§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what definition he uses of the term corporate parents. 
§ Jacqui Smith
[holding answer 25 November 2002]I have been asked to reply.
Corporate parenting refers to the parenting role that councils and therefore councillors take on when they look after a child or young person. Corporate parenting represents the amalgam of functions vested in councils with social services responsibilities by the relevant sections of Part IV of the Children Act 1989. The role does not apply only to the social services department but to the council as a whole on a corporate basis.
The then Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Frank Dobson), used the term when he wrote to all councillors at the launch of the Quality Protects programme in 1998. He said:For children looked after, your council has a legal and moral duty to try to provide the kind of support that any good parents would give to their children… the underlying message for you as a local councillor is straightforward: you should do your utmost to make sure that children in the public care get a good start in life. You need to be able to live up to the Government's expectations of local authorities as corporate parents.