Agenda item

Bristol Children's Services Improvement Plan 2016 - 2017

Hilary Brooks, Service Director – Care and Support Children & Families


The report presents the draft Children’s Services Improvement Plan 2016/17 prior to going to Cabinet for approval in October 2016.


Hilary Brooks, Service Director – Care And Support Children & Families, shared with the members an update on the Children’s Services Improvement Plan.  Members were requested to provide comments on the review and endorse the work underway.


Overview & Background


The Children’s Improvement Plan was drawn up and agreed as the steps required to secure improvement, to deliver consistently good services for children and young people in Bristol. This was necessary following the outcome of the Ofsted inspection in October 2014.  The overall judgement was that services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after, and care leavers, required improvement. 

The following was noted from Members whilst they read through the plan and the RAG rating given.


a.      All were pleased to note the progress made in the performance of children in care (CIC) but the question was posed about the variation of outcomes depending on when a children was placed in care.  Those children in the system from earlier years experienced consistency of care therefore more secure as they progress through the education system.  Those entering following family trauma during the GCSE years faced harder challenges and often found it harder to meet the required standards.  This group would take longer to go through the education system.  The service continued to work to ensure that individuals received the most appropriate support.   The service had made a step forward but work continues to narrow the gap.


b.      Early intervention was viewed as the way to provide solid support and improve outcomes.  The good work being done by the Hope Governors was acknowledged. 


c.      The national inspection framework now undertook inspections on a thematic basis.  The result of such scrutiny was that it allowed for deep dive into a single area resulting in better improvement outcomes.


d.      Concern that many agencies/partners would be involved in the care of a child fostered outside the Bristol boundary.  Often placing children outside the boundary was necessary to satisfy safeguarding issues.  The aim was to limit such placements.  There is a cost impact so every effort is made to place children within area.


e.      CIC are supported by social workers.  Social workers are monitored and the service is aware of the contact time, between CIC and social workers, and the periods CIC are without contact.  With the change in available resources Social Workers are involved in noting all contact as case minutes are a legal requirement.  The time spent in administering caseloads is under consideration.  Bristol continues to have a good retention of staff although there is a national shortage.


f.       Work continues to widen the numbers of BME foster carers.  Following any recruitment campaign the time line for training new carers averages 6-9 months.  Outreach work had been done within local communities and churches to encourage wide pool of foster carers.  The service faces the additional challenge of competing with other authorities and agencies whose fees far exceed that offered by Bristol.


g.      Action – Bulletin would provide details on recruiting foster families from BME groups.


       i.          To note the report


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