A summary of the group’s purpose and how it will work.
1. The purpose of the Programme Board is to work collectively to consider evidence and develop proposals for implementing the Programme for Government commitment to ‘Eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children’.
Background and context to the programme
2. The First Minister and the Deputy Minister for Social Services are clear that the ‘Eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children’ Programme for Government commitment is a top priority for delivery during this Senedd term. The commitment itself builds on the long-held view of Ministers that private profit be removed from the care of looked after children and aligns with calls made by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales and Voices from Care. Further, children themselves have expressed upset at being looked after by profit making organisations, that they feel ‘bought and sold’.
3. The Deputy Minister for Social Services set out her thinking on this commitment at a Senedd Plenary debate in 2021. The Deputy Minister has also made this statement:
Eliminating profit making from the care of looked after children is one of the highest priorities for this Government. We believe that public care should mean that children are cared for by local authorities or other not for profit providers where social values and the best interests of, and outcomes for, children are the overriding motives.
Scope of the programme
4. The initial focus of this work will be on the private provision of residential care for children, and independent sector foster care.
5. The provision of public/not-for-profit foster, Kinship and Special Guardianship placements are inextricably linked to the delivery of this commitment. The wider Programme for Government commitments place an emphasis on increasing the focus on keeping families together. Where children cannot remain with birth parents, we want to increase the use of Kinship and Special Guardianship arrangements where it is possible and in the best interests of the child to do so.
6. Over time, the Programme will broaden to encompass the removal of profit from supported accommodation for care leavers and care at home for disabled children.
Role of the Chair
7. The Board will be chaired by the Chief Social Care Officer for Wales, Albert Heaney who will be supported by a Programme Team.
8. The Chair will be supported by a Deputy Chair who is Alistair Davey, Deputy Director, Enabling People Division, Social Services and Integration Directorate.
9. The Chair will highlight and direct areas of work to deliver the purpose.
10. The Chair will provide a challenge function and act as a critical friend to all Board Members to enable them to make appropriate recommendations.
11. The Chair is accountable for the delivery of the Programme and holds responsibility for decisions put to Ministers. The Chair is accountable to the Deputy Minister for Social Services and the First Minister for progress and delivery.
12. The Programme Board comprises Members and Attendees as required. Members will be involved in all decisions required. Attendees will not be directly involved in decisions but provide the Board with advice and guidance when necessary.
13. The Programme Board will meet quarterly, avoiding the Summer period where possible.
14. There will be occasions where certain agenda items will be discussed only with Board Members, for example, decisions about resourcing. Where this is the case, it will be clearly identified on the agenda of the Programme Board and on the papers for those items.
15. The Programme Board will ensure that full account is taken of all interdependencies, opportunities and challenges presented to deliver a coherent Programme.
Role of Programme Board members
16. Board Members are expected to work collectively to provide advice and guidance to the Chair (and Programme Team). Board Members will be expected to communicate with relevant colleagues in their organisations and, within Welsh Government, their Director General areas and ensure that, where required, their staff commit sufficient time to contribute effectively to the Programme recognising this may involve discussion on priorities.
17. Members of the Board will be expected to provide advice which enables decisions to be taken. Board Members cannot work in isolation from each other; building constructive relationships across the whole membership of the Board is necessary to delivering the Programme.
18. Given the nature and content of the discussions the Board will have, Members of the Board will be expected to treat all Board discussions as confidential. However, a summary of key issues discussed will be developed after every meeting of the Board by the secretariat for wider circulation.
Programme Board attendees
19. The Chair and Board Members can suggest Attendees to participate for specific items. Attendees will have an information, advice and guidance role and can provide a challenge function. They will not have a decision-making role. Attendees may be representing external organisations that will have a role in the delivery of the Programme.
20. Board Members and Attendees will provide visible leadership and commitment by attending all Programme Board meetings and creating an environment in which the Programme will thrive.
21. Observers can request or be invited to Board meetings, but prior approval must be sought from the Chair.
22. If a Board Member or Attendee is unable to attend a meeting, a substitute should be considered, and the Programme Team notified beforehand.
Programme Board secretariat (Programme Management team)
23. The Programme Team is comprised of members of the Improving Outcomes for Children team, Social Services and Integration Directorate.
24. The Programme Team will ensure that information is provided to Board Members in a timely manner to enable them to provide advice.
25. There may be times when the Board will need to be convened exceptionally to deal with specific decisions or issues. In certain circumstances, Board Members and if appropriate Attendees will receive papers for their consideration ‘out of committee’.
26. Updates will be provided to Board Members and Attendees with details of progress of the Programme.
27. Secretariat services will be provided by the Programme Team. Papers for the Board will be provided to all Members and Attendees at least three working days before meetings.
Programme Board tasks
28. The Programme Board is responsible for a range of tasks including:
- programme administration
- policy development
- policy considerations
- programme delivery
29. Agree these Terms of Reference or propose additional or replacement Terms that achieve the purpose.
30. Review these Terms of Reference every three months.
31. At each Programme Board meeting, consider, advise on, agree and regularly review the Programme Board’s Risk Register, Communication Plan and Integrated Impact Assessment.
32. Assess and consider the Programme’s potential to succeed within the wider policy context.
33. Regularly review the arrangements for leading, managing and monitoring the Programme and ensuring that links are made to other projects and programmes (internal and external to the Welsh Government).
34. Continually check that the provision for financial and other resources is being actively managed for the Programme and that, as far as possible, activity plans are realistic, properly resourced with sufficient people of appropriate experience, and authorised;
35. Consider use of funding which is proposed to be made available to bring in subject matter experts as required.
36. To communicate key messages about the Programme within the Welsh Government and externally.
37. Confirm the successful delivery of the Programme and 'sign-off' at the particular stages of the Programme including Programme closure.
38. When papers are circulated out of committee all members are expected to consider the papers and respond.
39. Develop a Communications Plan which sets the context for the Programme and includes:
- the best interests, outcomes for and rights and entitlements of children and young people
- the messages from children themselves about receiving care and support in a for-profit environment
- the avoidance of disruption to children.
40. Consider evidence and data which describes the operation of the private sector children’s care homes provision including, for example, statistical analyses and documentation and the placement location of Welsh children in care. This will include Board Members and Attendees sharing expertise and experience relating to the provision of private sector children’s care homes.
41. Consider and make recommendations for additional and/or bespoke data and evidence analyses/papers.
42. Consider issues and topics for achieving the purpose. These include:
- The significant investment needed to build the capacity of the public/not for profit children’s care homes sector.
- The use of Foster Wales, our public/not for profit fostering scheme and potential Third sector fostering arrangements.
- The provision of specialist, therapeutic care including health, education and other wraparound support.
- Any requirement for legislative action, for example, the greater use of [footnote 1] section 16 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and re-focussing the Part 2 Code of Practice (General Functions) in relation to children’s services commissioning strategies and the use of social enterprises, co-operatives, user-led services and the Third sector.
- Any requirement for legislative changes relating to the registration of children’s care homes, both currently registered and new registrations.
- For any legislation to be sufficiently flexible to cover the full range of care, support and accommodation provision (see paragraph 5).
- Links to the delivery of the Programme for Government commitments including but not limited to:
- Explore radical reform of current services for looked after children and care leavers
- Legislate to deliver better integrated care and health, paying attention to the responses to our White Paper on Rebalancing Care and Support
- Launch a National Social Care Framework
43. Consider any barriers to achieving the purpose. These include:
- The for-profit business models of private sector providers.
- The sufficient provision of public/not-for-profit foster, Kinship and Special Guardianship placements.
- Destabilising children’s placements and risks to children achieving good outcomes.
44. Delivery arrangements for the Programme will entail a phased approach and will be co-produced with Board Members. Programme Board Members will be required to:
- Lead work streams. The four work streams are:
Work stream 1
To identify and advise the Eliminating Private Profit from the Care of Looked after Children Programme Board on action to be taken to expand, and develop new, local authority/ regional and not for profit provision of residential and foster care placements. Chaired by Sally Jenkins.
Work stream 2
To identify and advise the Eliminating Private Profit from the Care of Looked after Children Programme Board on action to be taken to expand, and develop new, not for profit provision of residential and foster care placements. Chaired by Keith Edwards.
Work stream 3
To identify and advise the Eliminating Private Profit from the Care of Looked after Children Programme Board on action to be taken to support existing independent/ private sector providers of residential and foster care placements to transition to a not-for-profit model.
Work stream 4
To identify and advise the Eliminating Private Profit from the Care of Looked after Children Programme Board on action to be taken to minimise the impact of the proposed changes on individual children and young people.
- Develop a stakeholder communications plan including content, methods and frequency.
- Develop a timetabled implementation plan which draws on the Policy development and Policy considerations items.
- Lead and implement the agreed changes which deliver the Programme’s purpose.
- Propose arrangements for post-implementation review and evaluation.
Programme Board membership
Albert Heaney, Chief Social Care Officer for Wales
Alistair Davey, Deputy Director, Enabling Peoples, Social Services and Integration Directorate
Care Inspectorate Wales
Children’s Commissioning Consortium Cymru (the 4Cs)
Wales NHS National Clinical Commissioning Unit
CAMHS Adviser to Welsh Government and the Chief Medical Officer
Welsh Third sector fostering agencies/National Fostering Framework/Foster Wales/SME Representation
Sarah Thomas – AFA Cymru
Sam Frith-Jones – AFA Cymru
Brigitte Gater – Action for Children
Sue Richardson – Cariad Fostering
Sarah Thomas – The Fostering Network
Suzanne Griffiths – Foster Wales
Independent Care Homes Association
Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers
Independent Care Home Providers
Darryl Williams - Woodlands Ltd
Paul Thomas - Landsker
Dan Svensson – Keys Group
Children’s Commissioner for Wales
Voices from Care
National Commissioning Board
Chair of Workstreams 2 and 3
Welsh Government officials
Penny Hall, Head, Improving Outcomes for Children team
Clar Diamond, Improving Outcomes for Children team
Tracy Dunning, Improving Outcomes for Children team
Jasmin Jordan, Improving Outcomes for Children team
Matt Jenkins, Deputy Director, Futures and Integration Division
Jonathan Griffiths, Transformation Director Children and Adults Services
Shelley Davies, Head, Partnership & Integration
Huw Gwyn Jones, Senior Policy Manager, Rebalancing Care & Support
Matt Downton, Head, Mental Health and Vulnerable Groups
Jonathan Price, Chief Economist (financial modelling)
Mike Lubienski/Chloe Marong, Social care lawyer
Claire Germain, Local Government Policy
Judith Cole, Local Government Finance
 Extract - A local authority must promote:
- the development in its area of social enterprises to provide care and support and preventative services
- the development in its area of co-operative organisations or arrangements to provide care and support and preventative services
- the involvement of persons for whom care and support or preventative services are to be provided in the design and operation of that provision
- the availability in its area of care and support and preventative services from third sector organisations.