Agenda and minutes

You Matter to Us - Corporate Parenting Board - Wednesday 27th July, 2022 1.00 pm

Venue: Mandela room

Contact: Susie Blood 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

Apologies for Absence


Apologies for Absence


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- 27 April 2022 pdf icon PDF 839 KB


The minutes of the Corporate Parenting Board held on 27 April 2022 were read and accepted as a true record.


Participation of children and young people pdf icon PDF 631 KB

Kathy Peacock, Youth Voice and Influencer officer and Xavier Davies, Apprentice Youth Training & Development Officer will provide an update to the Board.


Kathy will be joined by two members of the Children in care council.


The Chair welcomed Kathy Peacock, Voice and Influence Manager and Xavier Davies, Apprentice Youth Training & Development Officer to the meeting to provide an update of events undertaken by the care experienced young people.


The Chair also welcomed Adam and Frankie, two members of the children in Care Council (CICC) to the meeting who along with Xavier provided the Board with the update.


The update was as follows:




The young people thanked the Corporate Parenting Board for listening to them, outlining it was nice to see decision makers take an interest in young people and make change. The young people were also invited to attend


The Director of Education asked if there were one thing, they as care experienced young people would like to change, what would that be? In response, Adam expressed that he felt they were supported but to continue to listen to young people. Frankie expressed more funding, however he was made aware this may not always be possible.



That the update be noted.



Performance against Corporate Parenting Board Strategy

Paula Jemson, Head of Corporate Parenting and Performance, Strategic s Care will present the scorecard to the Board.


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.

Due to the number of slides, the Head of service addressed the key parts to Board:

CP1: Number of children in care:


In terms of the Average number of weeks children spend in care, over the past 12 months, the Council has met their target but In June it was above target, however this depends on the children who exist care.


In terms of caseloads for social workers:

This caseload numbers has been the highest it’s been since August 2021 and several factors impact this, for example, the recruitment of social workers. There are a number of vacancies, however there is a workforce development strategy and a recruitment campaign in place to address this. Nationally there are difficulties recruiting social workers , and there is often a reliance on agency staff. A board member enquired about the ratio of agency staff, and this would be circulated after the meeting.

This information was important as it advised that Board that of all the children in care, 8.56% are at home with a placement under a care order.

In terms of those in a foster placement has generally remained stable:


In terms of children placed with connected carers, less is better in this case:


Following the presentation, a Board member remarked that the numbers look good, however questioned whether there were any social workers with caseloads more than 20. In response, the Head of service outlined that in some instances this was the case due to pressures within different service areas.

A question surrounding the number of social workers and terms of employment for newly qualified / senior social workers (contract hours and time off in lieu) was also discussed. This information was not available at the meeting, however this would be distributed. 


The Director of Education and Partnerships, further advised that the recruitment of social workers was not unique to Middlesbrough nor was recruitment to services of frontline staff e.g. school nursing.  The Independent review of children’s  social care by Josh MacAlister was also made reference too.


The Improvement journey was referred too, as it was encouraging to see that now children are on their right plan of permanence.


The Head of service was thanked for her presentation.


AGREED- That the information be noted


Feedback from Monitoring visit- Permanence pdf icon PDF 361 KB

Paula Jemson, Head of Corporate Parenting and Performance, Strategic Services will be in attendance to provide feedback from the monitoring visit.

Additional documents:


The Head of looked after children and Corporate Parenting provided the Board with feedback from the current ofsted monitoring visit.


On 29 and 30 March 2022, there was a 2 day monitoring visit, this was the third Monitoring Visit since the last full inspection (plus a focused visit)

There were two Inspectors, and the local authority was given two week’s preparation. This was the first ‘face to face’ visit and areas covered were as follows:

·        Matching, placement and decision-making for Children in Care

·        Planning and achieving permanence for children. 

The monitoring Visit feedback letter was published 6th May 2022 and a link to the letter was included within the presentation for members.

They first asked us, how well we knew ourselves:

This was evidenced by our

        Detailed improvement plan

        Accurate Self Assessment (SEF) and this was considered to be ‘Spot On’. 

We know this through

        Our Quality Assurance processes – It is not just about compliance

        Robust reviewing processes and panels

        Audits – the learning loop is crucial

        Our centre for practice excellence was considered excellent and it is our central focus for collating learning and improvement.

In terms of permanence, feedback was as follows:

        There was a systemic framework for permanency planning – it’s less reactive and more forward looking.

        Stronger practice with children who have come into care more recently and more thought about early permanence planning

        Permanency plans now include parallel planning to avoid drift and delay for children.

        Social workers know children need permanence and know what they need to do to achieve it.

        Regular and high quality supervision actively contribute to early permanence planning

        Monthly Permanence Monitoring Group (PMG) meetings track and quality assure both plans and progression towards permanence    

Positives from the visit were as follows:

        Children in Care are visited regularly

        Most Social Workers know their children well and have built trusting relationships with them.

        Good direct work – calibrated to a child’s age and understanding

        Children’s voices are informing their planning.

        Family Time

        Children benefit from safely assessed family time

        Family time with wider family members is well considered

        Brother and sister ‘Together or Apart’ assessments are completed quickly and relationships are maintained if they can’t live together. 

        Children are brought into care in a more timely way through better court applications

        Good feedback from the local judiciary and Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service ( CAFCASS)

        Child Permanence Reports are sensitively written

        Social Workers understand the need for children to have life story work so they will understand their parentage and identity as they grow up

        Children’s records are written directly to the child by social workers who know them

        Children will be able to see the thought that went into the planning for their forever homes.

        Care planning meetings, supervision sessions, reviews and legal gateway are well recorded  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/6


Review of Sufficiency action plan pdf icon PDF 341 KB

Claire Walker,  Specialist Commisisoning Manager will present the Sufficiency action plan to the Board.

Additional documents:


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 March 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 outlined the impact/ data and performance; these being:

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

·         Recruitment continues to be a national issue in a number of areas and work to ensure levels of staffing both internally and externally continues.

·         Agency staff are being utilised and internal recruitment campaigns are on-going.

The Board were made aware that in terms of going forward, a full refresh of the Commissioning Action plan was needed and would be completed by November 2022.


Following the presentation, the Board sought clarification on the number of new providers and it was confirmed that there were three. The third was to provide accommodation for children with complex needs which was pleasing. In terms of Daniel Court, there was a greater need above the capacity and the Chair queried whether another home offering the same facilities should be opened. It was commented that this was being discussed as part of the placement planning meetings.


A note of clarification was also sought in terms of external businesses who come to Middlesbrough to open a home and whether they work closely with the Council to offer places to Middlesbrough children. The Manager advised that a meeting with be established with any new potential suppliers , which would include a member of the commissioning team and future for families and the type of provision they plan to open would be discussed, and if appropriate we would look to put forward a business case with them, of we felt the provision would benefit some of our children’s needs. Two out of the three providers are already having in depth conversations with the local authority.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/7


Future for Families-Relational Practice Service pdf icon PDF 410 KB

Rob Harmer, Service Manager, Future for Families and Julie O’Connor, Restorative Relational Practice coordinator, Future for Families will provide a presentation on the Relational Practice Service.

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed by the Rob Hamer, Futures for Families Service Manager and Julie O’Connor Restorative Relational Practice Coordinator to the meeting, to introduce the relational practice service, which is another arm of future for families.


It’s an adaptation from the Restorative academy, which has been created in North Yorkshire and colleagues from North Yorkshire are being extremely supportive to Middlesbrough during this set up. North Yorkshire have been very successful with this approach and Middlesbrough are delighted that this will be introduced.


The Relational Practice Service (RPS) is a part of Futures for Families and offers job opportunities for care experienced and service connected young people aged 18 years plus, to allow them to use their past experiences to help other young people.

The Relational Practice Workers offer support and guidance to young people who are otherwise struggling to engage with other services. The workers form a trusted relationship with the young person, as a peer mentor, who they can express their thoughts, wishes and feelings to. The young people go on to achieve qualifications and job roles e.g. within North Yorkshire, a number of young people are now working within children’s social work and another has gone onto University.


The missions and values of RPS were as follows:


u  To develop resilience and empathy in young people and young adults through engaging with their personal experiences and those of others;

u  To offer young people an opportunity to be Relational Practice advocates post training to support young people in a range of settings;

u  To offer continued self-development for young people and young adults in effective communication;

u  To offer training, work experience and career development opportunities to those employed within the service;

u  The Relational Practice Workers engage with young people where other agencies have not been successful, and will act as a voice for the young person, encouraging reflection on their own current experience

How does this fit with future for families?

u  Relational Practice Workers will be supported by the Restorative Relational Practice Coordinator within Futures for Families.

u  When employed these workers will be trained in a variety of qualifications - Mandatory Council and restorative / Relational / trauma informed approach

u  The role will deliver Restorative Relational Practice support, complete mentoring work, and offer Asdan awards if appropriate.

u  Gaining this experience will enable the Restorative Workers to apply for vacant roles within resource and residential teams.

u  Currently looking at young people 18 years, however the service may look at younger as Middlesbrough do have a number of NEETS.

Interventions provided by RRP are as follows:

u  Conflict resolution interventions led by young people and young adults supervised by the Relational Practice Service offering a variety of services

u  Supporting young people with tenancy disputes (supporting Housing meetings)

u  Group and circle work in Residential (supporting Residential meetings)

u  Supporting relationship repair with those around a young person

u  Supporting young people with issues of bullying

u  Supporting young people in Schools  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/8


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.


No items.