Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Board
Thursday, 27th September, 2018 5.30 pm

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 (if any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from the following members of the Corporate Parenting Board

2.

Declarations of interests (if any)

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made relative to the items under consideration at the meeting.

3.

Minutes of the meeting held 19 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

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

Minutes:

Resolved:

            That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2018 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 19 July 2018]

5.

Schedule of Outstanding Matters pdf icon PDF 64 KB

[To receive an update on the Schedule of Outstanding Matters]

Minutes:

It was noted that the items in Outstanding Matters had all been addressed.

6.

Adoption Annual Report pdf icon PDF 103 KB

[To receive the Adoption Service Annual Report] 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dawn Deans, Senior Social Work Manager presented the report and highlighted key points.

 

With regard to point 9.1, Councillor O’Neill expressed his surprise to learn that the disrupted placement involved an eight-year-old child and queried this. The group were reassured that careful preparation for both child and adopter had been arranged prior to the placement, however there had emerged greater challenges than first anticipated.  

 

Emma Bennett added that there were very low numbers of disruption and all placements followed a rigorous matching process.

 

In reference to a question about the size of the ‘pool’ of adopters and how Wolverhampton compared to similar authorities, it was stated that there were 31 across Black Country areas and this was the same compared to others. The target for next year was 25 and this was considered achievable.

 

The idea of using similar algorithms used by other matchmaking software to match placements or analyse why placements work or break down was explored. It was stated that there was a marketing officer working on identifying new recruitment methods using data gathered from information viewed by service users and it was noted that the current system was adopter led. There had been a matching tool in development at one stage and it was highlighted that the Family Values Project was targeting marketing at people with certain traits / values.

 

It was queried what the barriers were with regard to the red rating of the adoption scorecard. One suggestion was that delays experienced with court processes could be factor as a placement order from the court was required before a placement could be progressed. It was noted that those children who were difficult to place often take longer and that in some circumstances, in particular when children in long-term foster placements were adopted by their foster family, the figures could become skewed making it appear they were in the system longer. It was noted that Wolverhampton had managed to secure particularly difficult to place children, such as over-fives or sibling groups.

 

Resolved:

            That the report be received and noted.

7.

RAA Report pdf icon PDF 69 KB

[To receive the RAA Report]

 

Minutes:

Alison Hinds, Head of Looked After Children presented the report and highlighted key points.

 

In addition to the information contained within the report, the following was noted:

 

·         That the possibility of going through a trading company was explored but the Local Authrories ahd now agreed on ahosted model.The Project Board and DCS had agreed Wolverhampton to be the host authority, although it was subject to approval from all local authority Cabintes..

 

·         There was a budget available for marketing already, although this could only be spent on specific things.

 

·         It was clarified for the Board that a trading company did not mean privatisation and the scheme would have been local authority owned / run.

 

Resolved:

That the report be noted and received.

 

8.

Performance Monitoring Information pdf icon PDF 57 KB

[To receive the Performance Monitoring Information Report]

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Emma Bennett, Director for Children’s Services presented the report and highlighted key areas.

 

It was agreed that Darren Martindale would bring a briefing note to the next meeting on education results for looked after children, with a full report to follow in January 2019.

 

With regard to a query on the difficulties with staff retention, it was noted that high caseloads may be a factor in people moving on or some leave for more money elsewhere or less commitment on agencies

 

The notice period for a social worker was currently one month – it was queried whether a longer notice period could be introduced. It was clarified that the recruitment period took six months

 

In order to address the difficulty, there was restructure in progress and a new senior social worker role was being introduced to offer opportunity for workforce development. Agency staff were being employed, however it was difficult to ensure continuity of work with transient staff. It was noted that there were the additional benefits of sick pay, support and stability that comes with a permanent job and City of Wolverhampton Council pay was considered the most attractive.

 

It was taken into consideration that the next generation of social workers / graduates may now be more attracted to flexibility than permanence, therefore other retention options could be explored such as reducing / evenly distributing caseloads and offering progression through a career pathway. It was noted that there was rolling recruitment on WM Jobs advertising for new staff.

 

Councillor Waite queried the increase in Court applications for care orders and requested that the median figures be added to the dashboard on the Current Adoption Scorecard section.

 

It was noted that there was a high volume of court proceedings and work was being done with the Ministry of Justice and the Black Country Court to manage this and find out reasons why.

 

It was noted that the review completion figures were good, however the assessment figures were queried. It was clarified that reviews were no longer classed as assessments and the figures would be updated to give an accurate representation.

 

 

Resolved:

 

1.    That Darren Martindale would bring a briefing note to the next meeting on education results for looked after children, with a full report to follow in January 2019.

 

2.    That timeliness of adoption statistics would be represented as a median figure in future.

 

3.    That the Assessment statistics would be refreshed to give a clearer representation of figures.

 

9.

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.

10.

Councillor Visits to establishments - Schedule of Visits

[To receive a verbal update from the Chair on visits to establishments]

 

Minutes:

The Chair gave an overview of his visit to Upper Pendeford Farm and a written copy of his report was circulated.

 

It was added that the establishment was well-run and its manager helpful, passionate about supporting the young people and demonstrably able to diffuse any challenging behaviour.

 

The rooms were well-kept, personal and welcoming and the establishment itself was well laid out with many facilities and activities on offer.  

 

There appeared to be a good relationship with the neighbouring farm, which permitted the residents to use the land for outdoor pursuits.

 

The overall impression was very positive and the Chair thanked Alice Vickers for arranging the visit.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be received and noted.