Agenda, decisions and minutes

Corporate Parenting Panel - Thursday, 12th May, 2022 4.30 pm

Venue: City Hall

Contact: Jill Bell 

Items
No. Item

15.

ALTERNATE MEMBERS (Standing Order 34)

The City Solicitor will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members. 

 

 (Jill Bell – 01274 434580)

16.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

                                                                        (Jill Bell – 01274 435680)

Minutes:

No disclosures of interest in matters under consideration were received.

 

 

17.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2022 be signed as a correct record (attached).

 

(Jill Bell – 01274 434580)

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2022 be signed as a correct record subject to the following amendment:

Page 1: Replace “David Ware” with “Daniel Ware”

 

The Chair had referred the matter of free swim and gym passes for young people in care under the age of sixteen to the Portfolio Holder for leisure services, who had taken the matter up with officers.  A response was expected in time for the next meeting with young people.

ACTION: Cllr Duffy to report to next meeting

 

Asked what progress had been made on overseas recruitment of social workers, BC/SRCP said that work was in hand with an agency that had experience in recruitment of overseas social workers with a view to appointing between thirty and fifty.  Practice was also being shared with other local authorities that had successfully pursued this route.  The Panel welcomed this positive step, as part of a wider recruitment strategy for social workers.  Replying to questions, the Chair confirmed that this information would be fed back to the young people who had raised it at the meeting on 16 March 2022.

The Chair asked that the minutes record the Panel’s thanks to the young people who had attended the meeting: the discussion had been both lively and useful.

 

18.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Jill Bell - 01274 434580)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted by the public to review decisions to restrict documents.

19.

LOCAL OFFER- LEAVING CARE SERVICE pdf icon PDF 380 KB

The Strategic Director Children’s Services wil present a report (Document “J”) setting out a revision of the Local Offer for Bradford Care Leavers (April 2022).

 

Recommended –

 

That the views of the Corporate Parenting Panel are sought on the revised change of the Local Offer.

 

                                                                        (Louisa Kay – 07855177078)

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

That the progress represented by this new Offer be welcomed.  

 

ACTION: Strategic Director of Children’s Services

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Strategic Director Children’s Services presented a report (Document “J”) setting out a revision of the Local Offer for Bradford Care Leavers (April 2022).

The agenda paper (Local Offer for Bradford Care Leavers) was taken as read.  Bradford Council Leaving Care Service (BC/LCS) said that the Offer, which set out what young people leaving care could expect from the Leaving Care Service, reflected consultation through Young Voice between October and December 2021, including with all care leavers, young people in custody and young people who were parents.  BC/LCS highlighted the following points:

a)    In line with other local authorities, Bradford Council provided an allowance of £3,000 to each young person leaving care.  Young people leaving custody after the age of twenty-five would be able to access this allowance on their release from custody.

b)    Although there was no statutory duty to keep in touch with care-leavers after they reached the age of twenty-five, “Always Here” [section 7 of the agenda paper] provided a mechanism for care-leavers stay in touch of they wished to do so: it was essentially a signposting service.  Usage of the Always Here” service would be monitored.

c)    The education offer for care-leavers had been revised and now included access to Bradford Vibe at Forster College, a one-stop shop for information, advice and guidance. 

d)    The E-Group, a forum for partners and social workers to consider non-mainstream options for care-leavers not in education, employment of training (NEET), had been implemented in partnership with the Virtual School and met monthly. 

e)    A number of blanket payments had been removed to ensure that expenditure was more suitable to the needs of young people and that they were clearer about their entitlements.

f)     The Participation Forum for young people over the age of sixteen continued and had been re-branded as Your Voice.  Work was in hand to develop People’s Panels and interview processes.

g)    The Local Offer was a live, working offer and the team participated in the benchmarking forum to support continuing improvement.   It would also participate in the Catch 22 national benchmarking working group in the autumn of 2022.

Referring to the first bullet in section 1 of the Local Offer (“Having time to get to know your social worker and/or personal advisor and build relationships”), the Panel observed that, based on its consultation with young people in July 2021, this was less about young people having time to get to know their social worker and more about the social worker having time, and being in post for long enough, to build relationships.  Continuity of staffing was critical to developing relationships.  Replying to questions, DD/SC considered that the text should stand: as social worker vacancies were filled, time would be made available for social workers to develop their relationships with young people.  The time required would vary: more time was likely to be required in the case of young people suffering from trauma.  The Panel agreed that the text should stand.

Referring to the category  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

REGULATION 44 VISITS pdf icon PDF 412 KB

The Strategic Director of Children’s Services willpresent a report (Document “K”) which provides the Corporate Parenting with an update on Bradford’s children’s homes, their Ofsted grades and the process of Regulation 44 Visits.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The report is for information only

 

 

(Suzanne Lythgow/Belinda Greene – 07582 100 936/07582 109 919)

Decision:

Resolved _

 

That while further work remained to be undertaken the Panel welcomed improvements that had been made.

 

ACTION: Strategic Director of Children’s Services

 

Minutes:

The Strategic Director of Children’s Services presented a report (Document “K”) which provided the Corporate Parenting with an update on Bradford’s children’s homes, their Ofsted grades and the process of Regulation 44 Visits.

 

The agenda paper (Update of Regulation 44 visits during the 2021 – 2022 monitoring period) was taken as read.  BC/CS-HC said that the report gave examples of how the monthly Regulation 44 visits were conducted by the Quality Standards Managers and provided information on the twelve care homes in Bradford.  Of these twelve homes, one was currently unregistered and was undergoing the registration process with Ofsted: the process was being monitored.  Another had undergone an Ofsted inspection on the day of this meeting: the inspection had gone well.

The main issue arising from the Regulation 44 visits was shortage of staffing at all levels, which presented challenges to the implementation of all the necessary measures.  Recruitment was underway.

In addition to the Regulation 44 meetings, monthly meetings were held with the responsible individual and the two service managers: dialogue was open and improvement plans had been put in place.  The meetings were proving useful in providing early alerts to issues and improved lines of communication.  A peripatetic manager ensured consistency of record-keeping and risk management across the twelve care homes.  The panel welcomed this progress towards standardisation.

The service was moving towards a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) model for physical intervention when a young person needed help: it had invested in a new training process to be delivered across all twelve homes.

The reporting format for Regulation 44 visits had been amended and action planning strengthened by ensuring that recommendations aligned with those made by Ofsted and others.  Issues had arisen with Ofsted on the timely receipt of reports: this had now been resolved.  Replying to questions, BC/CS said that written confirmation had been received from Ofsted that the problem had arisen at their end.

Asked about the impact on homes of the matching process, BC/CS-HC emphasised the importance of the matching process to the success of placements.  A national shortage of provision could lead to pressure on care home managers to admit a young person without sufficient consideration of whether the home was a good match for the young person.  From the end of 2021, new placements had been suspended and, as young people had moved on, many residential units were not now working to full capacity.  Residential units were being given more power to match new residents to the unit and the young people already in that unit.  A strategy was in development to reduce the number of young people in residential units with the aim of making the units more successful: the intention was that here should be more units but fewer young people in each.  Asked about the number of young people in residential units at present, BC/CS-HC said that most units currently had between two and four young people: only one was full.

The Panel noted that matching had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL ON PROMOTING THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN IN CARE pdf icon PDF 219 KB

The report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “L”) presents an overview of the education outcomes for children in care during the academic year 2020/21 as required by statutory guidance.

 

Recommended -

 

That Corporate Parenting Panel give consideration to the report and approve the Virtual School Priorities for 2021/22 outlined in the report.

 

(Jonathan Cooper – 01274 436401)

 

                                                                                                           

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

That the Deputy Director Social Care be requested to address with Assistant Director Safeguarding and Reviewing Commissioning and Provider Services the issue of looked after children being placed or kept on restricted timetables against the advice of the child’s care home.  Although the Panel’s particular concern was with looked after children, it was part of a wider issue that followed on from lack of Early Help support.

 

ACTION: Deputy Director Social Care/ Assistant Director Safeguarding and Reviewing Commissioning and Provider Services

 

 

 

Minutes:

The report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “L”) presents an overview of the education outcomes for children in care during the academic year 2020/21 as required by statutory guidance.

The agenda paper (Annual Report of the Virtual School on promoting the education of children in care) was taken as read.  Head/VS explained that the annual report covered the academic year 2020-21, which included the period from January 2022 to March 2022 when schools had been closed due to Covid.  The data in the report included only children who had been in care for twelve months at 31 March 2022: this ensured that it was comparable with DfE data reporting.  Because the priorities identified in the agenda paper were based on the 2020-21 annual report, a number were already underway.

Due to the cancellation of SATs in 2021, the report did not include the usual information on outcomes for primary school children.   The data presented for primary aged children was therefore based on teacher predictive assessment.  80% of children in care had been making expected progress: this was an improvement on the previous year, but below the target of 100%. 

GCSE outcomes for Bradford children in care were broadly in line with the national average for children in care.  Bradford results for GCSE G4 English and Maths had improved, though Head/VS urged caution in making year-on-year comparisons due to the significant variation that could exist between cohorts: the 2021 Year 11 cohort had included a high proportion of SEND students who had performed strongly.

As schools had emerged from Covid lockdowns, the Virtual School had closely monitored attendance, including the use of modified timetables and alternative provision.  A continued reduction had been seen in the number of children in care who were suspended, excluded or out of education for ten or more days at a time.  There had been no permanent exclusions of children in care.

Although attendance was comparable with the national average for children in care, this was clearly an area for improvement both locally and nationally.  The number of children in care who were Persistently Absent[1] was better than the national average: Bradford was in the top 50% of local authorities in that respect.

There had been a reduction in the number of Year 11 pupils who did Not make the transition into Education, Employment or Training (NEET).  Improvement was needed in the number of young people who had a Personal Education Plan (PEP).

Referring to the second priority for improvement shown in the agenda paper (“Work closely with schools to ensure those children with unidentified SEND needs requiring support, are rapidly identified and assessed through the graduated approach to supporting needs.”), the Panel asked whether academy schools were willing to engage with the Virtual School.  Head/VS confirmed that they were: the Virtual School expected, and received, the same level of support from academies as from maintained schools. 

Head/VS undertook to check and amend a numerical error, highlighted by a Panel  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

FUTURE AGENDA SETTING

A discussion will take place on future agenda setting.

 

 

Decision:

Resolved -

 

(1) That reports on two themes be considered at each formal meeting, starting at the meeting on 20 July 2022 with reports from:

·         Health – mental health support for looked after children, access to Tier 4 support and training for staff in care homes; and

·         Policing – topic to be agreed between BC/CS and Daniel Ware.

The theme to be addressed at the following formal meeting, on 19 October 2022, would be agreed at the meeting on 20 July 2022.

 

(2) That the Chair undertake to discuss the appointment of co-opted members with DD/CS and AD/SCRP.

 

(3) That the Chair undertake to discuss with Cllr Pollard the skills base for the Governing Body of the Virtual School: governors needed to be appointed on the basis of skills rather than representation, though they needed to be sufficiently senior within their organisations to be able to speak for, and commit action by, them.

 

ACTION: Chair/ Deputy Director Children’s Services/ Assistant Director Safeguarding and Reviewing Commissioning and Provider Services

 

Minutes:

The Panel had previously discussed the organisation of its formal meetings (those not hosted by young people) around the themes identified following the consultation with young people in July 2021.  It agreed to take reports on two themes at each formal meeting, starting at the meeting on 20 July 2022 with reports from:

·         Health – mental health support for looked after children, access to Tier 4 support and training for staff in care homes; and

·         Policing – topic to be agreed between BC/CS and Daniel Ware.

The theme to be addressed at the following formal meeting, on 19 October 2022, would be agreed at the meeting on 20 July 2022.

 

The Committee Services Officer reminded the Panel that the agenda for the first meeting of the municipal year would usually recommend the appointment of co-opted members to the Regulatory Committee.  This year, the Panel’s first meeting would be an informal meeting hosted by young people. 

ACTION: The Chair undertook to discuss the appointment of co-opted members with DD/CS and AD/SCRP.

 

The Chair undertook to discuss with Cllr Pollard the skills base for the Governing Body of the Virtual School: governors needed to be appointed on the basis of skills rather than representation, though they needed to be sufficiently senior within their organisations to be able to speak for, and commit action by, them.

ACTION: Chair to discuss with Cllr Pollard the skills base for the Governing Body of the Virtual School.