Agenda and minutes

You Matter to Us- Corporate Parenting Board - Tuesday 30th November, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting

Contact: Susie Blood 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


The following members declared an interest:



Type of interest


A Hellaoui

Non Pecuniary


School Governor

T Higgins

Non Pecuniary


School Governor




Minutes- Corporate Parenting Board- 19 October 2021 pdf icon PDF 349 KB


The minutes from the Corporate Parenting Board held on 19 October 2021 were submitted and approved as a true record.


Participation of Children and Young People- Participation People pdf icon PDF 422 KB

Hannah Wiseman, Progamme Manager - Specialist and Targeted will provide an update to the Board.

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed Hannah Wiseman- Specialist and Targeted from Participation People to the meeting. Hannah firstly showed a video which provided information and feedback from Middlesbrough Council’s Big takeover.


The Big takeover was aimed at engaging young people from across Middlesbrough to get involved in decisions within Middlesbrough Council and took over the role of a Head of Service. 32 young people took part in the takeover and 5 where from care experienced backgrounds.  The Board heard about the experience of the care leavers during the Big Takeover week and about their big business challenges.


The feedback from the young people and Head of Service has been excellent.


Board members outlined that they were excited to see the project develop and from speaking to young people they had enjoyment the week and were asking about the next take over. The Board learnt that all the young people who took part had been invited to attend a young champions group, to ensure the young people could get involved in future projects.


What it was like to be child in care workshop


A councilor workshop took place on Monday 25 October 2021, during Care Leavers week and was facilitated by care leavers. Part of the session asked the participates of the group to make pledges to the children in care in Middlesbrough.


The Pledges were shared with the Board and would be circulated.



AGREED- That the update be noted.




Covid 19- UPDATE

The Director of Children’s Services will provide a verbal update to the Board.


The Director of Children’s Services provided a verbal update in respect to Covid 19.


Main areas were as follows:

·        Covid levels had remained lower than in previous months

·        There was pressure within schools due to covid and winter sickness bugs

·        Storm Arwen had caused some damage to schools, leading to the closure of Priory Woods School and partial closure of Outwood Academy Acklam.

·        All secondary school students and teachers were now wearing masks in communal areas, as per guidance issued by the Department of Education.

·        Social work practice was continuing, however extra precautions were being taken due to the rising rates of covid infection.

·        Those staff who have signed the blended working agreement will look to start returning to the office in December, however this may change depending on rise of infection. Staff have been advised of the new office arrangements to ensure we comply with covid guidance.


Following the update, the Chair asked if a further reminder could be circulated to parents of primary school children to ensure they wear masks when entering school premises. This would be followed up by the Head of Access to Education.


AGREED- That the update be noted.


Suspension of Council Procedure rule no.5- Order of business


AGREED - in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 5, the Chair agreed to vary the order of business to agenda item 7, 8, 6, 10, 11,12, 9 and 13.


Independent Visitor report to Children's Homes (Regulation 44 visits) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Paul Rudd, Head of Service- Future for Families will present the key themes from the Regulation 44 visits.


The Head of Residential Services provided the 6 month Regulation 44 key themes to the Board.


For clarity, the Head of Services outlined that from April 2015, the Children’s Homes Regulations and Quality Standards came into force. Regulation 44 requires an independent person to visit at least once a month to make a rigorous and impartial assessment of the home’s arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the children in the home’s care.


Since April 2021 there have been 42 regulation 44 inspections completed. These are all forwarded to Ofsted as part of the inspection process.

Each month, the visits have a theme; for example, in May 2021- Safeguarding, June 2021 – engaging with the wider system and most recently in October 2021- risk assessments.


The Head of Service provided some of the comments which have been received; examples if which were as follows:


  1. It remains evident that the home is making significant efforts to support young people’s input and have consideration for their views, wishes and feelings.
  2. Gleneagles has been a life line for my children who speak so fondly of the service and the staff (parent)
  3. I love it here the staff take care of me (young person)

The Head outlined to the Board, that over the past month, 2 of the services had been inspected and there had been positive comments made.

There have been a number of recommendations following the visits, however these are few. The recommendations were as follows:

        Ensure to record duration of fire drill evacuation CHR 12. Next fire drill rectified this.

        Ensure reg 40s, missing and BASE forms are sent for review next visit. Include a clear rationale as to why regulation 40 notifications have not been submitted when this has been considered. This was with the Head of Service for sign off.

        Ensure to send BASE 78 for review. Reg 11 – again this was with the Head of Service for sign off.

        Seek to identify some training for staff in relation to a condition displayed by one young person Reg 13 – this was completed within 4 weeks of the recommendation.

Following the presentation, clarity was sought as to where the Independent reviews came from. In response, the Head of Service advised that all reviews were recruited by the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS). The most recent Independent Visitor was an ex- social worker for Middlesbrough who had s good understanding of the children’s homes and national standards.


A Board member also questioned what the Head of Service deemed to be the challenges and how the service would move forward. The Head of Service outlined that it had been a very challenging year as in terms of covid and there were major staffing issues due to isolation. The service was currently looking to recruit members of staff and it was felt this would lead to a better service for our young people.


AGREED- That the presentation be noted.



Fostering report- Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Paul Rudd, Head of Service, Future for Families will provide the Board with information on Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 Fostering data.


The The Service Manager for Fostering provided a presentation in relation to the quarter 1 and quarter 2 fostering data.

The following areas were discussed:


·        Number of carers and places

·        Number of Carers by Primary Care type

·        Number of Carers approved

·        Placements, and

·        Recruitment

The Service Manager advised what was working well within the service, these were as follows:


·        The service has successfully appointed permanent experienced social workers

·        The leadership within the fostering service was stable

·        The fostering academy was being developed and was due to be launched early 2022. This has been bought it as there has been reports across the whole Country that foster carers need the right foundations in terms of support and assessments. The Academy would continue this support.

·        The service was heavily focusing on staff development and have a plan for this learning throughout 2022. This would provide in-depth training for staff.

·        The Service will be implementing the Mockingbird model of practice, which is evidence based for creating stability for our children. Funding has been approved and further information would be provided at the next meeting.

·        Assessments under regulation 24 are reducing in timescale from referral to completion. Previously this has been an areas of vulnerability.

·        Training support and development offer to Kinship/connected carers continues to increase and this is further supported through working with kinship carer groups.

In terms of communication, a Board member queried how we receive feedback from foster carers with regard to the provision Middlesbrough offers.


·        Methods of communication was as follows:

·        Monthly supervision with supervising social worker

·        Management team always accessible and Duty system is available in the absence of their supervising social worker.

·        Monthly consultations

·        Number of social workers now attend the foster carers association meetings (held monthly)

·        Facebook page

·        Quarterly newsletter

·        Slido questionnaire (digital questionnaire)- this will be repeated in the New Year

·        Support groups for connected and mainstream carers.

The Head of Service further outlined that a communication strategy was being finalised which would bring together all of these key communication strands.

A Board member outlined it would be interesting to view feedback /analysis from the online questionnaires. This information be provided at a later date.

AGREED- That the information be noted.



Middlesbrough Children's Services- Virtual School- Interim Annual Report 2020/ 21 pdf icon PDF 687 KB

Victoria Banks, Head of Virtual Schools, will present the Interim Annual Report 2020/ 21.


The Head of Virtual schools was in attendance to provide information in relation to the Virtual Schools Interim report. The Boars were advised that all Virtual Schools Heads were expected to present an Annual report, which will be submitted in March 2022.


The Interim report was not a statutory requirement, however it was felt Corporate Parents should be informed how children looked after are academically progressing prior to March 2022.


The Head outlined some of the highlights from the report:


·        Work of the staff within the virtual school must be recognised

·        Middlesbrough schools should also be congratulated for ensuring our children looked after receive the best possible education. All Children looked after have a Personal Education Plan (PEP) and the Virtual schools tried to ensure that they are present at every review meeting so that the PEP can be challenged and support schools to provide the best education.

·        In terms of PEP completion, 100% of children had a plan within the timescales provided

·        Children received many challenged in 2020, especially in relation to social, emotional and mental health and it was recognised that support young people and  support schools.

·        Headstart (managed by Wendy Kelly) provides an excellent service, however virtual schools wanted to ensure they knew what support children were receiving. The Virtual schools commissioned ABC counselling to ensure children looked after were fast tracked to receive the correct mental health support. The virtual schools also offers the attach, aware and trauma informed programme. 2 schools had completed the programme and a further 6 schools had signed up to complete this.

·        Online training has continued and we offered more indepth support by ensuring PEP advisors contacted schools weekly to offer additional support if required.

·        Middlesbrough Virtual Schools is rare in that it offers an Intervention Centre, which offers 1:1 tuition to children who are not meeting academic levels and who can assess the provision.

·        The Virtual schools also celebrate success and were able to take a group of young people to Darlington Hippodrome to see Horrible Histories. It has been rare over the past year to do face to face activities and enrichment so this was a lovely experience for the young people and staff involved.

·        In terms of academic outcomes, it was difficult due to the variables which need to be taken into consideration. The Head of Virtual schools outlined that normally there would be national and local benchmarks for children looked after and children not looked after. These benchmarks were not currently available.

·        There had been a dip in Key stage 2 and within early years, but at key stage 4, outcomes appear to be higher than pre covid. However the Board were made aware that making year on year comparisons was difficult to make good inferences. Many factors affect the academic achievement of a child looked after all affect the outcomes.

·        In terms of the gap at key stage 2, all children looked after are given £1,000 grant for their transition to key stage  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/35


South Tees Youth Offending Service pdf icon PDF 441 KB

Kay Dargue, Manager - Head of Partnerships will provide a presentation in relation to South Tees Youth Offending Services.

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed the Head of Partnerships to the meeting to provide an overview  of the South Tees Youth Offending Service (STYOS) and its support for children looked after.

A briefing paper had been circulated prior to the meeting and therefore the Head of Service outline she would provide the key points to the Board.


In terms of the National context, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) for England and Wales is an independent public body appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice, who have a statutory responsibility to oversee the whole of the youth justice system.  The YJB published their Strategic plan 2021-2024 in October 2021 and the document outlines their vision, mission statement, and three strategic priorities which are underpinned by the central guiding principle of a ‘Child First’ youth justice system.  


The YJB are clear that the justice system must see “children as children first, and offenders second”. In line with the Child First vision, the YJB wants to make sure that children are not unnecessarily criminalised as a result of their vulnerabilities and the challenges they face.

In order to achieve these strategic aims, Youth Offending Service’s are required to produce a Youth Justice Plan each year which details their local priorities. South Tees Youth Offending Service has developed a strategic youth justice plan for 2021-22 aligned to the values of the YJB, and as part of this will look to embed the child first principle in to operational practice.

Youth Offending Service’s have three key strategic priorities on which they are measured;


Ø  To reduce first time entrants to the youth justice system

Ø  To prevent re-offending by children and young people

Ø  Reduce the use of custody for young people (both sentenced and remanded)

Quarterly performance data is returned to the YJB in relation to the three national outcome measures, and also reported to the STYOS Management Board along with a number of other performance indicators. 


In terms of the role of Youth Offending Services;


Ø  Youth offending teams (YOTs) supervise 10–18-year-olds who have been sentenced by a court, or who have come to the attention of the police because of their offending behaviour but have not been charged – instead, they were dealt with out of court (Out Of Court Disposal).

Ø  YOTs are statutory partnerships, and are multidisciplinary, to deal with the needs of the whole child.

Ø  The service was required to have staff from local authority social care and education, the police, the National Probation Service and local health services

Ø  The Youth Justice Board (YJB) provides some funding to YOTs. The YJB also monitors our performance and issues guidance about how things are to be done (for example National Standards)

Ø  HMIP are their regulating body


In terms of the Youth Justice Plan, The STYOS 2021-2022 Youth Justice Plan was submitted to the YJB in June 21. The Plan details:

Ø  YOS Performance 2020-21

Ø  The YOS Budget for 2021-22

Ø  Details of Service Structures

Ø  Staffing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/36


Performance against Corporate Parenting Strategy

The Director of Children’s Care will provide an update on the Performance Scorecard.


The Head of Looked after Children and Corporate Parenting was in attendance and provided the Board with information relating to the Corporate Parenting Board scorecard.

The Director advised that the scorecard was in place for the Corporate Parenting Board to see how our performance was progressing and have the opportunity to challenge anything where you saw wasn’t meeting target.

The main points to note were as follows:


·         There has been an 18.1% reduction in overall numbers of children looked after since November 2020, evidenced on graph 1. 

·         Since the height of 702 looked after children during September 2020, there has been a reduction of 167 looked after children.  

·         The rate of looked after children per 10,000 of the population has reduced from 165.1 in September to 159.4 on 29 November.

·         This remains higher than our statistical neighbour where the rate of looked after children per 10,000 is 125.5.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

·         125 children and young people have ceased to be looked after in the last 6 months.  103 children have become looked after in the same period

In November 2020 the data evidences that for every child ceasing to be looked after, 1.8 children started to become looked after.  This means that more children were becoming looked after than ceasing and the looked after population continued to increase. 


There has been a month on month reduction in this throughout the year until March 2021 when improvements resulted in less children becoming looked after than those ceasing.

This progress has continued.  In June 2021 for every child ceasing to be looked after 0.6 children became looked after.  This has remained static for the last 4 months. 



·         In October 25 children ceased to be looked after.  Data evidences that the average number of days that these children were looked after was 151.8 days.  A review of the data shows that of these 25 children 5 had been looked after for 5 years or over.  3 of which had turned 18 years.

·         This evidences improvements from last month when permanence was secured for children who had been looked after for long periods of time. 

·         There have been 9 SGO/CAOs granted in October and a further SGO at the end of September granted that was not recorded in the September performance report. This is largely due to Innovate Phase 2 working through assessments and reaching the stage where applications are lodged and considered by the court.

·         34 SGOs have been secured in the last 6 months leading to permanence for looked after children, 90 SGOs have been secured in the last 12 months.

Placements with Parents There were currently 51 children placed with parent.  39 of these children are subject to a full Care Order. All are tracked by Permanence Monitoring Group through to revocation of Care Order. 

·         In September 2020 there were 99 children living at home and subject to a Care Order.  This has reduced to 51 children in September 2021.  This is 51.5% reduction.  6 children ceased to be looked after  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/37


Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) Annual Report pdf icon PDF 2 MB


Siobhan Davies, Principal Social Worker & Service Manager will present the IRO Annual report to the Board.




The Interim Principe Social Worker was in attendance to provide an overview of the Independent reviewing officers’ (IRO’s) annual report.


The report was a statutory requirement and provided information on the Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) and their contribution to improving outcomes for children in care, care leavers. In Middlesbrough the IROs have a dual role and therefore the report included those children subject to a Protection Plan. The report focuses on the reporting year April 2020 to March 2021.


. The statutory duties of the IRO are set out in Section 25B (1) Children Act 1989;


·         Monitor the performance by the Local Authority of their functions in relation to the child’s case;

·         Participate in any review of the child’s case;

·         Ensure that any ascertained wishes and feelings of the child concerning the case are given due consideration by the appropriate authority; and

·         Perform any other function which is prescribed in Care Planning Regulations.

There are two clear and separate aspects of the function of an IRO:


1.    Chairing the child’s review; and

2.    Monitoring the child’s case on an ongoing basis.

In Middlesbrough there are 14 IROs overseen by 2 team managers. The service has increased in capacity.


Over the year period, there has been a significant demand on the service. As the IRO’s have a dual role, there was also a demand and there was a larger number of children requiring a child protection plan and therefore the caseloads for an IRO increased to just over 100 during the reporting period.


This has been addressed by introducing the team managers and there is additional agency staff to reduce the number of children per IRO.


The report was based on - If Middlesbrough was a village of 100 population, what would that mean for our children, in terms of number and performance and what does that performance mean for our children?


The Officer provided the Board with key messages about children in care and what the quality assurance tells us about children in care, all details were included within the report.



In terms of improvements for children in care, the service wishes to:


·         Ensure children to have plans of permanence as early as possible, and to be part of developing their own plan.

·         That all children (at least 95%) to be seen before their review by their IRO, as well as keeping in touch between reviews to make sure that children and young people benefit from having a relationship with their IRO. For children who are not living in their forever home, this should be more often so that the IRO knows that the plan for the child is progressing, and if it’s not, then this can be addressed as soon as possible.

·         That IROs to raise issues (using the Issues Resolution Process) when there are concerns about the timeliness and quality of all plans for children, this includes care plans for permanence, EHCPs, PEPs and Health plans.

·         IROs will be working on making sure everyone who cares for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/38


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

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


Foster Carers and social workers


The Chair addressed the public advising that if anyone wished to become a foster carer or social worker to please contact Middlesbrough Council.