Agenda and draft minutes

Surrey Corporate Parenting Board
Monday, 3 December 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Members' Conference Room, County Hall

Items
No. Item

18.

Welcome and Introductions

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the meeting:

     

    1. The Chairman welcomed Senay Nidai (Service Manager for the Independent Reviewing Officers and Child Protection Chairs), Liz Sales (Service Manager for Placements) and Lisa Wade (Service Manager for Residential).
    2. Apologies were received from Cllr Botten, Cllr Lewis and Cllr Grant-Duff, Dave Hill, Executive Director for Children, Families and Learning and Tina Benjamin, Interim Director for Corporate Parenting. Mark Barratt, Interim Director of Quality Assurance, attended on behalf of Dave Hill.

     

19.

Minutes and actions from previous meeting pdf icon PDF 86 KB

    Agree draft minutes and update on actions from previous meeting

    Minutes:

    Officers:

     

    Senay Nidai, Service Manager for the Independent Reviewing Officers and Child Protection Chairs

    Liz Sales, Service Manager for Placements

    Lisa Wade, Service Manager for Residential

     

    Key points raised during the meeting:

     

    1. The minutes were agreed as an accurate record of the previous meeting.
    2. The Chairman provided the Board with an update on the actions tracker. Members noted the following:

    ·       The previous meeting’s minutes were updated to include Surrey’s proportion of out of county placements in comparison to national statistics.

    ·       The Foster Carer Handbook was circulated to the Board.

    ·       It was confirmed that the Executive Director for Children, Families, Learning and Culture would give an update at every meeting on the progress of work to improve Initial Health Assessments.

    ·       That the Executive Director for Children, Families, Learning and Culture would circulate to the Board the Initial Health Assessment’s current overall performance and performance since the new arrangements began, on a monthly basis.

    ·       The Foster Care Lead would circulate dates for foster carer group meetings to allow members the opportunity to have further practice conversations with foster carers.

    1. Some Members of the Board felt that, within their role as Councillors, there was an opportunity to be better utilised to support children, parents/carers and those who have ongoing contact with Children’s Services. It was suggested that a possible cause for the lack of contact may be due to concern that Members involvement may cause a negative reaction from officers.
    2. Following some further discussion, it was felt there would be a positive impact if officers were to develop a programme for Members of the Council to be involved with quality assurance visits in children’s residential homes. Further to this, in order to aid children to understand the role of a Councillor and who they were, it was agreed to include a profile of the Councillors responsible for quality assurance visits in each respective residential home.

     

    Actions/further information to be provided:

     

    1. To develop a programme for Members of the Council to be involved in quality assurance visits in children’s residential homes.
    2. To include a profile of the councillors responsible for quality assurance visits in each respective residential home.

     

20.

Corporate Parenting Conversation

    Informed conversation about assuring how we are doing for children placed in Surrey.

    Minutes:

    Officers:

    Mark Barratt, Interim Director of Quality Assurance

    Senay Nidai, Service Manager for the Independent Reviewing Officers and Child Protection Chairs

    Liz Sales, Service Manager for Placements

    Lisa Wade, Service Manager for Residential

     

    Key points raised during the meeting:

     

    1. The Chairman informed the Board that, since the end of August 2018, most members of the board have had at least one practice conversation with a professional or carer. Further conversations would be taking place in December and the New Year.
    2. Members of the Board watched two short videos which outlined the experiences of children in children’s homes in Surrey. Members felt that it must be traumatic for children to experience the transition into living in care without being a part of any initial decision making processes. The Chairman highlighted that lack of involvement of the child was also a weakness that was raised in the most recent Ofsted report published May 2018.
    3. Within the video, a child explained the essentialness of staff members within children’s homes who can be trusted and dependable. Members of the Board felt this was an important point and discussed the importance of skilled workers. It was further highlighted that the language used to identify care workers within homes can sometimes be seen as too clinical and can make children feel more isolated, rather than part of a family. Members agreed that it was important to acknowledge children’s feedback around expectations of their relationships with their carers.
    4. A member of the Board raised concern with the lack of planning when conducting an emergency placement. It was explained that a completely unknown placement may cause a child unnecessary stress which could be reduced by, prior to the placement, providing the child with a simple profile of the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) Carer.
    5. The Board agreed that there was a need to have conversations with children much earlier in the process to allow them to have an understanding of their permanence and what the current plan is for them.
    6. A discussion was had around the benefits of recording the life story of a child for their information later in life. It was noted that when life story is conducted this is generally very good, however life story doesn’t happen for many children. Upon further discussion it was noted that some carers had not received the relevant training on ‘life story’ work for children which some Members found disappointing. It was agreed to raise ‘life story’ work in future relevant practise conversations to find out if they were aware and had been incorporated.
    7. A discussion was held around children and carers not always being supported when transitioning into becoming a care leaver and a recognition about the ongoing support they may require. It was noted that care leavers is the topic of the next Board and the Board will come back to this then
    8. A Member of the Board raised concern that the actions agreed during Practice Conversations had not been recorded and completed as expected and that there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Corporate Parenting Improvement Update

    ·        Update on Bursary Panel

    ·        To seek agreement in principle on Corporate Parenting core offer for looked after children

    ·        Looking forward to upcoming visits to Camden and Essex

    ·        To seek agreement on plans for promoting our promise to looked after children

    ·        To understand how ‘Top Ten tips for working with children and young people’ will shape practice

    Minutes:

    Officers:

    Mark Barratt, Interim Director of Quality Assurance

    Belinda Newth, Head of Quality and Experience

    Andrew Evans, Senior Manager Quality and Development

     

    Key points raised during the meeting:

     

    1. Members of the Board were informed that a Bursary Panel meeting had taking place in November to award children with various items they requested. A discussion was had regarding what the Bursary Panel would look like in future. It was noted that officers were looking to relaunch the scheme in the Early 2019 and would be working with services to communicate this widely. Members further noted there was still £25,000 available in the fund which would be used until the end of March 2020. Members of the Board expressed their appreciation of the scheme and stated it was a way to value those in care. 
    2. The Board acknowledged that, due to the refresh of the scheme, the bursary fund application link was currently not live. Officers agreed to include a note on the linked website to highlight this. It was further agreed that, following the refresh, information on the bursary application process would be circulated.
    3. Members highlighted that there was a Surrey Arts Music Instrument Loan scheme which was available to children in care.
    4. The Board discussed the decision to remove bursary funding from Members allocations. Members felt this was disappointing and agreed that it would be appropriate for Members officers to challenge this decision as they felt every child should have the opportunity to have access to leisure. Cllr Harris agreed to lead on this. It was also agreed by all that sustainably funding this scheme is important for its future use.
    5. A Member of the Board highlighted their concern with how their children’s Pupil Premium Plus was used in schools. It was suggested to challenge schools to ensure it was being used appropriately and this would be raised at the board in March that has a focus on education.
    6. Members discussed the Looked After Children Core Offer Proposal and agreed in principle this proposal.
    7. It was agreed that officers would bring back the core offer to the next Board meeting following further work to scope out options and considerations for delivering the core offer.
    8. Members were informed that the ‘Promise to Children & Young People 2018’ had been developed with the Care Council and was a promise to all looked after children. This promise would be available for all Members of the Council to sign prior to the meeting of the County Council on 11 December 2018. Officers ensured that the foster carer members of the Board would be included in final drafting of the promise.
    9. It was noted that work was ongoing to schedule future Practice Conversations for members of the Board.

     

    Actions/further information to be provided:

     

    a.   For officers to include a note on the Bursary Fund webpage to highlight the current refresh. Further to this, to circulated information on the bursary application process following the completion of the refresh.

    b.   To challenge the decision to remove bursary funding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Director's Update

    ·   Board assurance of Independent Health Assessments (IHA) performance.

    ·   Board informed of any serious incidents.

    ·   Board informed practice issues raised through care planning alerts by Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO).

    ·   Board informed of latest work around Directorate transformation.

    Minutes:

    Officers:

     

    Mark Barratt, Interim Director of Quality Assurance

     

    Key points raised during the meeting:

     

    1. The Interim Director of Quality Assurance informed the Board that there had been a positive improvement in the number of Initial Health Assessments completed. Members noted that further details would be considered at the Ofsted Priority Action Board (OPAB).
    2. The Interim Director highlighted the need to encourage Independent Reviewing Officers to hold the service to account. It was stressed that if there were any issues then the service needed to be aware.
    3. A Member of the Board stressed the importance of raising profiles of children in care in schools in order to make them aware of the support available.

     

23.

Summary of action, next steps and AOB

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. A Member of the Board requested to receive a summary of data and information which was relevant to the Board’s work. It was felt that the current information being received was complicated and could be more focused.
    2. The Chair noted that she was stepping down from her role as Cabinet member for children and it was likely the current chair for Education would take her role (subsequently confirmed after the meeting)
    3. The Chair also noted that Belinda Newth was leaving the organisation and thanked her for all her hard work and dedication.
    4. Members of the board echoed the Chair’s words around Belinda Newth as well as thanking the Chair for all her hard work and commitment to her role.

    Actions/further information to be provided:

     

    1. Officers to review the data provided to Board Members and ensure it is clear and simple to understand.

     

    SUMMARY OF ACTIONS/FURTHER INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED

     

    1. To develop a programme for Members of the Council to be involved in quality assurance visits in children’s residential homes.
    2. To include a profile of the councillors responsible for quality assurance visits in each respective residential home.
    3. To investigate the possibility of providing a profile of children before arriving to EDT carers at an emergency placement.
    4. To raise awareness of the process of creating a ‘life story’ for children during Practice Conversations and to determine if it has been incorporated and if the correct training had been received.
    5. To have a response by officers about work taking place to improve planning for permanency including how children are involved in this decision making.
    6. Preparation for leaving care to be included as part of the next board meeting
    7. For officers to include a note on the Bursary Fund webpage to highlight the current refresh. Further to this, to circulated information on the bursary application process following the completion of the refresh.
    8. To challenge the decision to remove bursary funding from Member’s allocations.
    9. To bring back the core offer for looked after children to the next meeting.
    10. Officers to review the data provided to Board Members and ensure it is clear and simple to understand.