Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting
Thursday, 26th November, 2020 14:00

Venue: remotely via Skype for Business

Contact: Democratic Services 

Media

Items
No. Item

213.

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:

None.

 

214.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 04/03/2020

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:                           That the Minutes of a meeting of the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting dated 4 March 2020, be approved as a true and accurate record.

 

215.

Support for Vulnerable Children during Covid 19 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Members with an overview of the support and continuity planning for our most vulnerable children during Covid-19.

 

She commenced her report, by paying tribute to the vulnerable children and their families in the Bridgend County Borough, for the way they had positively reacted in what had been to date a very pressurised and at times distressing and difficult year for them due to the pandemic.

 

The report she felt, reflected a comprehensive assessment of how the Authority worked as a ‘One Council’ when it adapted very quickly last March to the threat of the virus. In accordance with Welsh Government guidance Social Services and its partners continued the safeguarding of the most vulnerable and their families, through largely new digital methods, as face to face contact was in most cases not possible due to Covid-19.

 

Though most staff supporting clients had to work from home like the majority of other Council staff, the MASH team continued to operate on a reduced team from the office in Ravenscourt, Bridgend.

 

Paragraph 3.3 of the report, provided in table format data on Children’s Social Care activities during the period from April to September 2020. The data shown in this part of the report, gave a positive picture in terms of the high levels of performance that were maintained in lockdown, in respect of assessments, visits to children (mostly remotely) and holding of Child Protection Conferences within the required statutory timescales.

 

As alluded to above, the Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing confirmed that the MASH team together with general enquiries staff to answer queries and calls, were office based. There were also remote meetings with children and their families etc, which although serving their purpose, were more challenging than face to face interactions as would be the case in normal pre-Covid circumstances.

 

Paragraph 3.6 of the report outlined the support avenues in place for vulnerable learners via Education and Family Support Teams and Children’s Social Care, for Members information.

 

The most recent version of the full Safeguarding Service Plan was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

In light of the Welsh Government Announcement that a “Circuit Breaker Lockdown” or “Fire Break” would come into force between 6pm, Friday 23rd October 2020 until Monday 9th November 2020, the decision was made to review and update the Children’s Services Service Plan in line with the Guidance that had been issued. An addendum outlining temporary changes in approaches was implemented for this specific period and could be found as an Appendix (to the report).

 

In addition to the statutory services/functions covered in the Service Plan, the Council also responded to the need to provide support to our most vulnerable children and young people during the school holidays and established bespoke provision to achieve this.

 

The Social Services and Wellbeing Directorate was able to make good use of Welsh Government funding to provide activities and support during  ...  view the full minutes text for item 215.

216.

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW - Formerly CSSIW) Inspection of Children's Residential Care Homes pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Children’s Social Care presented a report, in order to share with Cabinet Committee, reports and associated Action Plans following the CIW inspections regarding Maple Tree House (September 2019, February 2020 and August 2020) and Harwood House (July 2019).

 

By way of some background information, she advised Members that Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) were responsible for inspecting all regulated care and support services, including Children’s Homes, in Wales.  Inspections consist of four key stages: 1) inspection planning and preparation, 2) the inspection visit, 3) feedback, and 4) reporting.  During the process, inspectors would make judgements as to how well the service is performing under four core themes: 1) well-being; 2) care and support; 3) environment; and 4) leadership and management.

 

In the case of children’s homes, CIW would make annual inspections as part of their rolling programme.  There were two main types of inspections, namely Full and Focused and an explanation as to what was entailed in respect of each of these, was contained in paragraph 3.2 of the report.

 

Paragraph(s) 4 of the report, then gave a summary of the findings of the CIW inspections of each of the premises in question, with the Full Inspection Reports attached as Appendices to the covering report.

 

The Head of Children’s Social Care referred Members to paragraph 4.6 of the report, where the CIW acknowledged that certain improvements listed here, had been made at Maple Tree House, following a further CIW inspection of this Home.

 

She then referred to the section of the report headed recommendations and next steps.

 

Action Plans had been developed in response to the recommendations made by CIW in respect of the Homes and these were attached at Appendices 5 and 6 of the report. These were monitored by the Group Manager - Placements and Provider Services Team, during supervision with the Residential Manager(s) and the Responsible Individual through their routine visits. As shown in the report, there were no outstanding actions for Harwood House and there was a comprehensive action plan and support package driving forward the changes and improvements required at Maple Tree House.  

 

The Head of Children’s Social Care advised that since the report before Members had been written, a further unannounced inspection had been made by CIW at Maple House and the Inspector had informed Social Services that massive progress had been made there since the original inspection was undertaken. The Improvement and Enforcement Panel  since this had taken place, had also met and decided to lift restrictions they had previously put in place at Maple House (due to the improvements that had been achieved). The Panel had decided to take no further action due to previous non-compliance issues now having been met. The CIW Inspector had since submitted a written report, following this latest inspection, acknowledging the positive changes that had been put in place confirming that improvements in all areas of the home had been made, aside of in a small number of areas which was work in progress.

 

Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 216.

217.

Approval of the Statements of Purpose for Children's Residential Care Services pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Members with the revised statements of purpose for the current children and young people’s residential services provision in Bridgend County Borough Council.  It was a requirement under the Council’s constitution that these are presented to the Corporate Parenting Committee to approve.

 

He advised Members, that Bridgend County Borough Council currently has four children’s residential homes delivering services to children and young people aged 0-19 years, namely:-

 

  • Maple Tree House;
  • Sunny Bank;
  • Bakers Way; and
  • Harwood House

 

The introduction of The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 (RISCA) came into force on the 2nd of April 2018. The purpose of the Act, was to build on the success of regulation in Wales and reflected the changing world of social care. It places service quality and improvement at the heart of the regulatory regime and strengthens protection for those who need it. Such regulation would move beyond compliance with minimum standards, and focus more on the quality of services and the impact which they have on people receiving them.

 

The Group Manager – Placements and Provider Services confirmed, that in the Autumn of 2018, all of the Council’s social services were registered to meet the requirements of the new legislation. Each in-house service provision has its own statement of purpose and these were attached at Appendices 1 – 4 of the report.

 

He advised the Committee that in terms of the above mentioned premises, Sunnybank and Maple Tree House, had the same Manager.

 

In line with the Regulations, the Group Manager – Placements and Provider Services confirmed, that the Statements of Purpose had now been subjected to their annual review and changes to the statements were detailed in paragraph 4.4 of the report. The revised Statements now more reflected a level of consistency across the 4 Homes, than had possibly previously been the case, he added.

 

The Chairperson confirmed that the report was very timely and made for interesting reading. Together with the supporting Statements of Purpose, it had put ambitions for our Care Homes firmly in place, with there being a clear perspective now in terms of aiming for the high standards in these facilities, the Directorate needs to be working to.

 

In terms of the revised Statements of Purpose, the Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations asked if the staff at the Care Homes had been advised of these, as well as if there were any changes to their terms and conditions as a result of them being brought in.

 

The Group Manager – Placements and Provider Services confirmed that each of the Residential Managers at the Homes had confirmed any such changes that had been put in place to the staff that worked there. In terms of Maple Tree House and the revised staffing structure there, consultation had taken place with employees there regarding this.

 

The Leader asked if our children and young people had some involvement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 217.

218.

Revised Statements of Purpose for Children's Fostering Services pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Group Manager – Placements and Provider Services presented a report, in order to provide Members with the revised Statement of Purpose for the Fostering Service in Bridgend County Borough Council.  It was a requirement under the Council’s Constitution that these are presented to the Corporate Parenting Committee for approval.

 

He explained that the Fostering Service provided a range of foster care to children and young people who are looked after by Bridgend County Borough Council.  The service offers the types of family care to children and young people from birth to 18 years of age, as were highlighted in paragraph 3.1 of the report.

 

The relevant provisions of The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 (RISCA), came into force on 2nd April 2018.  The purpose of the Act was to build on the success of regulation in Wales and reflected the changing world of social care. It placed service quality and improvement at the heart of the regulatory regime and strengthens protection for those who require this. Regulation will move beyond compliance with minimum standards, and focus more on the quality of services and the impact which they have on the people receiving them.

 

The Local Authority Fostering Services (Wales) Regulations 2018 came into force on 29th April 2019 and sets out the Requirement of the Local Authority to prepare a Statement of Purpose and to keep it regularly under review, on an annual basis.

 

In line with the guide to compiling a Statement of Purpose that was provided under the above Act by Care Inspectorate Wales (April 2019), Bridgend Fostering Service had prepared its Statement of Purpose and this was included at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

In April 2020 the Statement of Purpose has been subjected to its annual review and changes to the statement were described in paragraph 4.4 of the report.

 

The Group Manager – Placements and Provider Services, then shared some of the salient points and key features of the Revised Statement of Purpose with Members.

 

The Leader asked if any further feedback could be given on the impact of Covid-19 on Foster Carers, as these were providing care for the majority of children we were supporting in their own homes. He added also, if any different support mechanisms that may have been put in place for these children since the pandemic came about, needed to be reflected in the Fostering Service Statement of Purpose.

 

The Group Manager – Placements and Provider Services, confirmed that Foster Carers were doing an incredible job particularly since the pandemic.

 

They had shown a very high level of resilience supporting their children during the hardest time imaginable, whilst also still having their other worries to deal with. Social Services staff have since last March, been monitoring how Foster Carers and Foster Children had been coping at least on a weekly basis through contact mainly be telephone or email, etc. The department had also developed a RAG status, in order to categorise different levels of support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 218.

219.

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:

None.