Agenda item

Update and Performance for Corporate Parenting Service

Presentation from the Assistant Director of Corporate Parenting.


The Panel received a presentation from the Assistant Director of Corporate Parenting which covered a number of areas such as performance scorecard, Policy and Practice updates, Pilots and Innovation and Commissioning updates.


With regard to the performance indicators, Assistant Director of Corporate Parenting stated that Harrow had performed well and on target in all indicators, apart from two indicators – dental checks and missing children.  One indicator was Children Looked After with up to date dental records at 82%, it was highlighted this is better than statistical neighbour and national averages. 82% of all CLA have up to date dental checks (92/112 children).  This is better than the statistical neighbour average of 75% and England average of 70%.  The service is reviewing this monthly with a goal of 90% of children having a dental check within 12 months.


The other indicator was Children Looked After with at least 1 missing episode at 7.5%, accounting for 16 children having gone missing in the first quarter of 2023-2024.


Members questioned how the risk to missing children is being managed.  Members asked to be briefed on the timescales/length of missing episodes, severity of cases and significant risk to children, whether children are missing regularly or go missing once, and what the take up of return home interviews is.  It was explained that this is a cumulative indicator and the risk to children is monitored weekly in the missing children meeting held with the missing persons police.  Missing children will have a strategy meeting with social worker, police, schools and placements, and other connected professionals in order to find them quickly and assess the risk.  Children who are assessed to be at risk of exploitation are reviewed at the monthly MACE (Multiagency Child Exploitation Panel) and are referred for a child trafficking guardian and a national referral mechanism (NRM) referral made if there are concerns about child trafficking.  Lauren Stephenson, the Adolescent Safety Development Team Manager will provide a detailed update about missing children at the next panel.


Arising from discussion on the percentage of Children Looked After placed more than 20 miles away from home, it was noted that work was underway in the Children & Young Adults with Disabilities Service (CYADS) and commissioning to improve placement sufficiency for children with disabilities requiring residential care so that children could be placed closer to or within Harrow.  It was noted that this will be discussed in detail at the next Panel meeting, with the AD for Corporate Parenting providing a breakdown of long term vs short term placements 20+ miles away.


Members were advised that Care Experience as a Protected Characteristic has been introduced by 55 Councils to date, this will be brought to Cabinet for December 2023.  Members were informed that Harrow and Coram Ambitious for Adoption had been awarded the Early Permanence Quality Mark, which was awarded to adoption agencies that demonstrated the quality of their service, and their commitment to delivering early permanence for children where adoption is in their best interest.  It was noted that three permanent places were already filled.


Harrow has partnered with Centrepoint to provide intensive, relationship-based support for 5 Harrow care leavers with complex needs and high risk of homelessness.  Projected to result in c.£156-£208k savings per year.


Harrow has also partnered with local authorities across West London (WLA) as part for the Fostering Recruitment and Retention Hub (DfE Funded).  This partnership with WLA boroughs will improve recruitment and retention on “in-house” foster carers and to compete effectively with IFAs.  We are 1 of 10 clusters running this programme across the country.


Finally, members were advised that Advocacy and Independent Visitor Services contract has been awarded to Coram Voice following a competitive tendering process, and including a care experienced young person on the moderation panel.  Coram Voice are a sector leader for Advocacy and Independent Visiting (IV) services and are also commissioned by the DfE to deliver the National Advocacy Advice Line and Safety Net service.


The advocacy service is for all children and young people including children at risk of homelessness, in care - including children living away from home, separated minors, care leavers, disabled children receiving short breaks and all children and young people accessing children’s social care service between the ages of 4-25 years.  They will be invited to present an annual report to this Panel.


The Panel thanked the officer for the detailed report and noted the positive outcomes.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.

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