Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Panel - Monday 13 June 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Helen Barnsley  Senior Democratic Services Officer

No. Item






There were none.


Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests


There were none.


Children in Care Council - Update pdf icon PDF 687 KB


Ian Donnachie told members the Warwickshire Youth Conference was held on 21 April, with many workshops and activities taking place. It was noted there was a lower number of attendees from Nuneaton and Bedworth. Shinderpaul Bhangal said 26 young people had already registered to attend before the information on attendees was collected in greater detail. There had been a focus on promoting the event in North Warwickshire, and there were eight young people from this region who had planned to attend but had to drop out late on.


Councillor Jerry Roodhouse said he had attended a meeting recently where the Youth Conference had been mentioned, but people were unaware of the feedback from the event. Shinderpaul Bhangal said a report was being drafted and would be circulated in due course. It contained a number of recommendations that had been proposed by the young people who had attended. John Coleman the team who had arranged the Youth Conference deserved praise and congratulations for the amount of work that had taken place to organise such a successful event. He said it had been led by young people for other young people. It had been the first in-person conference to have taken place for a few years.

Alisha Howe provided an update on the young inspectors. She reminded the Panel that in September the team had viewed 12 accommodations around the county and a report on their findings was created. One of the properties was not up to standard, and since the report was completed the kitchen had been refurbished and improved. A new inspection of the 12 accommodations that had been looked at was planned to take place 18 months after the first one. Sharon Shaw added that properties were inspected by the quality assurance team on a regular basis, and the young inspectors carried out additional checks on top of these.

Liss Phillips told the Panel about the brothers and sisters event that took place at the Myton Park offices on 12 April. This had been arranged after feedback from the Children in Care Council meetings, where siblings who were not in the same placement had asked why they had not been placed together. The event was arranged so the siblings could see each other. Around 50 young people with foster carers attended for a range of activities and games, and also a barbecue. Barnardo’s had attended and officers promoted the work of the charity. A survey was sent out to those who attended who had a sibling they had been separated from, and the feedback would be reviewed and discussed at the August Senior Leadership Team meeting. Initial feedback said the young people would like this to become an annual event.


Responding to a question from the Chair, Liss Phillips said the team was trying to find out from the feedback how many young people were in a sibling group that had been split up. It was agreed this information would be circulated to members once known.


Councillor Caroline Phillips  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Virtual School Head Report pdf icon PDF 514 KB


The item was introduced by Deena Moorey. She said last September offers had been made to all those in Years 11, 12 and 13 who had applied. However not everyone had been able to sustain the offer they had been made. Deena Moorey said an increased amount of work was taking place with the various education settings to see what could be done to ensure the young people kept on with their placements. One theory was youngsters were seeing adults working from home and would rather do that than have to travel into a setting, or be working and earning money instead of attending college. Improving dropout rates was a focus because it had been noticed it was a trend.

The university explorers and artwork across West Midlands projects had both been going well. There had also been a project for the designated teachers, allowing them to develop and promote their leadership skills with a view to improving outcomes for vulnerable learners. Three well-attended sessions had already taken place and a further three were planned. Conferences looking at the child in need agenda would take place in October, aimed at the designated teachers and safeguarding leads. A sports leadership course took place over Easter with the help of Coventry City Football Club, which had resulted in all but one of the attendees earning a qualification.


Regarding attainment, Deena Moorey said it was anticipated there would be gaps in the foundation stage for children who would be finishing Reception class due to learning time lost as a result of Covid-19. This was in line with what was expected nationally, although it was expected that the gap would not be as prominent in later year groups. An update on attainment levels would be provided in the autumn term once the SATS and GCSE data had been validated and was available.


Attendance at training sessions had improved now that they were returning to being done face to face. There had been a lot of changes to who was the designated teacher within the various schools over the previous two years, and now all of them had had access to the training programmes. Deena Moorey highlighted that Warwickshire’s pupils were above the national average in terms of the number who were attending schools with a good or outstanding Ofsted rating. Attendance levels were over 90 per cent in most year groups, but some concerns remained over attendance rates of children in Years 9, 10 and 11.


Councillor Roodhouse said he would be raising the issue of school attendance at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee the following day. He said he had been on a national call recently and it had been suggested some children had not returned to school and were continuing to be home schooled. Deena Moorey said new statutory guidance on attendance would be introduced from September 2023 but Warwickshire County Council was already working on implementing the changes.

Councillor Marian Humphreys said complaints from residents suggested that some children had actively  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Briefing on Boys In Care


Sharon Shaw said a question had been asked about why there was a disproportionately high number of boys in care. The data had been analysed and it was found that 85 of the boys were unaccompanied asylum seekers, which made up 10.4 per cent of the total children in care population. If this group was not included in the figures then the percentage of boys in care was lower than statistical neighbours.

Councillor Phillips asked if any Warwickshire-based asylum-seeking children would be getting sent to Rwanda, and if this could be objected to. John Coleman said this was not something the Council had any control over. Although it was intended to send some families to Rwanda, there was no indication that there were any plans to send unaccompanied children. Warwickshire had recently agreed to house six unaccompanied asylum seekers who had been held at hotels in Kent.


Update on Children's Homes


Sharon Shaw told members that the first children's home had been built and an open day launch for neighbouring residents had taken place. Once registered with Ofsted the home was scheduled to open by the end of September. It would be a home for four young people between the ages of eight and 12. Staff were looking to identify young people out of area who could move back to Warwickshire to the home.


The process of setting up the second home was now underway. This would be in the Leamington area and comprise of two buildings, which would be for young people aged 12 and over. Sharon Shaw said one of the buildings would be used as an emergency provision for two young people, which would avoid young people having to go to emergency duty carers. An offer had been accepted on a third property in Nuneaton, which was intended to be used by children with social and emotional health needs, while the planned fourth new home would be for children with disabilities.


Sharon Shaw said part of the process of setting up the new homes entailed engagement with social and care workers, borough and district councils, and people living in the locality. She said it was important to have neighbours onside from the outset as that could result in people looking to find fault with the new homes.


Update on District and Borough Care Leaver Pledge pdf icon PDF 586 KB


John Coleman drew members’ attention to the end of the report in the agenda pack, which contained the wording of a pledge that the Council had asked all districts and boroughs to sign up to. The report and pledge were due to be agreed by the chief executives of the districts and boroughs at a meeting on 26 April but there was insufficient time to discuss the item. but at the last on the day they found they didn't have any time to talk about this item. The item was then moved to a meeting on 9 June but members said they wanted to discuss the pledge in private. John Coleman said he felt this meant not everyone agreed with all of the elements of the pledge. He asked if anyone had any comments on the pledge, and encouraged members to contact their district or borough council on the subject. John Coleman reminded members that each council had a statutory requirement to publish a local offer, and agreeing the pledge would enable the districts and boroughs to be compliant with this. He said the pledge applied to all care experienced young people, not just those who lived in Warwickshire.


Responding to a point raised by Councillor Phillips, John Coleman said the report had been co-written by Jane Grant, the head of housing at Nuneaton and Bedworth Council, who had been supportive and believed the contents of the report was achievable. Councillor Roodhouse said he had been trying to find out information from Rugby Borough Council but nobody had responded to him.


John Coleman said he had held a number of meetings with all the heads of leisure but stated his belief they had not been productive. He said the exception had been with North Warwickshire Council, who had agreed to provide 17 free leisure passes. He said it had been proposed that the County Council would pay for the Council Tax element and the districts and boroughs had been asked to pay for the leisure passes. He stated his belief this was not unreasonable and highlighted that in Hertfordshire the ten district and borough councils were paying for the council tax and leisure passes.



Performance Data pdf icon PDF 148 KB


Sharon Shaw drew members’ attention to the fact the number of children in care was continuing to decrease as the courts were now working post-Covid and were able to process cases. Additionally support could now be better provided through the family group and conference workers, which enabled staff to either reunite or keep children remaining at home, and the stay team that worked with adolescents to encourage them to stay home. There had been a decrease in the use of using agency foster carers. Sharon Shaw drew members’ attention to the fact that more than 60 per cent of children in care were aged ten or over.


Sharon Shaw said there had been an increase in the number of initial health assessments taking place. However the most recent data available came from March. Sharon Shaw said there were 11 episodes of missing children. Many of these children went missing on a very frequent basis, whereas others were a one-off. Angela Richardson said she was working on improving pathways for information sharing and hoped that in future data could be supplied between the CCG and care providers in a more timely manner.


Responding to a question from the Chair, Sharon Shaw said Section 20 Order related to providing voluntary accommodation for teenagers, and this would often be given at the request of parents while an interim care order was produced. A full Care Order would give shared parental responsibility between the local authority and the family. In some instances the Council could still place a child back at home in a placement with their parents but more likely they would be put into a foster placement. Additionally there was a Placement Order, which allowed the Council to place a child up for adoption.


Regarding the frequently missing children, Sharon Shaw said regular multi-agency meetings with the police, health and education services took place to share information and try to draw up plans. Sometimes it was necessary to obtain an order that allowed the Council to remove the child from where they were. For example there was a young person who was believed to frequently go to a traveller's site and an order would be required to remove them from that site.


Forward Plan

Items from the Forward Plan relevant to the remit of the Panel


John Coleman said a report on special guardianship orders was ready to be discussed at the next scheduled meeting on 6 July. It was agreed the next meeting would focus solely on this topic.


Sharon Shaw said the report from ACE and the Warwickshire adoption report would be ready for a meeting in September and Angela Richardson said the SWIFT annual report for health should also be ready. John Coleman said a report on timescales for mental health assessments, particularly for those over the age of 16, would also be ready for a September meeting.


Councillor Roodhouse asked if more time could be spent discussing episodes of missing children and the processes involved, to give reassurance to members that they were working. Sharon Shaw suggested inviting a representative of the police to join the discussion after Councillor Roodhouse said it could tie in with exploring child exploitation.


Good News Stories

Officers to put forward good news stories for children looked after, care leavers or foster carers. 



Angela Richardson told the Panel she was now the designated nurse for children in care, which was a role that had not previously existed as a separate entity. Her work would cover Coventry and Warwickshire and would mean there was an increased capacity to carry out work relating to children in care. The Chair said the Council was looking forward to working with her in the future.


Any Other Business


There were no other items to discuss.


Date of Next Meeting

To agree dates for forthcoming meetings.


The date of the next meeting was confirmed as 6 July.