Agenda and minutes
Venue: Savoy Suite 1 - The Exchange - County Hall, Preston. View directions
Contact: Sam Gorton Tel: 01772 532471 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Introductions and Apologies
County Councillor Brown
To note who is attending and any apologies for absence.
All were welcomed to the meeting and apologies were received and noted from County Councillors Gardiner and Gibson, Catherine, Michelle Davies, Audrey Swann, Roxanne McAllister and Stephen Young.
Edwina Grant OBE, Executive Director of Education and Children's Services introduced herself to the Board and informed them of the two main areas she would be wanting the Board to focus on. These were:
i) Education – educational attainments for children looked after and care leavers was not quite as good as it could be and not consistent enough. The whole area needed looking at and this was something the Board could take forward at a future meeting.
ii) Accommodation – where were all Lancashire children and young people in care as well as those placed in Lancashire from other Authorities living, was it safe and secure and what partners could offer our children and young people, ie district councils.
CC Brown confirmed that the Board meeting in May would be on housing and accommodation and representatives from the district councils would be invited to attend.
Resolved: That CC Brown agreed to liaise further with Edwina Grant OBE and Sally Allen, Director for Children's Services with regards the May 2019 Corporate Parenting Board meeting to ensure we have representation from the District Councils in attendance.
County Councillor Brown
To agree for accuracy the notes of the meeting and receive any matters arising.
The minutes from the previous meeting held on 27 November 2018 were agreed as a correct record.
Objective 3 from the Corporate Parenting Strategy
Jane Hylton, Peter Knowles and Aaron Walmsley-Fishwick
To receive an update on Objective 3 from the Corporate Parenting Strategy – Care Leavers in Lancashire will have a 'Local Offer' and feedback from LINX on the Local Offer. To note the National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers' First Year Report.
Jane Hylton, Leaving Care Development Officer, Lancashire County Council gave on update on Lancashire's Care Leavers Local Offer and in setting up the Local Offer had been working closely with other Authorities and sharing good practice and that other Authorities were impressed by what Lancashire was offering.
The Local Offer had been developed over the last 12 months and a lot of work and consultation with young people had taken place. It was still a work in progress, however the progress made was on the right track.
Aaron Walmsley-Fishwick gave a demonstration to the Board on how to search for the website by searching for Lancashire Care Leaver Local Officer or find it via Lancashire County Council's Youth Zone page https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/youthzone/care-leavers-local-offer/.
Board members were asked to work with a young person and use an electronic device to search for the Local Offer webpage and navigate around it.
Following this exercise, comments were received from the Board on how they found the website. Comments were as follows:
· Tracey Ellmore, Department for Work and Pensions commented that there were updates on Universal Credits required.
· Possibly look at amending the title "Who is a Care Leaver" to "What Am I Entitled To" and then putting a link to "Who is a Care Leaver" on the webpage.
· Need to ensure colours are suitable on the webpage for dyslexia/colour blindness.
· Natasha Wright to be included in the Barnardo's contact list.
· Clarification on areas need to be included on the website ie where North, South, Central and East covers so young people could see which area they were living in.
· To liaise with Caroline Waldron on GPs and Dentists information and anything else health related that would be beneficial to care leavers.
· Ensure the link was also available on the Lancashire County Council internet and intranet.
Resolved: That Jane Hylton to ensure that all comments above were actioned.
Personal Advisers, Independent Reviewing Officers and Care Leaver Social Workers needed to spend time with young people to navigate them around the website. Members of the Board also need to be signposting colleagues and care leavers to the website as well.
If there were any updates ie staff, changes in legislation, to ensure that they are emailed to the mailbox careleaverLO@lancashire.gov.uk.
Any events to be shared can be submitted via the website also.
It was suggested that Permanence and Corporate Parenting Board and partner agencies have the Lancashire Care Leavers Local Offer link on their webpages.
Also have all the Local Offers from all Authorities on the Gov.uk website.
Resolved: That Tracey Ellmore agreed to look at having the link available on the Gov.UK website.
It would also be very useful for support groups for foster carers to understand the Local Offer and it would be beneficial for the young people to present this to them. Marieta Birt agreed to take this to the Fostering Forum meeting and if agreed would take this forward with Jane Hylton.
Resolved: That Marieta Birt agreed to raise the idea ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Lancashire's Children in Care Council (LINX) and Barnardo's
· A priority update from our young people
· Department of Work and Pensions Update (Joint presentation with DWP and LINX)
· A LINX Activity
· Feedback from LINX on the Local Offer
Since the last meeting, LINX and care leavers had been involved with Liverpool City Council's Children in Care Council in recruiting staff for two new residential homes in Liverpool.
Sue Prynn, Department for Work and Pensions was welcomed to the meeting and discussed barriers that care leavers faced when applying for work and on Universal Credit, which had been shared with her directly by care leavers and also on the support they had received, good and bad, from staff at the Department for Wok and Pensions.
The Board were informed of the discretionary fund from £100-£300 which was available via the work coach at the Department for Work and Pensions which helped fund clothing and transport for interviews.
Once again it was reiterated that if care leavers disclosed their circumstances it could be kept on file so that staff at the Department for Work and Pensions could offer the right advice and benefits for them.
Department for Work and Pensions were also looking at revisiting their questions for when a care leaver attended for their first visit.
The biggest issue for the Department for Work and Pensions was not knowing when a care leaver was approaching 18 years of age. This was something that needed to be agreed with Lancashire County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. However data protection rules had to be adhered to. There was now a Care Leaver Covenant which was an agreement between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Local Authority, however this had not been signed up to by Lancashire County Council as of present.
Resolved: That County Councillor Ian Brown agreed to take this forward and discuss further with Sally Allen, Acting Director of Children's Social Care and Barbara Bath, Head of Fostering, Adoption, Residential and Youth Offending, the Care Leaver Covenant and the benefits this would have in working with the council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Tracey Ellmore complimented the young people for their presentations to staff at various job centres and wanted to roll this out to all 22 job centres where young people shared their life experiences. In order to roll this out to all the job centres it would be useful to do this via a video, instead of the young people having to visit all the job centres and if this was not viable then maybe look at using the telekit equipment or arrange a meeting where all staff come togother and for young people to deliver it once.
Barbara Bath and Rachel Blundell
To discuss Objective 7 from the Corporate Parenting Strategy – Children and Young People will receive appropriate financial support.
Jane Hylton, Leaving Care Team and Rachel Blundell, Policy, Information and Commissioning (Start Well) Team presented this item to the Board.
The Board participated in an exercise and split into three groups and worked alongside the young people who had accessed the setting home allowance. Comments from the group work are attached.
Rachel presented the PowerPoint attached to the Board, explaining the current payment methods and the issues young people had reported that they face with these methods. Young people reported that they had found practices were different in each of the areas which they found hard to understand especially when they talked to other care leavers across the County. Also there were issues with driving lessons and payments with some instructors having to wait up to 60 days for payments and therefore cancelling future lessons for the young people.
Resolved: That Rachel Blundell will look further at the issues of different practices across the County with regards setting up home allowances and issues with driving lesson payments
Going forward, there were proposals for a pre-paid card for young people making their first move to a property, which would be far more flexible than the current setting up home allowance scheme. The card would be loaded with funds incrementally and used with a PIN number in the same way as any debit/credit card, however no cash withdrawals could be made. Each card would be operational for 12 months and then cancelled and any funds moved back to the central fund. Each Personal Advisor team would operate a 'team card' and any setting up home allowance items still could be purchased via this after the first 12 months when the young person's cards had been cancelled. The pilot would be reviewed after one year.
Plans for these proposals were to be presented to the council's Senior Management Team on 5 February 2019.
Resolved: That the young people were happy with proposals and welcomed this possible change to the setting up home allowance.
Young People's Benchmarking Forum
Jane Hylton, Ralph Rushworth and Aaron Walmsley-Fishwick
To receive an update from the Young People's Benchmarking Forum.
This item was deferred to the next meeting.
Any Other Business
County Councillor Brown
To receive any other business.
Corporate Parenting Video for PROUD Event
The Board were asked if they would be involved in a video for the PROUD Event for Children Looked After and Care Leavers to be shown on the night.
Resolved: That the Board agreed to be involved with the video for PROUD. Gavin Redhead would take this forward and contact the Board members as necessary.
Care Leaver Christmas Hampers
Sam Gorton reported back on the success of the Care Leaver Christmas hampers that were distributed during the month of December. Donations were received from staff at the county council, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Rainbows Development Centre, BT Lancashire Services, Barnardo's, Children's Society and family and friends of Colleagues. Attendees at the Lancashire Day Event also gave donations and proceeds from the sale of Lancashire badges were also donated raising £874.86 which was used to buy more gifts and also vouchers for care leavers who did not receive a hamper. Hampers and donations were split as follows:
East - 170 hampers and £200 of vouchers.
North – 80 hampers and £200 of vouchers and two large boxes full of household items for the North to distribute.
Central – 80 hampers and £200 of vouchers and one box of female gifts, two boxes full of food and chocolates and one box of household items for Central to distribute.
20 bags for life hampers full of food and gifts for the Care Leavers Christmas meal on Saturday 22 December.
In total, there had been 410 care leavers reached in hampers and vouchers with the additional boxes of goods reaching many more, so approximately 500 care leavers.
We are hoping that this can be reciprocated again in 2019.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
County Councillor Brown
The date and time of the next meeting is as follows:
Thursday, 28 March 2019 at 6.00pm in Committee Room 'C' – Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston, PR1 8RJ.
The date and time of the next meeting was:
Thursday, 28 March 2019 at 6.00pm in Committee Room 'C' – Duke of Lancaster Room, Count Hall, Preston, PR1 8RJ.