Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Room 1 - Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane Offices, Hereford, HR4 0LE. View directions

Contact: Simon Cann, Democratic Services Officer 

Link: Watch this meeting on the Herefordshire Council YouTube Channel

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.



Apologies were received from Sam Pratley (co-opted member Diocese of Hereford)


Named substitutes

To receive details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.




Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 338 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 23 January 2024.


The minutes of the previous meeting were received. A correction was requested to record that Jan Frances (Families’ Representative Co-opted member) had sent apologies for her absence ahead of the meeting of 23 January 2024.


Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2024, including the requested amendment, be confirmed as a correct record and be signed by the Chairperson.


Questions from members of the public

To receive any written questions from members of the public.


No questions received.


Questions from members of the council

To receive any written questions from members of the council.


No questions received.


Corporate Parenting Service pdf icon PDF 407 KB

A report providing an overview and update in respect of the Herefordshire Corporate Parenting Service.



The Service Director, Safeguarding and Family Support provided an overview of the report.


·       The service had reduced the number of children in its care from a high of 412 in 2022/23 to a current figure of 396. It was acknowledged that this figure was still high in relation to the West Midlands and statistical neighbours, but it was on the right trajectory.

·       Significant work had been done in relation to pre-proceedings, which were now at parity with statistical neighbours.

·       The service was adopting a more restorative approach with families and was reducing the number of proceedings taking place through the use of family group conferences. There had been 29 family group conferences in the last three months and these had allowed families to come up with their own solutions and to work on plans with the service.

·       The service was reunifying children and supporting families to be together and currently had 29 children who were placed with their parents.

·       It was noted that 17 children who were due to come into care in the last quarter had been able to stay at home with support from ECHO. It was explained that ECHO was the edge of care team, which supported families with children staying at home through the use of systemic therapy and intervention of drug and alcohol workers.

·       In Herefordshire the figures for vulnerable unaccompanied asylum seeking children had risen from 6 children in 2022 to 38 at the current time. The Home Office provided some contribution towards the care of those children, but this didn’t cover the costs and it did not cover those in the post 18 age group.

·       Of the children that were currently in placements, the service had 111 in external foster care and 92 in-house. An area of strength within the service was in the number of children that had been placed in the care of family and friends who they were familiar with, this provided stability, which typically continued through for those leaving care.

·       There were currently 44 children in residential placements, this number fluctuated and was reviewed regularly. The cost of residential placements was high and it was a national challenge to try and bring the costs down. The service continued to step young people down from residential placements where appropriate.

·       The service was continuing to recruit foster carers in-house and was working with its kinship carers – both groups were paid the same amount at the basic level, although foster carers could receive a higher payment once they moved through the scheme.

·       Placement sufficiency was a key priority and the sufficiency strategy had been refreshed.

·       Support from the Leeds partners and the restorative practice model was enabling the service to work alongside families, children and carers, and the expectation was that the number of children in care would continue to decrease.



The chair invited comments and questions from The Committee, the principle points of discussion are summarised below:


1.     The Committee enquired if and how the restorative practice approach was changing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 193.


Corporate Parenting Board pdf icon PDF 256 KB

A report providing an overview and update in respect of the Herefordshire Corporate Parenting Board.


Additional documents:


The Service Director Early Help, QA and Prevention provided an overview of the report, highlighting a number of key points.


·       Following the local elections in May 2023, the Corporate Parenting Board had reviewed its terms of reference and membership, these were endorsed by the board at its meeting on 16 August 2023.

·       The board had met in August 2023, October 2023 and January 2024, its next meeting was scheduled for 13 March 2024.

·       The new terms of reference gave the board a wider membership in relation to: officers of the council, elected members and partner agencies.

·       The revised membership had brought a renewed focus to the board and a richness in relation to discussion and areas of specific focus - particularly in understanding the experience of children in care and care leavers.

·       The board had been well supported by the Local Government Association who had facilitated two workshops for members, one in November 2023 and one in January 2024. The board had completed a self-assessment exercise as part of the work, which would be reviewed at future board meetings.

·       One key outcome from the workshops had been the measuring of confidence of members of the Corporate Parenting Board. A brief survey had been undertaken following the first workshop in November, which indicated that over 70% of members felt confident in discharging their statutory responsibilities, further surveys would be undertaken going forward.

·       The Corporate Parenting Strategy had a number of key priorities including: homes and housing, health and well-being, learning, development and having fun, relationships, identity, belonging, listening, hearing and understanding children in care and care leavers, safe and protected Independence in adulthood. The Corporate Parenting Operational Group, which was a multi-agency group, was overseeing the implementation of the priorities and the strategy was due to be renewed as a result of the two most recent visits by Ofsted.

·       The timings of the Corporate Parenting Board had been amended to allow for engagement with the service’s children in care and care leavers. At the most recent meeting in January the board received a presentation from the participation worker in terms of some of the co-production that had been happening with children in care and care leavers. Two young people were expected to attend the 13 March board meeting as part of the widening of its membership.

·       Regarding types of information used to understand the circumstances of children in care and care leavers, the board now receives regular performance reports that look at: the numbers of children in care, their circumstances, where they are living, the support for accompanied asylum seeking children, whether young people are in suitable accommodation and their status in relation to education, employment and training. The board also looked at the duration of children who are in care.

·       The board was focusing on children in care and young people in care, care leavers as parents and the service’s role as corporate grandparents.

·       The Virtual Head was a regular member and a standing member of the Corporate Parenting Board  ...  view the full minutes text for item 194.


Date of the next meeting

Next meeting:

Tuesday          12 March                     2.00 pm


Provisional dates:

Tuesday          7 May 2024                 2.00 pm

Tuesday          30 July 2024                2.00 pm

Tuesday          17 September 2024    2.00 pm

Tuesday          26 November 2024     2.00 pm

Tuesday          21 January 2025         2.00 pm

Tuesday          18 March 2025            2.00 pm


Tuesday 7 May 2024 2.00pm