Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting
Thursday, 10th January, 2019 10:00

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions

Items
No. Item

184.

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:

Councillor DBF White declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 5 – Monitoring the Performance and Progress of the Western Bay Regional Adoption Service as he is employed by Swansea Council which is part of Western Bay and withdrew from the meeting during consideration of the item.  Councillor DBF White declared a personal interest in agenda item 6 – Care Inspectorate Wales – Inspection of Western Bay Adoption Service – Action Plan and remained in the meeting to hear the presentation. 

185.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 17/10/2018

Minutes:

RESOLVED:           That the minutes of the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting of 17 October 2018 be approved as a true and accurate record.  

186.

Remodelling Fostering Services Project pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Invitees:

Rebecca Walsh – Foster Carer

Clive Wilkinson - Foster Carer

Minutes:

The Head of Children’s Social Care reported on the work which has been undertaken as part of the Remodelling Foster Services project and the resulting changes to Fostering Services. 

 

She informed the Committee that a wide-reaching review of residential services has been undertaken, with fostering services identified where further service development and potential efficiencies could be made.  She outlined the proposals made, the initiatives which had been implemented together with the main changes and proposals following the review. 

 

The Head of Children’s Social Care reported that the Fostering Team has been separated into two distinct areas; one with responsibility for relative carers and one with responsibility for general foster carers.  She informed the Committee that the existing five liaison carer roles will be maintained, with one being dedicated to relative carers and the other four to general carers.  In respect of training, in the short term, the Skills to Foster course will be reshaped to align with the Directorate wide training programme.  In the longer term, it was proposed to strengthen in-house training for foster carers, through the development and delivery of in-house courses. 

 

The Head of Children’s Social Care informed the Committee that for payments and fees to be competitive with Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs), the authority needs to pay fees to general carers at an earlier stage in their fostering career.  Foster carers would receive a fee, post approval, with the expectation they complete the core training programme within their first year.  In terms of upskilling of foster carers and as part of the fee eligibility process the criteria for receiving higher fees will also include attendance at support groups.  In respect of bonuses, carers would be offered a £250 bonus when they refer a friend to be a foster carer for Bridgend, which is paid when that new person is approved and they receive their first placement. 

 

The Head of Children’s Social Care informed the Committee that a new process to review IFA placements which have been in place less than 16 weeks has been implemented, with a view to transferring as many of these placements as possible in-house.  She stated that a long-term marketing campaign will be implemented, aimed at maximising the number of in-house foster carers.  She informed the Committee that two members of social work staff who are responsible for promoting and assessing potential Special Guardianship Order applicants are now situated within the Fostering Team. The Head of Children’s Social Care informed the Committee of the appointment of a Development Officer and additional assessing social work capacity for the Fostering Team is underway.

 

The Chairperson welcomed Rebecca Walsh and Clive Richards to the meeting to hear their views and experiences as foster carers. 

 

Mr Richards informed the Committee of his involvement in the remodelling project with the Interim Group Manager Placements which had been well put together.  He stated that there is a need to implement changes and commented that there are very committed foster carers in Bridgend. 

 

Ms Walsh informed the Committee of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 186.

187.

Monitoring the Performance and Progress of the Western Bay Regional Adoption Service pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Regional Adoption Manager reported on the performance and progress of the Western Bay Regional Adoption Service (WBAS), including the Annual Report on Regional PI Performance 2017/18.

 

The Regional Adoption Manager reported that the WBAS is integrated into the National Adoption Service (NAS) as one of the five identified regional collaboratives.  She outlined the management and oversight arrangements for the National Service which consists of a Governance Board; an Advisory Group and the Director of Operations and Central Team. 

 

The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that following the Health Board boundary change, it was likely that Bridgend would be required to form part of the Vale, Valleys and Cardiff regional collaborative, although it had been agreed that Bridgend would remain as part of the Western Bay collaborative, with the transition to a new region not taking place before April 2020 at the earliest. 

 

The Regional Adoption Manager reported on the key achievements for the year, with the number of children placed showing a slight increase on the previous year.  More children were placed with Western Bay adopters than in inter agency placements during the year.  She stated there had been an improvement in the number of children who had Life Story Materials provided to adopters.  The average time taken to approve adopters from inquiry stage to Agency Decision Making decision had decreased from 9.7 months to 8.2 months compared to the national benchmark of 8 months.  Investment had been made in developing the WBAS website making it more interactive, user friendly and including the active offer.  A members’ page was also being developed and there are child friendly pages to encourage children to access the site.   She informed the Committee that development and implementation of the Transition/Moving on model to assist in improving the preparation of children for adoption and in the provision of Life Story material has continued to be rolled out with training to staff across the region. 

 

The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that work was taking place to improve website access and to develop a revised All Wales marketing and recruitment strategy. 

 

The Committee questioned whether the adoption service gets the same level of publicity as the fostering service.  The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that there is a great deal of activity concentrated on raising the profile and awareness of adoption.  The Head of Children’s Social Care informed the Committee that the fostering service is more locality based, while adoption is a more national and regional service. 

 

The Committee referred to the further development work planned for the IT system to feed into the reporting system and commented that data capture would be more complex.  The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that work is ongoing with Neath Port Talbot Council’s ICT Department on data capture work.  She stated that data capture is resource intensive with the need to work across the region’s 3 local authorities, moving the ICT systems within the adoption service on to the WCCIS system  ...  view the full minutes text for item 187.

188.

Care Inspectorate Wales - Inspection of Western Bay Adoption Service - Action Plan pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To be accompanied by a presentation by the Western Bay Adoption Service

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from the Regional Adoption Manager on an overview of the Inspection findings and recommendations relating to the Care Inspectorate Wales inspection of the Western Bay Adoption Service. 

 

The Regional Adoption Manager informed the Committee that an action plan was developed in response to the recommendations made by the CIW, which is being monitored by the Regional Adoption Management Board.   She provided updates against each recommendation which demonstrated the progress achieved since the publication of the Inspection report.

 

The Committee commended the good work and practice of the region which had been recognised by the CIW, but expressed concern with the transition of the service next year to the Vale, Valleys and Cardiff region and whether sufficient resources had been devoted to transfer ICT systems due to the boundary change.  The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that it had been agreed that a longer time is required prior to the transfer of the adoption service to the new region with a transition year in place and scoping work is being undertaken.  If there is a requirement for more than a year to transition, a case will be put together for an extension.  A sum of money is set aside to transition the service.  The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing also informed the Committee that 1.5 officers had been allocated to the project and there is a need to scope whether there are sufficient resources available.  The Head of Children’s Social Care informed the Committee of the many work streams within the WCCIS system, which would make it easier to move ICT systems across.  The Committee questioned whether there is an opportunity to do one transition to the WCCIS system.  The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing commented that it could be feasible as both RCT and Merthyr Tydfil Councils use WCCIS.

 

RESOLVED:           (1) That the Committee noted the CIW report on the inspection of the Western Bay Adoption Service, the associated Action Plan and the CIW report on the Review of the national Adoption Arrangements;

 

(2) That the Committee conveyed it’s thanks to the Regional Adoption Service on the outcome of the inspection and requested a report to the Committee so that it can be reassured that all the recommendations in the Action Plan are being addressed.        

189.

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.