The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care Initial Responses

Following the release of the Case for Change produced by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, our A National Voice Ambassadors developed workshop materials that were used by Children in Care Councils and participation teams from across the country.

The materials were used to run sessions and holding conversations with their care experienced young people to give them a voice in the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.

We want to say a huge thank you to all the young people that have shared their thoughts, feelings and hopes for the future as well as the great staff who have supported them to participate and have their voices heard.

We received so many comments, pictures and responses that we are currently collating and we have met with members of the review team to feedback your words. We are busy working on a full report that gives a little more detail about what you have all been saying and the picture across England.

Some of the key themes included:

Care is…?

Young people were asked to respond to answer the question Care is…?

We have grouped these into broadly positive/broadly negative and have created these weighted word clouds to illustrate the responses.

Postcode Lottery

Having a group of ambassadors from across England in the room, looking at responses from an even wider group of young people, really highlighted the lottery of services young people have to deal with and how different young people’s experience of care can be.

We even discovered that within the group, twin sisters in the care of the same authority had experienced such a huge difference in services, staff support and financial support.

A system not designed for children and young people

Another emerging theme from the responses across the country highlighted how much of the social care system is designed to meet the needs of the adults, local authorities, government (and sometimes computer systems or processes) rather than the young people within it.

We will be looking in more detail at the comments and responses around this as well as the suggestions young people have to change these, some of the key areas we will be focussing on are:

  • Staying Put – Overwhelmingly young people don’t know about it.
  • Complaints – The process is too long, not transparent, not designed for young people. Should there be a national body/national reporting of complaints? Timescales are too long for young people needing change.
  • Advocacy – Many don’t know about it or don’t know how to access it. Should advocacy be an opt out service so all young people know about it?
  • Meetings – There’s lots of meetings in young people’s lives and mixed messages are given to young people, (treated as a child yet given adult sized tasks).
  • Notes/Recordings/Records/Language – Words that we should never see/hear, Problematic words (ask us), Delays in accessing records, too much redaction, too many acronyms.
  • Delegated Responsibility/Red tape – Sleepovers, Tech Access,
  • Staff – Staff are time poor and overstretched, No time for relationship building, too much staff turnover.

Next steps

This is just a sample of some of the conversations we had. We are still combing through the hundreds of responses from children and young people so may not have captured everything here fully, but our A National Voice ambassadors are working hard to ensure everyone’s views are heard loud and clear by the care review.

We will continue to feed back to the team and you as we build our report.

If you have taken part in a workshop and haven’t fed back your results yet, please do so as soon as possible by emailing ANV@Coramvoice.org.uk.

We won’t be able to include any new feedback in the report that the ANV Ambassadors are producing, but we will pass on any workshop feedback and responses we receive before the end of the month, directly to the Care review team.