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Agenda item


To receive a presentation on the Blackpool Families Rock partnership culture, values and practice principles to support children and their families.



Ms Kara Haskayne, Head of Safeguarding and Principal Social Worker gave a presentation outlining the Blackpool Families Rock partnership culture, values and practice principles to support children and their families. Ms Haskayne explained that Blackpool families, children and young people were at the heart of everything that the Council did and that the Blackpool Families Rock model of practice had been co-produced with children, young people, families and foster carers who had experienced Blackpool’s partnership services. The Committee was informed that during 2019 Ms Haskayne had worked with Blackpool families, carers and partnership agencies to co-produce the practice guidance principles and values which determined that the partnership should work in conjunction with families. These practice principles and behaviours shared a vision that families had the potential to be active agents of change and aimed to positively support them in effecting such change.


Following the presentation, the Committee questioned whether the Blackpool Families Rock model had received support from the regulatory bodies monitoring Children’s Services. Ms Haskayne advised that the most recent Ofsted inspection report from September 2021 had recognised the cultural shift in place at Blackpool, although she acknowledged that there were still further improvements to be made. The Committee asked whether the cultural shift had resulted in fewer children entering the care system, to which Ms Haskayne responded that the number of children in care or on care plans in Blackpool was at its lowest level for five years. Furthermore, she informed the Committee that when cases of exemplary practice resulting in good outcomes for individuals were identified, they were added to a library of good practice which could be accessed by social workers as a learning tool.


In response to a question on improvements in partnership working, Ms Haskayne reported that a re-design of Children’s Services’ ‘front door’ systems had resulted in the joining up of partnership agencies into a co-located multi-agency team, with a change in the language being used by partners and improvements in family liaison and consent processes.


The Committee discussed the issue of the recruitment and retention of social workers, with Ms Haskayne able to report that resignations had reduced over the past three months. She acknowledged the importance of retaining Blackpool’s social care workforce and outlined a number of measures being introduced to help encourage trained social workers to remain in post. Work had also been ongoing in conjunction with Lancaster University to ensure the provision of high quality social care placements for students, as well as a scheme whereby students on placement with the Council could be offered a permanent post without the need to complete the full application and interview process. In addition, Ms Haskayne explained that newly qualified social workers completed a protected programme over their first year, whereby they received additional support and a reduced workload.


The importance of assisting families with accessing the benefits system was considered, with Ms Haskayne asserting that poverty did not equate to neglect and that all available support would be offered to families in need of financial assistance.


The Committee thanked Ms Haskayne for her presentation and for attending the meeting.


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