Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Parenting Board
Monday, 16th January, 2023 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Phil Wye  0115 8764637

Items
No. Item

29.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Councillor Maria Joannou - unwell

 

Jasmin Howell

Alison Platkiw

Patrick Skeete

30.

Declarations of Interests

Minutes:

In the interests of transparency Councillor Georgia Power stated that she works for the Children’s Society

31.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2022

Minutes:

The Board agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 21 November 2022 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.

32.

Complaints Service Update

Report of the Corporate Director for People

Minutes:

This item was deferred to the next meeting.

33.

Independent Review Service - Annual Report

Additional documents:

Minutes:

John Matravers, Service Manager Safeguarding Partnerships, introduced the report and delivered a presentation to the Board, highlighting the following:

 

(a)  the role of the Independent Reviewing officer (IRO) is to monitor the performance of the Local Authority and their function in relation to the children's cases, participate in any review of a child's case, and ensure that any ascertained wishes and feelings of the child are given due consideration by the appropriate authority;

(b)  the Children in Care population for 2020-21 within Nottingham City Council increased by 5.8% from the previous year. The East Midlands has also seen an increase in this population ranging from 4% -10%;

(c)  caseloads are within the upper limit specified in the IRO handbook, which denotes a caseload of 50-70 per IRO as being manageable. At present IRO’s hold an average caseload of 65. This shows progress over the previous years;

(d)  in Nottingham 72% of children in care have remained in the same placement for at least 2 years or more. Reviews carried out within timescales were at 92%, which is a slight decline against the previous year;

(e)  children’s participation in their own review was at 95%, which is a slight improvement against the previous year. This is a strong performance given the challenges presented by the pandemic over the last two years, but could still be improved further;

(f)  the Ofsted inspection of Nottingham City local authority children’s services highlighted that IROs do not consistently monitor children’s circumstances in between reviews. More mid-way reviews and checks need to take place, and this should be easier now that caseloads are reducing;

(g)  Ofsted also commented that escalation processes are currently not effective in demonstrating impact or positive change for children because of concerns raised by the IROs.

 

The following points were raised during the discussion which followed:

 

(h)  a video could be produced by children who have chaired their own reviews in order to demystify the process;

(i)  individual children would have differing views on the use of the terms ‘placement’ or ‘home’ for where they live. Effective communication with the children is important to establish these views;

(j)  it would be useful for the report to contain some underlying themes that come up in complaints and positive feedback received;

(k)  the complexity of some children in care is increasing due to exploitation and other issues, which can impact on the capacity of IROs;

(l)  it is positive that stability of children in care has improved, but it would be useful to have further information on the reasons why some do move out of placements, as this will help with the needs of individual children;

(m)a lot of work is currently being undertaken  to support children to remain safely with their parents, or supporting their extended family to support if this is not possible.

34.

Feedback from development session and Corporate Parenting Board next steps pdf icon PDF 722 KB

Minutes:

Mary-Anne Cosgrove, Head of Children in Care, Care leavers and Regulated

Services, delivered a presentation to the Board on feedback from a recent development session, and highlighted the following:

 

(a)  the development session was part of a wider package of support to develop the effectiveness of the Corporate Parenting Board. This package also includes peer interviews with key officers and councillors to understand the approach to corporate parenting, a Board observation, development of key areas and aspects for improvement, and a bespoke development programme for the Board;

(b)  the following strengths of the Board were identified:

·  there is a commitment across the council to corporate parenting, and an increased understanding of what this means by those not working in children’s services;

·  there is a strong culture of focusing on the child, and the Corporate Parenting Board is keen to examine ways to effectively engage with children in care and care leavers;

·  recent interventions have seen improvements to services for Children in Care and Care Leavers;

·  the Corporate Parenting Board meets six times per year and members are committed to attending and asking questions;

·  some key partner organisations are now attending the Corporate Parenting Board meetings routinely.

 

(c)  whilst there is a commitment to Children in Care and Care Leavers, there is no clear single vision or aspiration;

(d)  the Board operates in a similar way to a Scrutiny Committee, and whilst key members champion the needs of Children in Care, this leadership dynamic could be enhanced by changing the terms of reference;

(e)  the Corporate Parenting Board meets in public which is unusual. This can stifle Board discussions and deeper conversations;

(f)  the voice of Children in Care and Care Leavers should be embedded more into the work of the Board. Suggestions of doing this include members acting as Link Champions, take over days, and children attending meetings.

 

The following points were raised during the discussion which followed:

(g)  examples from other Local Authorities should be used to establish new terms of reference which put the Children in Care and Care Leavers at the heart of the Board’s work;

(h)  the vision for the Board should be full of energy and commitment to the best opportunities and support;

(i)  the voices of as wide a range of Children in Care and Care Leavers should be captured, including those that do not live in Nottingham and those that find it difficult to engage.

35.

Date of the next meeting

20 March 2023

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was noted.