Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Panel - Tuesday 1 February 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Daksha Ghelani, Senior Democratic and Electoral Services Officer  Email:


No. Item


Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.


Reserve Members may attend meetings:-


(i)            to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)          where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)         the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)         if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

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RESOLVED:  To note the attendance at this meeting of the following duly appointed Reserve Member:-


Ordinary Member


Reserve Member


Councillor Lynda Seymour

Councillor Dr Lesline Lewinson



Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:


(a)          all Members of the Panel;

(b)          all other Members present.

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RESOLVED:  To note that the declarations of interest published in advance of the meeting on the Council’s website were taken as read.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 259 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 October 2021 be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

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RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 5 October 2021 be taken as a read and signed correct record.


Public Questions

To receive any public questions received in accordance with paragraph 16 of the Executive Procedure Rules.


Questions will be asked in the order in which they were received.  There will be a time limit of 15 minutes for the asking and answering of public questions.


[The deadline for receipt of public questions if 3.00 pm, 27 January 2022.  Questions should be sent to

No person may submit more than one question].

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RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions were received.



To receive petitions (if any) submitted by members of the public/Councillors under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 47 (Part 4D of the Constitution).

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RESOLVED:  To note that no petitions were received.




To receive deputations (if any) under the provisions of Executive Procedure Rule 48 (Part 4D of the Constitution).

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RESOLVED:  To note that deputations were received.

Resolved Items

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Update from Care Experienced Young People about their Experiences

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Members received an update from two care experienced young people on their experience of being looked-after by Harrow Council and receiving leaving care services.  They shared their experiences and reported on some of the key messages received from young people at the recent Children in Care Council event held virtually.


The two care experienced young people related the following experiences:


-                 when transitioning from care to a care leaver, it was important to retain the same social worker. An issue for all young people was the change in social workers from childhood to adolescence and above 18 years old


-                 one of the young people shared that she felt that some social workers lacked empathy and this impacted adversely on vulnerable young people.  Her University studies in social work had highlighted that the understanding of the word addiction was fundamental to the work of a social worker but it was sad that some social work students on her course had no grasp of its meaning.  This lack of understanding would hurt vulnerable people.  The Head of Corporate Parenting agreed that these were key issues and showed why the Council must listen to the voices of care experienced children and young people.  The voice of young people was critical in ensuring that their needs were understood and met.  The Chair agreed with these sentiments.  A Member commented that empathy would come with experience and could not be taught.  It was the Council’s responsibility to make changes and develop relationships between young people and social workers


-                 one of the young people reflected on their social work university course and shared that ‘social GGRRAAACCEEESSS’ had to be learnt and some students appeared to lack such fundamentals.  During their studies, they appeared not to have developed or matured in social work studies as they often used language that would be offensive to those in care.  The cohort did try and help each other by showing different ways of addressing the same situation and by educating them further and changing behaviours.


Members thanked the young participants for their contributions and recognised the importance of being looked after by the same social worker throughout their care journey. Constant change of social workers was not good care.  With Covid-19 being endemic in society, they hoped that some form of normality would return soon and normal services would resume and positive changes made could be built on.  Members were enlightened by the experiences of University social work education and they hoped that the messages conveyed at this meeting had been fed back to the establishment so that improvements could be made for the benefit of future generations/students studying social work.


Members acknowledged that the experiences gained by young people present at the meeting had been gained painfully.  Their experiences had also given them a step up in life but at a cost.  They were pleased to learn that they continued to challenge others whilst making positive contributions to society.


The Divisional Director of Children and Young People  ...  view the full minutes text for item 133.


Corporate Parenting Service Update and Corporate Parenting Strategy 2022 to 2025 pdf icon PDF 551 KB

Report and Presentation - Corporate Director of People Services.

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The Panel received a presentation from the Head of Corporate Parenting providing an update on the Corporate Parenting Service and the Corporate Parenting Strategy 2022-25 which set out the Council’s vision, achievements, foundations and the key priorities.


Corporate Parenting Service

The Head of Corporate Parenting updated the Panel on the key service areas and the performance scorecard for Q3.  She referred to the last column on the scorecard – Harrow actual Q3 2021-22 – and reported that improvements were expected in the areas shaded red and amber and expected Member scrutiny in this regard.  She drew attention to areas which had improved from Q2, such as in dental checks.  The importance of dental checks had been highlighted with both the social workers and foster carers and it was recognised that additional improvements were required.  The target was to reach 90%+ for Q4.  Harrow’s statistical neighbours had experienced significant declines in dental checks for CLA (42%) during the same period, which was a testament to the hard work of social workers and carers in prioritising the health needs of children in care.


With regard to health checks, the position had markedly improved.  In terms of the percentage of children who ceased to be looked after who were adopted, it was important to note that there was not a target in terms of numbers of children adopted by Harrow each year, decisions were based on the individual best interests of children as part of permanency planning.  She was pleased to report that 3 children had been adopted and 12 children had permanency under special guardianship orders (SGOs).


Furthermore, as discussed at the last meeting, Harrow was now caring for 30 unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC).  The figure had increased in the last 3 months, but it was below the quota of UASCs the Council had agreed to accommodate.


There had been an improvement in young people accessing education, employment, and training (NEET).  A Challenge Panel had recently been set up and would focus on developing plans for young people to be supported into education, employment, and training opportunities.  Support was also provided by the Harrow Virtual School.


The Panel’s attention was drawn to the CLA demographics and disproportionality, and Members were informed that the Asian group was underrepresented.  There had been an increase in Asian CLA from 15% to 26%.  There had been a small decrease in the white and mixed race CLA.


The participation at the Children in Care Council event in January 2022 ought to be applauded and it was hoped to build-on this event and involve more young people in care.  Feedback was received from care experienced young people about services  and their key messages from this event were: what happened when they left care, how this could be improved and the need to have mental health services in place.  A self-assessment was planned, and the Service was looking to explore the best ways in which the voices of CLA could be heard. Harrow was also aspiring to an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.


Virtual School Performance Update pdf icon PDF 850 KB

Presentation - Corporate Director of People Services.

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The Panel received an update on the performance of the Harrow Virtual School.  The Headteacher of Harrow Virtual School, accompanied by another member of her team, referred to the presentation slides and reported as follows:


-                 the photograph on slide 1 was that of a child being looked after by the Council and was taken at an equine therapy session to help promote physical and emotional well-being;


-                 in June 2021, the role of the Virtual Headteacher to work was extended by the Department for Education (DfE) to support every child with a social worker.  Virtual Schools were to build on their current good practice with children in care and offer evidence based interventions to support professionals working with this group.  There was an emphasis on children’s attainment, progress and attendance.  The role was strategic and Virtual Schools were not to provide direct intervention. The guidance received from the DfE did not change existing duties for looked-after and previously looked-after children;


-                 the strategic leadership of Virtual School Heads for children with a social worker required Virtual Schools to narrow the attainment gap, support children’s engagement in education enhance partnerships between education settings and local authorities, details of which were set out on page 42 of the agenda;


-                 the number of children with a social worker totalled 1552 as set out on the presentation slide on page 43 of the agenda;


-                 Harrow Virtual School Staffing Structure had been increased to reflect the new duties.  The end of Key Stage exam predictions set out on page 45 of the agenda were above the national average for children in key Stages 1 and 2.  There was an increase in the number of children predicted to achieve GCSE passes.  It was important that children in Year 11 left with some qualifications and therefore support, tuition and mentoring had been made available when required;


-                 school attendance was 90% , however, persistent absence was at 30% across the schools.  The Council promoted school attendance and punctuality for all its CLA.  This message had been conveyed to carers as well.  The PEP (Personal Education Plan) returns for the Autumn Term were 100% which was excellent.  PEPs were taken seriously and there was continuous dialogue with schools so that where interventions were required, these were put in place at an early stage.  Intervention included the provision of 1-1 tuition and/or support from a mentor;


-                 several issues had arisen with children with mental health problems.  There had been a few suspensions and one permanent exclusion, which at the time, was in the child’s best interest as there were no other alternative support;


-                 school absences due to Covid-19 had escalated during November and December 2021 but these had now reduced;


-                 the Royal SpringBoard Foundation worked in partnership with  Independent Schools and the DfE to source places for vulnerable children.  Harrow Virtual School had a successful outcome of a young child who had been offered a place at an Independent School with a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 135.


Information Report – Harrow Children Looked After (CLA) Health Report pdf icon PDF 285 KB

Report and Presentation - Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

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The Panel received a report and a presentation from a representative (Named Nurse from CLA Harrow) of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.


The report set out the delivery of health services to Harrow’s Children Looked After (CLA) during April - June 2021 in line with the national guidance.  The report reviewed the service and included clinical work undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Named Nurse referred to her presentation circulated with the agenda and outlined the KPIs (key performance indicators) set by the Harrow CCG (clinical commissioning group) and Harrow Council which was to achieve 100% compliance in respect of initial health assessments and review health assessments of CLA within a required period.


The Named Nurse added that reporting by exception was key in capturing those young people who refused health assessments, were placed out of the borough, identify missing children and where requests had been received late.  The CLA team also assisted the Council in providing services such as  records of dental and optician checks, immunisation status and monitor GP registration of CLA.  She referred to the slide which set out the KPIs for Harrow CLA from July to December 2021 and explained that:


-                   the number of CLA seen for IHA (initial health assessment) from July until December 2021 had ranged from 67% - 100% which was an achievement.  Those seen for RHS (repeat health assessment) ranged from 93% - 100% and ought to be applauded


-                   the lower figure of 82% IHA for October 2021 was as a result of two CLA falling outside the timescale of 20 operational days/28 calendar days.  Attempts had been made to avoid this situation, but it was the only time that this had happened given the Covid-19 pandemic


-                   the CLA team had experienced issues around DNA.


The Panel was also advised that, in relation to Covid-19 immunisation, the requirements for health and social care staff to be double jabbed was subject to change by recent government announcement.


Members were also informed of:


-                   training and meetings attended by the CLA team as outlined on pages 67 and 68 of the agenda.  Further training to tier 4 was being sought to ensure involvement in discharge planning.  Clinical supervision training was being sought  for help those children experiencing mental health issues;


-                   new processes, including projects, that the CLA team were taking forward which would assist both the team and help support young people better.  These measures were outlined on page 69 of the agenda.  The VVE team would provide the CLA team with weekly and timely updates in respect of the health assessments and to  explain the reasons for any assessments missed which would help counteract those missing;


-                   the Peer Review of the Harrow CLA Service had had a positive outcome and the team was developing templates which would help extract data in an efficient manner.  This would help to develop and move the service forward for the benefit of young people;


-                   the challenges around  ...  view the full minutes text for item 136.


Urgent Business

Which cannot otherwise be dealt with.

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Date of Next Meeting


The Chair proposed that, due to the proximity of the next meeting of the Panel scheduled to be held on 24 March, and the time required for officers to prepare reports, the meeting be deferred until September.  Members agreed and it was


RESOLVED:  That the next meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel scheduled to be held on 24 March 2022 be deferred until September 2022, Municipal Year 2022/23.


A ‘Thank You’


Members of the Panel who would not be standing for re-election in May 2022 took this opportunity to thank officers and all participants for their work.  They were proud of the vast improvements made in the delivery of Corporate Parenting during their terms in office and in ensuring that the duties and responsibilities of a local authority in respect of the CLA (children looked after) were being met.


The Corporate Director of People Services thanked Members and young people for their support.  He thanked Members for the cross-party support his Service continued to receive in meeting the Council’s role as Corporate Parents.


The Chair spoke of her gratitude in the work carried out by the outgoing Councillors and in ensuring the continued development of Children’s Services.  She thanked all Members, officers, partners and young people for their participation.  She also thanked the Corporate Director for his good leadership.