"Would this be good enough for my child?" Our role as corporate parents
By Cllr Jenny Bullen, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families
At Wigan Council we have been challenging ourselves about what it means to be a good corporate parent.
The term ‘Corporate Parent’ refers to our special responsibilities for care experienced children and young people and simply means that we should provide the best possible support and care for children as if they were our own children (or nephews, nieces, best friends child or godchild!)
Every elected member and member of staff employed by Wigan Council are corporate parents and this is a role that I value tremendously.
To ensure we deliver our responsibilities to the highest possible standard we have been asking ourselves: “Would this be good enough for my child?”
We kicked this challenge off by hosting a big event for senior leaders at the council. Its aims were:
- For attendees to have a clear understanding of our role as corporate parents and understand what really matters to our cared for children and young people
- Show how we are currently supporting Wigan’s children in care and care leavers and how we can go further to support them
- To set out clear priorities in relation to this work and how we can better work together
- For attendees to make a pledge to our young people.
Colleagues left the session with a greater understanding of what being a corporate parent is and how we can all fulfil our duty as corporate parents.
Those who attended made pledges to which they are being held accountable to. For example, one council director pledged that if the care leavers hub needed anything to improve it, then we could deploy some of our tradesmen to do this. How fantastic is that?
We are ensuring that this momentum is not lost. We have recorded all the pledges made in to one place and we are tracking them and holding all to account!
We also heard directly from our children and young people and that was incredibly powerful. We are doing so much but there is more we can be doing to improve their experiences.
These photos show colleagues working hard to set the budget they would have if they were a care leaver, gaining a real understanding of how difficult it can be for some of our young people.
Later that day, we also held a session with our elected members on their role as corporate parents. This session was brokered with support from the LGA and was delivered by Cllr Sarah Russell, Deputy Mayor from Leicester City Council and our Democratic Services Team. Members left the session with a better understanding of their role as corporate parents and fed back that the session was valuable.
Posted on Wednesday 11th May 2022