Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Parenting Panel
Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 5.00 pm

Venue: This meeting will be held virtually.

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

Items
No. Item

24/20

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 329 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 4 March 2020 as an accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 29 September 2020 were agreed as an accurate record.

 

25/20

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 none.

 

26/20

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 was none.

27/20

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To review the terms of reference.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair made note to the terms of reference prior to the Ofsted inspection.

Members of the Panel discussed the potential additional role of safeguarding representative to attend the Panel meetings. It was noted that the Child Protection Sub-Committee existed under the Independence Board framework, where working together policy sets out the relationship of working with partners.

28/20

Update on actions agreed at previous meeting(s)

Minutes:

The Head of Social Work, Children Looked After and Care Leavers talked through the actions which had been completed.

 

Officers updated the Panel with the status of the actions agreed at the previous Panel meeting.

 

In regards to the actions in March 2020:

 

1 – The pathway plans for future reports, what was being measured and how up to date the pathway plans were, officers informed that every eligible young person must have a pathway plan updated every six months.

 

2 – To address the issue of pathway plan for a smooth transition, officers informed that there was a new pathway plan that captured better the voice of young people and work was underway with staff and carers to better support transitions.

 

The foster carer co-optee commented that the definition on the appropriate accommodation for care leavers, and Shared Life was essential for SEN and those on special needs. The Chair added that young people previously spoke about opportunities to Staying Put. Officers informed that that Shared Life was a true assessment of a child and their needs and this was where the carer lived. The Shared Life scheme was within every local authority and was used to assess eligibility of the criteria of which children would be entitled to the Shared Life scheme. This was generous and not much lower in payments for fostering.

 

Panel Members commented on the pathway planning which was statutory in a young person’s journey and emphasised that the dashboard needed to provide a more detailed data and information of what needed to be reviewed.

29/20

Children in Care Performance Scorecard pdf icon PDF 629 KB

The Children in Care Performance Scorecard for July 2020 is attached.

Minutes:

The Director of Early Help and Children’s Social Care and the Head of Social Work, Children Looked After and Care Leavers spoke to the report, and had summarised the performance scorecard in detailed. In summary:

 

Children in care: Officers informed that the numbers of looked after children had reduced within the last six months, and there was also a reduction of unaccompanied asylum seeking children in care. The number of children returned home and no longer looked after had decreased.

 

Visits: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of home visits had fluctuated and much of the visits were being held virtually. In September a decision was made for the return of face-to-face visits.

 

Performance: Officers highlighted the major issues and challenges within the care planning service where the service continued to underperform. Pathway plans and care plans needed to be completed within six months, which was an issue within the service. There was auditing of cases across the services and officers had noticed improvements in the quality of practice, and though this was good, there was room for more quality and compliance.

 

Heath assessments: Officers informed that the review health assessments and initial health assessments had been impacted due to consent from parents. There was lack of consent from children placed out of borough and young people were declining assessments. It was said that foster carers could work more with young children around this.

 

Fostering: The foster care service had improved and remained stable, and the number of foster carers was similar to the numbers at the beginning of last year to date.

 

Adoption: The adoption service was now formed as part of the regional agency along with eight other boroughs and this was working very well. Officers highlighted that the service had eleven children placed in adoption.

 

Care Leavers: Officers highlighted of similar issues where the service had more room for quality improvement. It was noted that with regards to pathway plan the scorecard measured the pathway plan from 18 to 25 years, though the pathway was not legally required from 22 years of age unless planned. Since April, care leavers were continuingly being supported by staff who enquired of services they required as care leavers also had a need.

 

Housing and accommodation: There had been a lot of work with the commission and housing department close to a young person’s 18th birthday.

Officers informed that they had placed eleven young people in social housing as opposed to last year where there was a low number of just one young person placed in social housing. This was a significant improvement.

 

The Panel discussed the information they heard and a number of questions and comments was put forward to officers.

 

The care leaver representative raised questions on the reduction of numbers of children in care and wanted clarity on whether the reduction was due to early intervention, and also whether the coronavirus pandemic was addressed as the number of children in care was proportionally higher; officers responded that there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29/20

30/20

Exam Results, Exclusion and SEN

The Exam Results, Exclusion and SEN report is attached.

[To Follow]

Minutes:

This item was adjourned to be heard at the November Panel meeting.

31/20

Engagement Achievement (inc. complaints and leaving care opportunities)

The engagement achievement report is attached.

[To Follow]

Minutes:

This item was adjourned to be heard at the November Panel meeting.

32/20

Annual Report of Virtual School pdf icon PDF 719 KB

The Annual Report of Virtual School is attached.

[To Follow]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Virtual School spoke to the report and shared that within the last six months in education, things had been different to what was considered normal. Within the report was information for the whole of the last year.

 

Some of the highlights from the virtual school included the PEPs which exceeded their targets for 2019/20 and was quality assured as ‘outstanding’; and the youth funds had seen five young person or a looked after child start in the Leaving Care Academy as apprentices. They would directly be involved with the panel and other parts of the service, and this was a proud moment. The work was broadly in line with Key Stage 4. The cohort was a different group many with additional needs.

 

There was also outstanding results with the younger children who ranked second overall nationally for Key Stage 1-2 progress; and eighteen young people was confirmed to be going to university.

 

Panel Members congratulated the work achieved by the Virtual School. It was a celebratory to students achieving such great work within the society.

Though there were positive compliments to the virtual school, it was noted that there were two young person who were permanently excluded due to extreme circumstances. Members enquired of the extreme circumstances reported in the report and the subsequent pathway provided to the young person. Officers informed that the exclusion was a consequence to a large public disturbance within a criminal nature, and thus it was difficult for the two young persons involved to remain within the school safely. Members wanted clarification that students who were looked after were not managed by that process.

 

The care leaver representative commended on the young people acknowledging that the current pandemic did not affect their performance in education, which was a great achievement. Comments were made regarding the proposed apprentices to ensure that the care leavers were supported, seen and treated as professionals and not treated any different, due to their experience. Officers informed that they were working with the youth service coordinator around the recruitment for apprentices to ensure young people do not have a negative experience.

 

The foster career representative also noted the good work achieved from virtual school in looked after children and summer events that took place. This was a two-hour face to face event that was only offered to school year 11; and though it was a missed opportunity for the young people of all ages to benefit from this, it was understandable. Reflecting the report, it was noted that the virtual school were able to support children particularly vulnerable. There were two cases where children were not able to attend school during the lockdown and this needed to be added to the chart within their report to reflect a true picture especially if victual school was involved. Officers welcomed the information shared to review in further detail.

 

Further comments included the notion that virtual school teachers working from home and was able to complete PEPS, but also foster carer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32/20

33/20

Mentoring and Careers Guidance for Looked After Children and Care Leavers Mentoring and Independent Visitor work pdf icon PDF 242 KB

The report of the Independent Visitor Service and Mentoring Service including careers guidance for looked after children is attached.

 

[To Follow]

Minutes:

The Head Teacher of Virtual School speak to the report.

 

The report drew a number of different strands and scheme across the council; independent visitor’s services and the largest number of young persons have mentors. With the virtual service mentoring scheme, there were nineteen mentors trained, some from council and others from local business who met with their young person weekly across the year to help. Officers further informed that the mentoring continued during the coronavirus pandemic, though there was a small number due to referrals. The young people part of the scheme had positive things to say about the mentoring service.

 

In response to Panel Members questions relating to the low numbers of looked after children not having mentors, whether they know how to ask for a mentor, and whether there is enough adults to take on the role, officers informed that there were enough volunteers to help take on the mentoring role. Social workers would advertise the mentoring with their young person, however, the low numbers had been a result to some young people having a lot of adults in their life and may not require any further adults for additional support, though there were some young people who did require additional support. Officers noted that there had not been a huge uptake for mentoring and there were additional options offered.

 

Further comments was shared by the Panel informing that the youth service needed clarity for the mentoring programme to know what was best suited for the young people. Panel Members wanted to see more complaints covered within the report. Officers acknowledged the comments and what needed to be followed up.

 

The Panel RESOLVED to note the report.

34/20

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:

§  Comments were made that there were many committees and panels overlapping and also with new government arrangement. With regards to the RAG rating, there was a lot of overlapping and Panel Members would like to see a pathway with more clarity to who was doing what to avoid duplication.

 

§  There were consensus comments that it would be useful to have joint meeting in terms of government review to comment on, with a small of people to discuss.

 

§  Comments of sharing and holding officers in account to education and mainstream, and observing the fantastic work achieved and also suitable accommodation around this.

 

§  Comments on the challenges that had come forward though the pathway plans and an earlier challenge from last meeting relating to driving the aspirations around young people, and aims for university and beyond, had been beneficial to hear and push back from the Panel.

35/20

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider and approve the Panel’s work programme for the municipal year 2020/21.

Minutes:

This item was adjourned to be heard at the November Panel meeting.

36/20

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 was not required.