Report of the Group Director of People
The Assistant Director of Children’s Services submitted a report (previously circulated) to provide Members with an update on performance against key performance indicators.
The submitted report provided Quarter2 (Q2) (July to September 2022) performance information in line with an indicator set agreed by the Monitoring and Co-ordination Group and subsequently by each individual Scrutiny Committee.
The submitted report also highlighted where Children and Young People were performing well and where there was a need to improve. It was also outlined that where indicators are reported annually, quarterly updates will not be available.
It was highlighted that 84.4 per cent of referrals were screened and completed within 1 day during Q2 and although below the target of 90 per cent, this was a continuing improvement when compared with previous quarters; 15.3 per cent of the children referred during Q2 had been re-referred to Children’s Social Care within 12 months of a previous referral, which was below the threshold of 18 per cent and an improvement on the same period last year; 100 per cent of children with a Child Protection (CP) plan, and 100 per cent of Children in Care (CiC) had an allocated social worker; 100 per cent of children with a Child Protection (CP) plan, and 98.9 per cent of Children in Care (CiC) had their reviews completed within timescale; no child ceased to be subject to a CP plan during Q2 who had been subject to the plan for two or more years, positively reducing the cumulative performance measure to below the target of 5 per cent to 4.7 per cent; as of September 2022, no child open to CP had been on their plan for more than 18 months; and no child became subject to a CP plan for a second or subsequent time within two years of the previous plan ending during Q2 positivity reducing the cumulative performance measure lower to 8.1 per cent.
It was reported that 286 Children were in care at the end of September 2022, 13 of which were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children compared to 273 children, excluding UASC, in care at the end of September 2022, an increase from 266 at the end of September 2021 but a decrease from 302 at the end of September 2020; 24.2 per cent of the children ceasing to be in care did so due to being adopted, 42.3 per cent had a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) / Child Arrangement Order (CAO) granted to a relative and 12.1 per cent returned home to their parent; 72.4 per cent of children due a review health assessment and 40.7 per cent of Children in Care that were due a dental check assessment by September 2022 had had one completed; the percentage of children who had refused their medical checks had positively decreased throughout the year, with 5.7 per cent refusing their health review and 1.9 per cent refusing their dental review.
In relation to Care Leavers it was reported that 19.6 per cent of our care Leavers, aged 19-21 and 19.6 per cent of our care leavers, aged 22-25, years were not in employment, education, or training (NEET) which was positivity below target of 30 per cent; 98.2 per cent of care leavers aged 19-21 and 96.1 per cent aged 22-25, were in suitable accommodation; and 58.9 per cent of our care leavers, aged 19-21 and 68.6 per cent of our care leavers, aged 22-25 were in training or employment as of September 2022, and 21.4 per cent of those aged 19-21 were engaging in education, 10.7 per cent in studies beyond A level with 11.8 per cent of those aged 22-25 years also engaging in education; and 7.8 per cent were in studies beyond A level.
Areas highlighted for improvement were in relation to Children and Families Assessments, 68.1 per cent of assessments had been completed within timescale in Q2, however there had been a reduction in the timeliness of the written aspect of the assessments, although there was an increase in the number of assessments required compared to previous quarters; 87.2 per cent of Initial Child Protection Conferences (ICPC) were held within 15 working days from the strategy meeting / section 47 being initiated, excluding transfer-in conferences, during Q2 2022/23. Although we are below the internal target of 95%, this is an improvement on the timeliness seen in Q1 2022/23 (75.0 per cent) and Q2 2021/22 (78.8 per cent) both of which saw less conferences being held during the quarter; 62.2 per cent of children received a statutory CP visit within 10 working days during Q2 which was negatively below the internal target of 90 per cent; and 85.2 per cent of statutory CiC visits were completed within timescale during Q2 which was negatively below the internal target of 90 per cent.
It was also highlighted that 11.9 per cent of Children in Care, as of September 2022 had had three or more placements within the previous 12 months, which was negatively above our internal target (10 per cent); 63.3 per cent of Children in Care aged under 16 (who have been looked after for at least 2.5 years) had been in their current placement continuously for at least two years as of September 2022, which was negatively below our internal target (68 per cent); and 11.1 per cent of Children in Care had needed to be placed 20 or more miles away from home as of September 2022 which was negatively above the target of 10 per cent, but all placements had been confirmed by team managers to be appropriate for the child enabling them to have the best support either with family links or specialised care.
Discussion ensued on the concerns around placement stability and the availability of long term placements; and Members discussed the challenges anticipated as a consequence of the cost of living crisis and Christmas and that more families will be in need of help in the new year.
The Assistant Director of Children’s Services referred to the ongoing issue of recruitment and retention of Foster Carers and advised Members of discussions ongoing for a regional approach to fostering and recruitment. He also advised Members of a review of Children’s residential services which was to be reported on at a future meeting of this Scrutiny Committee.
RESOLVED – That the performance information reported for quarter 2 be noted.