Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Board - Tuesday, 14th December, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams - Meeting to be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Rosalyn Patterson - Email: Tel: 0191 4332088 

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Lynne Colledge.


Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 228 KB

The Board is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting held on 21 September 2021


The minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2021 were agreed as a correct record.


There were no matters arising from the minutes.


Education Annual Report pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Children Adults and Families

Additional documents:


The Board received the Virtual School Education report.


It was reported that, as of 30 November 2021, there were 445 children looked after in Gateshead between the ages of 0-18 years old. 80 children within this cohort receive education out of the Borough.  75 of these looked after children have an EHCP and 47 receive SEN support.


Pupil Premium Plus grant has increase to £2345 per child for children in care. The Virtual School retains £600 for additional service delivery to children in care and schools.  The funding is distributed across schools based on two completed Personal Education Plans (PEPs) per year. It was noted that schools have to evidence the spend through PEPs and the service does challenge schools on its use of Pupil Premium Plus.  It was confirmed that the number of returned PEPs from schools has increased following a change in process. There is now two windows for PEP submissions; October / November and April / May, this therefore focuses schools to ensure they return 6 monthly PEPs. The Virtual School quality assures the PEPs and picks up any actions, in particular around transitions. The April / May submission therefore gives the Virtual School opportunity to put support in place in advance of the transition being made. 


It was reported that the rate for PEP return in Gateshead is 95% and 80% for out of borough education.  It was acknowledged that this is the highest return for several years.  The team is now focused on ensuring out of borough returns, which is gradually increasing.


As a result of Covid and new virtual ways of working the virtual school team has been able to attend more PEP Reviews. This has led to building better relationships with schools, particularly with those schools that are out of the borough.


In terms of educational attainment there were 37 looked after children in year 11 for 2020/21. As no exams were held due to the pandemic, the results were based on teacher assessment. There were 9 children with five passes at grade 4 and above, including maths and English, this equates to 24%. There were 12 children (32%) with five passes at grade 4 and above, not necessarily including Maths and English. There were 19 children (51%) achieving five passes at grade 1 and above and 31 children (84%) achieving one pass at grade 1 and above.


In relation to Key Stage 1 attainment there we 20 pupils in the cohort for 2020/21, attainment would previously have been measured through SATs results. For this year teacher assessment showed; 55% achieved the expected level in writing, 60% in reading, 50% in Maths and 50% achieving the expected level in all three areas. 


It was noted that attainment under teacher assessment is much better than in exams which is evidence that looked after children need to be supported through other ways of learning.


It was reported that access to Higher Education for looked after children is much lower with the national average being 13%.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Adoption Service Annual Report pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Children Adults and Families


The Board received a report on the work of the Adoption Service for 2020/21.


It was noted that Gateshead is part of five local authorities in the North East working with a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA), Adopt North East, to recruit, assess and approve adopters for the children for whom a plan of adoption has been made.


Over the last 12 months the average number of days between a child entering care and moving to an adopted family is 358 days. In comparison this figure stood at 508 days in 2015, therefore timescales have significantly reduced.


Of the 93 children who ceased to be looked after over the last year, 8 were adopted, this equates to 9%.


It was noted that babies and children under three are most likely to be adopted. There are challenges around adoption of sibling groups if there are older children in those groups.


It was reported that the number of children for whom a Placement Order was made has increased from 20 last year to 27 in 2020-21. The number of children matched with adopters this year is 20.


It was also reported that the RAA has not achieved sufficiency of adopters which means the authority has to place them outside of the region through other agencies which incurs additional expense of around £35,000.


The number of children who have been approved for adoption this year is 24 and in the last 12 months 28 children have been adopted.


Fostering to Adopt arrangements allows babies to be with placed with their anticipated adopters. As of September 2021 there were 8 children placed in Foster to Adopt placements, there have been no adoptive placement breakdowns since 2019.


RESOLVED    -           That the Board considered the report and agreed a report on

the RAA be brought back to the next meeting.


Health and Wellbeing of LAC Report pdf icon PDF 399 KB

Report of the Designated Nurse, LAC – Newcastle Gateshead CCG


The Board received on the work undertaken by the CCG to support the health and wellbeing of looked after children and care leavers in Gateshead.


Due to the challenge of Covid during 2020/21 there has been an impact on the overall timeframe for initial health assessments (IHA).  At the end of March 2021 the number of IHA carried out within 20 working days fell from 87.3% in the previous year to 65.3%. However 98% of review health assessments were completed within the month due, which is an improvement on 91% seen in the previous year, this exceeds the CCG target of 95%.


All 33 young people turning 18 during the year had their leaving care health passports completed.


The Health KPI’s for physical health show that Gateshead is achieving higher than the national and regional returns for completion of health assessments, developmental checks, immunisations and dental appointments. However, it was noted that the number of dental checks did drop during Covid.  From January 2021 Foster Carers were advised to book dentist appointments.


KPI for emotional health and wellbeing is based on the Strength and Difficulty screening undertaken by the local authority. It was noted that gap is diminishing every year and the overall score is reducing, this is attributed to the single point of access.


Delivery of CNTW consultation sessions continued throughout Covid, during the year 56 children and young people were discussed.


In quarters one and two of 2021-22 the picture is improving, with 73.5% of IHA completed within the timeframe. 93% of review health assessments were completed within the month due, however there has been pressures within the 0-19 service due to staffing which has impacted on timeframes.


The Designated Doctor and LAC Health Team continue to undertake quality audits.  Consultation data for Quarters one and two show that 37 consultations were held for Gateshead children, with only a minority of those requiring onward referral to another service.


It was reported that the LAC Health Team has remained the same whilst numbers of children have increased, therefore work is underway to secure additional resources.


In January 2021 a number of young people from Gateshead and Newcastle were recruited to develop a video with Digital Voice on the views of their health needs. The video described some of the challenges faced and support required relating to their health needs.


The Specialist Nurse LAC is leading on a development to enhance support to young people with the key aim of delaying pregnancies.  There is also enhanced LAC and care leavers information being shared through GP training.


It was confirmed that further work is underway looking at the Strength and Difficulty questionnaires so that those scores are resulting in something.


The Board felt that the work with Digital Voice was a very powerful tool and any suggestions as to where this could be shown would be helpful.


It was questioned as to the uptake of Covid vaccines within the cohort. It was noted that statistics for this particular cohort are not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Early Permanence Annual Report pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Children Adults and Families


The Board received a report on early permanence and the work over the last year. Placement with foster carers, with a plan of adoption allows the authority to avoid delay in achieving stability and reduces the number of placements.


In early permanence planning foster carers are approved adopters, the speeds up planning and allows babies to bond with their families and avoids a move between foster carer and adopter.


It was noted that Gateshead is performing well and in all cases courts have approved the plans. An Early Permanence Panel meets on a monthly basis to consider all decisions. If it was felt that there was any risk in approval the child would not be put in a foster to adopt arrangement.


Since 2019 there has been 43 children with a plan of adoption, 13 of these (30%) were early permanence placements.  It was confirmed that there has been no placements with agency carers for foster to adopt arrangements.


RESOLVED    -           That the Board noted the content of the report and the Early

Permanence process.


Children's Homes Report pdf icon PDF 503 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Children Adults and Families


A report was brought to the Board on the outcomes of the four inspection visits to Gateshead’s Residential Children’s Homes, which were carried out between May and August 2021.


It was reported that all home received a ‘good’ rating, comparatively neither statistical nor neighbouring authorities have achieved that.


It was noted that Grove House was rated ‘good’ where it had previously been ‘outstanding’. This was on the basis of one safeguarding issue where an inspector had not been signed in to the daily log book.  It is anticipated that Grove House will be able to regain its outstanding rating next year.


It was confirmed that there was exceptionally positive feedback on all four homes.


It was reported that there is a five year plan in place to increase capacity and offer additional support.  Planning permission has been granted for a home for children with autism / complex needs. A specialist team has also been recruited for residential provisions to promote Trauma informed practice and promote placement stability, jointly funded through the CCG and the authority.


Work is ongoing to find another therapeutic home in Gateshead.


RESOLVED    -           That the Board noted the information contained in the report

and agreed to receive further reports on a quarterly basis.




Care Experienced Service Annual Report pdf icon PDF 631 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Children Adults and Families


The Board received a report on the work of the service to support care experienced young people.


It was noted that staff have continued to work throughout the pandemic with the focus of the team being on supporting young people through lockdown.  The team supported 20 young people aged between 18-21 who live alone, this was through daily contact and doorstep visits.


Positives to be take forward from the pandemic was that care leavers benefitted from the increased level of contact and the team will continue carrying out these regular contacts, through Facetime, phone calls, visits.


It was reported that the number of ‘Staying Put’ placements once young people reach their 18th birthday is 43%. This is double that of statistical neighbours and above the national average.


Digital Voice work with care experienced young people around their experiences of using health services. This highlighted the struggle for some young people just to do basic things. In response to this there is a pilot project to supply care experienced young people with bus passes to enable them to access health services ad maintain relationships with those people close to them.


It was noted that more work is needed around the cost of living crisis, and in particular the offer for those living alone.


The Board was keen to see more financial support and financial literacy for young people. The Board also requested something to be brought back on the health appointment pilot, it was noted that regional benchmarking is ongoing which could be fed back in.


The Board also requested the work of the Young Ambassadors be reported on. It was confirmed that they are not yet officially in post but will be represented on this Board once they are.


RESOLVED    -           (i)         That the Board noted the content of the report.


                                    (ii)        That the Board was satisfied with progress and the

level of support Care leavers are receiving in Gateshead.


                                    (iii)       That the Board would welcome further information on

the health appointment pilot and work of the Young Ambassadors.


Ofsted Focused Visit Outcome pdf icon PDF 386 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Children Adults and Families

Additional documents:


The Board received the outcome of the focused visit by Ofsted of Gateshead’s Children’s Services.


The visit was very positive across the whole service, in particular strong leadership and highly skilled workforce. Partnership working was also highlighted as effective.


RESOLVED    -           (i)        That the Board noted the outcome of the Ofsted visit

September 2021.


(ii)        That the Board will receive a post Ofsted action plan so it can monitor progress against the areas Ofsted identified for improvement.


Date and Time of Next Meeting

Tuesday 1 March 2022 at 2.00pm


The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 1 March 2022 at 2.00pm.