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Children and Young Peoples Strategic Partnership

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					        Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership

                Annual Conference 25th February 2005

                            Summary of Issues

Introduction
The Children and Young People‟s Strategy was launched in February 2004 and
the conference was an opportunity to review the strategy and to consider the
enormous changes that are happening in children‟s services following the
Children Act 2004. The conference was well attended with all 120 places taken
(approximately 160 people wanted to attend the conference). Over 50% of the
participants on the day were from the voluntary or community sector.

Overall feedback
It is apparent from the feedback on the day and the evaluation forms completed
by delegates that the conference was valued. The key points were:

      A lot of knowledge about key developments in children‟s services was
       shared via the presentations and workshops

      The balance of presentations and workshops was about right

      Delegates valued the opportunity to network with colleagues

      Recognition that everyone was part of the partnership

Learning for the Future

      Need to keep everyone, but particularly voluntary and community sector,
       informed about Every Child Matters and the changes that are happening

      The voluntary sector want to contribute to shaping services locally

      Need to ensure that children and young people‟s issues are central to the
       Newcastle Partnership and the Community Strategy

      Need to ensure that the voluntary and community sector has a strong
       voice in the Children and Young People‟s Strategic Partnership

Workshops
Delegates had an opportunity to attend two workshops. Each workshop was
asked to identify two issues it would like to be a focus for Children and Young
People‟s Strategic Partnership Executive in the next year. Feedback is available
from each workshop and a summary of key issues is included here.

1. Children and Young People‟s Participation
   Establish a communications strategy to promote the work of Investing in
    Children in Newcastle, share good practice and inform young people and
    organisations of opportunities to get involved.

   Be clear about how organisations within the partnership can get involved in
    delivering the strategy, and work by different groups of children and young
    people can be brought together.

   Consider how to ensure the involvement of „hard to reach‟ groups, such as
    asylum seekers, the BME community and young people from disadvantaged
    areas.

   Ensure that there is balance between the top down agenda and the need for
    children and young people to have space and support to identify their own
    issues.

   Identify potential resources for the voluntary sector to support work that
    contributes to the strategy.

   The executive to champion children and young people‟s involvement through
    the LSP, and challenge obstacles to it.

   The executive needs to demonstrate commitment to the participation strategy
    to help encourage involvement in it.

   Ensure some direct input from children and young people at the next
    conference.

   Promote the sharing of skills between agencies to work with children and
    young people in a participative way.

2. Information Sharing
The two workshops raised specific concerns about the Child Index around
confidentiality, who has access to the index, who owns the information,
professionals relying on and index rather than their judgement, how to gain
consent and that consent may be for different levels of information sharing rather
than blanket consent. None of these concerns are new but do suggest a clear
need to continually address them by the Child Index Project (Passport to
Services) and by all service providers in Newcastle. The issues identified for the
Children and Young people‟s Strategic Partnership Executive included:

1. Need for comprehensive training about information sharing and consent

2. Keeping children and young people‟s rights at the centre of developments in
   information sharing

3. The availability of Information and communication technology in small and
   medium sized voluntary organisations

4. The skills of staff/volunteers to use technology are lagging behind in some
   areas.
Children‟s Centres and Full Service/Extended Schools
The workshop welcomed the development of children‟s centres and extended
schools as providing a neighbourhood focus to services in Newcastle. There is a
commitment that an extended school does not mean “more school” but the
challenge is to make them a resource for all families in an area. The issues
raised in the workshop included:

   Are schools always the right place to be at centre of children‟s services?

   Newcastle is keen “not to have a one size fits all approach” and is supporting
    different models in different parts of the city.

   Each extended school/children centre will have there own governance
    arrangements to ensure local accountability

   The need to involve small community projects and city wide or non
    geographically based projects

   The need to find imaginative ways to include young people who do not like
    schools and who do not usually use a school outside of school time e.g. the
    West Denton Full Service School involves the community centre and the local
    library in delivery.

   Ensuring that enjoyment and achievement is about more than what happens
    in schools and a narrow focus on attainment

Common Assessment Framework
The workshops used four case studies to explore the issues arising from the
Common Assessment Framework. Both workshops considered the CAF was a
useful tool to help practitioners identify a young person‟s needs. The need for the
CAF assessment form to be as simple and easy to use was highlighted. Issues
highlighted by the workshops included:

   Guidance is needed around the involvement of parents if a child did not want
    them to know that an assessment was being undertaken

   Teaching staff were not the best people to be CAF assessors but other staff in
    schools might be well placed

   Young people should give consent before an assessment is undertaken
    unless there were concerns around child protection

   The need to involve staff/volunteers who might not be trained as CAF
    assessors but who had the best relationship with the young person

Safeguarding Children
The workshops discussed three issues:

1. How does your work contribute to safeguarding children?

2. How should the voluntary sector be involved in Local Safeguarding Children
   Board?
3. Messages for the Children and Young People‟s Strategic Partnership
   Executive

Key messages for the LSCB included:
 There is an education/training issue for voluntary sector groups who don‟t
   clearly understand their role in relation to promoting and safeguarding the
   welfare of children

   Is there a need for a voluntary sector support network for safeguarding

   Need to support staff and volunteers who are working with parents

   Need the LCSB to initiate contact with existing voluntary and community
    sector networks to highlight safeguarding

Children‟s Trust
The issues highlighted from this workshop included:

   Need to involve all children in giving consent to sharing information about
    them

   The need to for the voluntary sector to be adequately resourced to contribute
    to the development of the Children‟s Trust and the Children and Young
    People‟s Strategic Partnership

   The integration of children‟s services must not be at the expense of good links
    with adult services

   There was confusion around the role of the Children‟s Trust Pathfinder in
    Newcastle and the children‟s trust approach envisaged by Government.

Conclusion
Although the workshops identified many issues there are some common themes:

   The involvement of children and young people is essential whether that is
    individual young people giving consent before information is shared or direct
    input by young people into the annual conference

   The importance of good communication and adequate training in new
    processes when children‟s services are changing so rapidly

   The need to involve the voluntary and community sector at all levels in the
    Every Child Matters Agenda


Carol Hambling
Children and Young People‟s Partnership Co-ordinator

				
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