Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services
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.
To receive for approval the minutes of 02/03/2022
RESOLVED: That the minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting dated 2 March 2022, be approved as a true and accurate record.
To receive a Presentation on the Bridgend Information, Advice and Assistance Service
The Chairperson introduced to Members the Interim Group Manager – IAA and Safeguarding, in order to give a power point presentation entitled MASH/IAA Annual Performance.
She explained the structure of the presentation would take the shape as follows, in terms of covering:-
The Interim Group Manager – IAA and Safeguarding confirmed that during Quarter 3 of the year, performance had shown a decline within the team whereby the staffing situation then deteriorated. There were very high sickness levels including many related to Covid and a number of staff had also left the service.
Therefore, a critical incident was called by the Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing on 1 March 2022. Gold, Silver & Bronze command structures were initiated to ensure governance, whilst the team was in a critical incident.
In view of this situation, daily meetings were held to consider the performance data and staff deployed from other areas of Children’s Services, in order to bolster the service.
An IAA action plan was developed and this identified the short, medium and long term actions required to make the changes to enable the service to exit the critical incident. The action plan focuses on increased situational awareness, communication, workforce, practice and quality assurance, systems, processes, policies & procedures & practice and assurance work.
An Innovate Team were introduced which commenced work on the 21 March 2022.
In January 2022, she advised that the screening rate was below an acceptable level. This was as a result of staff sickness, high rates of Covid 19 within the team and vacancies increasing, which all in all created a backlog of work. There had been as a consequence of this, some significant work carried out, in order to increase Social Worker and Team Management capacity.
The team then introduced a number of agency Social Workers. This enabled the team to screen within acceptable levels and as a result of this recruitment push, screening rates had now improved month on month.
Enhanced practice had taken place, to ensure that when a contact is received every sibling in the household is subject to the assessment. This has impacted in part on the number of assessments open to the service.
In Quarter 4, the team successfully allocated all of the outstanding C&S assessments. TM oversight was also strengthened and staff are now provided with their assessment deadlines on a daily basis which are colour coded to highlight what to prioritise first, from a work perspective. it was hoped this will further improve the number of assessments completed within the required timescales.
The focused work plan, additional support and the deployment of the managed agency team had also allowed the service area to begin to turn the corner in respect of performance.
A graph displayed as part of the presentation slides, reflected the improvement in performance that had taken place from January to May of this year, she explained.
This was confirmed in the form of statistical information added ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
The Team Manager – Kinship Care and Permanence submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting with an update into the development of a Foster Carer Charter for Bridgend Fostering Service and to approve the adoption and implementation of the Charter on behalf of the Council as Corporate Parents.
She explained that as part of Bridgend Fostering Service’s Service Development Plan for 2022/23, a questionnaire was developed in conjunction with liaison foster carers and sent to all foster carers asking them a range of questions. The questions included how satisfied foster carers are with the Service, what is working well and areas for improvement.
Feedback received in relation to the questionnaire, was contained in the background section of the report.
In addition to the above, a State of the Nation survey undertaken by The Fostering Network in 2021, highlighted that both foster carers and fostering services agree that improving the status of foster carers in the team around the child is the number one thing that will change children’s experience of foster care for the better, going forward.
Furthermore, advised the Team Manager – Kinship Care and Permanence, since 2011, the Fostering Network has been campaigning for every fostering service to commit to a Foster Carers’ Charter, setting out clear expectations for how foster carers should be treated, trained and supported which is agreed by the Corporate Parents, fostering service and foster carers. A Charter can also assist in helping to build understanding between those involved in delivering care to children, promoting more cohesive working in the team around the child and improving experiences and outcomes for children in care.
The Foster Carers’ Charter supports local authorities’ responsibilities as Corporate Parents and sets out a framework of rights and expectations for foster carers. It sets out mutual roles and responsibilities, which are ‘owned’ by both foster carers and the fostering service. It covers issues such as supervision, involvement in planning and decision making, information and payments.
In order to address some of the areas for improvement identified within the Foster Carer feedback and to improve the status of foster carers, it was proposed that Bridgend County Borough Council implements a Foster Carer Charter (attached at Appendix 1 to the report) in line with the work and recommendations of The Fostering Network following their State of the Nation report in 2021.
The proposed Charter sets out Bridgend Fostering Service’s Vision Statement (launched with our Foster Carers at the Information, Consultation and Engagement (ICE) Event on 19th May 2022
She added that the Charter sets out the following commitment:
‘The Foster Carers’ Charter represents a commitment on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council in its role as the Corporate Parent, the fostering service and the foster carer to work in partnership in the best interests of the children for whom they care. It is a promise, owned by everybody involved, to always strive for best practice.’
The proposed Charter was shared with foster carers ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Corporate Parenting Participation Officer submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to set out proposals for consideration by the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting for the development of Corporate Parenting in Bridgend.
He confirmed that the first Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting meeting of the municipal year was an opportunity for Bridgend to begin and establish a revised approach to Corporate Parenting.
As a starting point to a refreshed approach, it was important there is a shared understanding of:
· what Corporate Parenting is;
· who has Corporate Parenting responsibilities and specifically,
· what these responsibilities are
Following on from a shared understanding of Corporate Parenting, through the engagement of Councillors, workforce, partners and importantly our children and young people, there needed to be a strategic and operational plan for how these responsibilities are fulfilled, monitored and evaluated. It is proposed to develop a clear Corporate Parenting Vision and Strategic plan through the methods outlined in paragraph 4.3, sub-headed as follows:
1) Establishing a shared vision for Corporate Parenting responsibilities;
2) Establishing a governance structure that supports the Strategic and Operational approach to Corporate Parenting;
3) Establishing a Corporate Parenting Performance Framework, and;
4) Establishing Care Experienced Forums to provide our Children and Young People with a collective voice
In terms of the report’s financial implications, the Corporate Parenting Participation Officer advised that the proposed Consultation Workshop event as referenced to in the report, scheduled to be held in September 2022, would cost approximately £400 and will be funded by the Social Services & Wellbeing Training budget.
He added further that the specialist participation support provided for 12 months will cost approximately £10,000 and will be funded from within existing Children’s Social Care budgets.
The Leader shared that Corporate Parenting was not just the role of the local authority and its Members, but it was more collective than that, ie with active involvement from other public sector statutory bodies, such as the Police, Health Authority and our Schools amongst others.
He added that he hoped that all key partners would attend the Consultation Workshop scheduled to be held next month.
RESOLVED: That the Committee considered the contents of the report and supported the reports proposals, in order to establish:
· a shared vision for corporate parenting responsibilities;
· a governance structure that supports the strategic and operational approach to Corporate Parenting;
· a Corporate Parenting Performance Framework;
· care experienced forums to provide our children and young people with a collective voice.
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.