Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Board - Wednesday 30th March, 2022 1.00 pm

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Susie Blood 

Items
No. Item

21/1

Apologies for Absence

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for Absence

21/2

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

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

21/3

Minutes- Corporate Parenting Board- 15 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 361 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Corporate Parenting Board held on 15 February 2022 were submitted and approved as a true record.

 

Agreed- That the minutes be approved.

21/4

Performance against Corporate Parenting Board Strategy

The Head of Looked after children and Corporate Parenting will present the action plan to the Board.

Minutes:

Item deferred.

21/5

Review of Permanence Action Plan pdf icon PDF 826 KB

The Head of Looked after Children and Corporate Parenting will provide a report to the Board.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the Specialist Commissioning & Procurement Senior Manager to the meeting to provide an update of the highlight report of the Sufficiency action plan which was devised out the Corporate Parenting Board Strategy.

 

The Sufficiency Action Plan would be reviewed and updated as actions were completed or as new work was identified in the event of any changes to our sufficiency needs over the 3-year cycle of our plan. The Board last received an update in January 2022.

 

As with the Permanency action plan, the Sufficiency action plan was broken up into 6 themed areas, with a key accountable officer who works closely with the Manager.

 

The themes were as follows:

 

Theme 1 - Strengthening Commissioning for Children and Young People

Theme 2 – Increasing Placements Close to where Children and Young People live and learn

Theme 3 – Growing Early Intervention & Prevention

Theme 4 – Improving Placements & Support for Care Leavers

Theme 5 – Enhancing Learning Outcomes for Children & Young People

Theme 6 – Building Our Fostering Capacity and Adoption Outcomes

 

The Manager went through each of the priorities and identified what has been achieved since the action plan had been last updated. Full details of these were outlined in the report which had been circulated to the Board prior to the meeting. The Manager did advise that she had hoped to take the Market Engagement Plan in March 2022 to children’s services departmental management team (DMT), however there had been a slight delay and it would now be submitted in April 2022.

 

The Manager outlined the impact/ data and performance; these being:

 

·         Weekly reporting on all residential placements activity continues and is providing greater level of data on placement changes and needs.

·         In terms of risks: Staffing levels in all provisions continues to be challenging but this is being monitored and in the event that issues are identified we will work closely with providers and the service area to provide as much support and resilience as possible.

 

In terms of next steps, the Manager advised that they were as follows:

·         Undertake a refresh of the Action Plan at the April 2022 meeting in order to ensure we have all actions included

·         Ensure change controls are secured where any changes to deadlines are identified.

After the presentation, the Chair sought clarification as to whether the new homes were private. The Manager advised that they were, and although the Council have no control of them entering the area and opening, they ensure they know they are, what they deliver and have meetings with the services to make sure they are on board with regulations. The Council were aware that these beds may be filled with children from outside the area but ensure the council work within the sufficiency action plan and continue to have conversations were providers.

 

The Manager was thanked for her presentation.

 

AGREED- That the action plan be noted.

 

21/6

Review of Sufficiency Action Plan pdf icon PDF 740 KB

Thank you Claire Walker, Specialist Commissioning Manger will present the action plan to the Board.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the Specialist Commissioning & Procurement Senior Manager to the meeting to provide an update of the highlight report of the Sufficiency action plan which was devised out the Corporate Parenting Board Strategy.

 

The Sufficiency Action Plan would be reviewed and updated as actions were completed or as new work was identified in the event of any changes to our sufficiency needs over the 3-year cycle of our plan. The Board last received an update in January 2022.

 

As with the Permanency action plan, the Sufficiency action plan was broken up into 6 themed areas, with a key accountable officer who works closely with the Manager.

 

The themes were as follows:

 

Theme 1 - Strengthening Commissioning for Children and Young People

Theme 2 – Increasing Placements Close to where Children and Young People live and learn

Theme 3 – Growing Early Intervention & Prevention

Theme 4 – Improving Placements & Support for Care Leavers

Theme 5 – Enhancing Learning Outcomes for Children & Young People

Theme 6 – Building Our Fostering Capacity and Adoption Outcomes

 

The Manager went through each of the priorities and identified what has been achieved since the action plan had been last updated. Full details of these were outlined in the report which had been circulated to the Board prior to the meeting. The Manager did advise that she had hoped to take the Market Engagement Plan in March 2022 to children’s services departmental management team (DMT), however there had been a slight delay and it would now be submitted in April 2022.

 

The Manager outlined the impact/ data and performance; these being:

 

·         Weekly reporting on all residential placements activity continues and is providing greater level of data on placement changes and needs.

·         In terms of risks: Staffing levels in all provisions continues to be challenging but this is being monitored and in the event that issues are identified we will work closely with providers and the service area to provide as much support and resilience as possible.

 

In terms of next steps, the Manager advised that they were as follows:

 

·         Undertake a refresh of the Action Plan at the April 2022 meeting in order to ensure we have all actions included

·         Ensure change controls are secured where any changes to deadlines are identified.

After the presentation, the Chair sought clarification as to whether the new homes were private. The Manager advised that they were, and although the Council have no control of them entering the area and opening, they ensure they know they are, what they deliver and have meetings with the services to make sure they are on board with regulations. The Council were aware that these beds may be filled with children from outside the area but ensure the council work within the sufficiency action plan and continue to have conversations were providers.

 

The Manager was thanked for her presentation.

 

AGREED- That the action plan be noted.

 

21/7

Adoption Tees Valley- Bi -annual report pdf icon PDF 1020 KB

Vicky Davison- Boyd, Service Manager for Adoption Tees Valley (ATV) will provide present the bi-annual report to the Board.

Minutes:

The Chair welcome Vicky Davison- Boyd, Service Manager for Adoption Tees Valley (ATV) to the meeting, who provided an overview of the ATV bi-annual report 2021-22 which was from the period 1.4.2021- 30.09.2021.

 

The Manager provided the Board with data, however advised that she had been able to share figures  up until 31.12.21 as quarter 3 data was available.

 

ATV went through a review in 2021 as at that time the Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) was 3 years in to their implementation. ATV had an independent review which was facilitated by someone independent from RAA and he was part of the transformation team in Stockton Borough Council. He looked at the original objectives and looked at ATV progress. The findings were highlighted in the report, but they key areas were as follows:

1.     Positives- more adoption for children in care than the proceeding five years

2.     Pleased to review and identify that a broader range of children have been adopted from care. 20% of children over 5 years had been adopted from care and there had been a significant increase in placement of sibling groups.

3.     Timeliness hadn’t improved overall, however this has been a priority within ATV and with our partners. A number of children had waited a considerable amount of time to be adopted and their timelines have impacted on average timescales for children overall. It is positive that some children who have waited a long time, have now been adopted.

4.     Peer to peer work has been undertaken with Adoption in Merseyside to understand our processes and strengthen both agencies.

5.     Financial analysis of ATV- provided good value for money and operating below average unit cost for adoption, but we need to ensure we have staffing resource to meet the demand of assessment of adopters and to look at the sufficiency of our adoption placements.

The Service Manager provided a presentation with key information on the following:

Adoption orders- this was drawn from the scorecard used. The grey areas of the bar charts were Middlesbrough. There have been fewer adoption orders granted this year than expected due to the Somerset Ruling, however work done on permanence and through PMG had increased the adoption orders for MBC. There have been 20 adoption orders for MBC in the 9 month period, compared with 19 in the previous year.

 

Children placed for adoption- within the first 9 months of this year, there have been 24 children placed for adoption, compared with 22 in the same period previous year which shows that the work through PMG and permanence planning is being achieved.

Early permanence- ATV has been working more strategically and it is a strategic priority on a national and regional level. ATV work with the 5 local authorities and look at children who are able to have an early permanence plan.

 

There has been challenges with early permanence over the past 9 months, due to a number of reasons e.g. children returning to their birth parents in difficult circumstances. ATV  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/7

21/8

No Wrong Door (Future for Families) Pilot- Evaluation pdf icon PDF 21 MB

Abby Hennessey, Research Associate, What Works for Children's Social Care will provide the evaluation in respect to No wrong door (Future for Families).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Abby Hennessey, Research Associate, from What Works for Children's Social Care, who was in attendance to provide the pilot evaluation from no wrong door (Future for families) in Middlesbrough.

 

The Research Associate advised that the aim was to study rollout of NWD in a local authority outside of where it was developed, whether it can be delivered, what are the challenges, what do staff and families think.

 

The study was not designed to understand whether No Wrong Door had made a difference to outcomes as this would be asked during the next phases of evaluation.

 

Before and six months after Future for families (FFF) opened, Interviews and Focus Groups were carried out with staff and families, a staff survey, and observations of meetings in the FFF service. Data was collected about recruitment, training and young people supported by the service.

 

How was No Wrong Door implemented in the Middlesbrough Futures for Families service?

 

      Provision of intended placement types and recruitment of almost all intended staff

      Staff received comprehensive training and regular development days

      Staff observed to work restoratively (doing ‘with’ rather than ‘to’ or ‘for’), making decisions with families, listening to young people’s voice and aspirations to drive practice. Families strengths were also highlighted.

      Support offered was flexible, creative and tailored

      The provocations, non-negotiables, paperwork and processes were tailored to Middlesbrough’s local context and priorities, in partnership with NYCC

      Age range adapted to 11-18 in Middlesbrough

Findings: What were some of the challenges?

 

The pilot evaluation resulted that:

 

      Most FFF staff (88%) reported feeling confident to use the model, but only 56% of staff reported feeling they had enough time to take full advantage of the model

      Competing demands between the outreach and residential work was one area of challenge

      Some confusion over whether to continue to use Signs of Safety and some uncertainty over referral criteria

      It was sometimes hard to find a suitable local foster care placement

      Changes in keyworker due to staff turnover, and transitioning out of the FFF service needed to be carefully managed to avoid further disruption

Comments from officers and service users were shared with the Board.

Findings: What did staff and families think about the model?

      Most staff felt positive about the model and the training. The life coach and communication support worker were particularly seen as helpful, and overcame external waiting lists. The police analyst was also beneficial to address issues such as missing episodes.

      There appeared to be a high level of support for the model from senior management and leadership, and staff reported good relationships with partners and social work teams

      Providing a flexible service, accessible outside of usual working hours, and responding quickly to crises on evenings and weekends, was a unique and valued feature for families. Some young people who had previous lack of trust in adults developed positive relationships with FFF staff.

      Staff changes and COVID-19 could be barriers to engaging some young people, and not all young people  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/8

21/9

Private Fostering pdf icon PDF 694 KB

Ben Short, Interim for Safeguarding and Care planning will provide the Private Fostering report to the Board.

Minutes:

The Chair welcome Ben Short, Interim for Safeguarding. The officer advised that the safeguarding for private fostering sat under the South Tees Safeguarding Partnership and the annual report was submitted to the Partnership on 21 June 2021. The annual

The officer was in attendance to explain what private fostering was, and to provide an overview of activity in relation to provide fostering so far in the 21/22 year. The Board were also asked for help, in a way of raising awareness of private fostering.

 

In 2005, legislation changed and Middlesbrough must keep a record of children who are known by the local authority to be privately fostered and to provide assessment and support.

 

The Board were made aware that a privately fostered child is a child under 16 years of age (or 18 if disabled) who is cared for by an adult who is not a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, step parent by marriage, sister or brother where the child is to be cared for in that person's home for 28 days or more and has been arranged without the involvement of the local authority. 

 

A private foster carer may be a friend of the family, the parent of a friend of the child, or someone previously unknown to the child’s family who is willing to privately foster the child. The private foster carer becomes responsible for providing the day to day care of the child in a way which will promote and safeguard the child’s welfare.  Overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the privately fostered child remains with the parent or other person with parental responsibility. 

 

Children who are privately fostered are not looked after children but are supported under Section 17 as Children in Need. 

 

As of 29/12/21 Middlesbrough support

·        1446 children through Child In Need

·        420 children who have a child protection plan

·        513 children who we look after

·        4 children privately fostered

Local authorities have difficulties and challenges in realtion to the reporting of private fostering arrangements and it is therefore likely that there are arrangements in place which are not recognised within communities or by professionals and are not therefore reported. 

Middlesbrough have therefore focused on awareness raising activity across the area, in conjunction with Redcar.  This includes:

·        Social media awareness – Twitter, Linkedin, Middlesbrough Children Matters, etc. on a regular basis.

·        New poster campaign – schools briefed via Designated Safeguarding Lead forum and through the Safeguarding Information Officer

·        Private Fostering Steering Group members have been sending the message out within their own organisations – police and health

The officer did state that they would like to raise awareness in communities and therefore any help/advice that elected members could advise to promote private fostering would be welcomed.

 

In response, the Board outlined that most local councilors have a facebook page and would be happy to share any information.

A board member queried where information was obtained from in relation to private fostering cases and in response the officer outlined that in most  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/9

21/10

Complaints made by Children looked after pdf icon PDF 322 KB

Siobhan Davies, Team Manager for RAD and Principle Social Worker will provide information to the Board on Complaints made by children looked after.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Siobhan Davies, Principle Social Worker was in attendance to provide the Board with information in relation to complaints made by children looked after.

 

The report completed contained any complaint made about a child in care, as there were very low numbers made by children themselves or by an advocate.

 

Within the Principle social workers team, they hold a monthly learning meeting where they pull together any learning from complaints made.

 

The report reviewed the last 6 months:

 

72 complaints were raised between September 2021 and February 2022.

 

14 of these were in relation to children in our care

·         9 were not upheld

·         3 are being investigated

·         2 were upheld

·         1 partially upheld

Of those partially or fully upheld, 2 were open to Safeguarding Care Planning Teams and 1 CLA Services.

 

All complaints received for children in our care, in the past 6-months, were completed within timescales

 

1 ongoing complaint is overdue (623963)

 

All 3 upheld/partially upheld complaints were made by parents/guardians

 

All 3 complaints were resolved at Stage 1

 

Further information in relation to the complaints were included within the report. The principle social worker outlined that as the numbers of complaints in relation to children in our care was low, drawing themes and learning from these alone was not possible. However, when comparing overall themes from complaints 2018-21 and lessons learned, the themes from that report were;

 

·         Poor communication from a social worker;

·         Perceived lack of financial support for a child or young person; and

·         Accuracy of recorded information about a customer.

 

Each Month the Children & Families Principal Social Worker chairs a Learning meeting.

 

The purpose of the Learning Meeting:

 

·         To pull together and analyse learning from practice. There will be a focus on learning from complaints, thematic overview of IRO challenge/audit, and audit to excellence findings, Future for Families Deep Dives and any reviews ongoing within the South Tees Safeguarding Partnership, Subject Access Requests and Participation People to represent the voice of children in care. The Organisational Development’s business partner for Children’s Services will attend to consider what training has taken place.

·         To ensure that where there are themes emerging about quality of practice that we can be responsive and target resource (such as training, practice lead interventions and audit) to support social work practice to flourish.

·         To assess impact of those interventions and consider whether there is any evidence of the quality of practice improving, month on month, against the priorities where intervention has been targeted.

·         The group will identify 1 key priority for each month which will result in targeted Hot Topics session, PSW and Practice Lead support for the month ahead. The recommendation will be sent to Rachel Farnham, Director for approval.

Action undertaken in response to complaints from September 2021 – February 2022:

·         Audit undertaken whereby children have made complaints and participation people are invited to attend the meetings.

·         Mystery Shopper quality assurance piloted in MACH – outcome of this was very positive.

·         Hot Topics- every Monday

·         Practice Week with a focus on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/10

21/11

Participation of Children and Young people pdf icon PDF 872 KB

Kathy Peacock, Youth Voice and Influencer Contractor from Participation People will provide an update to the Board.

Minutes:

Kathy Peacock, Youth Voice & Influence Contractor from Participation People and Xavier Davies, Apprentice Youth Training & Development Officer were in attendance to provide an update in relation to children and young people’s participation.

 

Kathy advised that to date they had re-established two care experienced groups –

 

·        Middlesbrough Children in care council- the age of the young people has now changed and now is welcome to young people aged 10-17 years.

·        Middlesbrough Care Leavers Forum- for young people aged 18-25.

 

The groups run on a weekly basis.

 

Xavier provided the board with an update in relation to #Youthvoice update- children in care council

Xavier noted that at the residential, one of the young people was awarded for making the most friends which was a real positive. The engagement event that would take place in April which would focus on football.

 

Kathy also advised that they had received a visit from ofsted and they had received some really good feedback.

 

 

In terms of the #youthvoice update, Xavier advised that the Care leavers forum had:

 

Kathy stated that the event took place at the Fork in the road and the young people really enjoyed themselves.

 

The Board were also made aware that a piece of work is taken to the children in care council and it is than taken to the care leavers forum to work further on this and to identify areas of improvement.

 

Three care leavers spoke to the corporate parenting board about their life growing up in Middlesbrough and this was very well received by councilors. The young people have some wrote some questions for corporate parents and would very much like to be involved with the Board.  This would be addressed and arranged.

Kathy finally outlined that participation have:

 

Finally, the board were shown the roadmap, which were for their own reference.

The officers were thanked for their presentation.

 

AGREED- that the information be noted.

 

21/12

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

Minutes:

Role of a corporate parent- video

 

The Chair shared a video which had been shared on Middlesbrough facebook page regarding Councillors’ role as corporate parents.