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Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs Bains and Henderson. Cllr Broomfield was the Conservative deputy for Cllr Henderson.
Declarations of interest
All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members’ Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore all Members with a Personal Interest in a matter being considered at the meeting should consider, having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 4 of the Code, whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, consider whether it is appropriate to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.
Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter considered at the meeting they must declare that interest at the time of the relevant debate and, having regard to the circumstances described in Part 3, Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members' Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore, Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Personal interest in a matter being considered at the meeting they considered whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, considered whether it was appropriate to leave the meeting whilst the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.
No declarations were made.
To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting held on 6 February 2023.
The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed and agreed as a correct record.
To receive any deputations notified under Standing Order 12.
No deputations were received.
To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.
The Chairman opened the meeting by making a statement, drawing the Panel and officers’ attention to National Inclusion Week, and the responsibility to uphold the values of the Council and act as ambassadors of inclusion. He said that the week served a powerful reminder of the collective role in promoting inclusivity, breaking down barriers and fostering a sense of belonging for all.
To receive a report from the Director of Children’s Services, outlining the activity of Adopt South, the Regional Adoption Agency for Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton local authorities for the financial year 2022-2023.
The Panel received a report from the Director of Children’s Services outlining the activity of Adopt South, the Regional Adoption Agency for Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton local authorities for the financial year 2022-2023. The Panel were shown a video (the link is included in the published report) detailing the key achievements of Adopt South since its launch in 2019 and for year 4 (2022/23).
In particular, the Panel heard that in year 4:
· 763 enquiries had been received, which was 8% above target.
· 185 families had progressed to assessment, 30% above target.
· 94 new adopters were approved.
· 119 children have been formally linked to 97 families. Just two of these had not been placed in house.
· There has been a 12% increase in Children’s Plans referred to the Decision Maker.
· Just under £3m had been received into the Adoption Support Fund since its launch, making a difference to the work that Adopt South can do.
· Government targets for timescales for both stages 1 and 2 had been met.
In response to questions from Members of the Panel, officers explained that:
· In terms of scale, last year in Hampshire, 80 Children’s Plans had been referred, with 78 Placement Orders granted.
· The Team is planning to expand publicity to encourage prospective adopters, using adopters’ experience.
· The key challenges are to make sure ‘we get adopters through the door,’ who can ‘parent for life.’
· The Team constantly challenges itself to consider what ‘good matching’ looks like and make it welcome for everybody. There is a changing profile of adopters, but standards are never compromised for the children.
· A dedicated Child Adoption Team works directly with children to help them with the understanding of a ‘growing up family’ and that every family looks different.
The Annual Report 2022-2023 for Adopt South was noted by the Children and Families Advisory Panel.
To receive a presentation from the Director of Children’s Services – Hampshire’s Reducing Parental Conflict Offer.
The Panel agreed to defer this item until a future meeting.
To receive a report from the Director of Children’s Services with an overview of the Hampshire Approach practice framework and an update on its continuous improvement.
The Panel received a report from the Director of Children’s Services with an overview of the Hampshire Approach practice framework and an update on its continuous improvement.
The Panel heard that:
· The Framework had been embedded since its launch in 2018 and that Ofsted had recognised the approach in its last inspection, in which the Council was rated Outstanding across all areas.
· The four areas worked on are to:
o Respond to risk and keep children safe.
o Develop positive relationships.
o Identify and build on strengths.
o Grow and strengthen support networks.
· In practice, the language being used has changed, giving more ownership to the family and the cultural shift builds on strengths.
· A stocktake with staff last year resulted in a plan which helped create new branding and a SharePoint site with resources and guides.
In answer to Members’ questions, officers explained that:
· Although the approach had changed, risks are not ‘glossed over.’ Teams are clear with families without using jargon. The primary responsibility is to identify and manage risks to children.
· There is a robust quality assurance framework to ensure that improvements can be measured and thematic and regular peer inspections which include looking at children’s records and letters written to them and families. There are Key Performance Indicators and managers are expected to go and observe social workers.
The Children and Families Advisory Panel noted the update on the Hampshire
To receive a report from the Director of Children’s Services, updating the panel on the progress of the ‘Willow Team’, Hampshire Children’s Service’s specialist Missing, Exploited and Trafficked Team.
The Panel received a report from the Director of Children’s Services, updating them on the progress of the ‘Willow Team,’ Hampshire Children’s Services specialist Missing, Exploited and Trafficked Team.
The officer introduced the report and explained that the Willow Team had become larger and was stable. She explained that it is now co-located with children’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), supporting decision making with new cases with local partners and teams.
The Panel heard that project work was continuing with a Young Woman and Girls Worker for gang related interventions and with the Violence Reduction Unit, which includes an education programme for teacher of year 6 and 7 pupils who are transitioning from primary to secondary school.
In answer to a question from a Member, the Panel heard that there has been an increase in the number of children seeking asylum. In these cases, a Section 47 enquiry is instigated and social workers always consider whether the child could have been trafficked for financial gain.
CFAP recognised the work undertaken by The Willow Team.