Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting
Wednesday, 20th July, 2016 14:00

Venue: Committee Rooms 2/3, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions

Contact: Andrew Rees  Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees

Items
No. Item

129.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from the following Members:

 

Councillor N Farr

Councillor CE Smith

Councillor HM Williams

130.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were made:

 

Councillor DBF White declared a personal interest in agenda item 5 – Implementation of the “When I am Ready” Scheme as he sits on a local British Legion Committee and agenda item 6 – Monitoring the Performance and Progress of the Western Bay Regional Adoption Service as he works for another local authority which sits under Western Bay.        

131.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of a meeting of the Corporate Parenting Cabinet Committee of 7 April 2016.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:            That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting of 7 April 2016 be approved as a true and accurate record. 

132.

Safeguarding of Children and Young People pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing reported on the work undertaken to safeguard children and young people in Bridgend.  She stated that safeguarding is the action taken to promote the welfare of children and to protect them from harm.  The Council is committed to safeguarding children and young people from harm and all practitioners have access to a number of key documents which provide guidance and structure to their practice. 

 

The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing outlined the current arrangements in operation in terms of providing overarching support, specialist input and monitoring a range of services, by chairing meetings and tracking issues in relation to complex cases, leading on child practice reviews and facilitating / undertaking case file audit activity.  This was achieved through working with partners under the Western Bay Safeguarding Children’s Board.  The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that core business was undertaken through established Management Groups and it was expected that these Groups review, establish, monitor and report to the Safeguarding Board against individual work plans and address individual actions set out within the Board’s strategic priorities.  She stated that the Independent Reviewing Service has an important Quality Assurance function and works towards ensuring all children within the care of the Council have a robust, effective care and support plan.  The Independent Reviewing Officers independently review the care and support plans of all looked after children and children who are on the child protection register. 

 

The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee of the current activity in relation to child protection, in that there are currently 179 children on the Child Protection Register and currently 385 looked after children in Bridgend.  She highlighted the actions being taken to improve practice and to safely reduce the number of children being placed on the register.  The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing also informed the Committee of the process in relation to Public Law Outline, Care Proceedings and set out the arrangements for Child Practice Reviews.  She stated that Bridgend was currently undertaking three Child Practice Reviews following the identification of concerns where criteria had not been met.  The purpose of the reviews is to identify learning for future practice and is intended to generate professional and organisational learning and promote improvement in future practice.  The recommendations from Child Practice Reviews are reported to and monitored by the Western Bay Safeguarding Children’s Board and she stated that she would share the recommendations of the current reviews with the Committee. 

 

The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee of the practices in place to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation and the partnership working undertaken with the police.  She stated that there are currently 37 children in Bridgend who are subject to monitoring under the CSE protocol and good collaboration with the police is essential to tackling CSE.  The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing also informed the Committee that the Safeguarding Service is responsible for dealing with and managing allegations  ...  view the full minutes text for item 132.

133.

Implementation of the 'When I am Ready' Scheme pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Group Manager Childrens Regulated Services provided the Committee with an update on the implementation of the “When I am Ready” scheme and sought approval to of the “When I am Ready” Policy and accompanying “When I am Ready” Financial Policy. 

 

The Group Manager Childrens Regulated Services informed the Committee that the Scheme had been implemented as of 6 April 2016 and developed by the Welsh Government in partnership with local government and key third sector partners to enable eligible care leavers to have the option of continuing to live with their foster carers once they attain 18 years of age.  She stated that all looked after children are eligible to be considered for “When I am Ready”.  The Council must through a pathway assessment, ascertain whether a young person and their foster careers wish to make a post-18 years of age living arrangement, regardless of whether the young person is undertaking full or part time education, training or employment or none of these activities.  There is an expectation that the young person commits to undertaking skills development to prepare for their future. 

 

The Group Manager Childrens Regulated Services informed the Committee that there were now 4 “When I am Ready” arrangements in place within the Borough, 7 arrangements had been agreed, with a further 9 arrangements to go ahead in the next year.  She stated that each placement will cost the authority £185 per week, minus all relevant claimable benefits and as appropriate, contributions from the young people themselves which was contained in the policy.  Housing benefit is dependent on the circumstances of individual applications, with contributions from young people being a minimum of £20 per week.  The Group Manager Childrens Regulated Services informed the Committee that the Supporting People Programme Grant provided funding of £69,252 for the year and further placement costs funded through the Just Ask Plus team budget. 

 

In response to a request from the Committee, the Group Manager Childrens Regulated Services would circulate to the Committee the leaflets which had been produced by the Welsh Government on the scheme. 

 

The Group Manager Childrens Regulated Services informed the Committee that the scheme starts when the young person reaches 15 ½ years and that worked had been undertaken with Newbridge House where there is a personal adviser who advises on budgeting.     

 

The Committee requested that an amendment be made to the policy to take into account young people who have undertaken basic training in the armed forces and who wish to have a living arrangement with their foster carers. 

 

The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that a progress report would be brought to the Committee to include case studies of families who had entered into the scheme and to include where care leavers had moved on to.                        

 

RESOLVED:           That the report be noted and the policies as amended be approved and that a progress report be brought to the Committee in 12 months’ time.                         

134.

Monitoring the Performance and Progress of the Western Bay Regional Adoption Service pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Regional Adoption Manager reported on the performance and progress of the Western Bay Regional Adoption Service.  She highlighted the key achievements of the regional adoption service, which had seen 15 placements taking place in Bridgend, as opposed to 7 placements made in the previous year.  There had been a reduction of the use of Inter-agency placements and an increase in placements within Western Bay providing significant savings.  She stated there had been an increase in the number of prospective adopters from 45 in 2014/15 to 53.  There had been a reduction in the number of children whose plan for adoption changed from 21 in 2014/15 to 4; however this may increase during the year due to decisions being made by the courts.  A unified Adoption Allowance Policy had been developed and approved across the Region, which would be rolled across Wales.  The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that the Adoption Panel is well organised and very busy.

 

The Regional Adoption Manager highlighted the challenges facing the service in that performance reporting requires further development in light of new Performance Indicators and to ensure the accurate reporting on all data sets and the introduction of national and regional performance indicators in adoption support.  She also informed the Committee that policies and procedures require review.  The life story work requires development to comply with the target set by the National Adoption Service.  She stated that adoption support is a key priority for the regional service and is high on the national agenda. 

 

The Committee questioned the time taken for a child to be place for adoption shown in Quarter 4 Year End Performance Report.  The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that the figures contained in the performance report relate to when a child is placed for adoption.  Once a Placement Order is granted the service can begin the process of searching for a placement for a child.  She stated that persons adopting a child can apply for an Order to adopt a child no sooner than 10 weeks which is contestable by the birth parents and once granted, the child is legally adopted.  The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that period of 10 weeks relates to from the child being looked after to a placement being made.  The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that a decision to place a child for adoption is a difficult one to make with a significant amount of information to be considered in order to make the right decision.   

 

The Committee questioned the composition of the Panel as it did not list representation from Bridgend Members. 

 

The Committee questioned whether a member of staff could be tasked with championing the life story work.  The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that life book champions are being considered.  Child Care Social Workers support children to understand their life journey. 

 

The Committee questioned whether there would be a shortage of children to adopt.  The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.

135.

Urgent Items

To consider any other item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should be reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.