What should the Child & Family Services Overview & Scrutiny Board Investigate Next?

Yesterday the Board met for the final time in this council year. It took the opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved over the past year.

It was the year which saw the removal of the Assembly appointed Intervention Board and ‘serious concerns’ protocol in relation to Child & Family Services. The work of the Board was singled out for special praise by the CSSIW and Deputy Minister back in October, recognising the way it has influenced the improvement seen.

 The Big Headlines:

        This work has influenced:

  • the Council’s eligibility criteria for services to disabled children
  • Children & Young People’s Partnership Draft Disability Strategy
  • future consultation and engagement with service providers, campaign groups and parents
  • the Council’s understanding of what it means to be a corporate parent
  • councillors’ understanding of practical ways they can make a difference for looked after children

A third review, on Support to Care Leavers, is still underway but is expected to be complete by July.

We are particularly proud of the way the Board has worked and achievements, and reckon we’ve got a strong case for a good scrutiny award. Watch this space for more on that – fingers crossed!

 What Next?

The focus now is about how the Council can sustain and build on the improvements noted by the CSSIW. I think that the Board will spend much of the coming year keeping a close watch on the financial position, given the Council’s substantial investment in Child & Family Services, but continuing overspend.

Some ideas have emerged about more specific topics to focus on, for example the effectiveness of contact arrangements, and measuring service quality.

What do you think the Board should be looking at?

I will feed any ideas into discussions about a new work plan that will take place over the next month or so. 

With your help by the time the Board next meets on Wednesday 1st June we should have a good idea about future work.

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