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Contact: Mr Mark Anthony Galvin Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees
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.
Councillor P White declared a personal interest in Agenda item 6 because he sat on the Bridgend Foster Panel.
To receive for approval the minutes of a meeting of the Corporate Parenting Cabinet Committee dated 19 October 2016
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting dated 19 October 2016 be approved as a true and accurate record, subject to the following:-
That the Invitees listed below be added to the list of Councillors present and that Cllr CE Smith be recorded on council business and not apologies for absence:
Cllr Ella Dodd
Cllr Neelo Farr
Cllr Peter Foley
Cllr David White
The Chairperson welcomed Peter Tyson, Group Manager - Commissioning Contracts and Contract Monitoring to the meeting.
The purpose of the report was to provide Corporate Parenting Committee with an overview of Children’s Social Care commissioning arrangements, and highlight developments that had been made in response to the directorate restructure, and implementation of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act.
In June 2016, a report was presented to Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, providing an update on the context, focus and structure of Children’s Social Care, the achievements, and priorities/areas for development for the year 2016/17.
The Commissioning Team now oversaw commissioning activity across both Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care, where historically the team oversaw commissioning within Adult Social Care only.
In order to be able to respond effectively to the additional demands and requirements across the directorate as a whole, the team had been reviewed and restructured, and additional resources had been made available in the form of a ‘Strategic Planning and Commissioning Officer’, and a ‘Commissioning and Contracting Officer’.
In November 2016, the Social Services and Wellbeing Directorate were able to successfully recruit into the role of ‘Group Manager – Commissioning, Contracts and Contract Management’, who would be responsible for the Commissioning Team in overseeing commissioning activity across the directorate.
It was recognised that there were a number of alternative definitions of commissioning. The Commissioning Team within the directorate had adopted Welsh Government’s definition, taken from Welsh Government’s (WG) ‘Commissioning Framework Guidance and Good Practice – Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities’:
During the summer of 2016, the Senior Management Team and the Extended Managers Group from Children’s Social Care commenced work to develop and agree the content of a document entitled: Vision into Action: 2016 – 2017: ‘Together - delivering better outcomes for children/young people & their families’. The purpose was to have a single clear vision in place for Children’s Social Care, against which all future plans and strategies could be linked
A key strategy which would have a significant influence on any future commissioning activity and commissioning plan within Children’s Social Care was the Early Help and Permanence Strategy and Action Plan, which had been developed alongside colleagues within the Education and Family Support Directorate. A draft version of the Early Help and Permanence Strategy & Action Plan was presented to Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee in October 2016, and the strategy & plan were in the process of being finalised.
Under the new Act, local authorities (and health) had to carry out and publish a Population Assessment. This assessment was intended to give organisations, services, individuals and communities an understanding of where there were ‘gaps’ in care and support provided by public services, and what could be put in place to address these care and support needs.
The Population Assessment was made up of a number of sub-assessments, covering all age ranges, including children and young people. This was an essential piece of work in informing any future commissioning activity, and also ... view the full minutes text for item 145.
The Corporate Director, Social Services and Wellbeing introduced Caroline Dyer, Service Manager, Western Bay Youth Justice & Early Intervention Services to the Committee.
The Service Manager then presented a report informing the Cabinet Committee of the Local Authorities responsibility in respect of the secure estate following the implementation of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act in April 2016.
Bridgend County Borough Council had within its boundary, HMP and YOI Parc, which was a Category B Prison with capacity for 2000 male prisoners, the majority being adult offenders. The prison opened in November 1997 and was the only private prison in Wales and was managed by G4S on behalf of the Prison Service. Parc’s main population provided Category B and Category C prisoner accommodation for those serving in excess of 18 month sentences. There were two main sections to HMP and YOI Parc:
· Young Persons Unit – for males 15-17years
· Main Prison – for Young Offenders aged 18 to 21 years and Adult Offenders.
The Young Persons Unit accommodated up to 64 young males aged from 15 – 17 years of age. The young people at HMP & YOI Parc were accommodated in one of two units, Echo 1 and Golf 1. They generally came together each day in small groups for Education (25 hours each week) and some other activities. Each evening there was a period of association before the young people were returned to their rooms for the night.
The responsibilities of the Children’s Services department towards children in Wales were contained in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 which was implemented on 6 April 2016. There were various parts of the Act that made specific reference to children and young people in the youth justice system. Part 4 of the Act set out how needs should be met in the care planning process; Part 6 of the Act set out the functions in relation to looked after and accommodated children; children placed in secure accommodation, care leavers in the youth justice system, children detained in, or remanded to the secure estate and Part 11 contained miscellaneous and general provisions relating to children with care and support needs in youth detention accommodation, prison, approved premises and bail accommodation. Parts 4 and 6 contained legislation already in existence whereas Part 11 contained new responsibilities in the miscellaneous section.
The The responsibilities of the Youth Offending Team (YOT) were defined by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, the Criminal Justice and Immigration act 2008 and the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012. The principle aim of the youth justice system was the prevention of offending and re-offending by children and young people.
The Service Manager confirmed there were no young people from Bridgend in custody at the moment.
There were a number of trigger points where care and support needs could be ... view the full minutes text for item 146.
The Corporate Director, Social Services and Wellbeing introduced Jo Lloyd-Jones, Team Manager of Fostering Teams to the Committee. The Corporate Director then shared with the Committee an investigation report issued by the Public Services Ombudsman’s office regarding a complaint and found maladministration by the Council.
Mr N was a looked after child with Bridgend County Borough Council and was placed with his foster carers when he was a toddler. Mr N was a fully integrated member of the family, enjoying 14 successful years in placement. The placement broke down in 2014 and Mr N subsequently approached the Council to obtain further information about savings that his foster parents had made on his behalf. Mr N complained that:
· the Council had not managed his savings properly and in accordance with its policy;
· some of his savings were used, without consultation with him, to pay for trips for which he should have received a special allowance;
· the savings he received in January 2015 were substantially less than he believed they should have been.
In accordance with Section 17 of the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005, the Council published a copy of the report and made it available for inspection at its offices for a period of 3 weeks from 6th December 2016.
The Council acknowledged the report and accepted all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations with the exception of recommendation (b) – to make a payment to Mr N of £3,310 to reimburse him for savings that had not been made for him during his time in foster care. The Council’s position was that Mr N had not suffered injustice or hardship in consequence of this matter. Mr N was provided with the remainder of his savings and the interest accrued. Mr N had been on annual holidays with his foster care family, he had been supported to join the local rugby team and go on rugby tour, which his foster carer also had to attend to enable him to go. Mr N enjoyed attending Cardiff City football matches for which he had a season ticket and had travelled on activity and school trips throughout his time in foster care. In the one year which was referred to, Mr N went on rugby tour, attended the Local Authority Selium (outward bound activities) trip, a school trip and also the family holiday.
The Council took its role and responsibilities as a corporate parent for looked after children extremely seriously, however, there was currently no legal requirement or national policy or guidance in place regarding savings for looked after children, aside from the establishment of a junior ISA and, therefore, the Council could not enforce the need for foster carers to provide savings for looked after children and indeed could not terminate their services as a foster carer if they chose not to save for their looked after child. Bridgend foster carers were encouraged to save for looked after children for whom they provided care. Foster carers participated in regular supervision with allocated ... view the full minutes text for item 147.
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.