The Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care and Disabilities presented a report outlining a 3-year Strategy for babies, children and young families entitled the Best Chance 0-25 Partnership Strategy which had been developed by the Council and its partners with the aim of giving young people every opportunity to live their best lives and reach their full potential. This against the backdrop of living in the most deprived borough in London, exacerbated by a general lack of investment, widening inequalities following Covid and now the cost-of-living crisis.
As part of the process key stakeholders were spoken to which allowed for the Partnership to describe its collective strengths, address key challenges, identify opportunities, and capture quick wins along the way. This collective vision led to the Partnership agreeing a set of strategic outcomes of ‘We want our babies, children and young people to:
· get the best start, be healthy, be happy and achieve;
· thrive in inclusive schools and settings, in inclusive communities;
· be safe and secure, free from neglect, harm and exploitation; and
· grow up to be succession young adults.
The presentation set out five Partnership pledges which the Cabinet Member outlined explaining the meaning of each.
A governance structure had also been drawn up to allow the Partnership to work together as a system, streamlining governance arrangements and holding partners to account. This would be coordinated by the ‘Best Chance 0-25 Partnership’ a newly created group reporting to the Borough Partnership, and which would own the strategic vision for babies, children and young people in the borough, shaping action plans to deliver the strategy and monitor progress against the outcomes framework.
The Cabinet Member set out a summary of the next steps and concluded that the strategy represented a statement of intent and a step forward in a journey to make Barking & Dagenham a great place to grow up. She concluded the presentation that it was the Council’s collective mission to realise the brightest future for our babies, children and young people, and to give them the best chance in life.
In response to the presentation Members welcomed the report, its ambitions and collaborative and holistic approach to doing the best for our young people. A point was raised about partnership resources and funding to which the Cabinet Member responded that the approach was developed on the basis of all partners working together, understanding each other’s plans around resources and ensuring any funding gaps are filled, rather than leaving it to the Council to address and fund. The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration added that the strategy represented a new way of working which did not necessarily mean the need for more resources and funding.
Accordingly, the Assembly resolved to endorse the Barking & Dagenham Best Chance Strategy 2022-25 as set out at Appendix 1 to the report, including the proposed governance arrangements.