Hampshire County Council

Cabinet

Item:

1 June 2004

New Zealand Study Tour

Report of the Executive Member for Social Care and the Assistant Director for Social Services

    Contact:

    Cllr F Hindson

    Ext:

    6354

    E-mail:

felicity.hindson@hants.gov.uk

    Steve Love

    Ext:

    7284

    E-mail

1 Summary

1.1 This report identifies the benefits for Hampshire following the New Zealand Study Tour.

1.2 That the Cabinet agrees to the action plan to further improve children's services, notes the opportunities offered as a result of the study tour and receives a progress report in 6 months time.

2. Reasons

2.1 Hampshire has a continued commitment to high quality services focussing on actions for children.

3. Other options considered and rejected

3.1 Not applicable

4. Conflicts of interest declared by the decision maker or a member or officer consulted

4.1 Not applicable

5. Dispensation granted by the Standards Committee

5.1 Not applicable

6. Reason(s) for the matter being dealt with if urgent

6.1 Not applicable

Approved by : Date :

Councillor T K Thornber, C.B.E

Hampshire County Council

Cabinet

Item

1 June 2004

 

New Zealand Study Tour

Report of the Executive Member for Social Care and the Assistant Director for Social Services

1.2

Contact: Councillor F Hindson Ext. 6354 Email: felicity.hindson@hants.gov.uk

1.3 1. Introduction

1.1 This report describes the lessons learnt from the two week study tour to New Zealand undertaken by Councillor Felicity Hindson, Executive Member for Social Care accompanied by Mr Steve Love, Assistant Director for Children and Families from 22nd March - 2nd April 2004 and makes recommendations for improving services in Hampshire arising from their visit together with a action plan .

1.2 The objectives of the study tour are set out in Appendix I

1.3 The programme for the two weeks is set out in Appendix II

1.4 A list of key documents which are available for research and consultation is set out in Appendix III

1.5 A statement of expenses is set out in Appendix IV

2. Summary

2.1 New Zealand is a world leader in working collaboratively with families and communities and their practice is reflected in Hampshire in key aspects of children's services. In recognising the similarities it was possible to use New Zealand's experience to identify the areas for further improvement in :

1.4

1.5 3. Why New Zealand ?

3.1 It is internationally recognised that following their implementation of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 (CYP&F Act), New Zealand has led the world in many aspects of children's services, particularly in the area of empowering families, delivering services through families and the use of family decision making in Family Group Conferences (FGCs) and Kinship Care. Following a decade of changes in structure, the New Zealand Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYF) was established in October 1999. A `First Principle' Baseline Review (the Baseline Review) of that department was undertaken in December 2002 reporting to ministers in September 2003.

3.2 The catalyst for the national review was a request for additional funding to cope with increased and unexpected demands in child care. Additionally there were concerns over the variable quality of services despite a substantial increase in baseline funding from 1999 to 2002. The review's aim was to set out a strategy for the statutory child care services to move forward on a sustainable basis with clarity of expectations, intended outcomes, roles and responsibilities.

3.3 The problems facing child care in New Zealand and the United Kingdom have many similarities. These difficulties did not arise overnight and were the product of decades of change. The introduction of the CYP&F Act in New Zealand and the Children Act, 1989 in the United Kingdom were both revolutionary and much applauded pieces of legislation with family participation and partnership at their heart.

3.4 The goal of the CYP&F Act in New Zealand which created the FGC is to limit intrusion of the state in providing the necessary assistance and support so that the family in the widest sense, can care for the child. The requirement to use FGCs had a dramatic effect on practice in New Zealand significantly reducing the number of children looked after from 10,000 in the late 1980s to 1,500 in the mid 1990s. The decisions which in the United Kingdom continue to be made by social workers with services delivered to children and families by statutory or voluntary organisations are in New Zealand more likely to be made by families in a FGC setting with the professional advice of social workers and services delivered through extended families and local community.

3.5 The Children Act 1989 had a less dramatic effect in the United Kingdom despite the principle of "no order". The presumption was that local authorities did not require a court order to enable them to work collaboratively with families but should do so in the spirit of partnership. However, the number of children in care and on child protection registers continued to increase. The outcomes for children in need was also a cause for concern.

3.6 Like our counterparts in New Zealand, children's services in Hampshire have been well recognised as being innovative and effective with particular emphasis on several key areas. Adoption, including inter-county adoption, FGCs, participation of children and young people in the planning and service delivery, educational achievements of children looked after and more recently the developments in kinship care. National priorities to increase the number of children looked after who are placed for adoption or long term foster care will need to be borne in mind as the kinship care developments place a greater number of children with their extended family network.

3.7 A review of children's services in Hampshire was undertaken at the beginning of 2000. There was an identified need to remodel services in order to bring greater focus to family placements, permanency planning and care leavers, and to develop family support teams allowing greater partnership working with families.

3.8 Mike Doolan, recently retired as the Chief Social Worker in New Zealand, worked with senior managers, policy makers and practitioners in Hampshire County Council Social Services in a consultancy capacity. His task was to support our process to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and their families. Hampshire had at that time recognised the innovative practices in New Zealand and had an established relationship with Mr Doolan through shared research and his presentations as a contributor and a key note speaker at three international conferences hosted by Hampshire County Council in Winchester. In New Zealand, Mike Doolan arranged a full programme of engagements for the Hampshire visitors to meet the Government Minister, the Honourable Ruth Dyson, the Commissioner for Children, Dr Cindy Kiro, senior government officials and social care professionals in the national office and at local site offices of CYF as well as with the voluntary organisations. His knowledge of the United Kingdom's systems and policies, and Hampshire in particular, facilitated indepth discussions that were always constructive but while his reputation opened many doors, it was the actual meeting with the people concerned that promoted potential for future links and development.

3.9 The major components of the remodelling of Hampshire's Social Services Department were completed in late 2002 in anticipation of the publication of the Green Paper - "Every Child Matters" which stemmed from the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié. The Green Paper - now the Children Bill will require fundamental change as child care agencies determine how they can improve working together in the interest of better outcomes for children.

4.1 Fundamental change as opposed to symptomatic reaction is difficult and needs to avoid the seduction of the quick fix. A major advantage for children's services in the United Kingdom is that little effort is required to establish the need for change and to create a sense of urgency. Children's services throughout the United Kingdom are at a critical juncture with scarcity of resources both in staff and funding and placements where a seller's market operates, indicating that new ways of providing services must be found. Concerns over levels of investment, variable service quality in the face of increased demand have had a significant impact on the capacity of children's services.

4.2 In Hampshire, Departmental remodelling has produced significant improvement in children's services in 2003/04. Examples of these are the reduction of unallocated cases, increased number of permanent placements for children and improved support to care leavers .

4.3 As the strategy to recruit more childcare social workers progressed during 2002/03, performance improved steadily against most measures albeit not at the rate desired by the Departmental Management Team.

4.4 However, performance improvement is fragile and depends too heavily on the goodwill and extra efforts of staff. This has not achieved the fundamental increase in capacity to cope with the increased demands placed upon the service. Indeed, the increased demand and overextended resources may slow progress and there is a danger of slipping backwards in some areas.

4.5 The remodelling of services enabled greater focus on specific outcomes for children e.g. the new care leavers' services, the permanency services and family support teams.

4.6 There are strong similarities between the position in the United Kingdom and the circumstances which initiated the Baseline Review in New Zealand. Drawing on the lessons from New Zealand, it is recognised extra effort will be required to anchor the necessary improvements in service quality and performance in the organisational culture using an approach that builds on empowering families.

5. Post Remodelling Hampshire - The case for change and the First Principle Baseline Review

5.1 An analysis of the effectiveness of the change process post remodelling in Hampshire revealed significant variation from location to location. Examination of the performance differences showed that the reasons were related to the unique configuration of the local capacity and capability.

5.2 There is a clear need to integrate the nationally driven performance orientated requirement for change, with the organisational development needed to deliver frontline service at a local level.

5.3 The Baseline Review in New Zealand set out an approach to design a frontline change at the same time as large scale centrally driven programmed change. Effectively, it meant an adapted approach to change in the local offices that was resourced to be aligned to the organisational requirements. This alignment will be critical for children's services as we implement the required change for the new children's legislation. The way services are developed and managed in New Zealand that will be of assistance in Hampshire is shown in some of the key developments set out below.

5.4 Key Developments

6.1 Children, young people and their families are at the heart of our services. Hampshire County Council in its role as a corporate parent has a strong commitment to learn and innovate, resulting in our recognition as a leading authority in some aspects of child care. The County Council with its partners plays a vital role in ensuring that children are protected and properly looked after. As a learning organisation, our analysis informs us on where we need to continue to build on our strengths and develop those areas where greater improvement is required. The vision of the County Council is to provide the appropriate assistance and support to allow the family and the community to make the decisions which will enable them to care for and protect their children and young people. The County Council will strengthen its capacity to support family and continue to utilise the best practice based on the available research to help meet our aspiration to deliver the best possible service.

7.1 Emerging from the Baseline Review in New Zealand is a vision of delivering high quality services for children, youth and families by empowering and supporting the extended families in the community to deliver the care that a particular child requires and a project to build the capability of the CYF based on shared vision, common purpose and the broad approach :

7.2 Under the broad objectives developed were detailed strategies and projects to achieve longer term solutions. These strategies focussed on :

8.1 The national call centre is the first port of contact for 95% of calls. There is a combination of telephonists and social workers who will either route the call to the appropriate local centres or do the initial screening or assessment. It has brought significant advantage by achieving a greater degree of consistency to the response and this is welcomed by other stakeholders. It also makes more efficient use of scarce social worker resources as telephonists will take and deal with a majority of the calls.

9.1 A FGC as a key decision making forum is at the heart of New Zealand legislation. The FGC service is managed separately and as a discrete aspect of the service. The service is located within the CYF local office maintaining regular contact and dialogue between social workers and the co-ordinators who are a part of the department but clearly act independently of social workers. The aim is to have a co-ordinator for every 12 frontline staff.

10.1 The Family Mentoring project is provided by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) much like our voluntary sector providers. The project aims to help families as a whole to reorganise their strengths and abilities and helps them to identify and utilise community support to find solutions which will improve their lives and their parenting capacity. The programme is open to parents who are struggling with issues that impact on their parenting.

11. A Research and Evaluation Strategy Framework for Policy and Practice - New Zealand

11.1 The CYF in collaboration with the University of Canterbury at Christchurch has developed a strategic approach to research and evaluation. It has long been recognised that sound public policy development is built on rigorous research, however in general, research tends to occur in an ad hoc way and is not consistent. The collaboration between the University of Canterbury and the CYF addresses the needs of the statutory child care system by building a research strategy that considers the contextual, operational, evaluative and developmental needs.

12.1 The approach to working with the voluntary sector is set out in a statement of intention by the New Zealand government (referred to in Appendix III). This statement of government intent is perceived to be very important to the voluntary sector in locating their position and status alongside the statutory sector. In some ways, it is similar to the Hampshire Compact (Hampshire's partnership with the voluntary sector). Voluntary organisations have the ability to call for a FGC and initiate other forms of statutory intervention in their own right. The New Zealand model, where delivery of service is heavily dependant on the capacity of the voluntary sector, is to build a network of providers incorporating such values as consensus, collaboration and commitment to joint objectives. These networks feature longer term agreements on strategy and investments, often with significantly extended contract terms.

13.1 Like the United Kingdom, New Zealand has experienced considerable difficulties around recruiting and retaining social work staff both qualified and unqualified. In New Zealand, in the years between 1994 - 2000 there was a 7% decrease in application for social work courses. In 2001, there were 316 social work graduates compared to 450 per year between 1995 - 1999.

13.2 Qualified social workers are reducing both in real terms and as a percentage of the growing overall workforce. The major human resource issue for the children's sector is to improve workforce capability particularly in the statutory sector.

13.3 Based on their research the following initiatives were put in place in New Zealand:

13.4 The strategic intention is designed to achieve a 90% qualified workforce by June 2011. The current level of qualified staff is 53%.

14.1 In the course of the discussion with key stakeholders in New Zealand, a number of possibilities for mutually beneficial collaboration were agreed :

15.1 There were several areas where Hampshire's developments were considered to be of benefit to colleagues in New Zealand

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - Background Documents

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

NB The list excludes:

1. Published works

2. Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.

TITLE FILE

None

Visit of Elected Representative and Official from Hampshire County Council

New Zealand Study Trip - 22 March to 02 April 2004

The purposes of the study tour are:

· To introduce the delegation to senior officials and policy-makers in New Zealand who are involved in the development and delivery of services to children and families

· To inform the delegation on the range of New Zealand services for children, young persons and their families, and how these are developed and managed for appropriate outcomes

· To study NZ difficulties with and approaches to the recruitment and retention of social workers

· To have contact with service delivery personnel for discussions on practical aspects of service delivery

· to understand how cultural diversity issues in service delivery are managed

· to examine how FGC coordination services and workload are managed

· to observe the physical working conditions and support arrangements for front line staff

· To obtain an external perspective on services for children and families, from the practical aspects of service delivery

DATE

PROGRAMME OF MEETINGS

Mon 22.3.04

PM

Preliminary meeting with Mike Doolan to refine programme

Tues 23.3.04

Meeting and discussion - Otara Local Office

AM

PM

EVENING

Meeting the Regional Manager, Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYF)

· Otara Local Office - CYF

· Youth Offending Team

The Tampa refugees

Puawaitahi Multi-Agency Child Investigation Centre

Auckland Call Centre

Review of Day 1

Wed 24.3.04

AM

PM

EVENING

Visiting to Iwi (Maori) Social Services (ISS)

Hauraki, Ngahutoitoi Marae (a joint Iwi (Maori) Social Services/CYF presentation on partnership practice)

· visiting the local CYF office

Review of Day 2

Thurs 25.3.04

Travelling from Auckland to Wellington

Fri 26.3.04

ALL DAY

Visiting the Open Home Foundation [non-governmental organisation (NGO)]

· Family Mentoring

· Voluntary Sector Contracting

Sat 27.3.04

Free

Sun 28.3.04

Meeting to review and collate findings for Week 1 and prepare for Week 2

Mon 29.3.04

AM

PM

EVENING

Meeting with Chief Executive, CYF

Programme of presentations by National Managers

Working lunch with Acting Chief Social Worker

Office of the Chief Social Worker

Programme of presentation for the policy unit

Dinner with Chief Social Worker

Tues 30.3.04

Presentation and discussion

AM

PM

EVENING

Meeting with the General Manager Policy and Development

and the National Manager for Coordinator Services

· Meeting with Commissioner for Children

· Meeting with staff in the Office of the Commissioner for Children

Review of Day 7

Wed 31.3.04

AM




PM

EVENING

Meeting with the National Manager, Human Resources, CYF on Recruitment and Retention

Visiting the Minister for CYF, the Honourable Ruth Dyson

Tour of Parliament

Travel to Christchurch

Dinner with Mike Doolan

Thurs 1.4.04

AM

PM

EVENING

University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Te Awatea Centre Domestic Violence Research Unit

Research and Evaluation Strategy - Dr Marie Connolly

Meeting the Family Group Conference Co-ordinators/Team

Reviewing of Day 9

Fri 2.4.04

Presentation and discussion

AM






PM

EVENING

Visiting the CYF, Christchurch

· Regional Manager, CYF, South Island

· Manager, Reducing Youth Offending Programme

· Visit to a Family Home

· Practice Manager - Adoptions

Care Strategy

Staff Forum - Social Workers, Supervisors, Practice Managers and SDU Managers

Meeting, reviewing and collating findings from Week 2

NEW ZEALAND STUDY TOUR - RESEARCH AND CONSULTATION

1.

The Report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Maori Perspective for the Department of Social Welfare

2.

The Risk Estimation System - Reference Manual

3.

Report of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services - First Principle Baseline Review

4.

Statement of Government Intentions for an Improved Community - Government Relationship

5.

The Challenge of Partnering - A Study of the relationship between Child Youth and Family and Open Home Foundation

6.

Fresh Perspective - Mentoring Handbook (Family Mentoring)

7.

A Voice for Children - The Office of the Commissioner for Children in New Zealand 1989-2003

8.

Functions and Work Priorities of the Children's Commissioner

9.

The Report on the Investigation into the deaths of Saliel Jalessa Aplin & Olympia Marisa Aplin - Office of the Commissioner for Children

10.

Risk Screen for Youth Offenders - Reducing Youth Offending (Department of Corrections)

11.

Solution-focused Practice and Family Group Decision-making in Child Welfare - Research and Evaluation Strategy (University of Canterbury, Christchurch)

12.

Children in Statutory Care: Experiences and Outcomes - Research and Evaluation Strategy (University of Canterbury, Christchurch)

13.

Recruitment and Retention of Social Workers - Human Resources Strategy, Department of Child, Youth and Family Services

14.

Standards for approved contracting with Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)

2 New Zealand Study Tour 2004

2.1 Statement of expenses

Direct costs: Travel (air fares) 5,523

New Zealand hosts' costs (to be reimbursed) 1,438

Less: Personal contributions as agreed 2,037