Agenda and minutes

You Matter to Us- Corporate Parenting Board - Wednesday 10th February, 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Susie Blood 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillors High and McTigue.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


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


Minutes from Corporate Parenting Board meeting held on 14 December pdf icon PDF 437 KB


The minutes of Corporate Parenting Board held on 14 December 2020 were read and agreed as a true record.


Covid-19 update

The Director of Children’s Services will provide a verbal update to the Board in relation to Covid-19.


The Chair invited the Director of Children's Service to provide am update in respect to Covid 19. The Director advised that she was updating the Corporate Parenting Board as well as the Scrutiny Panel's. This was an action that came from the Improvement plan and is highlighted within the Recovery plan.


In terms of Social care workers, the Board were advised that all social workers were working virtually, however in terms of visits to children, these should be done face-to face with virtual being an exception. Is a child is to be seen virtually, this is to be signed off by a Manager.


In terms of vulnerable children ,there is a real push to ensure these children are in school. Children Services receive daily information from Public Health England on those vulnerable children who have covid or who are self- isolating and there is also a direct line for schools to report any absence of a vulnerable child who has failed to attend school with no explanation.  A note is placed on the child's file and passed to the Social Worker, than a RAG rating is placed red/amber/green and a safety plan is put in place. The system is working and the service cross reference with attendance spreadsheets from schools.


The Director advised that the attendance levels of vulnerable children in school is not what she hoped and she was encouraging attendance of vulnerable children wherever possible. For example, there was approximately 70% of vulnerable children in schools. Those children who they would be looking to get into schools would be those on child protection orders (at present less than 50%) and therefore there are discussions taking place with social workers to address this.


The Director advised that she reports regularly to REACT, which is with representatives from the Department of Education, who hold Middlesbrough to account regionally. Staffing is measured between 0-10% of staff who are not available, however the staff sickness levels are quite low.


Following the update, a number of questions posed:


1.       Have all escorts for school transport been vaccinated?


In response, the Board were advised that all escorts have been vaccinated.


2.       In terms of vulnerable children, is it compulsory for them to attend school?


In response, the Director outlined that there is very strong guidance to suggest all vulnerable children should attend school as it is the safest place.


3.       Social worker visits- how often do these take place?


The needs of the child vary and this is determined by the needs of the child.


4.       How are situations of vulnerable children not attending school being addressed?


In response, the Director advised that vulnerable children are allocated a social worker and they are strongly encouraged to attend school.


5.       Although, the Board is aware that teachers carry out lateral flow tests, when is it likely for teachers to be vaccinated?


All Middlesbrough schools are open and all staff who work in special schools have been vaccinated, as they are not just teaching but also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/57


Update from Cleveland Police - Philomena Protocol


Detective Chief Inspector 754 Deb Fenny will provide an update to the Board.


The Chair welcomed Detective Chief Inspector 754 Deb Fenny to the meeting to provide an update to the Board on the Philomena Protocol.


The Detective Chief Inspector outlined that the Philomena Protocol went live across the 4 local authorities in January 2021, and the Force was still in the process of recruiting the missing from home coordinators to promote the protocol across the local authorities. Once the coordinators were in post, they would be deployed across the force and embedded within the departments to ensure a coordinated approach was carried out in the event of a 'missing from home'.


As outlined at the last meeting, the Detective Chief Inspector outlined that the protocol is used when a child in care goes missing and used for the high risk child who go missing from home. As the protocol had just been relaunched, there was currently no statistical information on its roll out, however it was hoped more information could be provided to the Board at the March meeting.


The Chair asked whether it would be possible for the Protocol to be circulated to all Board members and for the Chief Inspector to provide a data set of effectiveness since in cane into place and comparisons to previous years.


AGREED- That the update be noted



Voice of the Child/ Participation update pdf icon PDF 897 KB

The Voice of the Child Coordinator will provide a presentation to the Board and the Support worker for the Member and Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Middlesbrough will provide the Board with an update.


The Chair welcome the Beth Bradshaw, Voice of the Child Manager and Laurie Hunter, support officer for the Member of Youth Parliament  (MYP)f or Middlesbrough to the meeting.


The Support officer firstly shared an online blog which had been produced by the member of youth Parliament for Middlesbrough and Deputy Member of Youth Parliament. .


The Support officer read out the blog from the Deputy Member of Youth Parliament from Middlesbrough, which was as follows:


Hi everyone!


I'm Batool (the DMYP) and recently, alongside (the MYP) Muskaan and Middlesbrough Council, we have launched Middlesbrough's very own Youth Council!

We had the launch meeting on the 14th of January and had 22 wonderful attendees. During the launch we explained the aims of the Youth Council and got to know a bit about each other and how everyone would like the Youth Council to be ran. It's important for us to be flexible around other young people's timetables since we understand how hectic life can be. We also played a Kahoot quiz, which became slightly competitive but fun nonetheless!

Our agenda for the next session is to elucidate to everyone the components of a meeting, so the Chair, minute taker and Blogger and also collate what the Members' priorities are. This way, we can hopefully have a vote and decide what to campaign about/ focus on for the future. I can't wait!



At the meeting, Muskaan are the Chair and Batool was minute taker. The Support Worker shared some of the positive feedback the Youth Council from some of the participates. The Youth Council has made a big influence on young people's mental health and they are happy and excited to see its future.


The Chair asked the Support Officer to convey the Board thanks to the MYP, DMYP and Youth Council members and asked whether in the future whether members of the Board could be invited to one of the meetings.


The Voice of the Children Mananger went on to provide an update to the Board in relation to Participation. Her presentation was to update the Corporate Parenting Board on participation activity across Children's services.


The following areas were discussed:


1.     Middlesbrough Youth Council


22 Young people aged 11-18 attended the initial launch meeting – January 2021.


At the second meeting of the Youth Council, the group consulted on their key focus areas and agreed the following:


·         A Curriculum for Life

·         Tackle Child Poverty

·         Increase racial awareness in the curriculum

·         Free University

·         Take Action on the Climate Emergency


The group agreed that:

·         Meetings would take place every 3 weeks 

·         Young people will be allocated specific roles to support the group.


This will be decided by an election process.


The Coordinator also advised that they had been looking at wider participation through the children in care Council and have been engaging through social media as well as other communication paths.


The Cleveland Police Youth Commission held a number of workshops and invited Middlesbrough young people to attend, some of the themes were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/59


MALAP Spotlight report

The Chair of the Corporate Parenting Board will provide a verbal update on progress made in relation to spotlight 1 and will invite the Voice of the Child coordinator to discuss the proposal for spotlight 2.


The Chair provided an update in respect to the Multi agency looked after partnership (MALAP) spotlight reports. She advised that the Board that there were now going ot be 2 spotlight reports running in parallel with each other.


In terms of Spotlight 1 report, the Chair had been interviewing Chairs of Corporate Parenting Board whose local authority children's services were deemed good to outstanding, however after a discussion with the Chair of the Director of Children's services was now in touch with two authorities who were on the same journey of improvement as Middlesbrough- Wakefiled and Bradford.


The Improvement Officer for Middlesbrough also works for Wakefield and Bradford and therefore it seems helpful to speak to these authorities.


The Chair had advised that the Chairs' whom she had spoken to, were keen to develop a Chair of Corporate Parent Board forum, which would allow further exploration and to share good practice.


The Chair invited the Voice of the Child Manager to address the Board to discuss plans for Spotlight 2.


Our aim of the spotlight is to show that the children of Middlesbrough matter by the Corporate Parenting Board.


The Corporate Parenting Board has six focus areas:


1.      Your Home

2.      Your Family and Friends

3.      Your Education

4.      Your Adult Life

5.      Your Health and Wellbeing

6.      Your Voice and Influence.



The aim of the proposal is that each board member is allocated to a specific guiding principle and is responsible for leading in that area.


Each board member is allocated to a specific Guiding principle and is responsible for leading in that area.


It is proposed that board member/s will make a pledge to support that specific area for 6 months. The video will include:


·        What their Guiding principle is

·        What this means for children and young people

·        What their pledge is for the next 6 months

·        How this will impact on the lives of children/young people.


Next steps


1.      An initial meeting for all councillors who are on the Corporate Parenting Board committed to supporting this work will be organised. This would provide more insight on their role. Expressions of interest to be sent to Susie Blood.

2.      Councillors will be asked to express their interest in 2 areas, some councillors can choose to work together.

3.      Council officers will work alongside the councillors to create measurable outcomes for their area and monitor progress.

4.      The spotlight reports will be delivered at scheduled meetings throughout the year.



·        That the progress made with spotlight 1 be noted.

·        That an email to circulated by the Democratic Services officer to all councillors in respect to spotlight 2



Adoption Tees Valley- bi -annual report pdf icon PDF 666 KB

The Service Manager will provide a presentation to the Board.


The Chair welcomed the Service Manager from Adoption Tees Valley to present the bi-annual report which covered the period of 1.4.20-30.9.20


The Manager advised that she would discuss some of the key issues/ challenges and issue how this has been overcome. The first 6 months of the year has been dominated by Covid which brought challenges, although ATV dealt with the challenges were dealt with well and in terms of children being adopted, the service had placed more children than the corresponding period in the previous year.




Covid undoubtedly has had a massive impact on adoptive services, and on planning for children to be placed with their permanent new families.


The government issued amended regulations and flexibilities on operating adoption services and these were reflected upon, including how ATV has used the flexibilities.


The Manager advised that one of the main aspects that stopped initially during the first lockdown of the pandemic was the placing of children. Like many local authorities, Middlesbrough chose to temporary stop moving children into adoptive families, however continued to develop childrens' care plans and matches to panel.


During this time ATV worked with the Adoption leads across the Tees Valley (Paula Jemson in Middlesbrough) and developed a thorough risk assessment to include everyone who would be included in the child's plan in moving on e.g. child, foster carer, adoptive parents, and all workers.


When ATV decided to start to reintroduce visits, these risk assessments continued and are signed off by the service Manager.


Children began to move into their adoptive families in May 2020. Each placement was underpinned by the risk assessment, taking account of all parties, and in line with Stockton Borough Council policy for covid, and policies for the placing Local authority. In the first 2 quarters 45 children have been placed with adoptive families, compared to 33 from the previous year.  Placing children takes integrated collective work with children's services and this has been a real success.

Amended regulations from Government.


The manager advised that the government issues a number of amendments to the regulations, these were as follows:


·         Adoption agencies were no longer required to constitute and adoption panel but had the power to do so. If they chose to constitute an adoption panel, only 3, instead of 5, panel members, of which one must be an independent person, were required for it to be quorate.

·         Adoption agencies were permitted to make a decision that a prospective adopter may enter the assessment (Stage 2) even if information in relation to the health of the adopter, and the DBS had not yet been obtained. Where the agency decided that the adopter was not suitable to adopt because of information received in relation to these checks in stage 2, the prospective adopter may not make an application to have their case reviewed by the IRM.

·         The adoption agency may decide that a child relinquished for adoption does not require being referred to the adoption panel.

·         The adoption agency may decide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/61


Any other bussiness