FCYP and SPI committee update December 2016

Families, Communities & Young People and Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee

The Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committee met with the Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee on Thursday 22 September in London.

Senior representatives from Ofsted attended the meeting to discuss emerging plans for the self-assessment element of the next universal inspection framework for assuring children’s social care services in local areas. The focus of this exercise will be primarily on social work practice. During group discussions differing views emerged about the format this might usefully take and many were keen to understand how the wider corporate context and use of resources would be taken into account. The interface between this new activity and existing regional sector-led improvement efforts was also raised. This must not be ‘something that is simply done for Ofsted,’ and should not represent an additional burden. Wherever possible existing information and analysis should be used. The inspectorate is keen to pilot the self-assessment in early 2017 with a sub-regional grouping of local authorities.

The group then considered a report from the regional performance and information management network on benchmarking efforts, focussing on the similarities and differences across the country. Some arrangements are more developed than others but there was a general consensus that this activity provides a valuable foundation for improvement efforts. Discussions then moved onto peer challenge arrangements in regions and the development of shared work plans. Colleagues from the east Midlands discussed the development of their memorandum of understanding and how this works in practice.

The first substantive draft of the Association’s response to the consultation on the introduction of mandatory reporting for the abuse and neglect of children was discussed. The consultation acknowledged that reporting rates into children’s social care are higher in the UK than in countries such as Australia and America despite those countries that have had such arrangements in place for some time. Overall, the group was concerned about the lack of evidence that this would improve outcomes for children and has the very real potential to swamp the child protection system.

The final item on the agenda was a discussion about unaccompanied asylum seeking (and migrant) children following the launch of the national transfer scheme over the summer months. Arrangements are still evolving and local authorities are in regular dialogue with the Home Office and Department for Education about placement sufficiency and funding. The group also touched on how best to facilitate a knowledge exchange to help those authorities with less experience of meeting the needs of UASCs to develop new services and responses to best meet their needs.

Members of the Families, Communities & Young People and the Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee took part in several workshops and discussion at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester in early November.

The Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committee will meet with the Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee in the New Year in London. The Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee will also meet in January.

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