Members received the Corporate Parenting Service Update and slide presentation, which included performance of the service; measures on tackling disproportionality; young people not in education, employment or training (NEET); the Care Leavers Local Offer update; the West London Fostering Project; and European Union Settled Status (EUSS).
The key elements of the performance scorecard were highlighted, and performance overall was looking positive. The areas for scrutiny and development were NEET young people (largely due to impact of Covid-19 on employment opportunities for young people); dental checks (again impacted by the pandemic, but improved performance); and children placed more than 20 miles away from home. There had been a small increase in children placed out of Harrow, based on the needs of individual children and contextual safeguarding reasons.
Plans to tackle NEET young people and support back into education was outlined, and the programmes commissioned by Prospects and Xcite.
Efforts were being taken to understand and tackle disproportionality, understand and analyse data. Black children were overrepresented across all areas of children’s social care, and were also overrepresented in the Youth Justice Service. This was the picture seen nationally. The performance team were working on a dataset about disproportionality and understanding the impact and outcomes for children.
The Care Leaver Local Offer had been refreshed and it was a requirement under law to publish it. This had been updated following consultation with young people, benchmarking with other local authorities, and with input of leaving care charities. A key change to the local offer was the Council Tax Exemption until the age of 25 for care leavers. This had brought Harrow in line with what was provided nationally to care leavers. This was a co-produced piece of work, and a significant moment that the updated local offer had been given. Young people had been very positive about the impact of the local offer on their lives.
The young person on the panel welcomed the council tax exemption for care leavers, and was very appreciative of the change. Care leavers who took part in the consultation process welcomed the revision of the local offer and the Council Tax Exemption which would prevent care leavers from experiencing financial hardship in their first years of living independently.
An update about the work of the West London Fostering Project was provided. Harrow, Brent and Ealing were working collaboratively to develop placement sufficiency and improve recruitment and retention of foster carers in West London. The objectives were to increase the choice of local foster families to provide stability for young people; develop flexible and responsive support to carers; and minimise placement disruption and/or breakdown.
EUSS updates were shared with the panel, and the service has worked closely with the Coram Children’s Legal Centre. Thirty children and young people had been identified to apply for EUSS, and all but five had applied for EUSS.
Members recognised the work being completed on disproportionality within the Service.
Members expressed their appreciation to the Corporate Parenting Service Team for their hard work, and noted the strides made.
RESOLVED: That the update be noted.