Agenda and draft minutes

Surrey Corporate Parenting Board
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 10.00 am

Items
No. Item

1/19

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

    Minutes:

    1.    The Chairman welcomed Sue Niemira (Team Manager Care Leavers Service), Christine Westwood (Service Manager Care Leavers Service) and Samantha Long (Senior Personal Advisor, Care Leavers Service)

    2.    Apologies were received from Jane Porter (Foster Carer representative), Cindy Morris (Care experienced representative) and Linda Glover (Foster Carer representative)

    3.    Councillor Julie Iles to replace Dr Zully Grant-Duff

     

2/19

MINUTES AND ACTIONS FROM PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 85 KB

    Agree draft minutes and update on actions from previous meeting.

    Minutes:

    Officers:

    Andrew Evans, Senior Manager, Quality and Development

    Dave Hill, Executive Director for Children, Families, Learning and Culture

    Tina Benjamin, Director of Corporate Parenting

    Carol Douch, Interim Head of Countywide Services

     

     

    Key points raised during the meeting:

     

    1.    The minutes were agreed an accurate record of the previous meeting.

    2.    The Chairman provided the Board with an update on the actions tracker.

    3.    Action development:To develop a programme for Members of the Council to be involved in quality assurance visits in children’s residential homes.

    ·         A briefing paper was tabled with the purpose, principals and proposal for these visits.

    ·         Suggestions were made for members of the Surrey Corporate Parenting Board to be aligned to a residential home and they then become the link member for those visits.

    ·         These visits wouldn’t be the statutory Ofsted regulation 44 as these have an established routine and trained personnel to conduct; and would be more about the Members coming in independently to report on the experience of the staff and the children at the home.

    ·         It was agreed that training and first visits will be conducted by each Member over the next 6 months.

    4.    The Bursary Fund (a scheme used to celebrate looked after children) has been reviewed following work from the Service and feedback from members of the Board. The new proposal will be circulated for sign off within by end January 2019 with the proposal for new scheme to go live in February and the first ‘bursary panel’ to take place at the end of March.

    5.    A discussion took place with regards to Permanency Planning and the Director for Corporate parenting updated the Board on the ongoing transformation of Children’s Services to improve practice including earlier and better permanency planning. The Service is strengthening the ability and expectations of Independent Reviewing Officers to challenge practice and in particular how children’s views have been considered and helped shape the care and support they receive. This will aid in establishing if improvements have been made in this area.

    6.    A discussion was had around SGOs and it was confirmed that two social workers are being recruited as part of a new ‘gateway team’ to specifically lead on SGOs. They will be seeing families, at least annually, and picking up earlier, if things might be going wrong. This will also enable the service to start linking them in with earlier help if required.

     

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    a.    For Cllr Walsh to be the named Councillor for Ruth House and another interested member, probably from the Select Committee, to cover the remaining home. (AE)

    b.    All DBS checks to be checked and/or completed in order for the visits to be able to take place at the residential homes. (ALL)

    c.    To develop a programme on when and how the visits to residential homes can start taking place with the aim for Members to complete a first visit within the next 6 months. For this to also consider visits to non-Surrey residential  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2/19

3/19

VISITS TO ESSEX AND CAMDEN

    Feedback from visits to Camden and Essex.

    Minutes:

    Officers:

    Andrew Evans, Senior Manager Quality and Development

     

    Key Points raised during the meeting:

     

    1.    Discussion from the findings of the visits:

    ·         At both visits it was observed that Councillors did not try and fix operational issues. The Councillors role is challenge, steer and celebrate with an expectation that officers listen and respond accordingly.

    ·         How the views of children and young people are represented at the Board. Children are invited to meetings at Camden local authority and play an important part at these and present papers and ideas. Children were not present at Essex. One member suggested that the Board should further consider how best to get the views of children and young people at our Board including asking them to be physically present.

    ·         It was noted that both areas are at a different stage of their journey in terms of the quality of service provided and it was good to observe areas doing things really well and also see that the foundations we are putting in are the right ones.

    ·         Performance data provided to the Board has taken a few different forms and in Essex County Council they had a core set of data presented at every meeting. This data is broken down into quadrants and also has narrative and recommendations from Officers. It was agreed to follow a similar method to Essex and provide a core data set of data with officers outlining priorities from this data, as well as providing theme based data relevant to agenda items as appropriate.

    ·         It was noted that Essex County Council’s Foster Carers receiving approximately £5k more a year than Surrey Foster Carers. This was noted by the Service and work is ongoing to benchmark Surrey with regards to remuneration. 

     

    Actions/further information to be provided:

     

    a.    A Surrey Foster Carers pay review and benchmarking analysis is being produced and will be presented at the Senior Leadership Team meeting on the 13 February. An update will be provided at the next Board. (TB)

    b.    As part of annual reporting around placements, to include within this distance from home and to be clear about geographically in or out of the county, and in-house or external provision. (DH)

    c.    A core pack of information, with relevant quadrant data, to be shared at each meeting including priorities coming from the data and what actions are taking place. (TB)

    d.    Some examples of previous methods that have been used to report data in the past and what was presented at Essex to be shared with Board and the Board to provide any comments about what works and would work best for them moving forward. (AE)

    e.    To have a themed agenda item at a future Corporate Parenting Board meeting around adoption, fostering, special guardianship orders i.e. placements. (DH)

     

4/19

CORPORATE PARENTING CONVERSATION

    ·        Informed conversation: is it good enough for Surrey’s Care Leavers?

    ·        To review the local offer for care leavers.

    Minutes:

    Officers:

    Sue Niemira, Team Manager, Care Leavers Service

    Christine Westwood, Service Manager Care Services

    Samantha Long, Senior Personal Advisor, Care leavers Service

     

    Key points raised during the meeting:

     

    1.    Members of the Board reviewed some care leavers’ case studies and feedback from young people and workers about the work of Personal Advisors. (PA)

    2.    Board members noted the importance of the role of the PA and difference it has made to young people when having a ‘good’ PA.

    3.    Board members also reflected on the importance of earlier intervention and help for children and young people, and how this might have prevented the level of support required later.

    4.    This included having a PA allocated and engaged with the young person from age 16 onwards to support the young person’s move out of care and into adulthood at age 18. The Board agreed they would like to monitor the performance of age of allocation of PAs to understand how this is going.

    5.    Officers from the Service reflected that the young people they work with have many different needs and each young person comes with their own of needs dependent on their circumstances. It was articulated that building relationships and trust is central to being an excellent PA and providing the very best care and support. This takes time and energy and will be different for each young person.

    6.    The Board discussed recruitment of PAs and remuneration. There are vacancies within the Service and as part of the ongoing transformation recruitment, remuneration and the role itself is being reviewed to ensure the right service can be provided for young people.

    7.    Feedback from exit interviews has identified that one of the main reason for PA’s leaving their roles was due to the salary and not about the role or support they receive. In this context salary means both the actual amount received vs. the cost of living in Surrey and what other places pay and what status the pay portrays.

    8.    A board member was concerned about how officers can establish when a PA is not performing well, before it becomes detrimental to the young person. It was confirmed that supervisions with each PA and observations/visits are conducted by managers with PA’s and that standards and lack of standards can normally be picked up at these.

    9.    A board member confirmed that they are not aware what a personal advisor is and what a career path for this role is. It was felt that if there was more understanding was known about the role that word of mouth could increase the awareness and recruitment for these positions.

    10. The Board reviewed the draft ‘Your Life After Care and Care Leaver’s Service’ text, which is our local offer to care leavers, with feedback reported as follows:

     

    ·         The Board discussed that the language and style of the document needed further revision to ensure it is more young-person friendly (e.g. length and language) and gives a more positive tone in places to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4/19

5/19

CORPORATE PARENTING IMPROVEMENT UPDATE

    ·        Prioritisation of development of the Core Offer for looked after children.

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during meeting:

     

    1.    A Board member raised that there was an offer for a person from the DfE to come back and review ‘Care Leavers’ following a review conducted in 2018. The Board agreed this would be a good idea at an appropriate time.

    2.    The core offer for looked after children paper was circulated with the papers for the meeting and Board members were asked to feedback any comments to Andrew Evans virtually and for this to be covered at the next meeting.

     

    Action/ further information to be provided:

     

    a.    Board members to feedback back comments on core offer for looked after children document to Andrew Evans (All) and to be on agenda for next meeting. (AE)

    b.    The DfE to be invited back to review ‘Care Leavers’ at an appropriate future date. (DH)

     

6/19

DIRECTOR'S UPDATE

    ·        Board assurance of Initial Health Assessments performance.

    ·        Board informed of any serious incidents.

    ·        Board informed of ‘policy’ practice issues raised through care planning alerts by Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs).

    ·        Board informed of latest work around Directorate transformation.

    ·        Upcoming Ofsted visit..

    Minutes:

    Officers:

    Dave Hill, Executive Director for Children, Families, Learning and Culture

    Tina Benjamin, Director of Corporate Parenting

     

    Key points raised during meeting:

     

    1.    Directors update was tabled at the meeting to review. Main points highlighted and discussed:

    ·         Initial Health Assessment (IHA) performance continues to increase and is on track to reach a 90% target for all those children benefitting from the new process that has been in place for the last few months. Continued work is taking place to clear backlogs and the majority of the backlog now Out of the County with those in County now receiving a much quicker process.

    ·         Two serious incidents reported to the Board and the Board discussed the role of the Police. The Board expressed concern about the Police response and the Executive Director and Director for Corporate parenting will continue their conversations with the Police about their response.

    2.    It was discussed that Ofsted are due to come into Surrey on the week of 21 January and this monitoring visit is focussed on looked after children. The Executive Director will report the feedback from the monitoring visit at the next meeting.

     

    Action/ further information to be provided:

     

    a.    The Executive Director to provide feedback from the January Ofsted monitoring visit at the next Board. (DH)

     

     

7/19

SUMMARY OF ACTIONS, NEXT STEPS AND ANY OTHER BUSINESS

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during meeting:

     

    1.    There is a possibility that Board members may be invited to watch unaccompanied asylum seeking children play football and then meet them during February half term. Details will follow after the meeting.

    2.    The Board discussed making best use of Councillors networks and contacts to support looked after children and care leavers to pursue apprenticeships and work experience. It was agreed that the Chair and Executive Director would write to all Councillors to ask about this and Andrew Evans will collate.

    3.    Feedback from visits to foster carers will be included as part of the next meeting.

    4.    It was agreed that the Chair and Executive Director would write to the Surrey Chamber of Commerce and Surrey Small Businesses about the core offer for looked after children and how businesses and companies can support it, also including apprenticeships and work experience.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

    a.     Chair and Executive Director would write to all Councillors to ask about this and Andrew Evans will collate. (ML and DH)

    b.     Feedback from visits to foster carers will be included as part of the next meeting. (AE)

    c.      Chair and Executive Director would write to the Surrey Chamber of Commerce and Surrey Small Businesses about the core offer for looked after children and how businesses and companies can support it, also including apprenticeships and work experience. (ML and DH)

     

     

    SUMMARY OF ACTIONS / FURTHER INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED

     

    a.    For Cllr Walsh to be the named Councillor for Ruth House and another interested member, probably from the Select Committee, to cover the remaining home. (AE)

    b.    All DBS checks to be checked and/or completed in order for the visits to be able to take place at the residential homes. (ALL)

    c.    To develop a programme on when and how the visits to residential homes can start taking place with the aim for Members to complete a first visit within the next 6 months. For this to also consider visits to non-Surrey residential homes (where Surrey Children are placed). (CD)

    d.    A training session to be arranged to ensure all members have the knowledge and expertise required to conduct these visits. Some members stated they may wish to always be accompanied by an officer. (CD and AE)

    e.    A short standardised form to be implemented for approval to take along to the visits. (CD)

    f.     A template for a profile of Members for their home to be circulated (AE) and for each Member to complete and send back to AE for completion (Councillors on the Board).

    g.    Yearly report to be produced and reviewed around permanency including on numbers of children in adoption, homes and other services within Surrey (DH)

    h.    Circulate new ‘Bursary fund’ proposal for final comment and sign-off (AE) and the decision to remove bursary funding from Member’s allocations to continue be challenged. (JH)

    i.      A Surrey Foster Carers pay review and benchmarking analysis is being produced and will be presented at the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/19