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Meetings

Meeting Details

Corporate Parent Committee
3 Dec 2015 - 19:00 to 22:00
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Declarations of Interests
  • Visitors

Documents

Agenda

Standard Items
1 Apologies for Absence
      
Apologies for absence were received from Gary Odle (Project Manager, Horizons Centre).

Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Rai.
2 Urgent Matters
Any urgent matters that the Chair has agreed should be considered at the meeting.
    
There were none.
3 Matters to be Considered in Private
       
There were none.
4 Declarations of Interest
To note any declarations of interest made by members.
     
There were none.
5 Minutes
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 6th October 2015.
RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 6th October 2015 be agreed as a true and correct record.
6 Update from Junior Council
Verbal Update
    
R, a Young Persons Representative, introduced this item. There was a new Junior Council in place for the 2015/16 academic year featuring 5 young people. The Children’s Commissioner had recently visited Ealing and Junior Council members had been involved in the visit, and were complimented by the Commissioner in her letter to Judith Finlay (Executive Director, Children and Adults) following the visit. The Education Awards had also taken place recently, and 3 Junior Council members had done a presentation about Junior Council, inviting 6 to 11 year olds to join. The Junior Council had also done some work on the Foster Carer’s Charter, particularly discussing Life History work. Experiences had been different for different young people according to their carer, with some young people having better experiences than others. The Junior Council wanted as many young people as possible to have a box of things relating to their life and background, such as photos, CDs or trinkets. At the last Junior Council meeting they had discussed what items should go in the boxes. The Junior Council also wanted young people to have a ‘secret diary’ where they could write about their carers and their placement in confidence. The Children’s Commissioner had been impressed by Ealing’s Junior Council, remarking that other authorities usually reserved this for older 
children.

M, a Young Persons Representative, spoke to the Committee about the Connect team which was being used by Ealing as part of the Brighter Futures programme. The new Connect team was quicker than the previous Long Term team had been, and M said the Connect team had made Contact easier, and they now saw their Social Worker more often. N, a Young Persons Representative, added that they did not see much difference between the old and new teams, but now had a peer Mentor to talk to, and thought that Social Workers were now more connected and communicated with each other more.

The Committee thanked R, M and N for their excellent presentation.
7 My Education Mentors Project Update
Verbal Update
   
W, a Young Persons Representative and Lead Mentor, introduced this item. W had been Lead Mentor since September and was enjoying his new position. Two mentors, P and K, and D, a mentee, also updated Members on the Mentors Project. Recent sessions had included a First Aid course with St. Johns Ambulance, Indoor Go-Karting, a mini-Olympics, a Horizons Bake-Off and singing lessons with a special guest, Caroline McGuiness. There were also 1:1 mentoring sessions every week alongside activities, with a different focus each week, where Mentors set targets and tracked the progress of their Mentees. Activities for next term were currently being planned. There were currently 7 Mentors and 9 Mentees on the project and numbers were slowly going up, with more Mentees being targeted.

The Committee thanked W, P, K and D for their great update on the Mentors Project.
8 Feedback from the Horizons ShoutOut Forum
Verbal Update
    
C and L, two Young Persons Representatives, introduced this item. Horizons ShoutOut Council (HSC) members had recently been at a conference in Islington, doing workshops, networking and other activities with other authorities to compare and contrast methods and approaches. The conference was about improving long-term support and outcomes for Care Leavers, and the findings were to be distributed next year. Some of the issues being discussed included Education, Employment and Training, accommodation and trips and culture. Housing in particular had been discussed at HSC at their own meetings. Ealing was praised by other authorities for its work and provision for education, but there could be more for those who do not go into higher education and instead look for employment. There were also many authorities who did not have their own version of the Horizons Centre. Officers were working on this, with increased support for Apprentices coming in the future and the Pathways scheme widely encouraged, but would continue to try and address any problems in this area.

The Committee thanked C and L for their excellent presentation and update on the Horizons ShoutOut Forum.
9 Update on the Children's Commissioner Ealing Visit
Verbal Update - Assistant Director, Children and Families
    
Marcella Phelan (Assistant Director, Planning, Commissioning and Partnerships) introduced this item. Anne Longfield OBE, the Children’s Commissioner for England, visited Ealing for two days at the end of September. Officers met with the Commissioner’s staff in advance and worked on a programme for the visit. During the visit the Children’s 
Commissioner met young people in the Borough 1;1, did group visits with the Junior Council and HSC, met young people in their placements and on schemes like Pathways, and had discussions with senior managers at Ealing, as well as looking at the work Ealing officers were doing, like the Brighter Futures programme. The Commissioner had also met Councillor Rai, portfolio holder for Children and Young People. 

Feedback from the visit was mostly positive. Ealing was praised for its aspirational and ambitious climate and approach, and there was positive feedback on key programmes such as the Horizons Centre, Pathways and Brighter Futures. Ealing was also praised for actively planning in ways which included its young people and the feedback from young people themselves was very good. Foster carers also gave very positive feedback and felt well supported by Ealing. There was some work to be done on accommodation and moving on, and placement planning. Officers would use the feedback from the visit to take these issues forward and were motivated by them.
(Director, Children and Families)
   
Bridie McDonagh (Head of Behaviour Strategy and Inclusion & Virtual School Head LAC) introduced this report, informing members of the details for Post-16 Education results for the academic year 2014-15, providing information on the current Year 12 and Year 13 year groups and confirming University entrance routes and placements. During the recent October half-term some of Ealing’s young people had participated in the ‘Stage Struck’ project, a joint working project with Brent and the Tri-Borough, run in collaboration with the Lyric Theatre. A total of 28 young people between 9 and 17 years old took part in the project, which included workshops in drama, dance and music and a visit to the Apollo Theatre, culminating in the children producing their own musical called ‘Trick or Treat’. The Committee watched a filming of the production which was well-received. D, a Young Persons Representative, was part of the project and told the Committee the project had been a good experience and had been lots of fun.

Sundeep Gill (Post 16 LAC Teacher - Ealing Virtual School) introduced the next part of the report, updating the Committee on the Post-16 group. September 2015 had seen an increase in the number of University students, and 43 of Ealing’s LAC were at University. The target was for 12 more young people to go to University next September. In the last Year 12 group 82% were in education and 87% in education, employment or training, an increase on the previous academic year, and the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) was down to 13% from 27% the previous year. In Year 13, the number of young people in education, employment or training had decreased from the previous academic year, whilst the number of NEETs had increased. This reflected the complexity of the Year 11 group that took their GCSEs in summer 2013. Officers continued to work with all the young people who were NEET and their social workers and support them, making referrals to Connexions and training centres, and supporting them with applications and interviews.

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
(Executive Director, Children and Adults)
    
Marcella Phelan (Assistant Director, Planning, Commissioning and Partnerships) introduced this report, updating Members on progress in implementing the Brighter Futures programme between September and December 2015. The key updates were set out in paragraph 3.11 of the 
report. The three new pilot teams were fully up and running, and at the end of November approximately 124 children and 75 families were being supported through the MAST team and 38 by the In Care team Connect team, and these numbers were still increasing. There were 3 Youth Mentors in place, one in each team, to help engage with young people. Recruitment to the teams was almost complete and training had been introduced. A wide range of external support and positive activities had been commissioned from the local voluntary and community sectors. The project was on track, having started slightly slowly, and there were already a lot of positives. For example, 6 young people had been moved from residential care to local fostering placements, achieving a cashable saving of approximately £600,000. Nationally LAC numbers were going up, but in Ealing they had stabilised and were down on the previous year. This was partly to do with the courts, a lot of Ealing’s evidence-based work was helping, with various success stories from challenging situations.

RESOLVED:

That Members:

i) Note that Ealing’s bid to the Department of Education Innovation Fund bid has now been successful and the authority has been allocated £3.5m to improve outcomes for adolescents in care and on the edge of 
care from January 2015 to April 2016.

ii) Continue to review progress on the Brighter Futures programme over the coming year, as it has significant implications for the way in which we support adolescents in care and on the edge of care and their families and the role of the authority as Corporate Parent.
(Director, Children and Families)
     
  1. pdf 12 - Appendix 1 (231Kb)
Carolyn Fair (Operations Manager, Children’s Placement Services) introduced this report, briefing the Committee on current fostering recruitment activity. There was a national shortage of around 9000 foster carers, with London needing around 1000 more. A lack of space alongside other independent Agencies and other local authorities recruiting in Ealing meant that there was competition and difficulties in recruiting foster carers. Ealing had set a target of recruiting 84 foster carers between April 2015 and April 2018. Ealing had a new plan for recruiting to try and achieve this, with actions from the plan set out across 4 different work streams. Usual recruitment initiatives were ongoing but officers were also using word-of-mouth campaigns more and were focussing on community groups. There was a lot of work going on and officers were doing everything they could to meet their targets. Early signs were encouraging and there were a number of recruits currently in the assessment process. The Foster Carer’s Charter was also finished after lots of consultation and was attached as Appendix 1 to the report.

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
(Executive Director, Children and Adults)
    
  1. pdf 13 - Appendix 1 (204Kb)
Judith Finlay introduced this report, providing information on complaints for LAC for the period 1st July 2015 – 30th September 2015. During the period there were 2 Stage 1 complaints made by or in respect of Looked After Children. Of the 2 complaints made, one was not upheld and one was partially upheld. Both complaints received were responded to within the statutory requirement. There were no complaints that proceeded to a Stage 2 Complaint or Stage 3 Complaint Review during this reporting period.

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
(Assistant Director, Children and Families)
  
Judith Finlay introduced this report, providing a brief analysis on the April 2015 – September 2015 performance (2015-16 year) for LAC and care leavers. The report overall was positive. As at 30th September 2015, 354 children and young people were looked after by Ealing, decreasing from 370 at 30th September 2014. As at 30th September 2015, 300 children and young people were subject to a child protection plan, decreasing from 302 in the previous year. Adoption was a difficult issue but officers would continue to report regularly on it. Overall performance during the period had been good.

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
15 Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Corporate Parent Committee is scheduled for Tuesday 5th April 2016.
   
The next Corporate Parent Committee meeting was scheduled for Tuesday 5th April 2016. It was noted that this date fell in the Easter school holidays so may be rescheduled.

The Chair wished everyone in attendance and everyone involved with the Horizons Centre a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Attendance

Name
No other member attendance information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for Sending ApologySubstituted By
No apology information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for AbsenceSubstituted By
No absentee information has been recorded for the meeting.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Also in attendance at the above meeting were:

Marcella Phelan (Asst Director, Planning, Commissioning and Partnerships)
Judith Finlay (Executive Director, Children and Adults)
Cheryl Campbell (Deputy Project Manager, Horizons Centre)
Sue Tarry (Virtual School Teacher/Adviser, LAC Education Team)
Sundeep Gill (Post-16 Teacher, LAC Education Team)
Bridie McDonagh (Head of Behaviour Strategy and Virtual School Head)
Carolyn Fair (Operations Manager, Children's Placement Services)
Joseph Anstee (Democratic Services Officer)

6 x Young People Representatives
1 x LBE Foster Carer

___ Members of public expressed a desire to address the meeting.