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Weekly News Bulletin 

Wednesday 30th November 2022

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Children England News


Do you think the economy should work better for children?
So do we. Members of Children England and the 4in10 London Child Poverty Network are warmly invited to join our members forum on December 13th to hear from economic experts and campaigners on their work towards an economy that supports people, protects the planet and distributes resources more sustainably. At this member-only forum, you can:

  • Hear about the Stop the Squeeze campaign for economic reform
  • Discuss why and how economic reforms could benefit children and families
  • Learn how to challenge current economic narratives, and specific tools to help you advocate for change (without being an economist!)
  • Bring your questions for our speakers Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women's Budget Group, and Tom Railton, Head of External Affairs and Programmes at the Economic Change Unit

You do need to be Children England or 4in10 member to attend, but you DON'T need to be an economist!

Date: Tuesday 13th December, 3 - 4.30pm
Free, online
Read more about the event and book your members' place here



Also for Children England members:
Funding List Autumn 2022 is now available from our website.
Fundraising staff in member organisations have been emailed today with the link and password to this member-only resource. This edition includes a new category for funders who are responding to the cost of living crisis with adaptations or new support to help charities and their beneficiaries cope with rising bills. It's not all of them, by any means, but there is some good responsive practice emerging that could set an example for funders who haven't yet adapted their support.

If you work in a member organisation and haven't received the password but would like to (or you aren't sure if your organisation is currently a member of Children England) just email Chloe

Contents

Government and Parliamentary News 

New children's minister closes debate on children's social care
Speaking at the backbench debate on children's social care last week, incoming children's minister Claire Coutinho emphasised the importance of the family and the provision of swift, multi-disciplinary support for families when they're struggling. She also said:
  • The government will now publish its implementation plan for children's social care reform in the new year (not by the end of 2022 as previously pledged) and a draft National Framework for Children’s Social Care will be published alongside it
  • Wider family networks should be properly supported to care for children whose parents cannot care for them
  • The care system should provide stable and loving homes, and should be more focussed on outcomes
  • Giving children the best start in life should be the responsibility not only of children's social care but other council departments, schools, the health system and many others inside and outside government
Changes to the Online Safety Bill
Government has introduced amendments to the Online Safety Bill which is making its passage through parliament, including:
  • Firms will still need to protect children and remove content that is illegal or prohibited in their terms of service, however the Bill will no longer define specific types of legal content that companies must address
  • New measures will also be added to make social media platforms more transparent and accountable to their users, as a result of amendments the Government will propose
  • Parents and the wider public will benefit from new changes to force tech firms to publish more information about the risks their platforms pose to children so people can see what dangers sites really hold
  • Firms will be made to show how they enforce their user age limits to stop children circumventing authentication methods and they will have to publish details of when the regulator Ofcom has taken action against them
New area SEND inspection framework
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have launched a new joint framework for inspecting provision for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) within a local area. Beginning in January 2023, inspections will focus on whether local area partnerships are delivering improved outcomes and experiences for children and young people with SEND. Ofsted has also published a commentary about the changes to the framework by the Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman.
  • The new framework will consider how local area partnerships are going beyond fulfilling their legal duties, to make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people with SEND – who were consulted on the proposals.
  • Inspections will now also evaluate how local authorities commission and oversee alternative provision, given the large number of children and young people with SEND in this kind of provision.
  • A new ongoing cycle of inspections will be introduced, with the aim of strengthening accountability across the local area partnership and supporting continuous improvement across the SEND system. There will also be a programme of monitoring inspections for areas with systemic or widespread weaknesses.
  • To support joint working across the sector, the inspection framework will apply a multi-disciplinary approach to gathering evidence, by deploying an inspection team that includes education, health and social care inspectors.
Grants to charities by DCMS under the Charities Act
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has reported on grants it made to charities between the financial years 2018 - 19 and 2021 - 22 under Section 70 of the Charities Act 2006, as it is legally obliged to do. This reporting does not include grants it made to the sector under other pieces of legislation. Grants under the Charities Act in 2021 - 22 totalled £1,031.1m and were made to charities including:
  • BBC Children in Need's Youth Investment Fund Phase 1
  • The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership
  • The UK Youth Parliament
  • The British Youth Council
  • The Youth Engagement grant
Oversight of Out-Of-School Settings
The Department for Education has published the evaluation of its £3m pilot in which certain local authorities tested the existing oversight of Out-Of-School Settings (OOSS) and in some cases trial new approaches to safeguarding improvement and oversight in OOSS. It concludes that the work was more challenging than anticipated, because of the size and variety of the OOSS, and that there is very piecemeal legislation empowering local authorities to intervene where there are safeguarding concerns in an OOSS, and that understanding of legal powers is poorly understood. The evaluation suggests:
  • Considering greater capacity and funding to support and oversee these settings
  • Exploring mandatory guidance on safeguarding standards expected of OOSS
  • Proposing legal compulsion for OOSS to notify LAs about their provision and allow access to settings, so that LAs can ensure adherence to basic safety standards and close down settings who are unable or unwilling to address concerns 
  • Considering other agencies having the commitment and resource to support the addressing of issues in OOSS 
  • The possibility of establishing a registration and regulation system for those wishing to operate OOSS in order to keep children safe
Social value in procurement
The Procurement Bill has returned to parliament and the House of Lords has just voted in support of amendments to compel commissioners of public services to consider social value in the procurement process, Civil Society reports. Charity infrastructure bodies have been warning that the Bill in its original form does not sufficiently embed social value into the tendering process. The Bill will pass back to the House of Commons, where it's hoped MPs will also support amendments on social value. 

Support for the voluntary sector to win public service contracts
The grant for delivering government's Contract Readiness programme has been awarded to a consortium comprising School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise UK and Voice4Change England. The consortium will be awarded up to £900,000 across 2022 - 23, 2023 - 24 and 2024 - 25. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will work with the consortium to co-design and deliver a programme that will enable the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors (VCSE)  to increase its participation in public service procurement in England. Children England is a member of the VCSE Crown Rep group and will keep members up to date with opportunities arising from the Contract Readiness programme. 

Sector News and Publications


We're Skint: Young people's experience of the cost of living crisis
Youth Ambassadors for the End Child Poverty Coalition have researched, written and launched a report detailing the experience of 16 to 25 year olds in relation to the Cost of Living Crisis. 77% of young people responding in the research said thinking about the future worries them 'a lot'. They also described anxiety about paying bills, the negative impact on their mental health and a loss of independence as a result of the crisis. The Youth Ambassadors recommend to decision-makers:
  • Engagement: Ensure that the real-life experiences of 16-25 year olds, including those who are living in low income families, are heard, understood and acted upon by decision makers.
  • Social security: Ensure that benefit payments consistently rise in line with inflation, and that young people aged under 25 receive the same amounts in benefit payments as those over 25 years old.
  • Higher education: Ensure that students from poorer backgrounds are financially supported to go to university, and that no young person lives in poverty as a result of going to university. The government should introduce targeted cost of living support to help students get through this academic year. In the long term, the student maintenance package should be linked to inflation.
  • Wages: Ensure that everyone is paid a real living wage, irrespective of their age. This is especially important for young people below 19 years old and those completing apprenticeships who may receive a wage significantly less than the real living wage.
  • Bills: Ensure further targeted support to help young people pay their bills, including a continuation of the Energy Bills Support Scheme
  • Housing: Ensure the government are investing in social housing, ending no-fault evictions and developing schemes which help young people become home owners.
Children put at risk by Home Office mis-recording them as adults
Home Office staff are regularly recording unaccompanied child asylum seekers' ages as above 18, the Guardian reports, despite the children having documents showing their real age. This has led to inappropriate treatment of the children, including being placed in the dangerous Manston Detention Centre alongside adults, instead of being placed in care. The Refugee Council's executive director of services Renae Mann said: “This is a misuse of power by the government. These children are very vulnerable and have been through so much already.

“Our staff are seeing many young people aged 15, 16 and 17 who have been wrongly treated as adults by Home Office staff. It is only once we get involved that these children are recognised as such and are taken into local authority care.” Once classified as adults the boys are at risk of being “dispersed” to adult accommodation, usually hotels, throughout the UK."

Care leavers' access to university
Research by UCAS and the Unite Foundation into care leavers' aspirations to go to university and the support they receive to do so suggests that despite improving support from schools and universities to ensure they can study in higher education if they want to, care leavers still face more barriers than young people without care experience, and support is inconsistent. The report recommends:

  • UK Government departments to share verified data about applicants who have been in care to facilitate better targeting and consistency of support and offer-making strategies
  • Higher education admissions policies to recognise the impact of educational disruption, with clear commitments regarding offer-making strategies for care-experienced applicants published online
  • Greater support for care-experienced mature students through common routes, such as the Access to HE Diploma and, in future, the Lifelong Loan Entitlement
  • Closer engagement with the networks and individuals that care-experienced students trust for information and advice
  • Universities and colleges should consider opportunities to improve the care-experienced student experience holistically across the whole institution, and review current practice to address challenges – this should be student led, and acknowledge the intersectionality of care experience with other characteristics
The impact of the pandemic on babies and their families
The Institute of Health Visiting and the First 1001 Days Movement have published a report synthesising data from other reports and research, as well as analysis from a national survey of 555 professionals and volunteers who work with babies and their families in health visiting, mental health, maternity, early education, and other services. It finds:
  • An alarming 94.8% of professionals say the pandemic has an ongoing negative or very negative impact on the personal and social skills of children who were living in the pandemic. 92.4% of professionals say the same for communication, speech, and language skills and for emotional wellbeing and development.
  • 42.7% of respondents surveyed stated that “many” babies they work with are affected by parental anxiety, stress, or depression due to the pandemic, which is affecting bonding and responsive care.
  • 44.1% of respondents said that “many” of the babies they work with are currently affected by increased exposure to domestic conflict, child abuse and neglect.
  • 40.4% survey respondents reported “many” babies they worked with had been affected by the loss of family income or increased risk of food poverty.
  • Services have not returned to normal, and this could impact future generations – Whilst there has been innovation in service provision, 59.5% who reported that their service was operating differently, told us that the changes were not beneficial for families.
  • Services are in ‘crisis’ – The pandemic exacerbated existing strains on services. A significant number of survey respondents raised issues relating to low staffing numbers and poor staff wellbeing, with some professionals talking about services being in “crisis”.
CYP Now Awards
The annual CYP Now Awards took place last week, in person after two years' absence during the pandemic. Children England congratulates all the winners, including our members:
  • NYAS and Madlug, highly commended for the My Things Matter campaign in the Children in Care award
  • NSPCC, whose Childline online services won the Advice and Guidance award 
  • Childline was also highly commended in the Pandemic Response award
Charities urge government to extend support for energy bills beyond March
NCVO and the Civil Society Group, including Children England, have written to Business Secretary Grant Shapps urging government to work with the voluntary sector to ensure charities continue to receive the support they need with the rising cost of energy beyond the close of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in March 2023. Covered in Civil Society, the letter points out that:
  • Charities are providing vital, and often energy-intensive, services for people such as hospices, nurseries and care homes
  • They may be based in properties that are not energy efficient, such as village halls and community centres, and increasingly providing these spaces to people who need to keep warm
  • Charities cannot pass on cost increases to the people who use their services in the way that businesses might pass on price rises to customers - charity services are generally free, and the charity must absorb any cost rise
  • Charities have already started using reserves during the pandemic, and growing fundraised income is increasingly difficult when households incomes are stretched
Meanwhile Civil Society reports on CAF research suggesting charities are coping with the cost of living crisis by taking measures such as using reserves and cutting services, with only 49% feeling confident they can afford the cost of meeting demand. 

Civil Society also reports that Chair of the Charity Commission Orlando Fraser used a speech to the Beacon Philanthropy Forum to urge the nation's wealthy to give more to charity in order to support them in an 'existential crisis.'

What does care look and feel like for 16 and 17 year olds?
The #KeepCaringTo18 campaign wants to know what care looks and feels like to 16 and 17 year olds, to help influence government policy. The views of all 16 and 17 year olds are sought, no matter where in England they live. Please encourage every 16 and 17 year old you know to join this action, and send the survey link to everyone who might be able to help!  

Sector Vacancies


At Become
Training Support Assistant 
This role is #OpenToAll
Contract
: Fixed term one-year contract with potential for extension, 12 hours per week over at least 2 days
Salary: £23,690 pro rata
Location: Hybrid, with some in-person attendance, mostly in London
Deadline: Midnight, Thursday 15th December
We are looking for a person with strong organisational and administrative skills to join our expanding Training Team. The Training Support Assistant will be responsible for tasks relating to the coordination and promotion of Become’s training and consultancy offer. Working closely with the Training Team and a range of external organisations, the Training Support Assistant will secure increased bookings and ensure a smooth client journey. The Training Support Assistant will also support the wider administration of Become’s Learning Management Systems to enhance learner experiences. Contact Become for more information

At Doorstep Library

Chair of Trustees
Deadline: 23rd December
Voluntary position

We are looking for a Chair of the Board of Trustees to join our amazing charity and lead us through the next phase of our development. This is a stimulating and challenging role that will call on all of your strategic and diplomatic skills to help us grow our services in a challenging climate. We are looking for an experienced leader/manager, with energy, vision and determination, to work closely with the CEO, senior management team and the board of trustees to deliver the strategic aims of the current business plan and shape the future direction of the charity.

Job purpose

  • To provide effective leadership and direction for the Board of Trustees
  • Ensure good governance and compliance
  • To engage and inspire stakeholders
  • To leverage support for the Charity and its services To lead on strategic development and build resilience

At Just for Kids Law

Peer Education and Participation Worker
Contract: 18-month fixed term contract, full time
Salary: £28,700 - £32,800
Location: central London
Deadline: 3rd January 2023
The Peer Education Participation Officer will develop and deliver a new Peer Education initiative focused on the housing rights of Care Leavers. This aims to reach, inform and mobilise a wider cohort of care experienced young people, and the smaller organisations that support them, to understand and respond to homelessness and housing issues experienced by care experienced young people and care leavers. 

Events, training and consultancy services

Member-only forum: campaigning for an economy that works for children
Date: Tuesday 13th December, 3 - 4.30pm
Free, online
NB: This event is for organisations who are members of either Children England or the 4in10 London Child Poverty Network.

What if the UK economy valued the services and spaces families need - the parks, nurseries and community centres; the public transport infrastructure and clean air - and invested in them accordingly? What if wages and taxation ensured that no one lived below the poverty line, and no household had to cope with precariousness? What if, in short, the economy supported children and the planet they live on to thrive?

Join Children England and the 4in10 London Child Poverty Network to hear from economic experts and campaigners on their work for an economy that supports people, protects the planet and distributes resources more sustainably. At this member-only forum, you can:

  • Hear about the Stop the Squeeze campaign for economic reform
  • Discuss why and how economic reforms could benefit children and families
  • Learn how to challenge current economic narratives, and specific tools to help you advocate for change (without being an economist!)
  • Bring your questions for our speakers Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women's Budget Group, and Tom Railton, Head of External Affairs and Programmes at the Economic Change Unit

Children England member forum: Supporting Muslim-heritage children in care
Date: Thursday 9th February 2023, 11am - 12.30pm
Online, free
NB: this event is for Children England and 4in10 London Child Poverty Network members only.

Join us to hear from My Family Group on their new report, Muslim Heritage Children in Care: Supporting Identity and Wellbeing and discuss how the children and families voluntary sector can play our part in improving support for Muslim-heritage children in care. Muslim-heritage children in care are entering a system which doesn’t acknowledge the key role their faith, cultural, and linguistic background plays in their identity. The report makes recommendations including:
  • anti-racism, cultural competency and faith-sensitive training to be implemented across the care sector
  • uniform systems to capture faith data across the care sector
  • better faith-sensitive support for carers of Muslim-heritage children in care
  • more joined-up, collaborative and strategic working between the care-sector and Muslim organisations
  • commitment to support the mental health of Muslim-heritage children in care
We do hope members will take this opportunity to learn about how the care system can better support children from Muslim backgrounds, and discuss how we can all contribute to improving their experiences and wellbeing.
 
For Children England's current events calendar please
click through to our website.

Up to date lists for our training services are also online, as is a price list for the courses you can request from us. 

Consultations

(new consultations and inquiries are marked in *bold*):


Closing 15th December 2022
Joint Committee on Human Rights: Human rights of asylum seekers in the UK

*Closing 18th January 2023*
Department for Education: Children's social care providers: fees and inspections 2023

*Closing 20th January 2023*
Electoral Commission: Draft Code of Practice for non-party campaigners
The Elections Act 2022 includes new requirements for registration and spending by non-party campaigners. The Act introduces a duty on the Electoral Commission to produce a Code of Practice on the laws relating to non-party campaigner spending, including what qualifies as expenses, reporting controlled expenditure and donations, and joint campaigning. The Code will apply to general elections to the UK Parliament (UKPGE) and Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA). 

*Closing 23rd January 2023*
Department for Education: Changes to the early years educator level 3 criteria

Children England's news bulletin is produced weekly and is designed to keep you up to date with the latest developments in children and families policy.

If you or your organisation have new research, campaigns or policy development in children and families work that you'd like us to share, send us the details and we'll include it in Children England News.
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