Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 'C' - The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston. View directions
Contact: Sam Gorton Tel: 01772 532471 email: email@example.com
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 Councillor Gardiner, Catherine, Michelle Davies and Lynda Pearson.
Sally Allen, Acting Director of Children's Social Care, Marieta Birt, Fostering Forum representative and Neil Kelly, Service Manager for The Children's Society were all welcomed to their first meeting.
County Councillor Brown
To agree for accuracy the notes of the meeting and receive any matters arising including a response from the Access to Files presentation from the last meeting in September from Barbara Bath, Head of Service, Fostering, Adoption, Residential and YOT Services.
The minutes from the previous meeting held on 26 September 2018 were agreed as a correct record.
Item 8 – Young People's Benchmarking Forum
Ralph Rushworth gave a presentation at the September Corporate Parenting Board meeting which highlighted issues young people may experience in accessing their records. It was therefore considered helpful to meet outside this forum to further the issues and potential solutions. Subsequently a meeting was held with the Head of Service for Fostering, Adoption, Residential and Youth Offending Team, the Information Access Manager, Information Access Officer, Policy Officer, Advanced Practitioner and Ralph Rushworth, Apprentice.
It was acknowledged that whilst some issues could be resolved quickly and easily, others would have resource or even legislative issues.
Significantly 'Access to Records' sits within a wider legal framework that was designed for less personal data sharing. The legal framework was inflexible and not fit for purpose for access to records.
The Information Access Team is a small team with limited resources. There were only two social workers employed on a casual basis to proof read young people's personal data. They do not have access to Liquidlogic Children's Social Care System. The Information Access Team proof read for legal entitlements. Contact numbers were deliberately removed from correspondence due to levels of abuse the team was subject to. Access to records was only a part of the team's wider workload, timescales were directed by the Information Commissioner's Office and reported monthly.
Barbara Bath reported that the quick wins were:
· A-Z Document to be updated.
· Flowchart of the access to records procedure to be completed.
· Policy to be written to identify a tiered approach to how information was shared with a young person.
· Where it was considered the records needed to be shared with the support of a worker, for the Information Access team timescales, the task would be considered and recorded as completed once passed to the worker.
· Helpline numbers to be included with the documents young people were given.
· Information/training for Social Workers and Personal Advisors to be developed and delivered.
· Link from the webpage back to the Care Leavers information on Access to Records to provide more young person friendly language.
· Where information was removed from a young person's record the Social Worker who removed it, to add a note to say why.
· Correspondence to young people to be adapted to make more user friendly.
· Information on access to records to be added to the Care Leaver's page, to include:
Ø An explanation of what third party information was
Ø Explanation of circumstances when information might be withheld
Ø Helpline numbers
Ø Communication of what to do if a young person changed address
Ø FAQ section
If there were any specific cases that were outstanding or issues with young people trying to access their records, then please contact Sally Allen, Acting Director of Children's Social Care, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To receive an update on the strategy and pledge.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Lead Member for Young People introduced this item which was also being presented to Cabinet at their meeting on 3 December 2018. The Corporate Parenting Strategy 2018-2022 sets out how Lancashire County Council intend to fulfil their corporate parenting responsibilities to all children in its care and care leavers, putting them at the centre of improvements in the planning, delivery and evaluation of its services. The strategy had been developed in partnership with this Board along with children, young people and partner agencies. Lancashire had also illustrated its Promises to Children in Care and Care Leavers and this informed the core principles of the Corporate Parenting Strategy. Previously this was known as the 'Pledge' however, young people felt that 'Promises' was a better statement.
The strategy will pave the way for future Corporate Parenting Board meetings and from this the Board will create an action plan and have the responsibility in delivering it. As a Board it will own the strategy and monitor what is being done and what we have said will be done through this meeting.
Sally Allen, Acting Director of Children's Social Care presented the attached PowerPoint and reminded the Board of the seven core principles and the nine objectives in the strategy.
The Board then split for group work discussion and suggested two objectives to be the topic of each Board meeting. The outcomes are attached. This would then be discussed at the next Corporate Parenting Board agenda setting meeting and objectives would be allocated to each of the meetings set for 2019 and shared at the next Board meeting in January 2019.
Action: To allocate the nine objectives to each of the Corporate Parenting Board meetings scheduled throughout 2019 at the next agenda setting meeting and update the Board at its next meeting in January 2019 - Barbara Bath will lead on this.
Corporate Parenting Board Action Plan
Start to create an action plan from the Corporate Parenting Strategy for the Board.
This was discussed as part of Item 3. Once the objectives have been assigned to the meetings, then a work plan would be drawn up.
Action: To draw up a work plan at the next meeting in January 2019 following the allocation of objectives to each of the meetings scheduled for 2019 – Barbara Bath to lead on this.
LINX (Lancashire's Children in Care Council)
LINX (Lancashire's Children in Care Council)
To receive feedback on the work our young people have been doing including:
· What LINX have been doing since the last meeting
· Feedback from LINX Mental Health Activity from 26 September 2018 Corporate Parenting Board meeting
· Who are LINX and POWAR?
· Young Inspectors and what they have been doing since the last Board meeting
What LINX Have Been Doing Since the Last Meeting
LINX gave an update on what they had been doing since the last meeting. This is attached for reference. County Councillor Brown also informed the Board that he had attended the Game Changer event and would report back on this at the next meeting in January 2019.
LINX had been asked to participate with the One Voice Community Choir at the Concert of Peace in November. They had also been invited to attend the Winckley Square Christmas concert on 2 December. LINX had enjoyed participating and the community choir enjoyed having the young people in attendance.
Young Inspectors Update
LINX presented the attached update to the Board. There were no issues arising from it.
Feedback from LINX Mental Health Activity from 26 September 2018
Beth informed the Board of some national and local statistics around mental health and young people in care and this showed that they were affected more than children and young people who were not in care.
Dave Carr, Head of Service Policy, Information and Commissioning (Start Well), Lancashire County Council informed the Board that there was a mental health first aid programme that could be available for foster carers and low level support and intervention from SCAYT+ Team (Supporting Carers of Children and Young People Looked After Together) which is about less direct intervention and more support for foster carers. There is also the early help offer which provides counselling and social workers can refer into that service.
Things around mental health could be explored for example:
Help from social workers
To have one of these on offer as support would be good for young people.
Children and young people's emotional health and wellbeing was discussed regularly at the Health and Wellbeing Board which is held bi-monthly.
Caroline Waldron, Safeguarding and Looked After Children, Clinical Commissioning Group indicated that an assessment was done when a child/young person came into care with the right skilled professionals around them. Children/young people in care were prioritised and school nurses were available by telephone for foster carers.
It was felt that there needed to be mandatory training sessions for all young people and this was something that could be explored. If young people did not want to engage then work would need to be done further to support them.
A pilot scheme had been available from Anna Freud, National Centre for Children and Families on Improving mental health assessments for children entering care, however the closing date for expressions of interest was 19 October 2018, however if this was to be opened up again, then Lancashire would be very interested and Dave Carr agreed to lead on this.
Young People's Benchmarking Forum
Jane Hylton, Ralph Rushworth, Aaron Walmsley-Fishwick
To receive an update from the Young People's Benchmarking Forum.
Aaron Walmsley-Fishwick and Ralph Rushworth presented the attached PowerPoint from the National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum and Young People's Bench Marking Forum celebration event that was held in Birmingham. It was not just a celebration event but an opportunity for local authority to showcase good practise within the service. The workshop was about big ideas and authorities had to choose one and then showcase their talent. Examples of showcasing is detailed in the PowerPoint attached which enabled other authorities to possibly follow their examples.
The Board were informed that Ralph had been selected as the runner up for the Young People's Benchmarking Forum Champion for all the work he had done.
Also Lancashire was second place in the Public Speakers award.
A young person raised an issue that could be discussed at a future forum meeting which was regarding the staying put policy and having to leave placements during 'A' levels, which is extremely stressful and there should be allowances for them to remain on the staying put policy until their 'A' levels were completed.
Regional Adoption Agency (RAA)
To discuss proposals to move into a Regional Adoption Agency with Blackpool Council.
Helena Burrows and Lucy Trueman from Trueman Changes presented the attached PowerPoint to the Board on the Regional Adoption Agency for Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council.
In regionalising adoption, the Department for Education sets out the following aims for a Regional Adoption Agency to achieve:
· Match children as quickly as possible
· Recruit enough adopters
· Have high quality adoption support services
So far, discussion had taken place with staff, managers, adopters and children and agreed how the Agency would work with voluntary agencies. Working groups/workshops on ICT, branding, HR and Information Governance would be run. Service delivery workshops to design and plan how practice would work and agreed some guiding principles and also that Lancashire County Council would be the host authority.
The next stage in the proposals to move into a Regional Adoption Agency with Blackpool were as follows:
· Finalise the model
· More in-depth engagement with Adopters, children and birth parents
· Develop a new brand identity
· Agree the HR and financial model
· Keep in touch with you
Following discussions, the Board agreed to support this proposal and were keen to get involved.
If anybody wished to receive further information on the proposal to contact Barbara Bath.
County Councillor Brown
To note the meeting schedule 2019/2020.
The Board noted the meeting schedule for 2019/2020. A link to all meeting dates could be found at Item 11.
Performance report for October 2018.
This item was for information and was not discussed.
Any Other Business
County Councillor Brown
To receive any other business.
County Councillor Ian Brown thanked everybody on the Board for their contributions throughout the year, especially the young people from LINX.
Special thanks were also given to Sam Gorton for her continued help and support to the Chair and the Board.
This meeting was the Interim Executive Director of Education and Children's Services, John Readman's last meeting and on behalf of the Board the Chair thanked him for his support, expertise and knowledge that he had given to County Councillor Ian Brown and the Corporate Parenting Board.
John Readman wished everybody well and stated that it had been great working with everybody.
New Executive Director of Education and Children's Services
Edwina Grant will commence at Lancashire County Council on 17 December and will be replacing John Readman on the Board.
The Care Experienced Conference
Caroline Waldron informed the Board of the conference below and further details could be found via the website.
The Care Experienced Conference on 26 April 2019
You can register for updates on the website as to when booking is open for registration.
Care Leaver Hampers
Throughout November, members of the Corporate Parenting Board and their organisations along with Lancashire County Council employees contributed to the Care Leavers Christmas Hamper collection which had been a huge success and lots of donations had been received. Hampers were being distributed across Lancashire during December by the Leaving Care Teams. A huge thanks was given to Sam Gorton, Jane Hylton, Aaron Walmsley-Fishwick and Ralph Rushworth for leading on this.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
County Councillor Brown
The date and time of the next meeting is as follows:
Wednesday, 26 January 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 Wednesday, 23 January 2019 at 6.00pm in Committee Room 'C' – Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston, PR1 8RJ.
A link to future meeting dates can be found here.