Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Parenting Board
Monday, 16th September, 2019 2.30 pm

Venue: Ground Floor Committee Room - Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG. View directions

Contact: Zena West  Governance Officer

Items
No. Item

18.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillor Georgia Power – work commitments

Councillor Nicola Heaton – leave

Matthew Jenkins

Sophie Russell

19.

Declarations of Interests

Minutes:

None

20.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 15 July 2019, for confirmation

Minutes:

The minutes were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

21.

Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Presentation by Clive Chambers (after Minutes item)

Minutes:

Clive Chambers, Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance, gave a presentation on the statutory guidance surrounding corporate parenting responsibilities, distributed with the first publication of the minutes.

 

Councillors and Children in Care Council members raised the following points during discussion of the presentation:

 

(a)  other departments within Nottingham City Council should be invited to future meetings in order to prioritise corporate parenting responsibilities for all departments;

 

(b)  early and ongoing mental health support for children in care is vital – they need help and support to overcome traumatic experiences;

 

(c)  the concerns and issues faced by care leavers are different to those of other young adults, and it is important to ensure that a safety net or emotional support in place. Care leavers require empathy, sympathy, practical support and advice, and a solid foundation of life skills and budgeting before they become care leavers;

 

(d)  funding is being sought for children in care to  help develop peer support groups. One of the outcomes  is train care leavers to become mentors for future care leavers. Mentors. Care leavers will also benefit from being mentored by older care leavers as part of this project;

 

(e)  the Board recognised that caseloads for front line social workers will impact on their capacity to provide children will a good level of support and in future would like to discuss this in more depth. The services monitor caseloads and this will remain a priority. The most important aspect of supporting children in care and care leavers is to listen to those children and young adults affected. Engagement with the Children in Care Council, open conversations, and feedback through Have Your Say all help to give a better picture of the needs of Children in Care and Care Leavers, in their own words;

 

(f)  Nottingham City Council works hard to meet the needs of Care Leavers but the impact of austerity means that there are challenges to this;

 

(g)  a presentation will come to a future meeting of the Corporate Parenting Board detailing the different accommodation types offered for Care Leavers;

 

(h)  young people highlighted that social opportunities and gatherings for Care Leavers may be useful, as well as for specific cohorts of Care Leavers such as young parents. Discussions have been ongoing to seek funding to support such groups in future;

 

(i)  one particular success which has had positive feedback from young people is the Safe Families pilot project, where volunteers mentor and befriend families and young people in the community;

 

(k)  a copy of the meeting schedule for future Children in Care Council meetings will be distributed with the first publication of the minutes, and Councillors are welcome to attend the Corporate Children in Care Council meeting. This will offer the opportunity for members to hear first hand from young people;

 

(l)  representatives from the Children in Care Council expressed a desire to help Councillors understand the issues affecting Care Leavers, and for Councillors to help to change the narrative surrounding Children in Care. There is a tendency in wider society to portray them as individuals who may well have complex problems but they are not “problem children”;

 

(m)  over the last 6 years the council has done an enormous amount to try and invest differently in this system. This has included for example establishing a multi systemic therapy team, to try to prevent children coming into care in the first place, and have helped hundreds more families stay together. For those who come into care, the Council has moved from large homes to smaller homes, with increased options for children to stay in one place for longer;

 

(n)  a representative from the Children in Care Council noted that they felt review meetings at a child’s school were not appropriate, as it singled out children as being different, and impacted on their education and their social lives. They discussed ideas about how we could plan for these meetings differently. This will be raised with the Virtual School, schools and IROs;

 

(o)  Councillors and colleagues thanked the representatives from the Children in Care Council for attending the meeting and sharing their honest experiences.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

(1)  note the presentation;

 

(2)  thank the Children in Care Council for their contribution to discussions;

 

(3)  use the influence of the council to increase the range of support and opportunities made available to children in care and care leavers.

22.

Care Leavers Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Report of the Director of Children’s Integrated Services

Minutes:

Alison Wakefield, Children’s Social Care Service Manager and Colin Brooks, Leaving Care Service Team Manager, presented the Care Leavers Annual Report 2018/19. The following points were raised in discussion:

 

(a)  PAs often work with traumatised young people who can present as being angry and upset rejecting services. However many can later use services when they feel more ready. As a result of knowing that some Care Leavers need more time and proactive attempts to engage them, a Keeping in Touch policy is in place that means that PAs will continue trying to keep in touch with young people, even if they have previously refused support;

 

(b)  a recent review of the local offer for Care Leavers indicates that Nottingham City Council compares favourably to other local authorities. Discussions are underway to evaluate the impact of extending the Council Tax exemption beyond the current limits;

 

(c)  colleagues regularly meet with young people, to look at the issues they raise, encouraging them to advocate for themselves and others. This is also an opportunity for the Council to learn from their experiences in order to improve service delivery.

 

RESOLVED to note the information.

23.

Children in Care Council

Minutes:

Jon Rea, Engagement and Participation Lead Officer, gave a verbal update on the Children in Care Council, highlighting the following points:

 

(a)  many young people don’t wish to be involved with the formal setting of the Corporate Parenting Board, but Councillors are welcome to attend meetings of the Corporate Children in Care Council to hear directly from young people in a less formal setting;

 

(b)  the Children in Care Council has been involved in the Social Worker training programme, and have helped with recruitment of the Corporate Director for Children and Adults;

 

(c)  where possible, Councillors should look to offer shadowing opportunities to young people from the Children in Care Council, so they can understand Councillor’s roles and how the Council works;

 

(d)  an update on the results of the Have Your Say survey will be coming to the next meeting of Corporate Parenting Board, and may help to inform future agenda items.

 

RESOLVED to note the update, and thank the representatives from the Children in Care Council for attending the meeting.

24.

Improving Outcomes for Nottingham City’s Children in Care – Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health pdf icon PDF 314 KB

Report of the Director of Children’s Integrated Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was deferred to a future meeting of the Corporate Parenting Board.

25.

Independent Reviewing Service Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Report of the Director of Children’s Integrated Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was deferred to a future meeting of the Corporate Parenting Board.

26.

Forward Planner pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED to:

 

(1)  note the forward plan;

 

(2)  note that an item on IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) will come to the next meeting of the Corporate Parenting Board, following publication of the related action plan.