Agenda and minutes

Dorset Council - Corporate Parenting Board
Monday, 15th July, 2019 3.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ. View directions

Contact: Liz Eaton, Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 01305 225113 - Email:

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2019.


The minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2019 were confirmed and signed.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


No declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests were made at the meeting.


Public Participation

To receive questions or statements on the business of the Board from town and parish councils and members of the public.


There were no public questions or statements received at the meeting.


LAC Reduction Discussion Paper pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director of People – Children.


The Corporate Parenting Board considered a discussion paper by the Executive Director of People - Children on LAC Reduction.


Officers explained the discussion paper was about the number of children Dorset Council had in care.  It was about basing services for children on the principle of the right to a family life, and how we should be designing services that enable children to live safely with their family or in a family setting.  A great deal of data had been mapped and the University of Warwick had plotted how the centile of deprivation influenced the likelihood of state intervention in family life.  Children living in the least deprived areas had little chance of being in care whereas children living in the most deprived areas had a much greater chance of being in care.


LAC numbers had gone up in recent years although that did not always bear any relationship to the level of deprivation within the local authority area.  It was interesting to note that if you lived in a deprived part of a relatively affluent place the chances of coming into care would shoot up. For example, if you compared Weymouth to the East End of London you would be more likely to be in care in Weymouth than in the urban area. Warwick University were still researching this.  


The discussion paper had a summary of about how things changed in Dorset and an analysis about Dorset’s care population and where there was the potential to make a difference and options on how a difference could be made.  This was not primarily about cost saving, but was about the right to family life and good outcomes - children in care are less likely to do as well as their peers in the population at large. 


Members thought the discussion paper was very interesting and a very well written.  Some felt the transfer of the youth centres to community groups had not been a good decision and hoped funding for youth centres would be found as they could help young people look after their children.  It was also felt there was an interlink between the 2 residential homes that had closed. 


The Chairman confirmed that Homestart provided a good service in the west of the County where there was an exceptional group, but that was not the case in the east of the County where they were not so good. She explained that the People Scrutiny Committee were looking at youth centres at the present time and she would be happy to champion this and was also a member of the People Scrutiny Committee.


One member asked why Dorset was not replicating what Leeds were doing to enable early intervention and was it about leadership and the ethos in Leeds.  Officers explained that Leeds started changing about 5 years ago and an awful lot of things needed to be changed.  It was about Leeds and the city becoming child friendly. Family group meetings took place to establish whether the family  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Children's Placements - Use of Unregulated Placements - Progress Report on Action Taken pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director of People – Children.


The Corporate Parenting Board considered a report by the Executive Director of People – Children on Children’s Placements – Use of Unregulated Placements.


Officers informed the Board the current position had changed and was not as mentioned in the report which had been based on the previous month’s information.  There had been 3 young people in unregulated placements, the current number was 6 although 3 were to move on, one young person was to move home.  


Dorset have a number of young people whose behaviour is difficult to manage.  There is a lack of sufficient placements available in the local area for these young people.  Some placements may be a long way from home, ie north of the country.  These sorts of placements were regularly reviewed, and officers continued to search for registered provision for them.


Going forward officers had been looking to provide children’s homes within the Council’s estate and therapeutic foster carers.  The Authority needed to work with families at an early stage so as to avoid them needing to come into care due to the experiences they have had and the impact of that on their behaviour.


One member noted there was a potential offer for one young person who had been in an unregulated placement the longest and the young person who had been in unregulated placement the second longest was due to go home mid-August. He mentioned that the Authority did not seem to have a policy of advising Ofsted on unregulated placements.


The Chairman mentioned that Ofsted was informed on a monthly basis.


The Chief Executive, Participation People informed the Board the CLiCC young person who had attended the previous meeting had started a campaign regarding placing young people in unregulated settings.


The Corporate Parenting Officer confirmed that one young person had taken up the offer of having an Advocate.


The Chairman was disappointed that numbers had risen and hoped that next time the Board received an update the numbers had improved.


The Executive Director of People – Children commented that unregulated placements were not the preference, safeguarding of the young person was paramount.  She was more concerned about the length of time young people stayed in unregulated placements than the number.  One of the things officers were working on was the language used on the form about the young person, the risks were presented first rather than the wonderful things relating to the young person, this required change.


Councillor Kerby indicated he would like to be included in the visit to the caretaker’s bungalow at Colehill School when that was arranged.  The Executive Director of People – Children informed him that dates had been identified in about 3 weeks’ time.


The Chairman confirmed the next update on action taken would be at the meeting of the Board on the 4 September 2019.





1.          That Councillor Kerby be included in the visit to the caretaker’s bungalow at Colehill School.

2.          That officers provide a progress report on action taken at the next  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Looked After Health Briefing Update - Escalation of Performance of initial Health Assessments - Quarter 4 and Initial Health Assessments pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To receive a report from the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children.



The Chairman asked that the Board take this report and the Initial Health Assessments report together as one item.


The Corporate Parenting Board considered a report on Looked After Health Briefing Update – Escalation of Performance of Initial Health Assessments by the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children and a report on Initial Health Assessments by the Executive Director of People – Children.


The Designated Nurse for Looked After Children informed the Board that during 2018/19 there had been some improvement, but timeliness of consent was still a challenge.  She referred to table 2.3 where assessments were ranging from 65.5% to 44.7% with an average of 52.5% Initial Health Assessments completed in 20 working days.  During the last few months the Pan-Dorset Pathway had been agreed and implemented including guidance for Social Workers regarding their responsibility for meeting the statutory guidance.  There had been increasing challenges on Paediatricians due to a vacancy not being filled, and as there was a national shortage of Paediatricians the CCG were working with Poole Hospital Trust to review the existing model.    


The Executive Director of People – Children commented there were complex issues around why decisions were made.  A little more analysis needed to be researched regarding young people’s wishes about where they need to go to have their IHA.  It was not good that they should have to miss school we want to look at the experience of the IHA for young people and ensure they are able to access them in their local area.  In terms of the workforce we have LAC health nurses and are positive about the new pathway that has been developed.  Meetings had been arranged with Health for the following week beginning 22 July 2019 to discuss progress.


The Foster Carers explained they had been carers for 18 months and during that time they had only been to 2 IHA’s one young person did not want to be there and her birth mother who was present, was asked very little.  Information relating to the family history was recorded as “no information” available even though the birth mother was in attendance.   The second time they attended an IHA was for a very small baby and the medical lasted about 10 minutes – a very quick check over of baby.  The birth mother who was in attendance was not asked any information and this also was recorded as “no information” available. 


The Designated Nurse for LAC was very disappointed to hear that had happened and would take that away with her to check on.  She felt that as both parents were present there had been a missed opportunity.  She went on to explain the statutory requirement for completing IHA’s.


The Executive Director of People – Children mentioned that the Children Act had been written 30 years ago and LAC were very different now compared to then.  If there was a young person who did not want that assessment, officers needed to work with them to establish why.  It was about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Pathway Plans pdf icon PDF 530 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director of People – Children.


The Corporate Parenting Board considered a report by the Executive Director of People – Children on Pathway Plans.


Officers informed the Board that Pathway Plans were provided for young people aged 16 years onwards.  The Plan should be drawn up together with the young person with performance being monitored in two ways; those who had a plan in place and by identifying how many plans had been updated within 7 months.  The IRO service looked at the quality of the plans and gave them an Ofsted rating.  95% of all LAC had a Care or Pathway Plan with 89% completed within the past 7 months.


One member asked what happened if a young person wanted the Pathway Plan changed completely.  Officers confirmed the Plans could be changed at any time if there was something the young person would like done differently this would be discussed and changed as necessary.


The Chairman referred to table 2 in the report as there was quite a wide variation in completed plans especially for those with a disability only 40% completed in the west of the county.  She asked what was being done in respect of the transition to Adult Services for disabled young people as it could take years for the packages they required to be in place.  Officers confirmed the plans were completed alongside the young people wherever this was possible.  Officers commented that there was further work to be undertaken alongside Adult Services to ensure there was sufficient lead in time for plans to be firmly in place when the young person moved into being supported by Adult Services and that this was consistent across the service. 


The Chairman of Dorset Parent Carer Council mentioned the young people would have an EHCP which started at year 9 and transition should start from that year to enable all services to work together.  At the present time it seemed they had separate plans that were not being merged together.


The Executive Director of People – Children could not understand why transitions were a problem.  She confirmed that officers would be looking to see how to get this right as whole life services were the favourable option.  She was happy to bring this back the Board at a future meeting. 


The Chief Executive of Participation People commented that moving into adulthood was contained in the Children’s Satisfaction Survey and it was felt this should start at age 14.  Young people were requesting work was started earlier.  Young people were also given a postcard with the different terminology written on it to enable them to get used to the phrases used.


The Chairman referred to paragraph 2.6 of the report and asked for feedback on the whole service workshop that had taken place on the 8 July 2019.  Officers confirmed the workshop looked at how to improve services to young people by monitoring performance and improvements to the pathway planning.  The Chief Executive of Participation People was looking at the design of forms with young  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Children Who Are Disabled pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director of People – Children.


The Corporate Parenting Board considered a report by the Executive Director of People – Children on Children who are Disabled.


Officers informed the Board there were three social work teams covering the East, West and South areas.  Paediatric Occupational Therapy and specialist Early Help services were provided on an authority wide basis.  Numbers have remained stable with 53% of young people with foster carers, 5 young people were placed within the authority’s own facilities. Visiting statistics were difficult to report on because a young person may decide not to see their social worker so often and this could be changed to 3 monthly visits.   Table 5 referred to assessments completed within the statutory 45 working days,  quarter 4 January to March 2019 showed an improving picture with focus on sustaining that improvement.  One of the continuing challenges was securing placements for those young people that came into care and those at risk from criminal and sexual exploitation.


The Chairman of Dorset Parent Carers Council asked if there were any concerns around providers and the number of breaks, were there enough providers and what happened to those with challenging behaviour.  Those with quite challenging behaviour and more complex needs tended to be in a residential setting rather than in a family situation, officers were not aware of any issues.


Members asked whether the improving percentages between quarter 1 and quarter 4 were due to the falling number of cases rather than the work.  The Executive Director of People – Children confirmed better processes were in place now in the West which had reached 100%.


Reference was made to paragraph 3.3 of the report and members thought it would be interesting to know where the young people were.  Officers did not have that information to hand but would ensure it was included in the next report to the Board.


It was agreed the Board would receive a progress report showing peaks and troughs and action taken in 6 months’ time at the meeting being held on the 16 January 2020. If further information was available earlier then officers should email Board members with the information.



1.          That officers provide the Board with a progress report showing peaks and troughs and action taken in 6 months’ time at the meeting being held on 16 January 2020.

2.          That information relating to where the young people were be included in the next report to the Board.

3.          If further information was available earlier officers should email Board members with the information.



Urgent Items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.  The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.


The Chairman mentioned the DofE initiative about young people being in independent schools and felt it was something that could be brought to future meetings of the Board she was not clear if the initiative was about residential placements or independent schools ie public schools and wondered if this could be looked at in October.


The Assistant Director – Schools and Learning confirmed it related to children in care being in care and accessing public schools.  He confirmed there were no Dorset Children at Shaftesbury School.






CLICC - List of Broken Promises, Challenge Cards and update from Participation People

To receive a list of the broken promises from CLICC and to consider Challenge Cards and receive an update from Participation People.

Additional documents:


The Chief Executive of Participation People apologised to the Board that unfortunately there no young people available to attend the meeting.


The challenge cards which Children’s Services had completed were circulated to the Board and discussion took place on the responses.  The Board’s response is set out below.


Challenge One – Sometimes it takes too long to hear back from a Social Worker.  We have an example of it taking 2 weeks for a reply, by which time it was too late to act on the request.  How can we stop this from happening?


Response – Ask young people how they would like to be contacted/communicated with and offer a personalised response.  Return calls as a basic/standard duty.  Support them to elevate an issue if it persists, easily.


Challenge Two – We think that some decisions are passed up to managers, when they could be made by Social Workers.   This can mean the decision takes too long to be effective.  Is there a process where Social Workers can have the confidence to make those decision themselves to save time?


Response – Foster Parents should have their own delegated powers.  Dorset Council should help them be more aware of these and support them to use them.


Challenge Three, Four and Six – If my Social Worker is on holiday or has left, how can you make sure I can get in touch with someone else when I need to? 


Must I always go through my carer if I need to contact my Social Worker?  I don’t have my Social Worker’s email address or contact details.


We think Social Workers should give us a card with their contact details on the front and the out of hours/duty number on the back, so we always know how to get in touch.


Response – Agree to a business card.  They need to be of good quality.  Not all Social Workers will want their face on a business card, perhaps a Bitmoji could be used instead?  We should offer a paper version and digital one for both young people and Foster Carers.  The Executive Director of People – Children’s details should be added to every card to make it as easy as possible for young people and foster carers to get in touch with her.


Challenge Five and Seven – When a taxi is booked for us, why can’t the taxi be given our details so they can keep us informed?  We understand that our Social Worker probably won’t know if our taxi has failed to turn up.  We need to know what to do if this happens.


Response – Foster Carers should be able to book young people’s transport.  We should support young people’s independence.


The Chief Executive of Participation People thanked the Board for their input and confirmed CLiCC responses would be fed back to the Board at its meeting on 4 September 2019.



That the Chief Executive of Participation People provide the CLiCC responses to the meeting of Corporate Parenting Board  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.