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What is Corporate Parenting?

The role that all local authorities play in looking after children is one of the most important things they do, and each has a unique responsibility to the children they look after and their care leavers. They are often referred to as being the ‘corporate parent’ of these children and young people, meaning every Council employee should always ask, "Would this be good enough for my child?".

This means that every Royal Greenwich employee, from elected council members, through to Chief Executive and frontline staff, shares a responsibility towards the children they look after and their care leavers. All children in our care have the same needs as other children, which are to be loved, to be cared for, and to feel safe, and all council employees are expected to do all that is reasonably possible to ensure the council is the best ‘parent’ it can be to them.

Children in our care and care leavers also face unique challenges, with 60 per cent joining our care due to abuse or neglect; this often leads to poorer educational and health outcomes than their peers. Local authorities with a strong corporate parenting ethos recognise that the care system is not just about keeping children safe, but also about promoting recovery, resilience and well-being.

Corporate Parenting Principles

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduced corporate parenting principles, which comprise of seven needs that local authorities in England must have regard to, whenever they exercise a function in relation to children in our care and care leavers.

The Principles

  1. To act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and wellbeing, of children and young people in our care and care leavers.
  2. To encourage those children and young people in our care and care leavers to express their views, wishes and feelings.
  3. To take the views, wishes and feelings of those children and young people in our care and care leavers into account.
  4. To help those children and young people in our care and care leavers gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners.
  5. To promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for those children and young people in our care and care leavers.
  6. For those children and young people in our care and care leavers to be safe, and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work.
  7. To prepare those children and young people in our care and care leavers for adulthood and independent living.

Relevant Royal Greenwich Services

The services that local authorities deliver can be broadly categorised into 14 different types, and the areas where corporate parenting principles are most relevant are:

  • education
  • social care
  • housing
  • libraries
  • leisure and recreation
  • strategic policies (such as health and well-being plans)
  • local tax collection.

Questions Royal Greenwich employees are encouraged to ask themselves:

  • What more could we do to ensure children and young people in our care and care leavers feel listened to and their suggestions acted on?
  • To what extent are the needs and priorities of children and young people in our care and care leavers reflected in local strategic needs assessments, local service provision, and development plans?
  • How can we collectively deliver services to children and young people in our care and care leavers in a way that is joined-up and which supports young people to make a successful transition to adulthood?
  • Are the children and young people in our care and care leavers enjoying happy, fulfilled childhoods and looking forward to their adult lives, with positive foundations and stable relationships? If not, why not and what can we do to address this?
  • How do we know what children and young people in our care and care leavers’ wishes and feelings are, and how do we capture their views?
  • How can we deliver services to children and young people in our care and care leavers in a way that mirrors, as far as possible, the way a good parent would support their child?
  • How can we deliver services in a way that recognises the unique circumstances of children and young people in our care and care leavers?