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11-point pledge to local children

Created on 27/09/2018 @ 16:24
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Powys County Council will make an 11-point pledge to the children it has responsibility for.

The pledge was discussed by the Health Care and Housing Scrutiny Committee when they probed the draft Children’s Services, “Children Looked After Framework”.

Once adopted the framework will guide the service for the next five years.

The framework is partly a response to last year’s critical Children’s Services report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), now known as the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).

Children’s Services, improvement consultant, Barry Kirwan, explained: “The pledge is to children looked after, it’s straightforward every officer that works with children, will adhere to this.

“The proof will be in what we deliver for our children.”

Children’s Services, Portfolio Holder, Cllr Rachel Powell, said that it had been formed with input from children.

Members of the scrutiny committee warned the department and portfolio holder,  Cllr Rachel Powell, that they will need to be able to live up to the commitments they outline in the document.

Cllr Ange Williams asked: “Have all the staff signed it?”
Mr Kirwan replied that the staff had not signed it physically

Cllr Williams continued:  “That’s very different, there’s no accountability if they are not signed up.

“It’s different to say they will sign it and work to the best of their ability, and (being aware of the pledge) going yeah I can do that.”

Mr Kirwan explained that the chief executive and cabinet would sign the document on behalf of the whole council. “That gives quite a commitment,” said Mr Kirwan.

Angela Davies, who is a parent governor representative on the scrutiny committee, added: “Is this an aspiration or is this what you’re going to do?

“If I’m a looked after child I will read this and know that this is what you’re going to do for me?

“Or is this what you think you would like to do for me? It sounds good to be fair.

One of the things that you do say, is that continuity is important, so even if they move from where they are living you will retain the appropriate continuity.”

“So I wonder why would a child in year 6 who’s settled in a school have to move because the council won’t pay the transport bill?”

Mr Kirwan replied that he couldn’t talk on individual cases, but said that care should always be in the interest of the individual child.

“Transport should not get in the way of an individual child’s education, it should not be an issue.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Gwilym Williams, asked that the details be passed over to the department after the meeting.

Cllr Sandra Davies asked who the document was aimed at, and believed the wording should be changed and made understandable if it is for children.

Mr Kirwan answered: “This is written by officers for officers, children would not understand, we will be writing a children’s version.

“All documents should be written in a child-friendly way.”

Cllr Rachel Powel, says in the draft document: “The Children Looked after Strategic Framework outlines the vision, aims and principles to support the children and young people who are looked after by Powys County Council.

“We want to ensure the best possible outcomes and their families; by working in partnership we can deliver the services children and you people need to live, safe, happy, healthy and successful lives.”

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