Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH

Contact: Shelley Humphries  Tel: 01902 554070 or Email: shelley.humphries@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Jas Dehar, Fiona Brennan and Emma-Jane Kisby.

 

2.

Declarations of interests

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made.

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting - 22 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2019 be confirmed as correct record and signed by the Chair.

4.

Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2018]

Minutes:

Minute 4

In respect of Councillor visits to establishments, it was noted that Alice Vickers, Corporate Parenting Officer had made numerous attempts to contact the private residential establishments but none had responded.  It was noted that 43 children were placed in these establishments but only a small number of these were under Wolverhampton’s scope. Emma Bennett, Director of Children’s Services agreed to circulate further details outside of the meeting.

It was agreed that Alison Hinds, Head of Children and Young People in Care would escalate the issue and encourage residential home managers to respond.

 

Resolved:

That Alison Hinds, Head of Children and Young People in Care encourage residential home managers to respond to Councillor visit requests.

5.

Schedule of outstanding matters pdf icon PDF 66 KB

[To consider and comment on the schedule of outstanding matters]

Minutes:

Emma Bennett, Director for Children’s Services advised that the median figure for timeliness of adoption timescales had now been added to the Performance Monitoring Report.

 

Resolved:

That the Schedule of Outstanding Matters report be noted.

 

6.

Children in Care Council and Care Leavers' Forum Workshops including Total Respect

[For the Board to participate in workshop-style exercises including Total Respect]

Minutes:

There were round table introductions and a member of the Children in Care Council (CiCC) opened the workshop with an ice breaker question.

 

The first exercise comprised of the Board being split into teams. Members of the CiCC provided various scenarios of life events for a young person in care and the teams were asked to list the adults who they thought would be involved with the young person at each stage. When counted, numbers ranged from 32 – 36 professionals potentially becoming involved with a child or young person in care.

 

The aim of the exercise was for Board members to gain an understanding of the number of adults involved with a child or young person in care and how overwhelming this was for them. It was noted that the high numbers of professionals involved highlighted the importance of early intervention which could prevent more serious issues escalating. It was suggested that this could prevent causing distress for the young person and a financial impact for the Authority.

 

It was also noted that the more professionals a young person encountered, the more instances they had to repeat the particulars of their situation, which may cause distress in some cases.

 

It was also suggested that the more a child was moved around, each carer they were placed with had to start again to learn about the new child in their care. It was noted that this could pose difficulties in guiding them through difficult times. It was added that empathy for a child that was not [your] own could be hard to achieve in such a short space of time.

 

One of the young people highlighted that they had felt different parenting styles often had different effects for a child in care. They felt that a relaxed approach had helped them realise that they were not yet ready for independence.

 

The next exercise took the form of a quiz during which a number of questions were asked of Board members. The correct answers were then read out and various points were raised for each.

 

Milestone Birthdays:

It was outlined that milestone birthdays for children and young people in care were acknowledged in the following ways:

·         13th Birthday - £150.00 to spend on gifts

·         16th Birthday - £180.00 to spend of gifts

·         18th Birthday through to 21st Birthday – a birthday card from Emma Bennett, Director of Children’s Services and £25.00

 

It was noted that the figures had been arrived at by consulting with the young people who had preferred to have the money split rather than receive a lump sum on their 18th birthday.

 

 

 

Informing foster carers and residential care workers about the rights of children in care:

It was noted that both the Children and Young People in Care guide and Care Leaver Offer booklet contained information in relation to this. Further information was also incorporated into the Total Respect training.

 

How educational achievements of children and young people were celebrated:

It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Virtual School Head Annual Report 2018 pdf icon PDF 450 KB

[To receive an update on the educational outcomes of children and young people in care in 2018]

Minutes:

Darren Martindale, Service Manager: Vulnerable Learners and Virtual School Head presented the Virtual School Head Annual Report 2018. The report outlined the concept of the Virtual School as being a model by which all children and young people in care were viewed as if they attended the same school with the Virtual School Head as the head teacher. It was noted that the report followed on from an update presented at the last Corporate Parenting Board meeting and provided a fuller picture of the attainments achieved by Wolverhampton’s children and young people in care and how the Wolverhampton Virtual School had supported their progress.

 

It was clarified that the statutory guidance stated that children and young people in care should attend schools that were rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. It was noted, however that when schools converted to academies, they were not Ofsted rated until another visit following conversion had taken place; this sometimes affected the data.

 

In respect of the Turnabout programme, it was reported that there had been learning intervention to encourage improved reading and writing skills, self-confidence and positive behaviour. Progress was reviewed before and after the intervention and positive feedback had been received, examples of which appeared in the report.

 

In respect of a KS4 group that had taken part in the exercise, it was noted that they were not interested initially but became fully engaged as the exercise progressed. By the end of the day, each had delivered a speech in front of the group.

 

In relation to the Aspire2Uni (A2U) Programme, it was outlined that undergraduates had been employed to act as mentors to children and young people on an ongoing basis to focus on educational progress. Regular university visit days were held that focused on specific subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), art, theatre, etc. 20 children had graduated from Children’s University, for which there had been a graduation ceremony with caps and gowns.

 

Attention was drawn to the statistics in paragraph 5.4 which showed that 72% of children and young people in care were at the expected standard in both English and maths which was agreed to be an exceptional outcome.

 

Attendance was reported to be high with the number of exclusions being stable compared to last year’s figures. 10% of children and young people in care were reported as consistently not attending, with one permanent exclusion. It was noted that great care was taken to avoid permanent exclusion where possible.

 

The attainment of the early years and foundation stage cohort was found to be excellent. It was noted that the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 were achieving figures above national average. The out of City cohort were lower in many areas, but it was anticipated that this discrepancy would even out. It was reported that 18% of Key Stage 4 pupils were achieving grade 4 in mathematics and English (which was equivalent to a C grade under the old grading system) which was above the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

OFSTED Inspection at Upper Pendeford Farm Short Break Centre December 2018 pdf icon PDF 479 KB

[To receive a presentation on the OFSTED inspection of Upper Pendeford Farm]

Minutes:

Rachel King, Head of Service – Specialist Support delivered a presentation on the Ofsted Inspection of Upper Pendeford Farm Short Break Centre in December 2018.

 

It was explained that the centre received unannounced, annual inspections and was last inspected between 19 – 10 December 2018. Inspectors focus on three main criteria:

 

1.    Overall experiences and progress of children and young people

2.    How well children and young people are helped and protected

3.    The effectiveness of leaders and managers

 

It was reported that the manager, employees, young people, parents, carers and other relevant professionals were interviewed as part of the process.

 

It was highlighted that the centre was rated as good in the first two areas and required improvement in the effectiveness of leaders and managers, the overall rating being reported as good.

 

Areas of strength were identified as providing fantastic support to the young people, working directly with young people to build independence and address issues and providing a safe place where the views of the young people were taken into consideration.

 

Risk management was undertaken to ensure children sharing spaces were well-matched and any child showing signs of being unsettled was dealt with sensitively. The offer also included days out, which were kept low-key to ensure a realistic outlook, and the attendance of a sexual health nurse to provide advice to young people. 

 

A training matrix was to be introduced to ensure an accurate and current record of staff training was kept and could be easily referred to.

 

Other areas for improvement were also outlined, with particular attention being drawn to the length of a short break stay which had exceeded the stipulated 17 days in the same setting without notifying Ofsted. This was highlighted as being the result of decision which had been made in the best interests of the child from a safeguarding aspect. It was noted that the child’s original placement had broken down and a satisfactory placement had not been found within the 17 days. It had been agreed that it was better for the child to remain in a place where they felt comfortable and settled until a suitable placement could be found. A contact had been established at Ofsted for future reporting and the state of purpose for the establishment had been updated to include a section on children at risk of placement breakdown.

 

In response to a query about the 17-day limit, it was clarified that this was the length of a short break as defined in the Children Act 1989 and was the same as for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

 

Resolved:

That the findings from the Ofsted Inspection at Upper Pendeford Farm Short Break Centre December 2018 be received.

9.

Performance Monitoring Information Report pdf icon PDF 57 KB

[To consider and comment on the Performance Monitoring Information Report]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Emma Bennett, Director of Children’s Services presented the Performance Monitoring Information report and highlighted salient points. The dashboard had been updated with data as at 30 November 2018 however it was noted that the number of children in care had fallen from 643 to 639 since the information had been captured.

 

It was highlighted that use of internal foster carers had continued to rise and the service was working hard to recruit more to reduce the need for external placements.

 

Up to date assessments and reviews and review participation figures were all reported to be positive with an increase in outturn from 2016 – 2017 to 2017 – 2018. This was to be included in a review on progress in all aspects of the lives of children and young people in care. Young people were being consulted on this and it was requested to add an item on the review to the Forward Plan for a future meeting.

 

It was highlighted that dental checks had improved and were now at 90%.

 

It was reported that a median figure had been included in the adoption figures which offered a more positive outlook and the service had performed strongly in identifying suitable accommodation.

 

Resolved:

That the Performance Monitoring Information Report for Children and Young People in Care be noted.

 

10.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

[That in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business as they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972]

 

Minutes:

Resolved:

That in accordance with Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business as it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information contained in paragraph 2 of the Act, namely information that is likely to reveal the identity to an individual.

11.

Councillor Visits to Establishments

[To receive verbal feedback on any visits to establishments undertaken by Councillors since the last meeting]

Minutes:

No visits to establishments had been undertaken since the last meeting of the Board.