Agenda item


Council is asked to adopt the Corporate Parenting Strategy.



The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families introduced the report. She highlighted a key part of the Member role profile which was ‘to fulfil the responsibilities as ‘corporate parent’ of Looked After Children, accepting responsibility for children in the Council’s care’. Members and officers should have high ambitions for their corporate children and the 2018 Ofsted report rating of Requires Improvement for the care given to Looked After Children and Care Leavers Surrey was disappointing. She thanked members of the Corporate Parenting Board who sought to address the negative rating and noted the recent report from the Children’s Commissioner which identified the positive development of corporate parenting and the strong leadership from Board members.


The Strategy reflected the current work of the Board and had been endorsed by the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee. The Council would send a clear message of its commitment as a corporate parent if it agreed the Strategy and it was important to have a clear strategy document for key partners across directorates to understand their obligations under the Children and Social Work Act 2017 - to promote the ‘best interests’ for children, ‘keeping them safe’ - and the subsequent Statutory Guidance to the Act (2018).


The cross-party membership of the Board incorporating foster carers, harnessed a variety of talents and she thanked the Leader of the Residents’ Association and Independent Group for his recent attendance to the Board, noting that permanent representation would be advantageous.


Members made the following comments:


  • Praised the work of the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families for her work as chair of the Board, as concurred within the recent Report of the Non-Executive Commissioner for Children’s Services which noted the ‘strong lead from members and the chair of the board’ in the Strategy’s positive development.
  • That all children should be supported equally, Looked After Children should never be far from the thoughts of all within the Council and urged Members to read the introduction and the key points of the Strategy in green text.
  • As a member of the Board, highlighted the crucial work by the chair and the importance of the Strategy which pointed out Members’ responsibilities as corporate parents. That all Members should pay close attention to the list of ten ‘must dos’ identified by the Board in respect of their actions and behaviours, ensuring that children were at the forefront of the Council.
  • Stated that being a ‘corporate parent’ was a legal and moral duty of all councillors across boroughs and districts in Surrey, with over one thousand Looked After Children and for Members to reflect on the point of ‘would this be good enough for my child?’
  • That the Board was composed of a passionate group of members and officers, chaired superbly by the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families and supported by the Executive Director for Children, Families, Lifelong Learning. Urged Members to review what being a corporate parent meant personally and how they could contribute to the Strategy, noting the Celebration Fund for Looked After Children and Care Leavers.
  • Queried the frequency of the Corporate Parenting Report to be received by the Children, Families, Lifelong Learning & Culture Select Committee and whether it could be automatically circulated to all Members as corporate parents.
  • That it was a privilege to be a member of the Board, praising its chair and the Board showcased the best of the Council.
  • Emphasised the importance of recognising the responsibilities of all as corporate parents across the county, exemplified by Surrey County Council’s endorsement of the provision of Council Tax Relief for Care Leavers in Surrey in October 2019 - supported by ten of the eleven borough and district councils in Surrey. The provision of wider opportunities was essential for Looked After Children and Care Leavers such as through linking with the Chamber of Commerce on the facilitating work experience in schools. Waverley Borough Council offered free swimming classes and access to its leisure centres for Looked After Children, Care Leavers and foster families.
  • Having seen the enthusiasm of officers and Board members at a recent Board meeting, the Leader of the Residents’ Association and Independent Group would be delighted to attend future meetings and become member.


The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families was pleased to take back praise to members of the Board and the key officers involved in the strategy, highlighting the Director - Corporate Parenting, the Executive Director for Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and the Policy, Planning, and Projects Manager. Commended the work of boroughs and districts noting that coordination was needed across Surrey and there were positive responses to the letter sent out by the Corporate Parenting Board to five hundred elected councillors. The Council’s Corporate Parenting Report would incorporate many aspects relating to Looked After Children and Care Leavers such Surrey Virtual School and foster care - she would provide the Report to all Members as well as the Select Committee.




That the Council adopted the Corporate Parenting Strategy.


Supporting documents: