Agenda item

INDEPENDENT REVIEWING OFFICERS ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18

Minutes:

Report ED18080

 

The Sub-Committee considered a report which provided evidence of the effectiveness of IRO services provided to and on behalf of the Bromley’s children in care between April 2017 and March 2018.  The Group Manager described the report as ‘a picture of continuous development’, reporting that the Service was now focusing on further developing the ‘4 hats’ of IROs as outlined in the report.  Over the past year the team had become more child focused and were ensuring that children had good outcomes.

 

The Group Manager reported that 75% of children attended their LAC review meetings.  For those children that did not attend the voice of the child was considered as part of the process.  The Service was currently looking at how to make the LAC reviews more appealing to the children.

 

In response to a question from the Chairman , the Group Manager confirmed that in terms of staffing the team was a full strength and that there was consistency for children in terms of the IROs they were allocated.  However it was possible that a child could have more than one IRO as a result of staff turnover.

 

Responding to a question concerning the 18 children at risk of children exploitation, missing or gangs that were currently being tracked by the Missing, Exploitation and Gang Affiliation (MEGA) Panel; the Group Manager confirmed that prior to being tracked, the children would have been risk assessed and depending on the level of risk involved would then be tracked by the MEGA panel.  The Director of Children’s Social Care confirmed that the MEGA panel currently tracked around 63 children, not all of whom were looked after children, in order to identify how risks could be mitigated.

 

In response to whether a protocol had been developed in relation to foster carer participation in LAC Reviews, the Director of Children’s Social Care confirmed that the Local Authority was raising its standards for its in house foster carers and was vigilant around consistency of participation.  In-house foster carers were clear about what they should do and the expectations of the Local Authority.  This was more difficult with Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAS).

 

Highlighting the importance of the IRO Role, a Member who also sat on the Joint Fostering and Adoption Panel reported that for a number of years the Fostering Panel had been disappointed with the level of challenge from IROs.  The Member highlighted that the annual report before the Sub-Committee had identified a number of the concerns previously raised by the Panel which was pleasing.  The Group Manager confirmed that annual fostering reviews now sat in the quality assurance in seeking more independence and reviews were being carried out.

 

The Member further expressed concern as a Corporate Parent around the issues of the transference of money when children moved placements.  The Children sometimes had significant levels of savings as it was a worry when it was not possible to trace the savings as they moved placements.

 

A Member sought assurances that the IRO report was included in the papers presented to the Fostering and Adoption Panel.  In response, the Group Manager confirmed that there was increased rigor around IRO consultation.  Where placement were planned the Service was clear about IRO involvement.  Where placements were unplanned the expectation was that IROs would be involved either following a move or if returned home would hold a meeting to consider any contingency planning

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

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