10 questions to ask if you are scrutinising services for looked after children
Published with LGID, a handy 10 questions guide to scrutinising issues affecting children in the care of the local authority
This handy guide, one of CfPS's popular "10 questions" series, highlights the key issues to consider when scrutinising any issues where looked after children may be affected, provides a jargon buster and links to more information and examples of good practice from other local authorities. It was written by CfPS for Local Government Improvement & Development.
Children in the care of a local authority are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. The majority of children in care arethere because they have suffered abuse or neglect. At any one time around 60,000 children are looked after in England, although some 90,000 pass through the care system each year.
When they are elected, all councillors take on the role of ‘corporate parents’ to children looked after by their local authority. They have a duty to take an interest in the wellbeing and development of those children, as if they were their own children. Although the lead member for children’s services has particular responsibilities, the responsibility to act as corporate parents is held by all councillors, regardless of their role on thecouncil.
Overview and scrutiny offers a key way in which councillors can fulfil this responsibility, by giving councillors the opportunity to ask searching questions of a range of service providers and assure themselves that children in the care of the local authority are being well looked after. Overview and scrutiny also offers opportunities for councillors to hear directly from children looked after by the authority and to ensure that their voices are heard when considering the effectiveness and impact of services on their lives.