Essex County Council Schools, Children & Families Directorate
PO Box 47, County Hall
Ms D Cruickshank
Our ref: ECC-009635-11
Your ref: N/a
Date: 14 February 2011
Dear Ms Cruickshank Your Freedom of Information Request:
I am pleased to enclose the following information, which I believe satisfies your
You requested the answers to the following questions regarding Looked After
Children (LAC) within the care of our local authority. 1) What is the lower age limit of children to whom advocacy services are
There is no lower age limit, we provide non instructed advocacy where required.
2) What is the upper age limit of children to whom advocacy services are
The age range of children to whom advocacy services are offered is 0 -
and up to 25 years for young people with learning disabilities.
3) How many individual referrals for LAC are provided for per year within
the Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
We must reach
at least15% of total looked after population, but there is no upper
4) How many referrals to independent advocacy services in the last year
were made by:
2007-2008 Emergency Planning
The current contract commenced August 2010; therefore the figures below are
from August 2010 to January 2011:
c) Carers (foster or otherwise)
d) Self referral of children
e) Other professional (please specify in this case)
5) Please provide a copy of the SLA with Barnardos.
Please see attachment 1 – Barnardos Final Contract.
6) What is the position if demand for advocacy services by LAC exceeds the
provision in the SLA? Are children then left without access to advocacy
Advocacy would be spot purchased.
7) When does the contract with your current independent advocacy service
Contract end date is 31/3/2012 (+ 1 year option subject to funding) break clause
dates of 28/2/2011 & 30/9/2011.
8) Will the contract be renewed? If not what provision for independent
advocacy will be put in place?
This is a statutory service so will have to be provided in some form at the end of
9) Is independent advocacy used in decision making processes with
children and young people outside of the complaints system? If so, can you
please indicate typical scenarios where advocates may be involved.
Child Protection meetings
Pathway Planning meetings
Personal Education Plans
Service Provision and Planning Consultations
Access to legal advice and support
Family Group Conference
10) In the last year how many complaints received from LAC involved the
child or young person being represented by an independent advocate?
One. 11) What was the total number of complaints from LAC in the past year?
The number of complaints where the child was Looked After was 70. However,
this is not the number of complaints from
Looked After Children as our report
filters does not allow us to separate such data. For example we can report on
how many complaints are from children (not specifying Looked After) or how
many complaints are regarding Looked After Children (not specifying who they
You may reuse all or part of this information free of charge in any format or
medium. You must reuse it accurately and not in a misleading context.
Please contact me if you would like further advice or assistance about your
request or your right to access information held by Essex County Council.
If you are not satisfied with my response to your request, please let me know. If I
am unable to resolve the issue immediately, I will explain our complaints
procedure. If, after following our complaints procedure, you are still not satisfied,
you are entitled to ask the Information Commissioner to review our decision. You
can contact him at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF,
telephone 01625 545700.
Information Governance Officer
Schools, Children and Families Essex County Council
Telephone: 08457 430430