RE: looked after children scrutiny reviews
Hello Jessica et al,
I have been involved in supporting two very thorough reviews re Looked After Children, the first in Kent in 2000 - one of the very first O&S reviews during Kent CC's scrutiny pilot period and - then in 2006 here at Derby City Council.
So years and miles apart but there were close parallels. Both were very much Member-led including the range of witnesses, and limited but quality involvement of Looked After Children in the review process. Both saw health and education as integral as the child's placement and the continuity of social work support. Quite independently the evidence showed that fostering support was the key to both the stability of individual child placements and to the retention and recruitment of foster carers. Equally, recruitment and retention of social workers was highlighted - because children prefer a stable contact and don't want to be a 'case' that gets serially transferred.
I also think that for different reasons, in Members choosing to do the reviews there was an element of liberation from traditional structures. The committee system had mirrored departments, certainly in the statutory requirement to have an Education Committee and a Social Services Committee. So in 2000, Looked After Children was a natural for councillors wanting to follow the Government's encouragement of being cross-cutting and now not so worried about offending the sensibilities of 'another' committee chair. Then in 2006 there was the statutory Children and Young People Departments and corresponding C&YP scrutiny - with LAC being a natural for members wanting to look across the range of the new unified department's services.
In terms of review scale and depth both were about the same. The difference was that the Kent one was undertaken over a period of months. The Derby one was done in one very busy week, starting on a Monday morning and concluding on the Friday afternoon.
If you are still seeking volunteers, I'd be interested.