Sutton Corporate Parenting Forum

TERMS OF REFERENCE

Overall purpose

The Corporate Parenting Forum (CPF) has a key role in monitoring how the Council discharges its corporate parenting responsibilities. Children and young people are invited to attend these meetings, and an appropriate feedback loop has been developed to ensure that actions are carried out and recommendations of the CPF are shared with the Sutton Children in Care Council. The overall purpose of the group is to ensure that the Council with its partners effectively discharges its corporate parenting role to have a positive impact on the outcomes for children in public care.

Definition

Corporate parenting is a term used to refer to the collective responsibility of the Council and statutory partners as defined by Working Together 2015(i) to provide the best care and protection for children and young people who are in public care. This concern should encompass the child’s education, health and welfare, what they do in their leisure time and holidays, how they celebrate their culture or religion and how they receive praise and encouragement for their achievements.

Legal and Policy context

Effective corporate parenting will need the commitment from all Council employees and elected Members and an authority wide approach. These responsibilities for Local Authorities were first laid out in the Children Act 1989, the Children Act 2004 and reinforced in the Children and Young Peoples Act 2008. Section 22G of the 1989 Act outlines the ‘sufficiency principle’, that local authorities are required to take reasonable steps to secure sufficient accommodation within the authority to meet the needs of the authority’s children. This requires partnership with other services such as education and health to ensure the child’s needs are met and the placement supported. The legislative framework is supported by statutory guidance that describes roles and responsibilities of the Council and partners in more detail, a comprehensive list is provided by the Department for Education (ii). The Local Government Association has published resources to ensure effective scrutiny of service for looked after children (iii).

(i) Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015), see link below
(ii) DfE Statutory Guidance https://www.gov.uk/topic/schools-colleges-childrens-services/looked-after-children
(iii) Link currently being updated

Accountability

Corporate Parenting Forum is accountable to Children, Families and Education Committee and is supporting the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to ensure the effectiveness of services to children in public care to safeguard and promote their welfare.

Responsibilities

  1. To examine how the Council as a whole and partner agencies discharge their corporate parenting responsibilities to improve the life chances of all looked after children and care leavers.
  2. To ensure there are good joint working arrangements between council departments and partner agencies by scrutinising arrangements for looked after children and care leavers, and holding operational services to account.
  3. To take account of direct experiences of children and young people, parents of children in care, care leavers and foster carers and e and have a measurable impact on policies and services for children in care and care leavers.
  4. To ensure that children in care and care leavers have access to information about their welfare and participation rights and what they can expect from the Council, including when they are placed out-of borough.
  5. To ensure that children in care and care leavers have access to, and benefit from appropriate adult support/guidance through advocacy and mentoring; and that this is targeted to ensure a greater engagement with diverse cohorts of LAC and care leavers.
  6. To maintain a strategic overview of new developments, initiatives, plans, policies and strategies that impact on children in care and care leavers.
  7. To review commissioning activities in relation to placements for children in care to ensure maximum efficiencies and quality.
  8. To review commissioning activity in relation to supported and semi-independent accommodation for young people in care and care leavers, including out-of borough placements.
  9. To influence practice by the promotion of clear expectations of good professional practice and service delivery.
  10. To refer matters which warrant further investigation or action to other Council Committees and the Local Safeguarding Children Board as appropriate.

 

Activity of the Corporate Parenting Forum

  1. To develop, monitor and review a multi-agency strategy for looked after children and care leavers.
  2. To agree an annual work programme setting out key priorities, SMART objectives, areas for action, accountabilities and measurable outcomes.
  3. To develop, communicate and distribute promotional material about the support they can expect from the Council and partners, and who to turn to if they have a concern that relate to safeguarding their health and welfare.
  4. To regularly assess and make recommendations about relevant performance indicators, including key indicators for education, health, placement stability, child review participation, children going missing and offending in each meeting.
  5. To regularly assess and make recommendations about qualitative evidence of the effectiveness of services to children in care and care leavers, including professionals’ attendance at statutory reviews, pathway planning and return home interviews for LAC who go missing.
  6. To regularly assess and make recommendations about the needs of care leavers, including employment, further education, training and housing.
  7. To assess regular audits of the effectiveness of LAC and leaving care services, including life story work being undertaken and that chronologies of children who have repeat placement moves are kept up to date.
  8. To regularly assess and make recommendations about the following annual reports:
    •Independent Reviewing Officers report
    •Looked After Children Health Report
    •Virtual School Report
    •Advocacy and Mentoring services to looked after children and care leavers
  9. To provide an annual report to the Children, Families and Education Committee and Sutton’s Local Children’s Board; and other partners as requested.

Membership

Lead Member for Children, Families and Education (Chair)
3 (minimum) other Members
Executive Head of Safeguarding (LBS)
Head of Service, Corporate Parenting (LBS)
Head of Service, Quality Assurance
Head of Service, Housing Needs and Homeless Prevention (LBS)
Designated Nurse for Safeguarding (CCG)
Head of Virtual School
Representative, Sutton Foster Care Association
2 representatives, Sutton Children in Care Council

Meetings are held six times a year for 1½ hours per meeting.

Meetings are held in private. Agendas, minutes, reports and the annual work programme are not restricted and may be made public.