The Improvement Partnership met again on Tuesday 2 Feb to maintain oversight and scrutiny of our improvement work. Those attending included key local partners from health, education and the Police, the Department for Education, the leader of the Council and elected members, the Council Chief Executive and other relevant Chief Officers. The Independent Chair was Nigel Richardson.
After fabulous presentations at the Improvement Partnership in December by Su O’Leary and Nicole Berry about the impact of their work with two of our care leavers, the Partnership heard from Paul Vincent and Sue Reynolds-Beer about the good work they have been doing to help a family make significant changes in response to concerns about the children experiencing neglect. The mum of that particular family also came along, and she was able to talk about how using the Graded Care Profile tool has helped her to understand what needed to change and to see she was making progress. It was a really valuable presentation to demonstrate the good practice we can achieve and the impact of this on children’s lives. So, thank you to Paul, Sue, mum and everyone involved! The video of the presentation is available through workforce development team.
The partnership also reviewed the current response to the pandemic recognising the staffing pressures in children’s social care and the arrangements that are being put in place to ensure every child and young person is seen and supported appropriately, working closely with partners including schools and health. An update was also provided from Cornwall on the support they are providing to us as our ‘Partner in Practice’.
The Improvement Partnership reviewed the performance scorecard. Progress was noted, but concerns were identified in some areas – for example, a low rate of children in care having been seen by their dentists. Julie Mepham was able to report action she has taken to improve this. At the next meeting the Improvement Partnership will focus on the scorecard to fully review current performance and, in particular, to scrutinise current areas of concern including care leavers not in education, employment and training and rates of repeat child protection planning.
In response to concern about high numbers of young children being placed in residential care, Rachel Gillott presented a detailed paper to the Partnership and agreed that more needs to be done to ensure that all children are looked after in family settings and that residential care is only ever used in exceptional circumstances for young children. She is tracking all 18 children closely to ensure fostering placements are found and working with partners to ensure we support children in families and prevent the need for residential settings.
The Partnership were also provided with updates on the progress of our quality assurance (audit) work and our workforce development strategy and were pleased with progress being made.
The Partnership are looking forward to being involved in Practice Week in March. There is an opportunity for practitioners or managers to attend a future Improvement Partnership. If you are interested, please let Debbie Raymond in QARSS know.