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Venue: Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Llangefni. View directions
Contact: Ann Holmes 01248 752518
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declaration of interest by any Member or Officer in respect of any item of business.
No declaration of interest was received.
To present the minutes of the previous meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 18 March, 2019.
The minutes of the previous meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 18th March, 2019 were presented and were confirmed as correct.
· Children’s Services Manager to update the Panel on whether a contribution towards the Voices from Care project is available from proceeds of crime monies.
· Children’s Services Manager to provide a presentation on Children’s Social Worker workloads.
• Voices From Care Cymru
The Children’s Services Manager confirmed that he had made enquiries with the Office of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner about the availability of proceeds of crime money to help fund the Voices from Care Cymru Project to set up a monthly participation group for care experienced children and young people to help co-produce an Ynys Môn Looked After Children and Care Leavers’ Strategy, but had received no reply to date.
It was agreed that the Children’s Services Manager should follow up the initial enquiry with the Office of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner.
• Children’s Social Worker Workloads
The Children’s Services Manager gave a power point presentation on the workload of Children’s Social Workers within the Children and Families’ Service. The matter had arisen following an observation made by the Independent Reviewing Officers in a report to the Panel’s previous meeting that they had the impression from practitioners that inconsistency in the quality of practice was due to workloads.
The presentation highlighted that as at 24 May, 2019 the caseload of each Social Worker within the Intensive Intervention Service which works with children who are looked after averaged 25 children with experienced Social Workers carrying higher caseloads than those with less experience. The Service’s practice model provides that Practice Team Leaders have lower caseloads so that they are able to devote time to providing support and supervision to the small groups of staff which they lead. Caseloads are generic in nature meaning they are not confined to a particular expertise but span cases that involve a range of issues including care and support, child protection and children in care. Cases can be of varying complexity depending on the specific needs of the individual and/or family involved which also makes assessing caseloads more difficult. As of last week there were 87 children on the child protection register; 163 children in care and also 20 families who are the subject of court proceedings due to a variety of issues that can include neglect, substance misuse; allegations of abuse etc.; these are especially challenging because of the need to comply with the courts’ expectations and timescales.
The following main issues were raised and noted by the Panel during the ensuing discussion –
• That the research undertaken is inconclusive as regards the ideal caseload size and that caseloads vary in number and complexity from authority to authority and between teams within services.
• That the data in the presentation does not reflect cases that may about to be closed, escalated or de-escalated.
• Whilst there are no published caseload benchmarking figures available to enable the Service to compare itself with other authorities in terms of what is manageable, informal enquiries with neighbouring authorities in Heads of Service meetings indicate that their numbers are similar and that higher caseloads do not necessarily mean poorer performance e.g. some authorities in England with 27+ average caseloads have received good Ofsted reports. The Service aspires to maintain caseloads ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Ellen Williams, Team Manager (TGP Cymru) to speak to the Panel about advocacy services and the provision in Ynys Môn.
Documentation included as follows –
· Quarter 4 report
· Anglesey Annual Report
· Regional Annual Report
Sioned Owen, TCP Cymru presented the main points arising from the TCP Cymru documentation presented which comprised of the Quarter 4 2018/19 report in relation to Anglesey; the 2018/19 annual report for Anglesey as well as the 2018/19 North Wales Regional report which provided an analysis of take-up of advocacy services for those reporting periods and highlighted the following –
• An increase in the number of young people in Anglesey who accessed the service during 2018/19 which was also replicated on a regional level presenting a total of 109 issues up from the previous year’s 63 issues which is a positive outcome.
• Referrals have come from three main sources with the majority being self-referrals with referrals also from Social Services and parents and carers. It would be good to see referrals from other sources as well especially from schools and foster carers which may indicate a need for further awareness raising in these areas about the availability of advocacy in order to improve the variation of referral sources. Notwithstanding, the issues presented showed a wide range of issues being dealt with.
• Support at meetings has again been the most common issue which young people in Anglesey present to TCP Cymru advocates this being a popular trend across North Wales.
• A total of 26 Active Offer referrals were made in Anglesey during the year with 16 moving on to issue based advocacy which can be taken to demonstrate the success of the NASA (National Approach to Statutory Advocacy) training provided to raise awareness of the Active Offer
• TCP Cymru has arranged to provide a presentation to all teams in Social Services on Anglesey on the advocacy service.
In considering the report, the Panel welcomed the increased use of advocacy by young people on Anglesey noting from the two case examples provided in the reports how advocacy can give voice to the wishes and feelings of looked after children and help bring about an appropriate outcome for the children involved. In order to increase foster carers’ awareness of the availability of the advocacy service it was proposed that they be also included in the planned presentation by TCP Cymru to the Social Services’ teams.
It was agreed that the documentation presented by Tros Gynnal Plant Cymru be noted and no additional action was recommended.
To receive updates from the services as follows –
· Report of the LAC Education Liaison Officer
· Report of the LAC Nurse
· Report of the Placement Team Manager
Updates were provided by the Services as shown below –
• The Looked After Children Education Liaison Officer’s report which highlighted the much improved performance against PIs over Quarters 2, 3 and 4 2018/19 particularly with regard to the preparation and submission of Personal Education Plans within timescale by schools and minimising change of schools for looked after children. It was noted that the Officer’s current workload involved 118 children between 3 and 18 years old and 43 different educational establishments.
In response to questions by the Panel the Officer further clarified -
• That consideration has been given to school transport including sharing transport as well as paying for transport to school in cases where the placement is known to be short-term and that this had been a factor in enabling children who are looked after to stay in their schools.
• That a programme run by Canine Assisted Learning whereby a therapy dog visits schools had had an impact on a visit to Pencarnisiog School where interacting with the therapy dog (Teal) had an immediate positive effect on the attitude of some of the children.
• That a one day conference on the subject of Trauma Informed Schools would be held in July in collaboration with GwE with an invitation to attend extended to all schools. This follows difficulty in implementing a transfer by arrangement because of the time taken to identify a suitable school that was able to meet the needs of one child whose behaviour had become challenging. Additionally, it is intended to extend Boxall (resource for assessing children and young people’s emotional, behavioural and social development) to all the Island’s schools with 20 schools becoming “nurture” schools equipped to deal with the emotional needs of looked after children, the aim being to provide schools with a toolbox to be able to receive and accommodate looked after children.
• That a new booklet for schools – Cared for Children: Friendly Schools – had been launched by Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr County Councils in April and had been shared with Anglesey schools. The booklet provides an excellent introduction for schools who might be accommodating children in care for the first time or which are unfamiliar with the children in care process.
• It was noted that staff changes are inevitable, and that the Service endeavours where possible to ensure that looked after children are allocated permanent rather than agency Social Workers.
It was agreed to note the information provided by the Looked After Children Education Liaison Officer’s report and no further action was recommended.
• The Looked After Children Health report which highlighted a shortfall in terms of looked after children’s health assessments conducted within timescale although it was emphasised that all health assessments are undertaken, and a significant improvement in the timeliness of notifications of placements made in relation both to children placed on Anglesey by other authorities and children placed out of county by Anglesey.
In response to questions by the Panel the LAC ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Fun Day: Looked After Children Awards Ceremony 21 September, 2019
Children’s Services Manager to report on arrangements for the Looked After Children’s Awards Ceremony, 2019.
The Children’s Services Manager reported that the 2019 Looked After Children Awards Ceremony (held biennially) would take on the form of a Fun Day with the awards being made at the end of the day, and would be held on 21 September at Bodedern Secondary School. An initial session with looked after children to generate ideas for the event had been held. Corporate Parenting Panel Members would be warmly welcomed.
To note that the next meeting of the Panel is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Monday, 9 September, 2019.
It was noted that the next meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel was scheduled for Monday, 9 September, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. It was requested and agreed that the Panel’s meetings be re-scheduled to earlier in the day to accommodate those of the Panel’s members with afternoon commitments.