Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Bill Lee on 0208 583 2068 or Email: william.lee@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

34.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Cllr Tom Bruce and Jacqui McShannon sent their apologies.

35.

Minutes of the meeting held on 05 December 2016 and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2016 were agreed to be an accurate record and signed.

 

There were no matters arising.

36.

Items from Young People

Minutes:

Four young people attended the meeting together with Chloe Sullivan. Ms Sullivan advised that an action plan had been created following a survey conducted in 2016. The young people presented points raised from the survey, which were that many people felt scared and anxious when going into care and also when about to leave. A guidance pack was to be produced, translated into languages most commonly spoken by unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC). In respect of young people leaving care a meeting chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) should be held within three months of a looked after child’s (LAC) 18th birthday to ensure a solid handover from the social worker to the Personal Adviser (PA).

 

The second issue was that LAC wanted better working relationships with professionals. All staff should have the requisite skills to work with young people and should attend the Total Respect training programme. Ms Sullivan added that all staff involved sought to ensure that young people were able to get to and from events, particularly as it was known to have a major effect on future attendance at meetings if the LAC was brought to the first one.

 

Thirdly, better relationships with foster carers and providers were wanted. A forum for 16-21 year olds was to be developed to help engender a good two way understanding.

 

Cllr Paul Lynch congratulated the young people on their work in producing what he felt were a very good set of serious recommendations to work with. He was particularly impressed by the project to translate a guidance pack into different languages. Cllr Candice Atterton asked about the availability of resources for interpreters and translations and was advised that five languages including Arabic and Pashtu were available; staff were looking for an Albanian translator. A UASC group met monthly where the young people were introduced to UK society and the roles of social workers, IROs and others were explained along with care plans etc. Bob Spencer advised that most UASC were actually over 16 and were placed in semi-independent accommodation from a very good provider.

37.

Fostering Service Report pdf icon PDF 608 KB

Bob Spencer, Head of Placements and Looked After Children’s Resources.

5:25 – 5:45.

Minutes:

Please see the report by Bob Spencer, agenda item 4.

 

Mr Spencer presented the report which he advised was for 2016; the 2017 report was in progress. Joan Blackman, the Fostering Team Manager was also present.

 

Members asked questions following the presentation. Ms Blackman advised that one social worker and one team manager was available until 23:00 when the Emergency Duty Team took over. A list of carers available in an emergency was kept. It was always possible for young people to speak to someone alone if they wanted.

 

Improvements had been made in the area of organising and focussing the process for selecting carers and placements, with a quality assurance process and reduction in paperwork. The annual review was to be focussed on carers in future, rather than the whole history of the child. A complete report would no longer be produced for deregistration which would now focus on an evidence base. Mr Spencer added that paperless panels were being introduced, with Notebook style devices issued to members; it was expected to have the system in place by June 2017. Although there would be no reduction in written material savings would be made on printing and postage.

 

Cllr Lynch noted that the majority of would-be foster carers who reached the panel stage of selection passed and so the recruitment position may be better than the figures suggested. Cllr Buttar asked about DBS checks and what percentage of carers were removed because of misconduct. Ms Blackman advised that she could not recall a single allegation of misconduct, just one case where a carer’s new partner gave cause for concern. Applicants with wrong intentions were very effectively weeded out during selection. The first two stages covered DBS checks along with medicals and three references. The process was extremely thorough and stage 1 took four weeks with stage 2 lasting six to eight months; the borough set a six month target but statutory requirements could take up to twelve months. DBS checks could delay the process.

38.

Virtual College Self Evaluation Report pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Sean Hayes, Interim Head of Children’s Performance and Data.

5:45 - 6:05

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report (agenda item 5). The presentation was given by Sean Hayes.

 

Cllr Candice Atterton questioned the statistic of 84% ‘good or outstanding’ as she believed it to be higher. Mr Hayes advised that the measurement was taken at pupil rather than school level so the given percentage was varied; pupils educated out of borough could have an effect. He acknowledged that Hounslow had a very high percentage of schools that were rated good or outstanding. A young person asked what was being done about support for over 16s, which was flagged as red. Mr Hayes advised that Corinna Brown was the Virtual College’s dedicated staff member for over 16s and was working very hard to address issues. Pupils were offered apprenticeships and encouragement to attend college. Cllr Atterton asked Mr Hayes to speak to Cllr Bruce about bringing that specific matter back to a future meeting of the CPP. Bob Spencer felt that education for over 16s was a complex issue; children in care for a long time tended to do quite well but those who had come into the care system around the age of 15 may not do so well as often they had been in trouble, not attending school, or suffering various consequences from whatever events had caused them to be placed in care. Moksudda Uddin agreed that the issue was a complex one, adding that the over 16 cohort included a number of unaccompanied asylum seekers who needed a lot of emotional support in addition to language problems and immigration concerns; there were a lot of different points that needed to all be targeted.

 

39.

Draft Corporate Parenting Strategy 2017 - 2020 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

Moksuda Uddin, Head of Corporate Parenting.

6:05 - 6:20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report (agenda item 6). Moksudda Uddin presented the report.

 

Cllr Paul Lynch expressed the hope that officers would bear in mind how concerned young people had been about the Pledge, as they had stated in numerous conversations. One of the young people present asked how vulnerable youngsters in care were supported. Ms Uddin advised that the service aimed to target and tailor care to individual needs as not everyone needed the same level of support. It was important that young people knew who worked with them and what worked for them.  Asked what work was done at Da Spot for young people, Chloe Sullivan said that plans included training, such as an offer of independence training for over 16s, a Drop In service on Wednesdays and every second Friday and a group for 12 to 14 year olds aimed at preventing exploitation. Officers would like to develop training for over 16s, covering subjects such as food hygiene, first aid, benefit forms, the importance of work training etc.

 

 

40.

Outcomes for Children in Care (Children and Young people Scrutiny report) - to note. pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Moksuda Uddin, Head of Corporate Parenting.

6:20 – 6:35.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report (agenda item 7). Moksudda Uddin presented the report.

 

Ms Uddin advised that a lot of data had been tabled regarding performance, education, health and other matters. The group was very engaged and there were a lot of actions to follow up. For example:

To understand more about the admission of children aged over 14 into care, which officers were working on;

the social worker health check report; and

the outcome regarding housing and accommodation which the Panel were very interested in.

 

Reports on those three matters would be brought back to the Corporate Parenting Panel.

 

41.

Annual Survey Monitoring Plan - to note. pdf icon PDF 428 KB

Anne Fitz-Patrick, Improvement Partner to the Director.

6:35 – 6:45

Minutes:

Please see the report (agenda item 8). Unfortunately Anne Fitz-Patrick was unable to attend the meeting but members read and noted the report.

42.

Any Other Business

6:45 – 6:50

Minutes:

None.