Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Panel
Wednesday, 15th January, 2020 5.00 pm

Venue: F10, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

1/20

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 13 November 2019 as an accurate record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2019 were agreed as an accurate record.

 

2/20

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.

 

3/20

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.

4/20

Update on actions agreed at previous meeting(s)

Minutes:

The officers updated the Panel with the status of the actions agreed at the previous Corporate Parenting Panel:

 

Children in Care Performance Card:

1.    For a report of the timescales to report back to Committee (for confidence and reassurance that the pathway plans is scrutinised).

 

The quality and timeliness around the completion of performance cards were significantly improving, and new care plans had been co-designed with care leavers in Croydon. Social workers were unable to complete these unless they were with the young person to ensure the plans were focused on them. There were currently twenty young people with an outstanding care plan, which had effected the statistics regarding completion, however, this was due to technical issues rather than them not being completed.

 

In response to questions from the Panel the Head of Social Work with Children Looked After and Care Leavers clarified the following:

 

·         The plans were formally updated every six months with the young person, within 20 days of their review.

·         The plans should be continually updated during visits from the social worker.

·         The service would continue to seek feedback from the young people regarding the new form to ensure continuous improvement.

·         The pathway plans were for the young person to own and co-produce alongside their social worker. The plans were not be completed without the young person being present to ensure they were involved with the full process.

·         The electronic care record system monitored when plans had been completed or were outstanding.

 

Annual Report of Virtual School (Data Update):

2.    Virtual School to provide an overview of the spending in pupil premium.

 

There would be an update provided for the next Panel on 4 March 2020.

 

Following from discussion these actions received further actions, as listed below:

 

Annual Report of Virtual School (Data Update):

 

3.    CEO to work with Director of Early Help and Children's Social Care to look at how the service and the Council (as an organisation) could create opportunities to children.

ACTION – For an update to be distributed to Panel Members and to provide a verbal update at the next Panel on 4 March 2020.

 

4.    CEO to work with the Director of Human Resources to raise the role of volunteering within the Council to support the Looked After Children Service (assisting young children in reading etc).

ACTION – For an update to be distributed to Panel Members and to provide a verbal update at the next Panel on 4 March 2020.

 

5.    To consider and introduce group therapy to young children as an alternative to one to one therapy.

ACTION – For an update regarding the Steering Group and their progress to be presented at the next Corporate Parenting Panel.

ACTION – The Head of Social Work with Children Looked After and Care Leavers to distribute the various schemes available for young people to receive group and one-to-one therapy to all foster carers.

5/20

Children in Care Performance Scorecard pdf icon PDF 306 KB

The Children in Care Performance Scorecard for November 2019 is attached.

Minutes:

The Director of Early Help and Children’s Social Care, Nick Pendry, introduced the report and explained that Children’s Services were currently in a period of improvement. In terms of staffing and management, he confirmed that new permanent social workers were due to start soon, which would improve the performance of service, particularly in relation to ensuring pathway plans and care plans were up-to-date.

 

Panel Members expressed concern for the figures marked as red in the report, in regards to NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training); the Chair agreed with the concerns and requested a full report be presented on the progress with NEET at the next Corporate Parenting Panel on 4 March 2020. The Director of Early Help and Children’s Social Care also agreed to present the results from the audit activity to the next Panel to show the improvements that had happened, as a lot of ongoing positive work was not captured within the report.

 

ACTION – To present a full report on NEET to the next CPP on 4 March 2020.

 

In response to comments raised by a co-optee the Head of Social Work with Children Looked After explained that the target for percentage of Annual Reviews of Foster Carers completed on time was 95%, and was therefore marked as red. She noted that a clear plan for the next year had been established and the reviews would be set at an 11-month target to ensure they were all held timely, therefore, she was expecting 100% of annual reviews to be completed.

 

A Foster Carer congratulated Children’s Services on the improvement she had seen with social workers; an increase of social workers and they were ensuring looked after children were visited every four weeks. The Foster Carer sought clarification regarding the indicator referenced LAC 10, as it noted that visits should be completed every six weeks. The Head of Social work with Children Looked After clarified that locally social workers were encouraged to conduct home visits every four weeks, however, the reporting was measured against statutory requirements, which was every six weeks.

 

In response to queries from the Panel in regards to Personal Education Plans (PEPs) the Head of Virtual School explained that the percentage of looked after children with an updated PEP had been reported at 63%, however, these figures fluctuated as they were completed within school term time so were affected by school holidays.

 

RESOLVED – That the Panel noted the report.

 

 

6/20

Children Looked After Health Commissioning and Performance pdf icon PDF 198 KB

This report provides additional clarity on the actions being undertaken to improve the performance; and also an overview of the provision of services to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health of children looked after and actions relating to these services.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Children and Maternity Integrated Commissioning - Amanda Tuke, Senior Commissioning Manager - Laura Saunders, and the Head of Commissioning and Procurement Children's, Family and Education - Pasquale Brammer introduced the report and highlighted the following:

 

  • Statutory guidance required that initial health assessments (IHAs) were delivered within twenty working days of the child becoming looked after. Notification to the Children Looked After nursing team would be received within three working days and the IHA would be delivered within sixteen working days. If the referrals were received punctually then the statutory deadline was almost always met. Health nurses would often speed up the assessment to try and hit the twenty working day deadline.
  • The data, included in the report, showed that there had been a significant improvement on timeliness of IHAs compared with previous years, however, they were still looking at strengthening the quality of the assessments.
  • Ensuring the management of repayments to outside boroughs were prioritised to maintain a good reputation with commissioners.
  • Young people declining health assessments was a challenge, particularly with out of borough children.
  • The Health and Wellbeing of Children Looked After Strategic Board chose themes and determined what was working well and where there were areas for improvement; longer term plans were then created and introduced. The Board focused on individual cases, and monitored whether there were any trends with the statistics.
  • Focus was emphasised to those young people who had not attended or had declined their health assessments to encourage them to have their assessments; it was not mandatory for the young people to have their assessments after the age of 16 and they had the right to decline.
  • The percentage of children in care for the last 12 months who had updated health assessments was 91.4%, as opposed to the two previous years which was 66.5% and 79.4%.
  • There was an ongoing review to improve how health pathways for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) could be completed in a timely manner and to improve inclusivity; the challenges with UASC were often bespoke.
  • Approximately 100 children in care were referred to South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) per year, and Off The Record provided support to approximately 150 looked after children, of which almost 100 children were UASC.
  • There were high waiting times for young people and a high threshold for young people to meet the requirements of the available services. This was a national challenge, which was continuously improving, and it was noted that Croydon were performing to a higher standard than a lot of other areas across the country.
  • From February 2020, the existing multi-agency Single Point of Contact (SPOC) service would expand to include emotional wellbeing and mental health.
  • Practitioners from SLaM would be co-located at Bernard Weatherill House, along with specialists from: social care, early help, health visiting services, education, safeguarding, police, and housing services.
  • A new online referral form had been developed to ensure all information sharing and user confidentiality concerns had been addressed.
  • The service would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/20

7/20

Annual Report of Adoption Service and Panel (Inc. plans/update of regional adoption agency) pdf icon PDF 99 KB

There are 3 reports attached:

 

1.     Annual Adoption Agency Report

          A summary of the adoption service activities over the last financial year

 

2.     Annual Adoption Panel Report

          A report by the independent chair on the activities of the Adoption Panel

 

3.     Update on the transfer and progress of Adoption London South

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Head of Social Work with Children Looked After introduced the report and explained that Adopt London South (ALS) was a significant change to Croydon, and affected all county and city councils across the UK. The Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) model was in its early stages, however, it had been showing positive signs; it was noted that working as smaller agencies was not the most productive method.

 

The Service Manager, Children Families and Education, Ian Forbes, explained that he was the lead on permanence and had been working closely to ensure a smooth transition to the RAA model. He highlighted the following to the Panel:

 

·       It had been a challenge in Croydon, and other South London regions, to recruit adopters.

·       Adoption Support was in need of improvement and one team had been formed to tackle the increasing demand.

·       Two members of staff from Croydon Council had transitioned to working for ALS to work closely with children from Croydon; they met every Monday to track their development plans for adoption. All staff had now been transitioned to permanent posts within the agency.

·       The RAA adoption scorecards tracked the young people on a three year average, which would have an impact on timescales and delivery to previously set deadlines; this would need to be highlighted to Ofsted.

·       Croydon Council met with the RAA monthly and had good oversight of the service. The young people had been tracked tightly through the transition period and it had been ensured they all had updated adoption plans.

 

In response to questions asked by a Care Leaver present, regarding the adoption process, the Service Manager clarified the following:

 

·       A means test was completed to establish if the adopter was applicable for Adoption Allowance; it was not similar to the arrangement with Foster Carers’ Allowance as not many adopters were eligible and an allowance was not encouraged as they wanted the adopter to claim the child as theirs and not for financial gain.

·       The adoption process was voluntary, so the adopters could withdraw at any time throughout.

·       Adopters were asked if they were currently trying to conceive and the adoption process would be paused to ensure the young person being adopted was focused on. It was noted that most agencies would ask couples to use contraception throughout the adoption process.

·       Prospective parents would provide a book about themselves including their hobbies, pets and photos of their family so the young person could read this with their social worker to develop an attachment. Currently, foster carers did not provide books for the young people, however, by 2021 all foster carers would have completed a profile, which would be viewable by the young person.

·       Prospective parents received a 3-4 day intensive training course and would meet children who had been through the adoption process. National and local training courses would continue to be extended to parents throughout the process, material would be recommended and there were support groups available.

 

EMPIRE enquired as to whether the young person could withdraw from the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/20

8/20

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:

The Panel highlighted the accomplishments and discussed changes to help

Children in Care.

 

A big thank you was awarded to EMPIRE and the young people present for attending the meeting and their valuable contributions to the discussions.

9/20

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To consider and approve the Panel’s work programme for the municipal year 2019/20.

Minutes:

The Work Programme was received for information.

10/20

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.