Agenda and draft minutes

Surrey Corporate Parenting Board - Monday, 17 September 2018 11.00 am

Venue: County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DN

No. Item



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    Flora Wilkie, Senior Commissioning Manager

    Tina Benjamin, Director for Looked after Children & Care Leavers


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    It was noted that this was the first full meeting in the new Corporate Parenting Conversation format where members planned to discuss one area of care for children.


    2.    The Chairman welcomed the Director for Looked After Children & Care Leavers, Tina Benjamin and the Commissioning Manager (Market Innovation). Flora Wilkie to the Board Meeting.


    3.    It was further noted that key officers (Libby Butler - Social Care Commissioning, Liz Sales – Operational Manager from Placements team and Senay Nidai – Senior Manager  from the Independent Reviewing Service)  would be joining the meeting at 11:20am to support each Corporate Parenting Conversation.


    4.    Apologies were received from Cindy Morris.


MINUTES AND ACTIONS FROM PREVIOUS MEETING: (including update around Initial Health Assessments) pdf icon PDF 80 KB

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    To agree the minutes as a true record of the meeting.




    Dave Hill, Director of Children’s Services


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    Minutes and Actions from the previous meeting


    1.    Members agreed to include Surrey’s percentage of children placed out of county within the previous minutes, (Item 4, Paragraph 1) to show a comparison against the national statistic.


    2.    The Chairman explained that an update on the council needing to invest heavily in family resilience services was provided at the Member briefing on 10 September 2018 and was also available on the Member portal to view.


    3.    It was noted that the Surrey Foster Carers Handbook was in the process of being updated and would be circulated to the Board electronically in due course.


    Initial Health Assessments


    4.    The Director of Children’s Services agreed to provide members with historic and current statistics on initial health assessments to demonstrate the trend of referrals produced over recent years. Members requested that this data to be further provided on the Dashboard.


    5.    It was highlighted in an effort to promote efficiency with referrals, a contact would be placed at the NHS and council.


    6.    It was noted that consent forms presented a challenge with initial health assessments, as a result the Children’s Service were keen to make this more clear going forward.


    7.    It was explained that the financial responsibility remained with Surrey County Council for placing children out of county and this funding arrangement was the same for all local authorities nationally.


    8.    The Foster Care Lead shared the view that accurate information should be provided to foster carers to support children in care as vital background details could support further understanding regarding certain issues concerning the child. It was further highlighted that there was a lack of empowerment amongst foster carers particularly around expectations.


    9.    The Director of Children Services supported Members views in relation to compliance and accuracy and agreed going forward more improvement was required in this area.


    10.  It was noted that data could be provided on Surrey foster carers and the Independent sector to show a comparison between them.


    11.  Member were advised on a serious incident case and acknowledged concerns with placing children back into homes who had left secure.


    12.  There was a discussion around missing persons and members expressed the view that there was a need to change practice in this area to include taking on information gathered from children who had returned.


    Actions/ Further information


    The minutes to be updated to include Surrey’s proportion of out of county placements in comparison to the national statistic.


    The Director of Children’s Services to circulate statistics on initial health assessment referrals made over recent years.




DIRECTOR'S UPDATE (including directorate restructure and serious incidents)

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    Dave Hill, Director of Children’s Services


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    The Board noted that the Child Commissioner Report for the Secretary of State was underway and would outline Surrey’s decision regarding the CAMHS contract.


    2.    It was highlighted that the council received a visit from Ofsted last week and a  letter would be published in due course to state the outcomes.


    3.    The Director of Children’s Services indicated that the service from now to next year was in a critical period and the journey ahead demanded change in staff culture and practice.


    4.    It was noted that there was simplification of the organisational structure in progress to declutter teams and sharpen processes.


    5.    It was further noted that a single children’s front door hub would replace MASH, creating opportunities for further conversations to take place between schools, health services, the police and council.


    6.    The Director of Children’s Services highlighted that the current arrangement was not working and plans were underway to relocate the front door service away from Guildford Police Station and into a building in Surrey.


    7.    Members noted a simplified referrals process and plans to implement this on 1 April 2019. This involved referrals at the front door hub, followed up by  assessment teams and then family safeguarding teams.


    8.    It was explained that 85% of referrals was a mix of domestic abuse, mental health and drug abuse.


    9.    The Director of Children Services advised that a newly revamped Ofsted Priority Action Board was formed, chaired externally and was scheduled to meet on 19 September 2018. It would meet on a monthly basis and was a place for partners to be accountable for their actions.


    10.   Members advised that a degree of sensitivity should be applied when discussing Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as positive areas of performance have been discredited by the negative press.



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    Libby Butler, Senior Commissioning Manager

    Liz Sales, Service Manager Care Services

    Senay Nidai, Principal Commissioning Manager (Q&S)

    Tina Benjamin, Interim change Director - Looked After Children and Leaving Care

    Dave Hill, Director of Children’s Services


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    Members welcomed key officers from the Social Care Commissioning team, Placement team and Independent Review Service to take part in the discussion.


    2.    The Board received a video presentation from the Care Council, highlighting children’s views about being placed out of county.


    3.    It was highlighted that four members had been involved in practice conversations and the following common themes were identified;

    ·         travelling times

    ·         accessing service

    ·         CAMHS

    ·         Policies and processes.


    4.    Members stated that practice conversations further indicated concerns with IT and the need to upgrade equipment to allow for video call capabilities.


    5.    It was noted that pay was not the predominant issue with recruiting foster carers and members were assured Surrey’s pay was competitive.


    6.    The Operational Manager from the Placement team stressed that a more dedicated recruitment team would benefit the process.


    7.    The Director for Children Services acknowledged concerns with retention of foster carers and indicated Mockingbird as a way forward, a platform where carers can support each other.


    8.    Members discussed the matching process and suggested another level of vetting would benefit the process to ensure effective placements were made. It was noted that children were placed in temporary holding situations to avoid poor matching and false allegations.


    9.    It was noted that work was underway revising the Placement Strategy and that it would incorporate family resilience and Mockingbird. The Senior Commissioning Manager welcomed comments from members on the strategy.


    10.  Members raised concerns with the duplication of forms for foster carers and noted that as part of modernisation plans forms will be reduced going forward.


    11.  It was highlighted that 6% of care leavers resided out of county and 39% remained in Surrey. Feedback from care leavers transitioning into adulthood suggested that they felt their wellbeing was displaced and that there was no support or structure.


    12.  The Principal Commissioning Manager stressed that matching considerations was the crux of permanent planning and children ideally wanted to be located near friends and family.


    13.  Members shared the view that it was essential to provide outcomes that support children in the long term and not to accelerate the pace for short term improvements. It was agreed that this involved thoughtful planning early on.




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



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    Additional documents:


    Members reviewed the Board’s forward plan and noted the progress on the action tracker.



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    Belinda Newth, head of Quality and Experience


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    Due to time constraints members asked the Board to consider the procedure for questions, to allow members to submit questions ahead of the meeting to allow responses to be prepared in advance.




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    Andrew Evans, Senior Manager, Quality and Experience


    Key points raised during the discussion:


    1.    The Board noted a revised terms of reference and officers agreed to circulate this to members following the meeting.


    Actions/ Further information:


    Members to receive copies of the Board’s revised terms of reference.









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    The next meeting of the Board will be held at 11.00am on 29 November 2018.


    Members noted that the next meeting of the Corporate Parenting Board would take place on 29 November 2018.