Feedback from Looked After Children: Outcome of Bright Spots Questionnaire 2018
This report presents feedback from Looked After Children provided via the Bright Spots Questionnaire 2018.
The committee received a report setting out feedback from the Bright Spots “Your Life, Your Care” Survey for 2018. The survey, delivered by Coram Voice, sought to measure the quality of Looked After Children’s care experience and their sense of well-being. This was the second year that Brent’s children and young people had taken part. The report detailed the actions which had been taken following analysis of the previous year’s survey, including review of contact arrangements, social work realignment to provide competitive recruitment and retention packages, and support to foster carers to provide children with a wider range of outdoor opportunities.
Outlining the key messages of the 2018 survey, Janice Altenor (Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance) highlighted the positive feedback received including children and young people reporting feeling settled in their placements and having trusted relationships with their social workers. Addressing areas identified for improvement, Janice Altenor explained that the percentage of children who reported trusting their carers (81 per cent) was lower than in other authorities (96 percent); children and young people continued to want more contact with significant family members; Brent had a higher percentage of children experiencing more than one social worker in the past 12 month period; high proportions of children aged 8-11 years were worried about bullying; and, young people aged 11 to 18 years were less likely to have a good friend than elsewhere.
Members’ attention was drawn to section 5 of the report which set out the activities underway in response to the issues and concerns highlighted. These activities included: supporting foster carers to understand the challenges faced by older LAC in building trusting relationships; a continued focus on increased promotion of contact with family members; further recruitment and retention activities; and raising awareness amongst LAC’s schools and foster carers of the concerns expressed about bullying. In concluding the introduction, Janice Altenor explained that efforts would be made to better promote the survey next year to encourage more LAC to get involved.
The Chair invited views from the Care in Action representatives, who emphasised the importance of the feedback and shared how some of the issues identified had affected them.
The committee then directed a number of questions to the presenting officers, including whether Britain’s impending withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) could affect efforts to recruit and retain social work staff. Further details were sought on the actions to address concerns about bullying and members questioned whether the results had been analysed by in borough and out of borough placements.
In response, Gail Tolley advised that the Department for Education (DfE) had written to all Directors of Children’s Services regarding Brexit and the potential impact on workforce. Brent had undertaken an analysis and had identified a small number of staff who would be affected. Those members of staff had been given advice and guidance regarding the process for applying for the resettlement scheme. Onder Beter (Head of LAC and Permanency) advised that the council also recruited social workers from non-EU countries including South Africa and India. Providing further detail on the activities undertaken to address concerns around bullying, Onder Beter advised that Ofsted had previously highlighted the good work of Brent’s Virtual School which was preparing a specific piece of work on this area. It was confirmed that there was little difference in the feedback received from those placed with carers in the borough to those placed out of borough.
The Chair thanked everyone for their contribution to the report.