Agenda item

Update from Participation Service and update from care experienced young people about their experiences

Verbal update and presentation from the Participation Officer.



The Panel heard a presentation from the Participation Officer who confirmed that children aged 4-17 had the opportunity to provide independent yearly feedback.  The responses included many positive comments regarding the social workers, as well as areas for improvement.


Key themes:

                 all young people could identify a safe, trusted adult with whom they discussed their worries.

                 many young people expressed difficulties around timely communication with their social worker

                 most young people felt uncertainty around the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer

                 all but one young people were satisfied with their placement – the dissatisfied young person was moved to alternative accommodation within two weeks.


The presentation also highlighted that:


·                 To date, 50 Young People received free gym memberships.

·                 Integrated training from care-experienced young adults into the Social Work Academy – delivering sessions for international Social Workers and Newly Qualified Social Workers.

·                 Hosted events and activities for children looked after – where 34 young people attended at least one outing, which included day out to Kidzania, Thorpe Park and Go Ape.

·                 In September 2023, two care-experienced young adults generously delivered training to the Social Work Academy.

·                 briefed the Lead Member on the case for making care experience a protected characteristic

The Panel welcomed two care experienced young persons, who shared their experiences of being looked-after by Harrow Council and received leaving care services.

Mahnoor shared that she felt she had to work twice as hard as the other kids in her calls. She recalled that other children were driven to university interviews by their parents, but her foster carer didn’t do this for her.  She had planned to stay with her foster carer under staying put after she finished school, but her foster carer changes her mind.  This felt like a betrayal and she wished that someone had advocated for her and supported her better. Mahnoor shared that her After Care Personal Advisor was really good, and this support and her friendship group was central to her succeeding at her university course.  Mahnoor added that “transitions are so important”

She was pleased to note that social workers planned activities and day outs with children and believed that this will have a very positive effect on the children.

On the other hand the second young person had a different experience, she had recently graduated from University with a degree in Architecture.  She had lots of support from her foster parents and social workers.  She shared that the “foster carer always advocated for us, and her foster carer created a family that’s not biological.  She also noted that her After Care Personal Advisor has been great professionally and emotionally.  In the past, a previous worker said they would “speak to management” and nothing would be done.  She mentioned that she had moved out of the foster family home, however, kept contact with her foster family and lived very close to them.

The Panel and officers recognised the importance of early interventions of social workers, schools and thanked the young persons for sharing their experiences and the very helpful feedback.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

Supporting documents: