Agenda item

Quarter 3 Integrated Performance Report

Quarterly performance updates presented to the Committee by Johnny Kyriacou, Director of Education.


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Johnny Kyriacou, Director of Education presented the quarterly performance updates to the Committee, including and overview of the performance for quarter 3 – April to December 2023. 


The Committee noted that all the information was available in the report and was presented as part of the full report to cabinet on 15th February 2024.  It was noted that 51% of the Key Business Measures relevant to the committee are on track.


The following points were highlighted –


·           There has been an increase in the demand on services due to the cost-of-living crisis and the increase in mental health issues.  It was noted that this is a national trend.


·           In relation to the number of children with a Child Protection Plan, it was confirmed that the number is reducing and moving closed to the target.  The number is currently 396 child protection plans in place and the target is 330.


·           There has been a 20% increase in the number of referrals to the Front Door Service.


·           The total number of Children in Care stood at 693 and this includes Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC).  This was confirmed to be slighter higher than predicted, but lower than both the national figure and Warwickshire’s statistical neighbours.


·           In relation to the SEND service, it was confirmed that the performance remains on track and is consistently positive.


Councillor Penny-Anne O’Donnell referred to the report and the increases in demand and costs, asking if recruitment and retention of staff were issues.  Nigel Minns, Executive Director for Children and Young People stated that recruitment and retention were issues reflected nationally across the public sector and are particularly for local authorities and the NHS.  It was confirmed that one key challenge is pay and how staff are rewarded.  The appeal of working as an agency member of staff is hard for local authorities to address as the opportunities are different, including how staff work.  Agency staff are very expensive.


John Coleman, Director of Children and Families confirmed that there is currently a specific programme at Warwickshire County Council around growing our own Social Workers including an apprenticeship scheme for current family support workers.  The programme aims to have approximately 50 apprentices working towards becoming Social Workers. 


The Committee noted that officers know where some of the issues are with retention and that is around child protection and court work which can be extremely difficult.  There is wrap around support for workers, including counselling for the emotional impact. A new process has been introduced with an additional £3k salary for those roles.  It was confirmed that 10 people have already be appointed which means a reduction in the use of agency staff.  Officers are approaching college students to encourage them to apply to the council once they have finished their studies. 


Following a question from Councillor Chris Mills in relation to obesity in children, it was confirmed that this on the increase and in particular in Year 6 children (10 to 11 years old).  Shade Agboola, Director for Public Health confirmed that Warwickshire is still below the national average in this area but that this risk of obesity is going up; perhaps as a result of the impact of the pandemic.  It was confirmed that this area has been prioritised as a key objective for the team over the next 12 months.  The Chair requested a briefing note on the pathways for obesity and it was confirmed that a guide will be circulated to the committee.  It was noted that referrals are often to a bespoke, local service.


Councillor Jerry Roodhouse raised concerns that the number of hospital admissions in relation to self-harm are increasing and asked if data was being analysed to identify any emerging trends in order to create a better understanding of service demands.  Shade Agboola confirmed that a briefing note in relation to this had been shared with the Committee and that updated data was currently no available due to a change in the reporting methodology.  It was noted that the national information currently being used was leading to Warwickshire appearing to be at a higher level but that once the new methodology is in place, the improved comparable data is likely to show an improvement in Warwickshire’s performance.


Nigel Minns continued, stating that predictive analytical information is an area for the council to develop but it has been found to be unreliable in some areas.  It was confirmed that the council has specialists looking at a range of tools and that a briefing note would be produced for the committee.  Councillor Kam Kaur, Portfolio Holder for Education added that real time and targeted data are areas that the council is working on and improving.  The work underway involves working with system users to make sure that they get the best out of each system.  It was confirmed that this work will be completed soon and will not take years.  Following a question from Councillor Tim Sinclair, it was confirmed that there are peer groups that the council is part of, with other local authorities to discuss how technology can be best used in each authority.




That the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee considers and comments on the Integrated Performance Report for Quarter 3 2023/24 contained within this Report and Appendices.

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