members questioned this figure (34%). Officers addressed this by describing the work that had been undertaken and what further was planned to happen. A dedicated officer was responsible for supporting the review of PEPs and highlighting their importance to social workers. The target had been set to review 90% of PEPs within six months. It was noted that the 15% improvement from the lowest point in performance (in late 2018) was achieved over a duration of three weeks following the recruitment of the new officer.

 

Officers described how support was being provided to social workers to develop their skills and strengthen their understanding of threshold criteria. They were being encouraged to talk about children’s needs. It was reported how this process was creating a culture of understanding.

 

It was additionally emphasised that the use of thresholds only tells part of the story in terms of how practitioners approach children at risk. It was highlighted that this was about culture and having a vision for practice where Croydon will be working more justly and humanely with families. It was described how support was being given to practitioners to understand that threshold should be consistent across the service. It was stressed that there was much greater understanding than previously in how it was possible to work with families.

 

19/19

Fostering pdf icon PDF 81 KB

The following reports is to notify the Panel of the progress in the recruitment and deregistration of foster carers, the Fostering Statement of Purpose, the fostering action plan and the Adoption Statement of Purpose.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Fostering Statement of Purpose (SOP):

 

Officers shared that Children’s Social Care (CSC) was responsible for recruiting foster carers and highlighted that the Fostering Statement of Purpose Report for 2019-20 detailed:

      i.        the strategic principles of children in care;

     ii.        forward plans;

    iii.        what the authority had committed to provide to foster carers and the children; and

   iv.        how fostering affected the lives of looked after children

 

The published report was structured in line with OFSTED requirements.

 

Recommendations:

The Panel RESOLVED that it would review;

      i.        the Foster Carers Charter; and

    ii.        the Fostering Statement of Purpose.

 

Feedback was received from the EMPIRE representatives present on their experiences of being in care. It was reported that this wasn’t always as it was hoped for. However, there were positive experiences in terms of accessing activities organised through the foster carer agency.

 

The Panel led a discussion about the relationship between the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) and the looked after child. It was established that there was a new proposed structure being put in place in order to improve these relationships. This was focused on helping to understand and have insight into what was happening inside a placement. Panel Members were in consensus that the child’s voice was fundamental to the improvement of the service and had to be a key part of the review of the work undertaken on an annual basis.

 

The Panel highlighted that it wished to gain reassurance that LAC Reviews included the feedback of a range of stakeholders including young people. It was noted that it was an important part of the IRO’s role to provide the looked after child with the details of an appropriate adult they could go to in order to have someone with whom they could express their feelings. The Panel stressed how it continued to want IROs to improve the support offered to young people.

 

Recommendations:

      i.        for young people and their foster carers to have the direct contact information for all relevant professionals involved in their care; and

    ii.        to bring up-to-date data on LAC children and the number of advocates to the next panel.

 

It was noted that a pack already exists containing all relevant contact details for children in care that was provided when children in care were old enough. It was agreed that this should be shared with EMPIRE representatives in order to receive their feedback. Officers expressed the desire that this was appropriate and accessible for young people.

 

The Panel discussed the processes/support available for those in care who were new into the country. All have to be referred to the Refugee Council. This provided specialist advisers and clubs. Help was provided to enable engagement with others in similar circumstances and for specific issues. It was noted that it was important for all those involved in the care of these young people to know this support existed. For example, the Designated Teacher.

 

The Panel discussed the Connected Persons Report, the importance of this to the foster carer review  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19/19

20/19

How has the Panel helped Children in Care today?

For the panel to consider how its work at the meeting will improve services for children in care.

Minutes:

The Panel highlighted the following accomplishments which helped Children in Care:

 

·         The Panel listened to the voice of children, responded to points raised and reflected on this to inform practice. The Panel had focused on how the voice of children could be heard in a systematic way;

·         Positive that the Foster Care Charter was being developed to set a minimum expectation of a response from the social worker to the foster carer in a set period of time;

·         Impressed that young people were part of the Panel and they felt confident to express their views and concerns. It was good for them to see that they were being listened to and their views being taken on-board;

·         Positive to have the meetings to see what was to be actioned. The suggestion of an spreadsheet of actions was discussed;

·         Impressed with the contribution of young people to the Panel. Stressed the need to inform them of the action being taken;

·         Wanted to hear progress from young people on the issue of knowing who to complain; and

·         Positive that young people were included in the Panel. Need to focus on those foster children who are isolated. Highlighted that it was young people themselves who knew what a good foster home looked like. Welcomed the opening up the IRO role; it was good to challenge the role of the IRO which should also be evaluated by young people. Stressed the need for information for young  people to be made available in a range of suitable languages;

·         Valued the views of young people being expressed at the Panel. Looked forward to attending EMPIRE;

·         Would be getting the input of young people to the foster carer review;

·         Sad to hear some of the stories from young people. This should not be their experience. The deep dive foster carer review needed to ensure it was capturing the voice of children. Members of the Panel asking to be invited to EMPIRE was a real positive and would have a beneficial impact for looked after children; and

·         It was powerful to welcome young people to the Panel. It was a powerful message for them to attend the meeting. The Panel could underestimate the strength and confidence of young people in care. Found having young people at the Panel inspirational. Needed to consider opportunities to do more and how Croydon was able to support children long-term. For example, through apprenticeships etc

 

21/19

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider and approve the Panel’s work programme for the municipal year 2018/19. Panel Members to discuss the work programme for the municipal year 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was agreed this would be reviewed in anticipation of the new municipal year.

 

22/19

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:

 

“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”

 

Minutes:

This item was not required.