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AGENDA ITEM CITY AND COUNTY OF CARDIFF DINAS A SIR CAERDYDD CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

10 JULY 2012

PROPOSED REOPENING OF 150 THORNHILL ROAD

Purpose of the Report

1. The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with details of the report recommending the reopening of the Childrens Home, copy attached at Appendix 1, prior to its consideration by the Cabinet on 12 July 2012. Background

2. The Previous Children & Young People Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 3rd March 2012 considered, as an emergency item, a verbal report on the Closure of 150 Thornhill Road Childrens Home. 3. At the Committee meeting on 3rd March 2012 Members expressed their concern and frustration that this matter was not brought to the Committees attention. In particular the Members considered that this issue should have been reported to the 10 January 2012 meeting of the Committee.

4. Following consideration of the information provided, for this emergency item, the Members noted the reasons for the closure of the home but were still concerned that the Council was unable to manage the staffing of the home and thereby avoid the closure.

5. Members also expressed their concern that in view of the high aspirations for this home when it was being developed, the Members did not wish to see it permanently closed and requested a briefing report on the future plans for the home once the new Committee has been constituted.

Issues

6. The home was built as a purpose designed Childrens Home to accommodate up to 8 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 years. It was registered by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) in May 2011 and children were resident at the home until November 2011. The Authority made an application to withdraw the homes registration in December 2011. Between May and November 2011 the home accommodated a total of 10 young people with no more than 6 young people living there at any one time.

7. The Corporate Parenting Panel in January 2012 received a presentation on Childrens Homes, copy attached at Appendix 2. The presentation included a slide on 150 Thornhill Road, stating:

The home ceased to operate under its current statement of purpose from 5 December 2011 and the authority applied to the regulator to cancel its registration.

This followed difficulties experienced in operating the home in the months following its opening that were identified by managers and were further reinforced by the findings from an inspection by the regulator in early October. In some respects the home was not complying with its existing statement of purpose.

While the difficulties were not insurmountable the work to address them includes review and revision of the statement of purpose and the provision of any necessary training for the staff team.

8. The Parenting Panel at its meeting on 21 March 2012 received a briefing paper on work to review statement of purpose of childrens home at Thornhill Road, copy attached at Appendix 3.

9. A Cabinet report due to be considered at its meeting on 12 July 2012, attached at Appendix 1, seeks agreement for the local authority to apply for re-registration of the premises as a childrens home, and the services provided by the home to be delivered directly by the Local Authority. The report further explains that the Childrens Home at 150 Thornhill Road, is a purpose built childrens home that would need significant adaptation if it were to change its function and no longer be used for delivering residential care for Looked After Children (LAC). Additionally the location of the site makes it less attractive for some alternative uses.

10. The service areas preferred option is to continue to use the site for the purpose for which it was originally established. This is because the service areas view remains that local placements are generally best. Research has identified that local placements in the main produce better outcomes for looked after children. The better outcomes achieved by children placed locally may be the result of a combination of factors, such as: proximity to family and friends; greater scope for good co-ordination of services at a local level and continuity in respect of Education and Health care; better contact between child and social worker, and ease of supervision.

11. Options identified for consideration that would continue to use the premises as a childrens home include: Option A The Council seeks to register the home to provide placements for children with the same/similar needs to those children who were placed at the home during 2011 but with a new Statement of Purpose. Option B The Council seeks to register the home for looked after children with complex needs, specifically for disabled children/children on the autistic spectrum.

12. In addition the Council has options for delivery of Options A and B above. Option 1 - The service provided by the home is delivered directly by the Local Authority. Option 2 - The service provided by the home is delivered by an external provider within a contractual arrangement with the Local Authority.

13. The opportunities and risks attached to both models of service delivery (Option 1 & Option 2) are considered in the Staffing Issues section of the Appendix A to the Cabinet report (paragraphs 33 53) and specific advice on the staffing issues is provided by HR People Services in paragraphs 74 79 of Appendix 1.

Role of Scrutiny

14. This report will provide the Committee with an opportunity to review the plans for the reopening of the Home. It will also enable Members to review: i. ii. iii. Details of the options for the home; The plans and improved outcomes for children living there; Impact of the proposal on the other residential homes for children; and iv. Details of the consultation undertaken with staff, parents, social workers, and young people.

Way Forward

15. Nick Jarman, Corporate Director (People) and Angela Bourge; (Operational Manager Resources), will present the report and be available to answer any questions Members may have.

16. Members may wish to comment or make recommendations to the Cabinet on the proposed reopening of 150 Thornhill Road Childrens Home by 12 July 2012, attached at Appendix 1.

Legal Implications

17. The Scrutiny Committee is empowered to enquire, consider, review and recommend but not to make policy decisions. As the recommendations in this report are to consider and review matters there are no direct legal implications. However, legal implications may arise if and when the matters under review are implemented with or without any modifications. Any report with recommendations for decision that goes to Cabinet/Council will set out any legal implications arising from those recommendations. All decisions taken by or on behalf the Council must (a) be within the legal powers of the Council; (b) comply with any procedural requirement imposed by law; (c) be within the powers of the body or person exercising powers of behalf of the Council; (d) be undertaken in accordance with the procedural requirements imposed by the Council e.g. Scrutiny Procedure Rules; (e) be fully and properly informed; (f) be properly motivated; (g) be taken having regard to the Council's fiduciary duty to its taxpayers; and (h) be reasonable and proper in all the circumstances.

Financial Implications

18. The Scrutiny Committee is empowered to enquire, consider, review and recommend but not to make policy decisions. As the recommendations in this report are to consider and review matters there are no direct financial implications at this stage in relation to any of the work programme. However, financial implications may arise if and when the matters under review are implemented with or without any modifications. These financial implications will need to be considered before any changes are implemented. Any report with recommendations for decision that goes to Cabinet/Council will set out any financial implications arising from those recommendations.

RECOMMENDATIONS

That Members note the information contained in Appendix 1 and submit any comments or recommendations to the Cabinet.

MIKE DAVIES Head of Scrutiny, Performance and Improvement 28th June 2012

CARDIFF COUNCIL CYNGOR CAERDYDD

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS MEETING:

12 July 2012

PROPOSALS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CHILDRENS HOME LOCATED AT 150 THORNHILL ROAD REPORT OF CORPORATE DIRECTOR
PORTFOLIO : People

AGENDA ITEM:

Reason for this Report 1. To seek the Cabinets agreement for; the Local Authority to apply for re-registration of the Thornhill Road premises as a childrens home the service provided by the home to be delivered directly by the Local Authority.

Background 2. The premises at 150 Thornhill Road have been built as a purpose designed childrens home that can accommodate up to 8 children/young people. 3. The premises was registered by CSSIW in May 2011 as a childrens home for children aged between 11 and 18. The home was operational between May and December 2011 when the Local Authority decided to apply to CSSIW to withdraw its registration. During the time it was operational the home provided placements of varying lengths to 10 young people. It accommodated no more than 6 young people at any one time. 4. The decision to apply to withdraw the registration was taken following concerns raised by CSSIW after they undertook an unannounced inspection on 5 October 2011. The concerns related to information available to CSSIW, including information gathered during the inspection visit, that the inspectorate decided indicated that the operation of the home was not consistent with its Statement of Purpose and that there was cause for concern about the quality of care provided to the group of young people placed at the home.
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5. The Local Authority responded promptly to the issues raised. It ensured that concerns about the safeguarding of 2 individual children were addressed and that the care plans for each of the children resident at the home were the subject of urgent statutory review. 6. A Notice imposing additional conditions in respect of the homes registration was issued on 12 October 2011. The Local Authority complied with the notice. 7. A Notice of proposal to cancel the homes registration was received on 27 October 2011. The Notice included a 28 day period in which the Local Authority could make representations. The Local Authority made representations regarding the Inspectors methodology and conduct as a number of the assertions made during the unannounced inspection were subsequently proved to be unfounded when the Local Authority made its own enquiries at the home. The process halted whilst these were considered. However, the Local Authoritys own enquiries at the home gave sufficient cause for concern that it decided to take action to close the home and withdraw its registration. 8. The group of young people placed at the home displayed behaviour at the time of their referral that was very challenging and that prevented them being placed in a family setting. However, all children accommodated at the home were found timely alternative placements, all of which were consistent with their care plans. 9. The issues raised by CSSIW were presented to the Corporate Parenting Panel on two occasions in October 2011 and January 2012. Issues 10. The Council can decide that it will not apply for re-registration of the premises as a Childrens Home. Since December 2012 the Authority has received enquires from individuals expressing interest in the premises should they become available. The enquiries received suggest that proposals could be developed for alternative use of the premises for social care purposes but do not include expression of interest in buying or leasing the premises on a commercial basis. 11. The site was gifted to the Local Authority in 1966 by a local family to serve as a permanent memorial to a family member with a covenant that required the Local Authority to use it for the welfare and benefit of the children under its care. The legal implications of the covenant are addressed in general terms in this report and specific advice will be sought in the event that a decision is made to explore disposal of the site and/or its potential for use for a different function even if the proposed change means the premises will continue to be used for children and young people. 12. The premises are currently being used on a temporary interim basis for direct work with children and young people who are looked after or leaving care and for staff training. A range of options for utilising the
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building for a different function, whilst retaining it within Childrens Services have been comprehensively considered by the service area. A summary of the identified options is contained in Appendix A of this report. 13. The service areas preferred option is to continue to use the site for the purpose for which it was originally established. This is because the service areas view remains that local placements are generally best. Research has identified that local placements in the main produce better outcomes for looked after children. The better outcomes achieved by children placed locally may be the result of a combination of factors, such as: proximity to family and friends; greater scope for good co-ordination of services at a local level and continuity in respect of Education and Health care; better contact between child and social worker, and ease of supervision. 14. Since December 2011 Childrens Services has dealt with 10 new requests for residential placements. Two involved children who required a specialist external placement and three involved children who were provided with placements at Crosslands Childrens Home. For the other 5 children, Thornhill Road might have provided an appropriate placement had it been operating as a childrens home although this would have been subject to the needs of the individual five children being compatible with those of children already placed at the home. The five young people were placed in external placements. One other young person who needed a residential placement following discharge from Crosslands Childrens Home was also placed with an external provider. 15. The direct cost of care provision at the home is 2546 per week based on 8 units with an average occupancy of 6.76. This figure will vary depending on the actual occupancy and it should be noted that the unit cost will increase if actual occupancy is lower. However, this figure is lower than the average weekly charge of 2800 for a similar type of agency provision based on 3 units. There may be additional costs for education and health but the 2,800 relates to the care costs. 16. Despite the direct cost of care provision at the home being lower than the average weekly cost for a similar provision in the independent sector, the salaries and terms and conditions of Residential staff employed by the Council are likely to be much better than those provided by the independent sector. 17. The improved terms and conditions for Council staff in comparison to independent providers should be a factor in determining the quality of the in-house provision. Generally residential staff employed by the Council will be more experienced due to the Councils good retention level. Furthermore, the high levels of training they receive and the strong emphasis on on-going professional development should also be a factor in driving up the quality of the service. Whilst this assumption has been challenged with regards to the most recent experience of the quality of care provided at 150 Thornhill Road, it is clearly demonstrated in a recent unannounced CSSIW inspection of Crosslands Childrens Home.
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18. Options identified for consideration that would continue to use the premises as a Childrens Home include: Option A The Council seeks to register the home to provide placements for children with the same/similar needs to those children who were placed at the home during 2011 but with a new Statement of Purpose. Option B The Council seeks to register the home for looked after children with complex needs, specifically for disabled children/children on the autistic spectrum.

19. In addition the Council has options for delivery of Options A and B above. Option 1 - The service provided by the home is delivered directly by the Local Authority. Option 2 - The service provided by the home is delivered by an external provider within a contractual arrangement with the Local Authority.

The opportunities and risks attached to both models of service delivery (Option 1 & Option 2) are considered in the Staffing Issues section of this report (paragraphs 33 53) and specific advice on the staffing issues is provided by HR People Services in paragraphs 74 79 of the report. Option A 20. Option A would require a new Statement of Purpose to be developed. This would include many of the elements of the statement of purpose developed for the registration of the premises in May 2011 but would take account of advice from CSSIW, provided in discussions following the October 2011 inspection, and include more flexibility for the Authority, for example to take reasonable adjustments to its proposed staffing structure without the risk that its operation of the home would be determined to be inconsistent with its statement of purpose. 21. For example, the statement could acknowledge that; o while the intention is to strive for children to be admitted to the home on a planned basis it will also respond to the needs of children who require a residential placement urgently. The statement would address the potential impact of this on the running of the home and how it would be managed. o the needs of children and young people change over time and this can mean that a placement that was initially appropriate to a childs needs might not continue to be appropriate as the childs needs change.

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o where it is identified that a placement is no longer appropriate to a childs needs an alternative placement might not immediately be available and arrangements and action has to be taken to manage the risks involved in continuing to care for the child while more suitable placement arrangements are put in place. o while the provision of waking night staff is included in the staffing structure for the home, and managers remain committed to this as being appropriate to meeting the needs of children requiring placements in childrens homes, contingency arrangements involving sleeping in arrangements will sometimes be necessary to enable the home to operate in the absence of waking night staff. 22. Development of a new statement of purpose for Option A is likely to be more straightforward and require less work than would be the case with Option B. Development of the statement for Option A would be assisted by work recently undertaken to develop a revised statement of purpose for Crosslands Childrens Home which has been approved by the inspectorate. Option B 23. Option B has been considered within the context of the Cardiff & Vale Health and Social Care Integration Programme. This is a joint initiative between Cardiff Council, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and partners from the third sector, to deliver integrated services for disabled children with complex needs. The Children with Complex Needs Commissioning Task and Finish Group is exploring the need for jointly commissioned services for this group of children, 24. The task group has considered work undertaken by the Councils Childrens Services in 2011 with partner agencies, to establish whether there is a business case for further development of childrens homes to meet the needs of looked after children with complex needs. 25. The group noted that: the increase in demand for placements for children with complex needs across Cardiff & Vale and that this could increase further in future years. for some of the children the placement of choice is in a residential group care setting. both Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan Councils currently purchase specialist residential placements for children with complex needs from external providers.

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the purchasing of specialist residential placements incurs high cost and that while external placements were previously generally at a distance from Cardiff there has been a local provider of such placements for children on the autistic spectrum since August 2008. That the limited availability of choice of placements involves risks, for example were a provider to cease to be able to provide placements. That both Cardiff and the Vale Local Authorities are examining the potential for development of residential placements linked to the development of residential special education provision.

26. Further work is required on the analysis of need to develop a more robust forecast of future demand based on trends over the last few years and the current known needs of children assessed as being likely to require residential provision in the future. 27. Children with physical or medical needs are currently able to access placements at, an independent residential school located on the outskirts of Cardiff. The school provides placements from Monday Friday only during school terms. Children with this type of need have also benefited from development of Ty Storrie which provides short break (respite care) provision 7 days a week and also during school holiday periods. 28. The inter-agency task and finish group were therefore of the view that children with challenging behaviour including mental health needs or children with learning difficulties and / or, Autistic Spectrum Disorder related needs, were the group that could most benefit if there was to be further development of residential care services for disabled children in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. 29. Another independent provider of residential placements, referred to in paragraph 25, provides placements within Cardiff for children with a range of different needs who have Autistic Spectrum Disorders. It is these children that professionals felt would be the most appropriate group to benefit from the proposed new provision. Due to the diverse needs of the 3 groups of children identified in paragraph 28, professionals felt it would not be feasible or appropriate to try to meet the needs of all 3 identified groups on the same site. 30. The independent provider continues to have capacity at the time of writing this report so could potentially meet rising local demand in the future. However, there are potentially risks in being reliant on a single provider for a particular type of specialist placement, for example it does not provide meaningful choice for children and their families, or for the authorities and the provision of services to young people could be vulnerable to disruption in some circumstances, for example in the event of concerns about quality of the provision, or staffing difficulties.

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31. However, the group of Cardiff & Vale managers who considered the option of registering the home for Looked After Children on the Autistic Spectrum identified some reservations about the layout of the home that would need to be addressed. While none of the concerns raised about the internal lay out of the home would be insurmountable, the fact that the home backs on to a very busy main road, and that the garden is overlooked by neighbouring residential properties was felt to pose a significant challenge if this building were to be used to accommodate young people who may be likely to have a propensity to run away from their carers. Staff/child ratios that take account of the needs of the children would mitigate some of these risks but it was felt that the residual risk might remain too high to make the premises a viable option for accommodating this group of children. 32. In summary, whilst there appears to be a case for further exploration of the viability of jointly commissioning a childrens home for children on the Autistic Spectrum to serve Cardiff & Vale Local Authorities, the current position is that the Thornhill Road site is not perceived as being appropriate. Staffing Issues 33. A total of 21 staff were employed at the home prior to its temporary closure. This included a Registered Manager, Deputy Manager, 3 Senior Residential Child Care Officers, 13 Residential Child Care Officers, 2 Domestics and a Handyman. 34. The Registered Manager for the home was a long-standing employee of the Local Authority and had fulfilled this role in other homes prior to the opening of Thornhill Road. The manager was deployed away from the home for a period of 3 months prior to the CSSIW inspection and returned to his substantive post on 24 October 2011. 35. During this period the Deputy Manager was nominated as the Temporary Manager in the absence of the Registered Manager. The Deputy Managers suitability to become the Temporary Manager was determined by the individuals experience of residential management which spans a significant number of years and includes periods where the individual was the designated Temporary Manager of a home that is now closed. 36. Following the temporary closure of the home and the Local Authoritys application to CSSIW to cancel the homes registration regulations required that the Registered Manager apply to CSSIW to withdraw his registration. The individual has since resigned from his substantive post to take up alternative employment in another part of Childrens Services. 37. There have also been other changes in the staff team with a further 2 members of staff taking up alternative employment. 38. Levels of sickness absence were a cause for concern during the short time that the home was operational. The overall level of sickness absence has reduced since the temporary closure of the home.
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39. Following an internal review of the operation of the home it was decided that the service area should identify suitable temporary re-deployment opportunities for staff. These included some vacant posts in Childrens Services and some positions that were supernumerary and support areas of work that were experiencing particular pressures, for example in the Contact Service, Fostering, Placements, LAC/Leaving Care and Crosslands Childrens Home. 40. Briefings were held with affected staff and their Union representatives and broad agreement was reached for the proposed way forward. 41. Following HR advice it was agreed that the earnings of affected staff should be maintained through this temporary period. 42. The report of the unannounced inspection indicated that members of staff told the inspector that they were confused and lacked confidence in what they understood to be the model of behaviour management endorsed at the home. The staff teams preparation for working in the new home included considerable training in Restorative Approaches (RA) and Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention (SCIP), however they advised the inspector that routines and boundaries had not been effectively established. Opportunities and Risks Related to Option 1 Model of Service Delivery (Paragraph 19) 43. Debriefing was provided for the staff group when the home ceased to operate. Its purpose was to offer an opportunity for individuals to debrief with professionals who understood the approaches and how they should be used and would be able to gather common themes that emerged from the individual sessions so that these could inform any future training. 44. The de-briefing exercise concluded that; The factors leading to the temporary withdrawal of 150 Thornhill Road as a residential home were complex. There was evidence that some of the staff behaviours at the new home had been endemic in some of the homes they worked in previously without being challenged sufficiently through training and staff development/supervision. While work on team building had sought to address this, the scale of the challenge and impact of negative relationships and practices were embedded within, and across, teams had not been fully appreciated. Some of the absence of mutual trust and respect between staff was symptomatic of dynamics between and within staff teams before their arrival at 150 Thornhill Road. Most of the remaining staff agreed that this would need to be addressed if the home was to reopen with the existing staff.
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Staff were unable to identify what needed to change for them to be able to work together successfully to provide a Childrens Home that achieves good outcomes for children and young people. Even those staff who acknowledged the need for change were not confident that they would know what to do to ensure that change happens.

45. There will be risks attached to re-opening the home with a staff group that doesnt know how it might achieve necessary change and with some of its members remaining unconvinced of the need for change. 46. However, feedback from staff and their current managers suggests that the temporary re-deployment options described in Paragraph 39 have been positive both for the individual staff concerned and for the teams they have joined. Without exception, staff members have demonstrated their capacity to meet the expectations set out for them by their current managers. They have demonstrated that they are able to work effectively with colleagues and have the ability to contribute positively to work with children and their families. 47. Furthermore, many of the risks highlighted in Paragraphs 44 & 45 could potentially be mitigated: A new Registered Manager will need to be recruited to the home before it can be re-registered. The values of the manager and how these influence their role are generally acknowledged to be a significant factor in the leadership of the home and establishing its ethos and culture. This provides an opportunity for recruiting someone with a new approach. There are currently 5 staffing vacancies on the homes establishment and also a number of vacancies at Crosslands Home. Its possible that some of the Thornhill Road staff may wish to remain at Crosslands. In addition some of the remaining Thornhill Road staff have indicted that they want to secure alternative employment away from residential services. There will therefore be opportunity to recruit new staff to the team and this will inevitable mean that team dynamics will change. Provision of a robust staff development programme made available to existing staff prior to the home re-opening and ongoing training, mentoring and coaching of staff following the reopening of the home would reduce the risk of staff continuing to be unsure of what is expected of them and would ensure that they know what good looks like and what they need to do to achieve it. A review and update of current Residential staff and managers Job Descriptions would further clarify roles and responsibilities

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in respect of implementation of agreed approaches (e.g. RA and SCIP) and how these should be applied in practice. 48. Additionally, staff who have temporarily transferred from 150 Thornhill Road to Crosslands Childrens Home have demonstrated that with strong leadership and clear direction they are able to meet expectations and deliver a good standard of care. This was evidenced in the recent report of an unannounced CSSIW inspection that took place on 12 January 2012. 49. There are also advantages to the Local Authority managing more than one home. For example: It affords the Local Authority some flexibility to cover sickness / absences / disciplinary issues by moving staff between the two homes. This would not be feasible if Thornhill Road was run by an external provider. Registered Managers and Deputies have a peer group of colleagues from outside of their establishment that can act as critical friends who can support each others professional development. The opportunities for this may be limited if Thornhill Road is run by an external provider.

Opportunities and Risks Related to Option 2 Model of Service Delivery (Paragraph 19) 50. The option to tender for an organisation to operate the home on behalf of the Local Authority has the following potential advantages: The external provider would be responsible for all of the staffing issues associated with running the home. A clear distinction is made between the Local Authoritys role in placing children in the home and having case-responsibility for them and that of the provider who is responsible for the day to day running of the home and the provision of care. Children can see this distinction between the roles and could potentially perceive this as being cause for them to have greater confidence in the Authoritys readiness to respond to concerns/complaints. The wellbeing, professional development and discipline of staff working at the home will be the responsibility of the provider.

51. However, the tendering process involved should the Local Authority seek an external provider to run the home on its behalf could delay the opening of the home as the process could take several months and following the awarding of the tender, the provider would need to recruit a manager and register the home. Advice on the Transfer of Undertakings
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(Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) is provided in the HR Implications section of this report. 52. This is the least preferred option for the Trade Unions who have indicated that they will provide a robust challenge to the Council if it decides that the service should be delivered by an external provider within a contractual arrangement with the Local Authority. The Unions opposition to this Option may attract negative publicity for the Council. 53. This option is likely to impose greater demands on Childrens Services in respect of officer time not only due to the volume of work required in order for the service area to commission the service externally, but also due to the officer time that is likely to be required to address the staffing issues that will arise from the implementation of this option. It is unlikely that the service area could afford such demands at this time and if these demands are made, they are likely to take away officer capacity from other key areas of service delivery. Consultation Consultation with Residential Staff 54. Individual discussions took place in March 2012 with the 15 RCCOs and Senior RCCOs who remain in the staff team. Most said that they had welcomed the opportunity to work in other parts of Childrens Services for a temporary period and confirmed that they felt that the interim arrangements had enhanced their professional development. Some staff confirmed that following the temporary closure of the home they have sought additional development opportunities in their own time that they believe will enhance their practice should they be given the opportunity to return to Thornhill Road in the future (e.g. computer courses). They also acknowledged the value in bringing their current learning back to the team at Thornhill Road and felt that the teams knowledge and expertise would be much richer as a result of the learning opportunities that staff had been given over recent months. 55. Six staff reported that they have had past experience of working with children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum and that they would welcome the opportunity to be part of a new home that specialised in working with young people with Autism as long as training was provided. 56. However, a number of staff indicated that they did not see their future at Thornhill Road. Six members of staff indicated that they were actively seeking alternative employment in the areas of Childrens Services where they have been temporarily deployed. Two said this was because they were enjoying the work and realised that they no longer wanted to work in Residential Child Care. Others said that this was a precautionary measure because they felt uncertain about the future of their substantive posts. 57. Several staff indicated that they thought it would be risky to re-open the home with the existing staff group and expressed the opinion that some
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of their colleagues should not return to their substantive posts. However, no one was willing to provide information about the reasons for their opinions. Consultation with Trade Unions 58. The staff group are members of Unison and Unison represented them during the debriefing and in meetings held with the Chief Officer and Operational Manager (Resources) both prior to the home closing and following its closure. Unison has been briefed on the options outlined in this report via an e-mail sent on 5 March 2012. 59. A meeting was held with the Operational Manager Resources, HR People Services and representatives from Unison and GMB, on 4 April to further discuss the options outlined in this report. Both unions challenged options that involved the Local Authority not seeking to re-register the premises as a childrens home because of the costs associated with designing and building the premises and the on-going need to place some Cardiff LAC in residential care. However, they robustly opposed the option for the home to be delivered by an external provider. Whilst they accepted the need for change they were of the view that this could be achieved by managers addressing any remaining staffing issues within the team and the provision of a robust training programme for existing staff returning to the home. Their view was that if the service was put out to tender, staff would be penalised for shortcomings in management. They were also of the view that external providers were less likely to deliver quality of care because staff terms and conditions of employment would not be as attractive as those offered by the Council; they felt that this meant that external providers were less likely to recruit and / or retain skilled staff. Union representatives informed the meeting that they would raise their concerns at the highest level in the Council. Consultation re Option B with Cardiff & Vale Integration Project Children with Complex Needs Joint Commissioning Task & Finish Group 60. Consultation in respect of Option B was undertaken at inter-agency task group meetings in January and February 2012. Information about the membership of the group is located at Paragraph 23 of this report. 61. Key issues raised by the group in respect of Option B are detailed in Paragraphs 25 - 32 of this report. In summary, whilst the group is of the view that the development of an in-house residential provision is worthy of further exploration (within the context of the C&V Integration Project) the premises at 150 Thornhill Road are likely not to be fit for purpose due to the homes proximity to a busy main road. Consultation with Local Residents 62. Consultation on the recommendations of this report was undertaken by the Operational Manager Resources between 19 June 30 June 2012 with local residents living in properties situated in close proximity to the home. A copy of the hand delivered consultation letter sent to local
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residents and a list of the properties that received the letter is located at Appendix B of this report. A summary of the feedback received is located at Appendix C. 63. Additionally, as part of this consultation process the views of the Local Community Police Officer was sought and these are also included at Appendix C.

Reasons for Recommendations 64. 150 Thornhill Road is a purpose built childrens home that would need significant adaptations if use were to change its function and no longer be used for delivering residential care to LAC. Additionally, the location of the site makes it less attractive for some alternative uses described in Appendix A of this report. 65. The number of childrens home placements required to meet the needs of children in the Councils care exceeds the number currently available in and local to Cardiff. 66. Notwithstanding the difficulties experienced when the home was operational there is also evidence of children who lived at the home having had a positive experience and being appreciative of what the home provided. 67. For the reasons, outlined in paragraphs 64-66, it is recommended that the Thornhill Road premises continue to be used as a childrens home. 68. However, consultation with potential partner agencies has indicated that Option B (paragraphs 23-32) is not a preferred option for the site. 69. The work required to update the previous SoP in line with the proposal outlined in Option A could be undertaken in a relatively short period of time. 70. Whilst there are some advantages to tendering for the home to be operated by an external provider, this option is likely to impose considerable additional demands on officer time and these demands and the advantages of Option 2 are viewed as being disproportionate to the benefits identified in Option 1. In addition it must be noted that this option has been robustly opposed by Unions. 71. Providing the service in-house is a more cost-effective option (see Paragraph 15 for unit costs). 72. Whilst it is acknowledged that there would be risks associated with reopening the home with the existing staff group, there are also mitigating circumstances which could reduce the risks such as the opportunity to recruit a new manager and some new staff. Paragraph 47 provides the rationale for this view.
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Legal Implications 73. The legal implications regarding this report relate mainly to employment law and have been incorporated into paragraph 79. If the Local Authority does need to make an application for re-registration of a home at 150, Thornhill Road, that application will be made under the Care Standards Act 2000.

Financial Implications 74. The report recommends that the home at 150 Thornhill Road be reopened for a similar group of young people for whom it was originally intended with the service being provided directly by the local authority. This can be achieved through the existing revenue budget of 873,470 which is available to support the staffing and running costs of the home. If existing staff previously employed at the home do not return under the new arrangements then it is assumed they will either apply for other posts within the Council or be redeployed to vacant funded posts within Children's Services at no additional cost. Should any transitional costs be incurred then these will be met from within the overall budget for Children's Services. 75. The report notes that the weekly unit cost to the Council of operating the home is lower than the average cost of a similar external placement although the unit cost will vary depending on occupancy levels and would increase if occupancy levels at the home are not maintained. Although other options are considered within the report these do not form part of the recommendations and would require further analysis and costing to be undertaken before the financial implications could be assessed.

Human Resource Implications 76. If the decision is taken to re-open Thornhill Road under a slightly revised Statement of Purpose or a distinctly different Statement of Purpose then the service needs to consider whether it is appropriate to return the former staff group to the home for the reasons outlined in Paragraph 47 of this report. The staff group has been temporarily redeployed to other positions within Childrens Services; however, their substantive posts remain in Residential Child Care and they should be given the option of returning to their substantive post or seeking to be employed elsewhere, either within Childrens Services or through applying for posts in the Council.

77.

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78.

It should be noted that if the home was to re-open under Council management, staff would not be eligible for redeployment under the auspices of the Councils Redeployment Policy as they do not meet the criteria for redeployment. They would therefore have to secure alternative employment through competitive recruitment processes. If any of the staff group was to return to work at the Home, then the service would need to establish clear requirements for the conduct, performance and behaviour of the staff that is monitored through normal supervison channels and the staff group would be managed appropriately in accordance with Council policies and procedures. If the decision is taken to utilise the premises for a different purpose as outlined in this report, then clearly attempts would have to be made to redeploy the staff within the Council and if such attempts were not successful, the staff would have to be released from employment. If the Home were to be operated by an external provider it is arguable that the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) would not apply to transfer any Council staff to the external provider. This is because the Home has been closed for many months and no Council staff would be employed in it at the date of the 'transfer.' Therefore if the Home were to be run by an external provider the Council would be left with liability for the former staff in terms of continuing their current alternative employment; or finding suitable alternative employment for them; or releasing those who wish to leave on grounds of voluntary severance; or exiting staff at the end of their redeployment period on the grounds of compulsory redundancy if alternative employment has not been secured.

79.

80.

81.

RECOMMENDATIONS 82. It is recommended that the Local Authority seek to re-open the home at 150 Thornhill Road under a new SoP for a similar group of young people for whom it was originally intended, that will reduce the risk of future noncompliance. 83. It is recommended that the service provided by the home is delivered directly by Local Authority.

Name of Corporate Director NICK JARMAN 10 MAY 2012

The following Appendices are attached

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Appendix A - Options Outlining the Potential for Use of the Premises at 150 Thornhill Road for a Different Function, Whilst Retaining it Within Childrens Services Appendix B Copy of Consultation Letter to Local Residents Appendix C Summary of Consulation with Local Residents.

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Appendix A Options Outlining the Potential for Use of the Premises at 150 Thornhill Road for a Different Function, Whilst Retaining it Within Childrens Services

Option 1 Supported / Supervised Contact

1. One option that has been considered is whether the premises could be used on a long-term basis for supported/supervised contact between looked after children and their families as this is an area of work where need sometimes outstrips the capacity of the existing arrangements. However managers have expressed reservations about the suitability of the premises for this purpose because: 2. The location of the building would present an obstacle for most families. There is limited public transport to the site and most parents who attend supervised contact live at a considerable distance from the building. 3. Many foster carers who transport children to and from contact with their families also live at a significant distance from the building, relatively few carers live in and around the Thornhill area. Use of the Thornhill premises would increase the travelling time for children many of whom are involved in contact with family members on several days each week. 4. If the premises were to be used for contact on a longer term basis the layout and design would require some modification to mitigate risks that have been identified in the current layout and design. 5. While the premises could be made fit for purpose for contact that takes place over a few hours a day, where staff are engaged in working with parents to contribute to parenting assessment the level of demand for this type of intensive supervised contact does not provide a robust business case for the building to be allocated for this purpose on a long term basis. 6. The use of the premises for centre-based supervised contact would not enable the service area to release another building as this site would not be suitable to accommodate all the service areas supervised contact from this venue. Furthermore, the associated costs for utilising 150 Thornhill Road in this way could not be offset by hire costs associated with holding supervised contact at other external locations because the Contact Service does not currently purchase space for supervised contact from external providers. This is due to the desire to maintain confidentiality for children and young people who could be easily identified as Looked After Children (LAC) if facilities for supervised contact were purchased externally.

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Option 2 Supported Accommodation for Vulnerable Homeless 16 and 17 Year Olds. 7. Another option that has been considered is the use of the premises to provide supported accommodation for vulnerable homeless 16 and 17 year olds. The building and running costs for commissioning this type of provision based on similar provision already available to Childrens Services including management and central charges are significantly lower than the estimated figures 150 Thornhill Road (166k compared with 235k). 8. The premises are fit for this purpose and Childrens Service is able to evidence the need for accommodation for homeless 16 and 17 year olds. However, the location of the site is less appropriate for young people in this age group given its distance from central Cardiff, and the infrequent public transport to the area. 9. Meeting the needs of homeless 16 and 17 year olds is a priority for the local authority and the Councils Housing and Childrens Services are pursuing a number of potential options with local providers that will provide more suitable and cost effective options, in parts of the city that young people would consider to be better locations.

Option 3 Accommodation for the YOS 10. A further option is the possibility of using the premises to relocate the Youth Offending Service (YOS). The YOS is currently located at Penhill in premises that are no longer fit for purpose. The premises have been identified as suitable for disposal. The site has been valued as providing the Council with a significant capital receipt which is the largest capital receipt within the Our Space Project. 11. The location of the Thornhill premises would be suitably neutral territory for young people accessing the service but the limited public transport access would severely limit accessibility by young people who are required to attend appointments or participate in activities that take place on the premises. 12. Its not clear whether the current layout of the building will be able to accommodate the YOS staff and activities. 13. The grounds that surround the building would be an advantage for the YOS. However there is history of neighbours having concerns about the activities of young people and this could increase were the use to change to accommodate the YOS. 14. Other options being explored for re-location of the YOS are on industrial sites. While the Thornhill Road location has disadvantages for the YOS in respect of public accessibility, this might also be an issue in respect of other options. However it is important that the expectations that young
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people make their way to appointments etc at the YOS need to be reasonable. Relocation of the YOS would enable it to vacate the unsuitable Penhill premises and enable the Council to realise the capital receipt attached to this property. If this option is to be pursued further specific legal advice will be sought about the implications both in respect of the possible need to seek planning permission and the Covenant on the Thornhill Road site. 15. The Our Space project has indicated that many of the concerns raised by the YOS could be easily addressed. However, it is considered that planning permission might not be given to extend the car park because it is likely that the site has already achieved its maximum allocation of parking spaces in relation to the size of the building. This could pose a significant challenge given that there is very limited on-road parking in the local area.

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Appendix B Letter to Local Residents To the Owner/Occupiers of: White lodge Baytree Cottage Stonehouse Cottage And Owner /Occupiers of properties located at: Dan Y Mynydd Lecern Drive Angelica Way Woodruff Way Gowen Court Tansy Way Charlock Close Gowen Court Bassetts Close

19 June 2012

Dear Owner / Occupier, Re: 150 Thornhill Road You may be aware that in December 2011, Cardiff Council decided to temporarily close the childrens home located at 150 Thornhill Road. The Council applied to the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) for the registration of the home to be withdrawn. Since December, Childrens Services has comprehensively considered a number of options for the future use of the premises. A report will be considered at the 12 July Council Cabinet Meeting that asks Cabinet members to agree that the Council seek to re-register the home to provide placements for children with the same/similar needs to those children who were placed at the home during 2011 but with a new Statement of Purpose. This is because: The premises were purpose designed to provide a childrens home and could need significant adaptations if they were to be used for a different purpose. The location of the site makes it less attractive for some alternative uses.
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The number of childrens home placements required to meet the needs of children in the Councils care exceeds the number currently available in and local to Cardiff. Although it is accepted that there were some difficulties experienced when the home was operational, there is also evidence of children who lived at the home having had a positive experience and being appreciative of what the home provided. The service area is confident that any risks associated with delivering a similar service in-house could potentially be mitigated.

It is important that the views of residents who live in close proximity to 150 Thornhill Road are considered by the Cabinet when it makes its decision. If you would like to make representation about this proposal or you require further information about the decision-making process, please contact me by telephone or in writing before 30 June 2012. I intend to include in the Cabinet report, a summary of the responses I receive from local residents to inform the Cabinets decision. My contact details are located at bottom of this letter.

Yours faithfully,

Angela Bourge Operational Manager Resources Childrens Services

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Appendix C Summary of Consultation with Local Residents Consultation with local residents was undertake between June 19 June 30 2012. A consultation letter was hand delivered to approximately 100 properties located in close proximity to the site at 150 Thornhill Road. A copy of the letter and location of the properties that received it is located at Appendix B for information. The Operational Manager Resources had telephone discussions with 15 residents who wished to make representation following receipt of the letter. Additionally, 7 residents made written representation to the Operational Manager. In respect of the total number of representations received, five of the written representations and 10 of the representations made by telephone, were oppositional to the proposal to re-open the premises as a childrens home. A summary of the concerns raised by residents that gave rise to them opposing the re-opening of the childrens home are detailed in the bullet points below: Concern regarding a potential for an Increase in anti-social behaviour in the local community. These concerns included anxiety about a rise in noise disturbance late and night, young people from the home consuming alcohol in public places in the area resulting in broken glass and litter being left in public food-paths and on the public highway and an increase in graffiti in public places and on private property. Concern regarding a potential Increase in gangs of youths frequenting the local area and young people driving at speed through the housing estate. This concern arose from anxiety expressed by some residents that the re-opening of the childrens would attract high numbers of undesirable youths to the areas who lived outside of Thornhill. Concern that the Looked After young people placed at the home might have criminal records that would increase the likelihood of crime levels rising in the area. Some residents expressed an anxiety that young people placed at the home may trespass on and cause damage to their property and that the re-opening of the childrens home might be the cause of an increase in burglaries in the local area. Concern that young people might be placed at the home who displayed behaviour that might be harmful to elderly people living in the local community or to the children of local residents. Two residents specifically raised concerns that they had young children with special needs who liked to play outside and they were concerned about the vulnerability and safety of their children, should older young people with harmful behaviour be placed at the home if it re-opened.

Some residents explained that their concerns were attributed to their previous experiences during the years that the John Kane Home was operational and most recently when the new home opened in 2011. Some residents were understanding of some of the challenges that young people who require residential care face and the complexity of their backgrounds. However, they
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attributed the anti-social behaviour described above to inadequate levels of supervision and control administered by staff and managers at the home. Residents were informed that senior managers had learnt lessons from the past and that strong leadership of the home, a clear model of care that is appropriately implemented and a robust admissions procedure that requires all young people placed at the home to have a comprehensive risk assessment, would significantly reduce the likelihood of local residents being adversely affected by the re-opening of the home should the Council decide to accept the recommendations of this report. It is unfortunate that none of the residents that attributed incidents of anti-social behaviour between May December 2011 to young people placed at the childrens home, made representation directly to the home or the Council during that time. It is therefore not possible to confirm if the concerns they raised can definitely be attributed to the young people who were placed at the home at that time. Furthermore, as part of this consultation, the Local Community Police Officer for Thornhill has confirmed that he was not aware of any concerns raised to the Police by local residents specifically about the behaviour of young people placed at 150 Thornhill Road when the home was operational in 2011. He was also able to confirm that anti-social behaviour, related to groups of young people frequenting public areas of the locality is an on-going problem in the community despite the home being closed for the last six months. Residents have been advised that if the home re-opens in the future , it is extremely important that they immediately raise any concerns they have with mangers at the home or directly to the Operational Manager Resources, so that action can be taken to establish whether the incident can be attributed to any of the young people placed at the home and so that the staff and managers working at the home can take appropriate and timely action to insure that the individuals concerns understand the implications of their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions in an attempt reduce the likelihood of the behaviour recurring in the future. The home will also seek to strengthen its working relationship with the local Police and effective partnership working between the home and the Police will further mitigate some of the concerns that have been raised. In addition to the 15 residents who raised objections to the home re-opening, 4 residents who responded to the consultation by telephone were sympathetic to the proposal to re-open the home as they felt that looked after children would benefit from its excellent resources. However, they raised issues regarding the maintenance of the grounds and concerns regarding access from the property at 150 Thornhill Road to the local housing estate. These concerns are summarised in the bullet points below. Concern that trees in the garden of 150 Thornhill Road overhang adjacent gardens and a request that they are cut back later this year. Concern that the entrance to the home doesnt give a good impression because bushes are overgrown and a request that these be cut back.
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Concern that there is a temporary sign at the entrance to the home and a request that a more permanent sign be located at the entrance. A request that a sign be put at the entrance of the turn off the main (Thornhill) road that indicates that it is a block end because cars sometime drive down there at high speed not realising that there are bollards at the end of the slip road.

Additionally, a couple of residents raised concerns about the alleyway that is adjacent to the home that links it to the housing estate. Residents were concerned that young people use this to drink alcohol because it is concealed and that when the home was open if was full of broken bottles and litter. A request has been made that the alleyway be blocked off to reduce the likelihood of it being used for anti-social behaviour. A couple of residents also raised concern about the triangle of land that is located by the roundabout opposite the entrance to the crematorium as they sited this as an area where groups of young people congregate. A request was made that Council consider whether anything can be done with the land to make better use of it. Residents felt that if these concerns could be addressed in a timely way by the Council, it would increase the local communitys confidence in the Council to appropriately manage issues arising from the home re-opening. These concerns and suggestions have been referred on to the appropriate service areas in the Council to explore further whether it is feasible for the Council to take action in respect of the requests made by local residents. It is strongly recommended that if it is viable for the Council to address these matters, it does so in a timely way as this will give residents a strong message that the Council is committed to addressing their concerns. If after consideration, it is not feasible to take any of these matters forward, it is recommended that the Operational Manager Resources write to residents explaining why it has not been feasible to address such matters so that residents understand why it has not been possible for the Council to take action. Two letters received requested further information about the proposal without raising any objections. The additional information was provided as requested. One letter suggested that it would be more appropriate to use the site for a home for the elderly. One resident feedback in a telephone discussion that their preferred option would be that the site be used as a respite home for disabled children. Finally, one letter received provided overwhelming support for the home to reopen. It stated that young people should continue to be placed at the home so that they could receive the care and help they need and requested that the Council continues to undertake very important and necessary work with these young people from this purpose build site because of the excellent opportunities it was able to offer vulnerable young people.

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In summary, it is pleasing to note that 22 residents took the time to contact the Council regarding this matter. Whilst 15 residents strongly opposed the proposal to re-open the childrens home, there were an encouraging number who were sympathetic to the proposal and identified ways in which the Council might mitigate some of the risks that they perceived were attached to the recommendation. There were also a small number of recipients who were unsympathetic to those residents who raised objections. They felt that young people previously placed at the home when it was operational were unfairly blamed for some of the anti-social behaviour experienced by the local community. Nevertheless, there continues to be a strong level of opinion for the site not to re-open as a childrens home. The service area will need to carefully consider how it can work more effectively with the local community and the Police in the future to mitigate the concerns raised. It is evident from the consultation that if it is decided that the home re-opens, significant work will be required as part of the planning process and on an on-going basis when it is operational, to increase and maintain the confidence of local residents in the ability of the management of the home to provide appropriate levels of care and control for the young people placed there, with the minimal amount of disruption to those that live in close proximity.

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Children & Young People Corporate Parenting Panel January 2012


Looked After Children Accommodation Childrens Homes

RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENTS

At 30 September 2011 N children who were looked after by Cardiff Council were placed in registered childrens homes. N of the children were placed in homes run by providers from whom the authority purchases placements. N were placed at the two childrens homes provided directly by the authority

Residential Placements (2)


The two childrens homes provided directly by the authority, located at Ely and Thornhill, could accommodate up to 14 children Looked after children are also sometimes accommodated in residential schools and health care settings Most looked after children are placed in family settings

Residential Settings (3)


Some placements with external providers are purchased because the demand for placements exceeds the capacity of the councils direct provision but: Such placements are often purchased as part of a care plan for children whose needs cannot be met in any other way in some cases the need for such placements are identified after children become looked after and have spent time in other placements

Residential Placements (4)


It is unusual in the UK for children under the age of 10 to be placed in residential settings Most children placed in childrens homes are aged between 12 and 17

The authoritys childrens homes Thornhill


The home ceased to operate under its current statement of purpose from 5 December 2011 and the authority applied to the regulator to cancel its registration . This followed difficulties experienced in operating the home in the months following its opening that were identified by managers and were further reinforced by the findings from an inspection by the regulator in early October. In some respects the home was not complying with its existing statement of purpose. While the difficulties were not insurmountable the work to address them includes review and revision of the statement of purpose and the provision of any necessary training for the staff team

Review of SOP (1)


The intention is to apply to the regulator for registration of the premises as a childrens home under a new statement of purpose. The review will give explicit attention to the implications of the statement for operational compliance with its intentions Including establishing mechanisms for addressing variations and significant incidents with the regulator.

Review of SoP (2)


The review includes: Consideration of options that will be supported by business cases including whether the premises should be registered under a statement of purpose based on it providing a home for:

children with the same range of needs as children for whom it previously offered placements or children with different needs, for example children assessed as having autistic spectrum disorders, and for whom the authority generally purchases placements from external providers the demand for residential placements for this group has increased in recent years

Differentiation between the needs of different groups of children is not absolute. There is overlap between them, and all children have the same basic needs But acknowledgement of specific needs and the ways in which they are best met can Inform development of a model of care and sense of purpose for a childrens home and its staff team

Review of SoP (3)


Context includes:
Increased demand for residential placements for children with complex needs Integrated Health and Social Care Programme includes project on integrated service provision for children with complex needs Corporate Transformational Change Programme wave 2 includes Service Redesign project Corporate Category Management approach to procurement Collaborative approach with other authorities to commissioning placements

Wave 2 Transformational Change Project Redesign Childrens Services Vision redesign of services to deliver integrated care pathways in collaboration with education and health. Objectives include:
Reduction in financial and operational risks associated with provision of services Delivery of organisational efficiencies and savings on commissioned services Increased inter-agency working and efficiencies across agencies.

Category Management approach to procurement

Identified potential to examine whether:


Thornhill premises could be suitable for children and young people assessed as having ASD This could lead to improved service resilience and quality for this group of children/young people as well as cost effectiveness.

Integrated Health & Social Care Programme Children with Complex Needs

Children with complex needs is one of the programmes key priority areas of work. Within this priority, a key aim is to;
develop a joint multi-disciplinary commissioning strategy
Strategic management of short breaks provision, sessional support & play and foster and residential care services.

The authoritys childrens homes Ely


The home has experienced some of the same pressures as the home at Thornhill for example: The needs of children and young people placed in residential settings are likely to be complex and require skilled and sensitive intervention At times children and young people will have needs that are particularly acute and challenging The home is continuing to operate under its existing statement of purpose which is being kept under review.

CARDIFF COUNCIL CYNGOR CAERDYDD

CORPORATE PARENTING PANEL: 21 March 2012


_______________________________________________________________

Briefing on work to review statement of purpose of childrens home at Thornhill Road


AGENDA ITEM: _______________________________________________________________
Reason for this Report 1. To update the panel on work undertaken to consider the future registration of the home and options for the homes new Statement of Purpose.

Background 1. The home was built as a purpose designed Childrens Home to accommodate up to 8 young people between the ages of 11 an 18 years. It was registered by CSSIW in May 2011 and children were resident at the home until November 2011. The Local Authority made an application to withdraw the homes registration in December 2011. Between May and November 2011 the home accommodated a total of 10 young people with no more that 6 young people living there at any one time. 2. The decision that the home should cease to be registered took place following consideration of concerns raised by CSSIW after they undertook an unannounced inspection on 5 October 2011. The concerns related to evidence that CSSIW gathered during the inspection that the inspectorate considered indicated that the home was not being operated in a way that was consistent with its Statement of Purpose. They included concerns about the quality of care provided to the group of young people placed at the home. 3. The Local Authority initiated child protection enquiries into the concerns where this was appropriate and arranged that the care plan for each young person at the home resident was the subject of an independent statutory review. The Council engaged reviewing officers from a specialist agency who had relevant knowledge, expertise and skills. The reviews also involved the reviewing officer who had previously reviewed the childs plan and the manager of the reviewing service where the officer was unavailable.

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Issues 4. The 21 staff employed at the home included a Registered Manager, Deputy Manager, 3 Senior Residential Child Care Officers, 13 Residential Child care officers, 2 domestic staff and a handyman. 5. Childrens Services identified suitable alternative temporary working arrangements for the homes staff for the period in which the homes statement of purpose is being reviewed. These include deployment to some vacant posts and also to some supernumerary positions to supplement staff teams in some areas, for example in the Contact, Fostering and Placements services, Crosslands Childrens Home and in services for looked after children and care leavers. 6. The staff group has been engaged in a de-briefing exercise so that lessons could be learned from the period in which the home was operation and from the specific circumstances that applied at the time of the inspection. Debriefing training was purchased externally for the staff group. The learning from this exercise is helping to inform the next stages of development and to identify potential training needs. 7. A Two options have been considered: Option A will involve an application to re-register on the basis of an amended Statement of Purpose Option B will involve an application to re-register on the basis of a different Statement of Purpose. Specific consideration has been given to whether the premises might be used to provide accommodation for Looked After Children with complex needs and specifically young people on the Autistic Spectrum.

8. Consideration has also been given to whether these options should be provided directly by the local authority or by an external provider on behalf of the authority. 9. Option A Development of a revised Statement of Purpose will take account of advice from the Inspectorate that the previous statement of purpose was perhaps too rigidly drafted and became a barrier to compliance when the authority required greater flexibility to operate the home in a way that was responsive to needs. Examples of this are commitments in the statement in respect of the staffing structure. A revised statement could include consideration of circumstances in which it might not be possible for the authority to consistently provide the optimal structure and the contingency arrangements that it would put in place to ensure an adequate standard. 10. Under this option the Local Authority would seek to re-register the home to provide accommodation for young people with needs similar to those describe din the original statement. 11. Option B has been considered within the context of work taking place as part of the Cardiff & Vale Health and Social Care Integration Programme. This is a joint initiative between Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Councils, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and partners from the third sector, to deliver integrated services for children with complex needs. The programme board has tasked a group with examining opportunities for commissioning integrated services..
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12. The task group has considered whether there is a business case for development of childrens homes placements to meet the needs of looked after children with complex needs and if there is whether it is viable for this provision to be delivered from the Thornhill Road building. Further Actions/Matters Arising 13. A draft report outlining the options referred to above is being prepared and includes consideration of the challenges and risks associated with each option and the related staffing issues. 14. When completed the report and its recommendations will be made available to the Director of Social Services so that a decision can be made on the future use of the home early in the new financial year.

Angela Bourge Operational Manager Resources Childrens Services 14 March 2012

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