To receive a presentation to familiarise new Members with the Corporate Parenting Panel.
Consideration was given to a presentation to introduce the new Members of the Panel to the goals and aims of the Panel. The presentation emphasised the responsibilities of Corporate Parents and affirmed the need for the Panel to be a platform from which looked after children and young people hold the Council to account.
In discussion, it was noted that having a councillor on the physical/emotional health and wellbeing meetings helped the health service to be transparent and better meet the needs of the young people.
It was noted that previously a councillor championed the various areas of the LAC lives, which was useful.
It was emphasised that the Panel should use the young people’s language to be able to demonstrate what the service has done in response to the young people’s requests.
It was noted that the Panel should also hold officers to account regarding their commitment to lowering the number of LAC who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
It was suggested that care leavers and care-experienced young people be involved in the Panel, its work, and its meetings.
It was further noted that the Panel can be a touchstone for areas where the Council needs to lobby on behalf of young people where there are policies that are not supporting the young people.
It was suggested that an upcoming item on the Virtual School would be welcome.
The statutory requirements aside, it was suggested that the prioritisation of questions and challenging needs to reflect the priorities of the young people, and allowing the young people to feed their priorities into the Panel on a regular basis in an ongoing dialogue.
It was noted that the priority was to get the LAC Council involved in Panel meetings, even if that means changing the format of meetings to make them more accessible to the young people.
It was noted that the Looked After Children’s Health team had structured their service evaluations using guiding questions supplied by the young people. It was suggested that this approach could be taken across the remit of the Panel – to ask the young people what they want the Panel to be and do.
It was further noted that ethnic minority populations are overrepresented in the demographics of the Looked After Children, and it would be useful to consider how the service might better support or involve these communities.
It was noted that prioritising the views of the young people was paramound, and that there was a secondary role for scrutiny as part of the Panel looking at the data together to find ways to improve.
It was noted that the meetings might need to be constructed in a different way, with less emphasis on formalities of the professional meeting. It was suggested that the Panel had the opportunity to find out what freedom and flexibility for engaging the young people was available to the Panel. It was suggested that informal settings can be as and even more effective than more formal settings.
It was further suggested that, to facilitate the access and engagement of the young people, the next meeting be held in person.
1. That the report be noted.
2. That a task and finish group undertake to review and refresh the Terms of Reference for the Corporate Parenting Panel with a view to developing a Corporate Parenting Strategy and engaging actively with the Looked After Children and Young People and Care Leavers in the future work of the Corporate Parenting Panel.