Agenda and draft minutes

You Matter to Us- Corporate Parenting Board - Wednesday 28th October, 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Susie Blood  01642729645

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor McTigue and Councillor Garvey.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.



Minutes- Corporate Parenting Board - 17 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 237 KB

The minutes of the xxxx held on xxxx were submitted and approved as a correct record.


The minutes of the Corporate Parenting Board held on 17 September 2020 were read and accepted as a true record.


Actions - 17 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 263 KB

The Democratic Services Officer will present the actions taken from the meeting on 17 September 2020.


The Democratic Services officer provided an update on the actions taken at the meeting on 17 September 2020 and outstanding actions from previous meetings.


AGREED- That the actions be noted



Feedback from Ofsted Monitoring Visit pdf icon PDF 128 KB

The Director of Children's Services will provide feedback from the recent Ofsted monitoring visit.


The Director of Children's services provided feedback to the Board following the recent Ofsted monitoring visit.


The Director first outlined that Children's Services now had a new logo- Middlesbrough Children Matter, which was a positive step and would provide focus.


The Board were made aware that this was the first virtual inspection , which had been carefully planned and carried out of 2 days. Prior to the inspection, the Council had provided documents and evidence  for the Inspectors.


During the visit, the inspectors reviewed the progress made at the 'front door' of the service, with a focus on:

·         the quality and screening of referrals,

·         the identification of and response to risk,

·         the understanding by partner agencies of threshold decisions for social work support,

·         and the quality of initial assessment and planning

A  range of evidence was considered, including electronic case records, case discussions with social workers, the elected member for children’s services and senior leaders, and management and performance reports provided by the local authority.


Overall findings


Ofsted outlined that the local authority has made some progress in improving certain areas. The word some is used by Ofsted as a mean of evidence progress. The areas of improvement were as follow:

·         the social work practice in their ‘front door’ service

·         the immediate response to 16-17-year-old homeless young people

·         performance monitoring including a new quality assurance framework

·         their strategic oversight of services for children and young people.

The Board were made aware that in terms of the multi-agency Children's Hub (MACH), Middlesbrough had a joint MACH with Redcar and Cleveland, however from the first inspection, it was evident that Middlesbrough did not have sufficient oversight of the service and therefore it was decided to disaggregate, which has been great progress.


Despite the progress the Director outlined that it was pointed out that  leaders know that there is significant work to do in improving the quality of practice for children and young people in other areas of the service which remains not good enough.


The Director outlined some of the strengths of findings:




·         The Director of Children's Services has demonstrated a determination and vision for improving the quality of interventions that will make a difference for children and their families.

·         There is a continuing commitment from the Chief Executive and lead member both of whom are fully engaged in the improvement work.

·         Senior leaders have a realistic understanding of the endemic weakness in social work practice informing an appropriately focused improvement plan.

·         There has been an exponential increase in demand due to a necessary change in the application of thresholds for service, and a lack of throughput of children’s cases.

·         Manager oversight has also improved some areas of social work practice, but this is not consistent. The supervision of social workers is not always regular or effective.

·         Caseloads are too high and are affecting social workers’ ability to provide a timely service for children and their families. The Director outlined that the service was embarking on a significant piece of work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/34


Voice of the Child /Participation update

The Voice of the Child Participation Co-Ordinator will provide an update to the Board in relation to the work to expand the voice of the child. The Support officer for the Member of Youth Parliament for Middlesbrough (MYP) will provide a verbal update from the representatives.


The Chair welcomed the Voice of the Child Coordinator to provide an update to the Board on work surrounding participation and work of our member of Youth Parliament for Middlesbrough. The Coordinator firstly thanked the Board for making Participation a standard item

The Board were shown a video blog produced by the Member of Youth Parliament for Middlesbrough, Muskaan which provided an update on progress since the last meeting. The key messages were as follows:

• The Member of Youth Parliament - Muskaan (MYP) and Deputy Member of Youth Parliament - Batool (DMYP) were sad to see their Participation Officer Beth leave for University, however they were thrilled to meet Laurie who will support them. Laurie is up to date with their priorities and they are meeting regularly.
• Muskaan and Batool worked with Abi Tang and other MYPs in the North to organise and plan a Recycling convention. Then helped and worked as a facilitator for the convention, gathered ideas and knowledge to use in our own area.
• The representatives tried to meet with Councillor Antony High to discuss our ideas for Middlesbrough but the meeting wasn’t the most successful due to technical issues so they will try to reorganise a date to re meet.
• ReuseRefill campaign- they are trying to battle during more lockdown restrictions to be able to start our reusable bottle campaign around Middlesbrough. They have collected contact information and ways for them to take part however Covid is a massive issue and has impacted.
• The representatives are still trying to organise development of the Youth Council, however they have decided to wait till after the New Year to take it to schools as there’s still too much uncertainty and schools are bust with COVID.


The Panel were pleased to hear of their progress and looked forward to future updates.

In terms of wider participation, the Voice of the Child Coordinator provided a presentation on work underway.


• Developing the Tell Us More Survey - a process to allow children, young people, parents and carers to give honest feedback on the service that they receive. The tell us more survey had over 100 responses and in terms of care leavers, the service engaged with 89 young people. The Board requested that a breakdown of responses be brought back to the next meeting of the Board.
• Reviewing the Nation Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) contract and the usage in Middlesbrough. The number of young people engaging are quite low so the Participation team is working to address this.
• Reviewing the communications with young people, parents, carers and the workforce.
• Developing the Middlesbrough Children Matter website -This website will be the hub of information for children, young people, parents and carers. The service hope to launch the website on 13 November 2020. The Coordinator advised that she is hopeful that now there is one central point for information sharing, more young people will become interested in joining groups. There has always been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/35


Multi- Agency Looked After Children Partnership (MALAP) - Relaunch pdf icon PDF 300 KB

The Chair of Corporate Parenting Board will present a proposal to the Board in respect to relaunching the MALAP.


The Chair of Corporate Parenting Board provided the Board with a presentation in relation to rethinking the Multi agency looked after partnership (MALAP) and how the Corporate Parenting Board could work more effectively with the MALAP.


The Chair advised that she had been working with the Vice Chair, Director and Children's Services and the Director of Children's Care to highlight some of the issues with the MALAP, including for example, how it feedbacks to the Corporate Parenting Board, ways of engagement, the need for clear strategies to raise awareness and developments and the need to address concerns raised from the Ofsted report.



In order to do this, the Board were made aware of the need to rethink priorities and aims of the MALAP, to include:


1. covering topic areas related to MALAP activity and deliver against Corporate Parenting Board strategies

2. connect with priorities of Children Looked After

3. devise a workable strategy whose outcomes may be easily reported back to CPB

4. engage members of CPB

5. be readily accountable for the delivery of outcomes and able to consider ways forward.



By doing this, the Chair outlined that we were linking to the guiding principles of care leavers (e.g. your home, your friends and family and your needs and wishes) as well linking to the priorities of care leavers (e.g. prevention on the edge of care, permanency planning and voice, participation and influence).


The Chair therefore outlined that it was hoped that in order for the Corporate Parenting Board to challenge and contribute to the MALAP, this could be done through a series of spotlight reports, which would:


1. decide upon relevant topic

2. organise a group of members of CPB to investigate

3. investigations to be completed between each CPB meeting

4. results reported back to meeting(agenda item)

5. evaluation of findings

6. actions determined

7. make decisions to implement changes/improvements

8. review methodology after some SPOTLIGHT reports

9. Support offered to all members conducting investigations

10. verification that reports are accountable and validated through Performance Management and Quality Assurance processes.


Suggested topics could look at:


• the role of members in Corporate Parenting

• young people delivering training to corporate parents

• life story work

• meeting children’s health needs and improving performance in health assessments

• children placed at a distance from town

• The offer to care leavers (to link with Care Leavers Week)


 From discussions and from agreement from Board members, it was agreed that the first spot light report would conduct a review into how other Corporate Parenting Boards in other Councils Local Authorities as work effectively together.


 The objectives of the review would be to :


1. to investigate practice elsewhere

2. to compare practice

3. to tease out aspects of excellent practice

4. to ascertain to what extend we can adapt our practice to make it excellent

5. To implement improvements

6. 4 members will work on the spotlight report- Councillors Garvey, Higgins, Walker and Wright

7. Each member will be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/36


The Police and their support towards Children Looked After

Detective Chief Inspector 754 Deb Fenny from Cleveland Police will provide a presentation to the Board.


The Chair welcomed Chief Inspector Deb Fenny from Cleveland Police to the meeting. Although The Chief Inspector had been present at previous meetings of the Board, the Chair had sent some questions prior to the meeting to gather further insight to her role within the Force and with children looked after.


The Chief Inspector answered the following questions:


Please could you provide an overview of your work and your contact areas’.


The Chief Inspector outlined that she was Lead in the Force for child abuse and vulnerable adults across the 4 local authority areas. She also lead a special detective team that dealt with child abuse and lead management of the MACH on the south side.


The Chief Inspectors role also engaged services within the centre of Middlesbrough that support victims of domestic abuse, vulnerable adults and sex offender management unit.

Further to this, the Chief Inspector sits on the Quality and assurance group and Chairs the development and working group for the South side whilst sitting on the equivalent on the North.


The Chief Inspector further added she was the lead in the force for the Encompass project which worked with schools.


How can you support us in our role as corporate parents?


The Chair Inspector had a place on Middlesbrough's Corporate Parenting Board and also sits on other local authorities Boards, Stockton being the main. The Inspector would act as the main conduit for the Police and outlined she would be happy to share learning and initiatives from other local authorities with the Board.

How do you see your role fitting into the wider improvement plan within children’s services? E.g. Partnership working generally, the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, police powers of protection, development of the MACH, strategy discussion meetings.


In terms of the wider improvement plan, the Chief Inspector outlined that she had oversight of all of the MACH and overseeing the restructuring of the teams resources. This was a large piece of work for the Chief Inspector and the Improvement team, and they had employed an outside agency to look at their capacity and demand on resources to ensure their work was succinct and ensure that the Police work more coherently with partners.


How is your service supporting the Future for Families HUB and wider children looked after work within Middlesbrough?


The Board were made aware that the Police have a present within the HUB, however this was not within the Chief Inspectors remit.


Are you aware of the wider Middlesbrough Children’s matters work?


Lastly, the Chief Inspector advised that she was aware of the work and had been part of strategic and operational meetings. However if there were specific themes and issues which needed to be discussed, she would need further details prior to contributing from a police perspective.


The Chair thanked the Chief Inspector for her contribution and outlined that having a police presence on the Board was essential to ensuring everyone was on the same page for our vulnerable children in Middlesbrough.


There was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/37


Virtual Schools update

The Head of Virtual schools will provide a verbal update to the Board.


The  Head of Virtual schools was in attendance following a request from the Corporate Parenting Board in relation to transition of Children Looked after from  year 11 to 12 and year 5 to 6.


The Corporate Parenting Board has also requested the data in relation to Key stage 4 results, however the Head of Virtual schools advised that these results were not yet validated, however the Board had a right to query and therefore she would provide an overview of results.



In terms of transitions, the Board were advised of the following:


Year 11 to year 12


·         There were 40 children in year 11 who transited to year 12 whilst in the care of Middlesbrough Local authority. All children are Rated RAG on complexity of the transition need.


·         7 (17%) RAGed red in June meaning we thought these young people were at the greatest risk of becoming Not in Education, employment or training (NEET).


·         9 (22%) Young People where RAGed yellow indicating there were some barriers to overcome but the local authority were confident in securing placement for those young people.


·         5 (12%) young people are currently NEET with very complex backgrounds. The Local authority  predicted 7 as they were able to secure placement for two complex young people.


·         34 (85%) of Young people went onto education placements, 11 went to different placements from where they had planned to go in July (e.g. had enrolled on a hair and beauty course but changed courses) but none the less entered Further education.

·         The Local authority now have 54 Young people in Year 12 which is a 14 Young person  increase since July

·         With a total of 15 NEET (meaning 10 new to care  are NEET) 

·         There are 47 young people in  Year 13

·          17 being NEET.

·         23 are in Education

·         4 Are in Employment or training

·         In total there are 101 post 16 students.

·         69% of Care Leavers are in Education Employment or Training

·         31% are NEET 


In term of support for those young people who are NEET, the Head of Virtual schools outlined that there has been significant work undertaken to address this. Councillor M Smiles, Executive Member for Communities and Education had attended the Virtual school governing body and a discussion had taken place to how we can ink children looked after into Council apprenticeships. The Virtual schools had been working with the Interim Head of Looked after children and Corporate parenting to assign every young person with  key worker from the pathways team and there had been some discussion surrounding establishing a virtual college.


Year 6 Transition

·          There are 27 Students in Year 6

·         All students have a school place

·         81% are educated in the borough (which is approx. 22 students )

·         70 % have been in care for over 12 months (approx. 19)

·         Male/ Female split around 50/50

·         24 in mainstream schools

·         2 in Special Schools

·         1 in an Alternative Provision 


End of key stage 4


The Head of Virtual Schools advised that Board that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/38


Mental Health Assessments for Children looked After

Head of Virtual Schools will provide a verbal update to the Board. The Manager of Headstart will also provide some information into the work undertaken within the Headstart service..


Meeting deferred


Corporate Parenting Board Strategy- Consultation pdf icon PDF 7 MB

The Director of Children's Care and the Children’s Services Programme Manager will provide a presentation to the Board in respect to the consultation on the Corporate Parenting Strategy.


The Project support officer for the Corporate Parenting Programme was in attendance to provide an overview of the Corporate Parenting Strategy. The Board were made aware that the Programme Manager for the project was Rachel Farnham and the Project support officer had been involved in project work, part of this has been in the improvement board, in which the Corporate Parenting Strategy has been developed with Directors and key officers.

The Board were advised that the Strategy as currently out for consultation and any feedback would be appreciated. The Programme Manager advised that the consultation is an online link, but he would welcome any feedback via email or over the telephone.

It was agreed that a further separate session on the strategy would take place to allow the Programme Manager to feedback to the Board/ all councillors on the results from the consultation.


·         That the information be noted

·         That a further session to discuss the Corporate Parenting Strategy be arranged.



Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.