Shared learning database

Wirral Borough Council
Published date:
July 2011

To improve the health outcomes of looked after children through the concept of being pushy corporate parents and wanting key professionals to have the same aspirations for looked after children and the kind of loyal support a good parent would give.

Guidance the shared learning relates to:
Does the example relate to a general implementation of all NICE guidance?
Does the example relate to a specific implementation of a specific piece of NICE guidance?


Aims and objectives

The aim was to hold an event to consider how the relevant national guidance on the health of looked after children could really improve outcomes in the region. The event, hosted by Wirral, involved young people who provided the focus and leadership. Key stakeholders attended who were involved in the care, education, health and well-being of looked after children. Social workers, health practitioners, a Lead Member, teaching staff, managers and representatives of partner agencies, joined young people and foster carers to consider what it takes to be the 'golden thread' through the lives of the children and young people in our society who need our 'pushiness' more than any others. The conference really challenged stakeholders to use their position to make things happen for our young people. The conference was filmed with a particular section challenging stakeholders about what was involved in being a pushy corporate parent. The event produced a DVD.

In 'bite-sized' chunks, it captures the qualities that are needed for being a 'pushy corporate parent', considers the challenges we face in this task, and provides helpful summaries of current, relevant national guidance (NICE and SCIE 2010), which supports positive outcomes for children and young people. -To establish what works regionally in terms of good practice.
-Consider as a regional group what is done that works well and what the areas are for improvement.
-To present the NICE/SCIE guidance to and consider how it is used to further improve outcomes.
-To describe how senior officers of organisations and schools can use their position to intervene positively in the lives of looked after children.

Reasons for implementing your project

As a regional group we had agreed a protocol to improve communication across authorities and health organisations where looked after children are placed outside their L.A. boundary. It brought together lead officers and clinicians to agree aims and work together more effectively for all LAC in the region.

How did you implement the project

Engaging local partners and professionals to work differently but supported by the regional group where barriers were shared and what good practice was shared to support improvements. The barriers encountered were partners and senior officers/councillors not recognising how much children in care want them to stand up for their needs and these partners and officers using their position effectively to support the children and make things happen.

Key findings

Working with the young people and foster carers, themselves, and bringing together so many different perspectives in one recorded event has created a really useful training and discussion tool, which will be beneficial to all those who work with looked after children, and to the young people themselves.

There has also been an audit of compliance with the protocol- this is a regional audit- and there are still delays but also there have clearly been improvements based on initial data. Audits continue to take place through the regional monitoring group. The Corporate Parenting Group and Healthy Care Matters Regional Group both monitor progress in this area.

Timescales for notifications of children moving between authorities due to placement needs have improved and are closely monitored. Effective practice is shared in the group and through what is now an annual event reaching a wider audience, the DVD being a new vehicle for this.

Getting it right for a particularly vulnerable group of LAC helped to make improvements for the general population of LAC.

Key learning points

-Ensuring the right membership of a regional group.
-Engaging professionals at a senior level particularly corporate parenting groups, lead councillors and involving the young people themselves, and their carers.
-Asking people to say what they can do in their position to change and improve the lives of young people in care.

Contact details

Simon Garner
Strategic Service Manager
Wirral Borough Council

Social services
Is the example industry-sponsored in any way?