Hampshire County Council

Cabinet Item 7

20 March 2006

Change for Children Programme: Partnership and Governance

Report of the Director of Children's Services

Contact: Colin Hardy, Project Director, ext 7663, e-mail: colin.hardy@hants.gov.uk

1. Summary

1.1 During 2005/6 the DfES consulted upon and issued guidance setting out the duty of partners to cooperate in improving outcomes for children and young people and the functions of the Executive Member and the Director of Children's Services.

1.2 This paper takes into account the final statutory guidance and recommends the development of partnership and governance arrangements to take forward the Change for Children programme as follows

1.3 A schematic is attached at Appendix 1 to show in summary form the proposed future partnership and governance arrangements and relationships.

1.4 The Change For Children Programme brought about by the Children Act 2004 will remain one of the most significant challenges faced by the council and its partners for some time to come. The council's unique role is affirmed in the statutory guidance defining our lead accountability for these services and our leadership role among the partners. The revisions to the partnership and governance arrangements laid out in this report have the full support of the partners and given the significance of these arrangements and the need for a full corporate as well as inter-agency engagement with them, formal Cabinet support is required. These arrangements will also be subject to scrutiny by Ofsted and the Commission for Social Care Inspection and so evidence of support at this level will assist in our annual performance assessment process.

1.5 This approach supports the corporate strategy in maximising life opportunities, building strong and safe communities, improving services and developing councillors and staff by providing the necessary Member leadership for strategy and ensuring management action with partners to improve outcomes for children and young people.

1.6 The approach will also support the County Council in meeting the statutory requirements in Section 10 of the Children Act 2004 by ensuring arrangements are in place for cooperation with partners and for participation with children and young people, their families and carers.

1.7 The proposals also take account of the Democratic Review, the emerging role of Hampshire Action Teams of Members and the emerging arrangements for governance of the LAA with local partners. The schematic reflects how the partnership and governance arrangements for Children's Services would be linked to LSP s and the Hampshire Strategic Partnership in their governance of the LAA. At a local level it is intended that the interagency delivery arrangements around each school involved in the `Better Chances- Better Lives' 12 schools LAA project will be supported by the proposed Children and Young People's Locality Partnership with clear links to the local LSP/LAA governance arrangements.

1.8 The approached proposed has the support of the Executive Member for Children's Services, the current Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership and the Children's Services PRC.

2. Children and Young People's Partnership - Standing Conference

2.1 The purpose of the Standing Conference is to provide leadership to establish future direction and strategy and to review progress in improving outcomes for children and young people

2.2 The new Standing Conference would be chaired by the Lead Member for Children's Services and would involve all key partners at a strategic level. The initial task of the Conference would be to use information currently available to determine the overall strategy and priorities for work with children and young people. This process would include senior officers and those with governance responsibilities within HCC and in partner agencies. As the Conference would include all relevant organizations who are also part of the Hampshire Strategic Partnership it is felt that they should consider and determine the strategy, which will be included in the Children and Young People's Plan, with consideration of the Community Strategy rather than setting up a separate forum to do this.

2.3 The ongoing role of this Standing Conference would be, with the engagement of senior officers and members from partner agencies, to keep abreast of the impact of the strategy on outcomes, to review and develop the overall approach and the effectiveness of the partnership in the achievement of the desired outcomes, adjusting priorities as necessary.

2.4 The membership of the Standing Conference is likely to be similar to that of the existing Children & Young People's Strategic Partnership and the focus must be on ensuring the right people are involved both by statute and pragmatically. A review of existing membership will be necessary as the new arrangements are put in place and there will be an emphasis on inclusion at this level including, for example, representation for young people and for schools and staff.

2.5 The Work of the current Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership (CYPSP) has focused upon establishing, with partners, the approach to a number of key developments including participation with children and young people, the Common Assessment Framework, information sharing and the development of early intervention and preventative service through the Children's Fund. This work has provided an invaluable backdrop to the work now ahead and as progress is made and work in these areas becomes more operationally managed it is the right time to develop the necessary engagements to ensure a focus on the strategic work for the future.

2.6 The approach recommended will ensure support to the Executive Member for Children's Services in the exercise of statutory functions and will also ensure links to the Hampshire Strategic Partnership and Local Strategic Partnerships in their work on community strategies including Local Area Agreements for services to children and young people.

2.7 Functions of the Standing Conference would include: -

3 Children and Young People's Partnership - Management Board

3.1 The purpose of the Management Board is to direct and oversee the implementation of the Children and Young People's Plan through the delivery of services. It will be the `operational engine room' in ensuring action is taken to address the strategy and priorities agreed by partners through the Standing Conference.

3.2 The Management Board, involving key senior partners, would take responsibility to ensure action is taken to improve outcomes for children and young people. The Management Board chaired by the Director of Children's Services would meet on a monthly basis to undertake the following key functions.

3.3 The Management Board would largely include the existing members of the Children's Services Board and it will be necessary for the Board to define the appropriate future membership in order to carry out the work; initially it is recommended that additional members be sought from the Chief Executives of District Councils, from the Learning and Skills Council and from Principals of Colleges.

3.4 Guidance on Section 10 of the Act, the duty to cooperate, also identifies the Probation Service and the Youth Offending Team as key partners in improving outcomes and the existing Wessex Youth Offending Board with links to the Management Board will continue to provide the necessary focus.

4 Outcome partnerships

4.1 Guidance requires that there shall be a statutory Safeguarding Children Board to replace the non-statutory Area Child Protection Committee in ensuring partners work together to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Additionally there are a number of management partnerships that ensure a coordinated approach to specific areas of joint work. E.g. Teenage Pregnancy, Children's Fund and the Drug Action Team. In the same way the CAMHS Trust has been established to undertake the joint commissioning of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

4.2 These Boards, Partnerships and Trusts will continue to have specific functions in support of the overall responsibilities of the Management Board and over time others may be developed to ensure a focus upon the 5 outcomes. The Board will initiate these arrangements on behalf of the Partnership.

5 Children and Young People's Locality Partnerships

5.1 To assist the Standing Conference and the Management Board in their functions it will be necessary to ensure a local perspective. The focus of work at this level is to bring together partners, many of whom are already involved in local groups, to agree the local priorities and focus where there is potential for local flexibility and to support action to improve outcomes. The approach, where possible, is to bring together and engage existing groups and provide feedback loops rather than create new structures

5.2 Each District Council area has existing arrangements to support local partnerships of children's services, often linked to the LSP with strong engagement with the voluntary sector, and there is general agreement on the need to ensure that Children and Young People's Locality Partnerships emerge which embrace all services to those aged 0-19 (and up to 25 for those with special needs).

5.3 Each organisation will retain governance of their responsibilities and partners will identify the most appropriate involvement consistent with the functions set out below. Members of Locality Partnerships will have particular responsibilities to ensure links are maintained to the Local Strategic Partnership and to the appropriate local and county elected member forums. For Hampshire County Council responsibility areas it is anticipated that, subject to the final outcome of the democratic review, Hampshire Action Teams (of Members) will provide for an overview of progress, provide support and influence local priorities where necessary. There will be opportunities for Locality Partnerships to be represented at the Standing Conference and, through senior managers, at the Management Board.

5.4 The functions of Locality Partnerships could include: -

6 Implementation

6.1 To implement this approach to partnership and governance, it will be necessary to review the membership of the existing Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership and the Children's Services Board to ensure Members and managers are included in the appropriate forum with partners and that the necessary links are established.

6.2 It will also be necessary to agree a schedule of activity on an annual basis to establish forward strategy and priorities and review progress in improving outcomes for all children and young people, which would be included in the annual Children and Young People's Plan.

6.3 The Children and Young People's Plan for 2006-9 will be published in April 2006 following engagement with stakeholders during 2005, a 3-month period of consultation to take place early in 2006 and reference to Members. The draft Children and Young People's Plan will include a statement of vision and principles for Children's Services which will form the basis of these partnership arrangements.

6.4 It is recommended that the first Standing Conference should be established for March / April 2006 to formally consider the final draft of the C&YP Plan prior to publication and then to meet towards the end of 2006 to review the strategy and priorities and consider the views of external inspectors following the Annual Performance Assessment.

6.5 Subject to the final outcome of the Democratic Review it will be necessary to ensure links between the proposals for HATS - members meeting in local or thematic action teams - and the arrangements for a Partnership Standing Conference and for Locality Partnerships with links to Local Strategic Partnerships.

6 Legal implications

7 Financial implications

8 Personnel implications

9 Impact assessment

10 Crime prevention issues

11 Views of Local County Councillor

None

Recommendations

1 That Cabinet approves the Partnership and Governance arrangements.

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background documents

The following documents discuss facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and have 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.

None

Governance

arrangements of all partners

HCC

Non-Executive Members

(i.e. HATS)