Agenda, decisions and minutes

Corporate Parenting Panel - Wednesday, 20th July, 2022 4.30 pm

Venue: City Hall

Contact: Jill Bell 

Items
No. Item

1.

ALTERNATE MEMBERS (Standing Order 34)

The City Solicitor will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members. 

 

 (Jill Bell – 01274 434580)

2.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct – Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members must consider their interests, and act according to the following:

 

Type of Interest

You must:

 

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

Disclose the interest; not participate in the discussion or vote; and leave the meeting unless you have a dispensation.

 

 

Other Registrable Interests (Directly Related)

OR

Non-Registrable Interests (Directly Related)

Disclose the interest; speak on the item only if the public are also allowed to speak but otherwise not participate in the discussion or vote; and leave the meeting unless you have a dispensation.

 

 

 

Other Registrable Interests (Affects)

OR

Non-Registrable Interests (Affects)

Disclose the interest; remain in the meeting, participate and vote unless the matter affects the financial interest or well-being

 (a) to a greater extent than it affects the financial interests of a majority of inhabitants of the affected ward, and

(b) a reasonable member of the public knowing all the facts would believe that it would affect your view of the wider public interest;

in which case speak on the item only if the public are also allowed to speak but otherwise not do not participate in the discussion or vote; and leave the meeting unless you have a dispensation.

 

(2)       Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(3)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

Minutes:

No disclosures of interest in matters under consideration were received.

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 493 KB

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2022 be signed as a correct record (attached).

 

(Jill Bell – 01274 434580)

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2022 be signed as a correct record.

 

ACTION: City Solicitor

4.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Jill Bell - 01274 434580)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted by the public to review decisions to restrict documents.

 

5.

ONE ADOPTION WEST YORKSHIRE (OAWY) ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 94 KB

The report of One Adoption West Yorkshire (Document “A”) provides an overview of the adoption service activity from April 2021 to March 2022.

 

 

 

Recommended -

 

That the Corporate Parenting Panel receives this report and continues to support the work of One Adoption West Yorkshire and the local authority to ensure our adopted children and families receive the best possible support.

 

(Michelle Rawlings – 0113 5350913 Mob: 07712 216979)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The report of One Adoption West Yorkshire (Document “A”) provided an overview of the adoption service activity from April 2021 to March 2022.

 

 

1.    Michelle Rawling (OAWY) talked through the One Adoption West Yorkshire Annual Report for 2021-22, which covered the West Yorkshire area.

2.    Rhian Beynon (OAWY) talked through the Highlight Performance Report for Bradford, 2021-22, which focused on Bradford District.  [CPP20JulyDocAfullyr]

3.    Referring to section 3.2.4 of the annual report, which dealt with the issue of a small number of GPs who had declined to carry out medicals for prospective adopters, set their own fees or requested that OAWY pay the CCG[1] fees, the Panel asked what the outcome had been of escalating the matter with the local CCGs.  OAWY said that in some cases the issue had been resolved quickly.  However, GPs were not obliged to carry out medicals for prospective adopters.  Asked whether there was a set scale of fees for such medicals, OAWY said that the CCG would refund a set sum but that GPs were free to charge more than that sum.  Replying to questions, OAWY said that this was the case across the region, rather than for Bradford only.

4.    Jude MacDonald (WYHCP) undertook to agree with OAWY an escalation route within WYHCP to resolve such issues, either by negotiating a solution with the GP or by bringing in an alternative practitioner to conduct the required medical examination.

ACTION: Jude MacDonald

5.    Referring to section 3.2.5, the Panel queried the reference to pupils being excluded “unofficially”.  Such exclusions were not unofficial, they were unlawful.  The Head of the Virtual School (HT/VS) said that there was not an increase in such cases, but that they did happen.  Asked how schools reacted when they were challenged, HT/VS said that, if there was a case for the child to be suspended according to the school’s policies and procedures, the child should be formally suspended; if there were no such case, a discussion was required about appropriate provision for the child: schools could not simply tell a child not to come to school.

6.    Turning to section 3.2.7 on special guardianship, the Panel queried the statement that “… the means test cannot be waived where children were not previously looked after, and Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit must be deducted unless the child was previously looked after.”  OAWY explained that a child who stayed with relations who then became special guardians would not have been previously looked after, although they would have been if the family had not stepped in.  If they had been previously looked after, the means test would have been waived.  This meant some families were being means tested and others were not.  OAWY was consulting a QC[2] on how to address this unfairness.

7.    Referring to section 3.3.14 and the trend shown against the A1 indicator from 2018-19 onwards, the Panel noted that the time between entering care and moving in with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

INDEPENDENT REVIEWING OFFICERS (IRO) ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 87 KB

The report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “B”) will provide Corporate Parenting with an overview of the IRO service for 2021 – 2022.

 

 

Recommended -

 

The report is for information only

 

(Helen Cliffe 07582 10103)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “B”) provided Corporate Parenting with an overview of the IRO service for 2021 – 2022.

 

  1. The agenda paper was taken as read.
  2. Helen Cliffe, Service Manager, Safeguarding and Reviewing Team (Service Manager) said that the number of children in care had continued to increase during 2021-22.  The workforce was relatively stable, ensuring consistency of Independent Review Officers (IROs) for children.  As mentioned by One Adoption West Yorkshire under the previous agenda item, court delays presented issues, particularly in relation to Discharge from Care Orders.
  3. Replying to questions, the Service Manager said that a permanent IRO had now been appointed to replace an IRO who had retired in June 2022.
  4. Asked whether the statutory and additional responsibilities of IROs, as listed at section 2.1 of the agenda paper, were being met, the Service Manager said that, broadly speaking, they were, and in some cases were exceeded.  If system blockages prevented the outcome of review meetings being available within 5 working days of the meeting, the outcomes were available in hard copy.  The minutes of review meetings were usually issued on time, though IROs had a significantly higher case load than they should (around 90 children per IRO, compared with the 75 specified in the handbook).  Occasional delays to the minutes were marginal.  Consultation was not always practical, for example in the case of very young children, but IROs ascertained their wishes and feelings through other means, such as observation in their placements, visits, WhatsApp, online.  The Service Manager reminded the Panel that children were free to decline to talk to their IRO. 
  5. The Service Manager said that care plans were reviewed to ensure that they continued to reflect the current needs of the child.  Although it was not a statutory requirement, IROs chaired all first Supervision Order Reviews for children who concluded Care Proceedings with a Supervision Order, embedding the plan before handing over to the social work team to continue the child in need arrangements. IROs facilitated training workshops and reflective practice sessions and participated on working parties to develop the service, including the Mockingbird and Family Time models.  IROs also offered student placement support.
  6. The Panel asked that future reports include confirmation, in the section on the statutory and additional responsibilities of IROs, that these responsibilities were being met.

ACTION: IRO Service Manager

  1. Referring to the commentary at the end of section 3.1 of the agenda paper, the Panel asked whether the list of statistical neighbours to Bradford remained the right comparator.  Amandip Johal (Children’s Services - CS) said that the list was determined by DfE and provided a useful set of comparators.  A Panel member considered that this demonstrated that the 2018 thresholds had been incorrect.
  2. Turning to section 3.2, the Panel discussed the ongoing debate about the number of young people entering care through use of police Powers of Protection and a possible disparity in the thresholds used by the police and social care  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

FOSTERING SERVICE ANNUAL REPORT COVERING THE PERIOD OF 1ST APRIL 2021 TO MARCH 31ST 2022 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

The Fostering Services Regulations 2011 require that the Fostering Services provides written reports on the management, outcomes, and financial state of the fostering service. This Annual Fostering Service Report provides quantitative and qualitative evidence relating to fostering services in the Bradford Council area as required by statutory guidance. The Annual Fostering Service Report must be presented to Corporate Parenting Panel.

 

The Strategic Director of Children’s Services will submit Document “C” which presents the Fostering Service’s annual report which provides an overview of the work of the Fostering Service and should be read in conjunction with the fostering Service Statement of Purpose (Appendix A).

 

Recommended -

 

Members are requested to note the content and actively consider and comment upon the strengths and future recommendations.

 

(John Heron – 07816 522073)    

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Fostering Services Regulations 2011 require that the Fostering Services provides written reports on the management, outcomes, and financial state of the fostering service. This Annual Fostering Service Report provides quantitative and qualitative evidence relating to fostering services in the Bradford Council area as required by statutory guidance. The Annual Fostering Service Report must be presented to Corporate Parenting Panel.

 

The Strategic Director of Children’s Services submitted Document “C” which presented the Fostering Service’s annual report which provided an overview of the work of the Fostering Service and should be read in conjunction with the fostering Service Statement of Purpose (Appendix A).

 

  1. John Heron, Bradford Council Strategic Lead for Fostering (SLF), introduced two carers from BIFCA: Steven Watson and Belinda Neilson.  The agenda paper was taken as read.  SLF highlighted the development of the relationship between the Fostering Service and BIFCA: the aim was to work in partnership with foster carers to recruit and retain more carers and improve the quality of service.  He talked through the developments planned for 2022-23 as set out in section 14 of the agenda paper.
  2. Noting the conversion rate of 6.6% from initial contact through the website to approval as a new foster carer, the Panel asked whether the non-conversions were due to potential carers dropping out or being eliminated by the service.  SLF said they were both: some visitors to the site might be curious but have no real interest in fostering.  Those who downloaded information from the site were required to give an e-mail address, and these contacts were followed up: of the 1625 initial website contacts, 381 had downloaded material and responded to this follow-up contact by confirming their interest in fostering.  The Fostering Service was in competition with independent fostering agencies, many of which could pay carers significantly more than the local authority could: on average, a potential carer would consider around five agencies before deciding whether to foster and if so with which agency.  For this reason, the Fostering Service made appointments to see potential carers as quickly as possible.  Of the 381 potential carers who had confirmed interest, the Fostering Service had visited 320, of whom 118 had been invited to make an application: 33 had done so, and of those 25 had been successful.  Asked what use was made of the internet for recruitment of carers, SLF said that it was second only to existing carers in its importance to recruitment.
  3. Noting the relatively poor conversion rate at an advanced stage of the recruitment process (33 applications from 116 home visits), the Panel asked whether this reflected unsuitability of the potential carer’s circumstances or the potential carer withdrawing as they learned more about fostering.  SLF said that there was more that the service could do to help potential carers to envision how their lives as fosterers would look.  A new manager had been recruited to the fostering recruitment team and was undertaking creative promotional work with BIFCA, but there was a need to support this with a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.