Transcript Document

‘Putting corporate parenting into
practice’ project
Di Hart & Alison Williams
DfE funded project
• Aim = To support local authorities in their corporate
parenting role
• Emphasis on practical support
Regional events for those with a lead role in corporate parenting
Events with corporate parents and children in care councils
Tailored support for authorities having difficulties
Free web-based resources from May 2013
• NB: we define corporate parents as those with ultimate
responsibility i.e. creating the right framework for staff/
carers to look after children well
• But different levels of responsibility according to role
Levels of responsibility
• Universal - all councillors should
– Understand the legal/ policy framework
– Know the profile of local children – and how well they are doing
– Consider the needs of looked after children in all decisions
• Targeted – councillors with relevant role e.g. member of
corporate parenting group or scrutiny committee should
– Consider the effectiveness of local arrangements
– Consider range of evidence in order to identify what needs to change
• Specialist – councillors with leadership role should
– Constantly drive improvements to the service
– Make sure that the needs of looked after children are incorporated in all
council/ partner strategies
– Keep up to date with research findings and new initiatives
Children repeatedly tell us..
They want to be cared about, not just cared for
– ‘We’re not treated like children, we’re a case’
Differences from other children were seen as
Cost perceived as the biggest factor in decisions
Having care plans, meetings and case files
Bureaucratic processes for ‘permission’
Being treated differently at school
Leaving care early to live on your own
Moving from place to place
Multiple professionals and disrupted relationships
(from: Having Corporate Parents - Children’s Rights Director)
What Ofsted found …
• In LAs where services were effective, they found
Articulation of the leadership, ambition and objectives for
looked after children
• In these authorities the corporate parenting board:
– demonstrated a strong cross-party commitment to
looked after children, championing their rights, having high
aspirations for them and monitoring their progress
– planned for and prioritised the needs of looked after
children, resulting in a greater focus on improving
– actively engaged with their young people
A focus on outcomes
• Identify needs – and
• Decide what outcomes
you want to achieve
• Commission services to
achieve those outcomes
• Review to see if they
have been effective
• Ongoing process … led
by elected members
Inspection from April 2013
• Four year cycle by Ofsted and CQC
• Bringing together all looked after services, adoption
and fostering
• Less focus on data, more on quality of care and
child’s ‘journey’
• Explicit focus on leadership and governance
– Role of lead member and chief executive
– How corporate parents oversee specific aspects e.g.
children missing from care, out of authority placements,
sufficiency, meaningful relationships
– Corporate parenting arrangements, including response to
NHS reforms, commissioning
Model of effective corporate parenting
Children say what they think of
quality of services
Management information
Children in
Care Council
in place for
Plans, strategies,
policies and
• Commissioning
• Policies, plans &
protocols of all
• Care Pledge
Children’s comments
heard & taken into
parenting group/
& Governance
Decision Making
Systems & structures within LA
Systems & structures within partner agencies
Children receive feedback including
explanations of decisions made
Children’s views
& wishes are
concerning staff,
placements &
What we found ...
• Greater awareness of corporate parenting role
• ... but difficulty in establishing coherent governance
• Challenges in getting the ‘right’ information – and
knowing what sense to make of it
• Lack of confidence in knowing how/ when to challenge
officers – and issues of trust
• Problems in knowing how to work with children and
young people
• Gaps in multi-agency involvement and ‘ownership’
Governance arrangements
• Most councils have some sort of body responsible for
corporate parenting – but different models
Formal council
Clear status and
decision making
Tends to ‘note’ not act
Poor engagement by
Forum or board
Can be flexible and
Unclear status and powers
Who should be on it?
Good at challenge
Thematic rather than
Not equipped to lead
Involves partner
Excludes elected members
Risk of duplication
The ‘so what’ test
• Corporate parenting boards get information but not
always meaningful
– Statistics with no context, such as comparison with past
performance/ other councils/ the local population
– Reports that only include the good news ... or offer no analysis/
– All statistics and nothing about quality
• Need to take control and ask for helpful information
• Look at multiple sources of information
– Performance data
– Children’s views – and frontline staff/carers
– Supporting data e.g. analysis of complaints, IRO report
Working with children and
young people
• Children and young people should have a voice in:
– All decisions that affect them as individuals
– The service as a whole
• Children in care councils work best if they have
– Good links with DCS and elected members
– Terms of reference (A National Voice report)
• Corporate parents must
– Set up effective working relationship with CiCC e.g.
representation on corporate parenting board
– Make sure other children are also heard
– Develop a Pledge that goes beyond rhetoric
Free resources
• From May 2013, free resources on
Understanding corporate parenting responsibilities
A model of effective corporate parenting
How to work effectively with children and young people
Tools for evaluating the effectiveness of local corporate parenting
– Signposts to further sources of information
Handbooks for individual elected members