Agenda and minutes

Venue: Board Room 2 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ

Contact: Bryony Gibbs, Governance Officer  020 8937 1355, Email: bryony.gibbs@brent.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The committee is advised that the public may be excluded from meetings whenever it is likely in view of the nature of the proceedings that exempt information would be disclosed. Meetings of the Corporate Parenting Committee are attended by representatives of Care In Action (CIA), the council’s Children in Care Council. The committee is therefore recommended to exclude the press and public for the duration of the meeting,  as the attendance of CIA representatives necessitates the disclosure of the following category of exempt information, set out in the Local Government Act 1972:  - information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the duration of the meeting, on the grounds that the attendance of representatives from the council’s Children in Care council, necessitated the disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 2, Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act, namely: Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.

2.

Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Thakkar. Councillor Mitchell Murray attended as a substitute member.

3.

Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

4.

Deputations

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.

Minutes:

There were no deputations.

5.

Minutes of the previous meeting - 24 July 2019 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the previous meeting held on Wednesday 24 April 2019 were approved as an accurate record.

6.

Matters arising (if any)

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

7.

Update from Care In Action / Care Leavers in Action Representatives

This is an opportunity for members of Care In Action (CIA) and Care Leavers in Action to feedback on recent activity.

Minutes:

JBK advised that work was ongoing with the Junior Care in Action group to continue to build relationships and encourage membership. Recent activities had included visits to the theatre, a theatre workshop and bowling. Work was also underway to contribute to the development of the Pathway Plan App for Looked After Children and Care Leavers.

 

SK had attended the All Party Parliamentary Group for LAC and Care Leavers and had found the experience enlightening but highlighted that they did not appear to be focussing on the real issues that young people needed solutions to. The committee further heard that SK was also involved with Brent Youth Parliament and the London Borough of Culture via the Blueprint Collective.

 

The committee thanked the representatives for their update and extended congratulations to JBK who had recently won a Pride of Brent Award.

 

RESOLVED: That the Update from Care In Action / Care Leavers in Action representatives be noted

8.

Annual Corporate Parenting Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

An annual report about the outcomes for Looked After Children (LAC) in line with requirements of The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations (2010) has to be provided to the Corporate Parenting Committee or local equivalent. This report fulfils that requirement, providing a profile of Brent’s looked after children and care leavers during 2018-2019, reporting on annual activity, highlighting strengths and areas for development in supporting looked after children and care leavers in Brent.

 

Minutes:

The committee received the Annual Corporate Parenting Report for 2018/19 which set out a profile of Brent’s Looked After Children (LAC) and Care Leavers and reported on annual activity, highlighting strengths and areas for development. Onder Beter (Head of LAC and Permanency) drew members’ attention to the summary of committee activity detailed at paragraph 3.4 of the report, thanking members for the challenge and scrutiny provided over the year. Members were further reminded of the ‘Good’ overall Ofsted judgement received following the Inspection of Brent’s Children’s Services (ILACS) May and June 2018 and the ‘Outstanding’ judgement received with respect to the progress and experience of LAC and Care Leavers.  Onder Beter noted that a variety of work had been undertaken to support LAC and Care Leavers to participate in the decision making process impacting their lives, including the continued use of the Bright Spots survey, which measured the quality of Looked

After Children’s care experience and their sense of well-being.

 

The Chair thanked Onder Beter for his introduction to the report and invited comments and questions from the committee.

 

Members welcomed the report and sought updates on the recruitment of permanent Social Workers and Personal Advisors and on the caseloads for Brent’s social workers. The committee sought details of the percentage of Care Leavers progressing to university and requested that future reports include details of the number of the Care Leavers undertaking apprenticeships and include a breakdown by ethnicity and gender. 

 

RESOLVED: That the Annual Corporate Parenting Report for 2018/19 be noted.

9.

Update on Semi-independent Provision for looked after children and care leavers pdf icon PDF 131 KB

This report provides Corporate Parenting Committee with an overview of semi-independent provision commissioned by the council to accommodate looked after children (LAC) aged 16-18 and care leavers. It provides information on the quality assurance of commissioned services, including findings from a recent multi-agency quality assurance audit. 

 

Minutes:

The committee received a report on semi-independent provision for looked after children and care leavers. In introducing the report, Shirley Parks (Head of Forward Planning Performance and Partnerships) advised that approximately 60 Looked After Children (LAC) and 87 care leavers were accommodated by 35 providers. Providers were commissioned through various mechanisms, including a contract framework established by the West London Alliance. The council worked closely with the providers to ensure the needs of Brent’s LAC and care leavers were met and that they felt safe and secure in the placement. Of particular note was the work with the provider, Centrepoint. Brent had awarded a block contract to Centrepoint in July 2018 for the provision of up to 60 placements, subject to identification of suitable properties. Centrepoint provided a high support unit and a range of additional resources and support and having a strong supplier relationship enabled greater influence over the quality of the provision. Concluding the introduction, Shirley Parks emphasised that semi-independent was seen as an equivalent to ‘Stay Put’ arrangements whereby a care leaver chose to remain in their foster home, and the expectation was that the young people would be supported in developing independence skills in a safe environment.

 

In the subsequent discussion, the committee welcomed the report, in particular noting the support provided to young people in semi-independent provision and the recognition of the importance of the relationship between commissioner and provider.  Members’ sought further details about ongoing monitoring, including site visits and questioned whether officers had any concerns regarding provider engagement. Members further questioned which providers owned the properties where LAC and Care leavers were placed, noting that ownership would confer some leverage for providers, as the units would be lost to the council if the contracts were not maintained. An update was sought on the NHS Go app and the health passport. Further details were sought of the project with Barnardo’s to support consistent commissioning of high quality semi-independent provision.

 

RESOLVED:

 

that an update report on semi-independent provision be provided to the committee in a years time or sooner, if any issues of concern arise.

 

that a report on project with Barnardoes be brought to the committee in six months time.

 

 

10.

Brent Virtual School Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 618 KB

The purpose of the annual report is to outline the activity and impact of the Brent Virtual School during the academic year 2017-2018. Data contained in this report is for looked after children who were in the care of Brent Council for the academic year 2017-2018, and includes outcomes for all children who have been in care for a year or more as at 31st March 2018, (“eligible cohort”).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sarah Miller (Head of Inclusion) introduced the Brent Virtual School Annual Report 2017/18 to the committee, which summarised the activity and impact of the Brent Virtual School over the reporting period. Members heard that a high proportion of children and young people entering care had significant gaps in school attendance and learning. Through effective partnership working with schools, Brent’s LAC were making good academic progress year on year, though it was important to acknowledge that each cohort varied and each year should be looked at in isolation. It was recognised that children often needed to make social and emotional progress before academic progress could be achieved and the Virtual School had worked with the LAC and Permanency team to fund a significant programme of enrichment activities, using in part the pupil premium. A large training programme had also been supported to ensure that education was a part of the thinking of all who worked with LAC including Independent Reviewing Officers, Social workers and Designated Teachers.

 

Outlining the educational attainment of Brent’s Looked After Children for 2017/18, Sarah Miller advised that the KS1 and KS2 cohorts were very small and referred the committee to the report for the narrative around the results achieved. At Key Stage 4, 22% of the eligible cohort achieved at least 4 passes including English or Maths and 13% of the eligible cohort achieved the benchmark of 5 passes (grade 4+) including English and Maths, which was consistent with LAC National data.

 

In the subsequent discussion the committee questioned why children were more likely to enter care between the ages of 11 to 16 years’ old; what alternative provision was provided for the high number of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and how this was quality assured; and, the support provided for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, particularly with regard to learning to speak English.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Brent Virtual School Annual Report 2017/18 be noted.

11.

Brent Fostering Service Quarterly Monitoring Report: Quarter 1: 1st April to 30th June 2019 pdf icon PDF 169 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide information to the Council’s Corporate Parenting Committee about the general management of the in-house fostering service and how it is achieving good outcomes for children. This is in accordance with standard 25.7 of the Fostering National Minimum Standards (2011).  This report details the activity of Brent’s fostering service from 1st April – 30th June 2019.

 

Minutes:

The committee considered the Brent Fostering Service Quarterly Monitoring Report for Quarter 1, which covered the period, 1 April to 30 June.  The report presented information about the general management of the in-house fostering service and how it was achieving good outcomes for children, including staffing arrangements, placement activity, recruitment and assessment of foster carers, and learning and development.   Onder Beter (Head of Looked After Children and Permanency) highlighted that a bid had been submitted with Ealing and Hounslow councils to undertake some viability work regarding combined needs-led and targeted marketing and recruitment and commissioning and integration.  This bid had been successful and Brent would be leading on this work going forward.

 

The Chair thanked the officers for their introduction of the report and invited questions from the committee. Members sought further information regarding Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs) and the council’s ability to provide appropriate and successful placements for older children coming into care.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Brent Fostering Service Quarterly Monitoring Report: Quarter 1: 1st April to 30th June 2019 be noted.

 

12.

Brent's Local Offer for Care Leavers 2018-2020: a year on pdf icon PDF 126 KB

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the progress of the Brent Local Offer to Care Leavers during the period from 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019 and seek approval from the Corporate Parenting Committee regarding Brent’s reviewed Local Offer for care leavers for 2019/20.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Onder Beter (Head of Looked After Children and Permanency) introduced the report which provided an overview of the progress of the Brent Local Offer to Care Leavers during the period from 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019 and presented an updated offer for 2019/20 for the committee’s approval. Members were informed that the updated offer had not been subject to a full review but had been amended to reflect and respond to feedback received from Care Leavers via the Bright Spots Survey. This survey sought to better understand Care Leavers’ experiences and sense of well-being.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the update on Brent's Local Offer for Care Leavers 2018-2020 be noted.

13.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.

Minutes:

None.