Agenda item

Performance - Quarter 4 2016/17

(To receive a report from Sally Savage, Chief Commissioning Officer – Children's Services, which provides key performance information for Quarter 4 2016/17 that is relevant to the work of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.  Please note that Appendix D to this report contains exempt information under Paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, and discussion of this information could result in the exclusion of the press and public)


Consideration was given to a report from Debbie Barnes, Executive Director of Children's Services, which provided the Committee with key performance information for Quarter 4 2016/17, relevant to the work of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.


Attached to the report were the following Appendices:-


·         Appendix A – Council Business Plan Measures;

·         Appendix B – Complaints and Compliments report;

·         Appendix C – Ofsted School Status report;

·         Appendix D – Performance Monitoring of Contracts - Exempt


The Committee was reminded that Appendix D to the report contained exempt information, and if the Committee wished to discuss details pertaining to Appendix D, a vote would need to be taken to move into exempt session.


In guiding the Committee through the report the Executive Director of Children's Services made particular reference to indicators that had not been achieved/or were improving, but not achieved, these were:-


·         Page 39 - Juvenile first time offenders – It was noted that the figure for Lincolnshire was 266 actual young people for the period October 2015 – September 2016, this figure had been higher that the target figure of 203, but was a reduction on previous numbers.  The Committee was advised that the Council had launched a new diversionary project in Lincolnshire in conjunction with Lincolnshire Police.  Through joint co-operation between both services, young people who offended for the first time and accepted that they had committed the offence, would be diverted through local panels that would try to prevent young people from getting a criminal record.  It was hoped that the restorative justice process would prevent young people obtaining a criminal record that would affect their future, which in turn would help reduce the number of first time entrants and reduce re-offending as the impact  of the young person engaging in restorative work instead of just accepting a caution was positive;

·         Page 49 – Looked After Children – It was reported that there were 684 children looked after in Lincolnshire at the end of March 2017, which had been an increase on the previous quarter.  It was highlighted that more work needed to be done to understand the cause of the increase.  It was highlighted further that the rate per 10,000 was still lower than similar authorities, and the England average;

·         Page 51 – Children who are subject to a child protection plan – It was reported that Quarter 4 had seen an increase in the number of children subject to a child protection plan.  It was noted that the target had remained the same as the previous year, which reflected the work around Early Help, which was the intervention and support put in place to help children and their families.  The increase was considered to reflect seasonal variations;

·         Page 60 – Achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers at Key Stage 4 - It was highlighted that although the target had not been achieved, it was performing better than this time last year, which had reduced the gap between the Council's disadvantaged pupils and their peers at Key Stage 4.  The Committee was advised that work was being done with academies to share best practice.  It was noted that the Council only had an influencing role in respect of this matter;

·         Page 62 – Pupils aged 16 – 18 participating in learning – The Committee noted that difficulties had been experienced in obtaining data from independent learning providers.  It was noted further that previously this information would have been supplied by the careers service, but as this service has been de-commissioned there was no remedial action that could be taken.  Officers advised that the service at present had no capacity to improve the indicator; and

·         Page 64 – Participating in learning age 16 – The Committee was advised that the indicator measured young people who went into full time education and training, Apprenticeships, Employment combined with training.  As with the previous indicator, the service had experienced issues obtaining data as a result of the careers service being de-commissioned.


During discussion, the Committee raised the following issues:-


·         Page 49 - Factors that have influenced the rise in number of Looked After Children.  Officers advised that Case Law factors, changing demographics of the County, changing family dynamics, had had an influence on the numbers, particularly with the issue of homelessness for 2016/17.  For example, once a local authority had had an input in to a case i.e., placed with a relative, this must now be regulated under the law which meant that the relative was treated as a foster carer.  It was highlighted that this had had a huge impact on budgets; 

·         Page 60 – Ways to incentivise the sector led approach to children's social care.  Officers advised that this was being looked at as Lincolnshire was a Partners in Practice Authority.  As part of this, a Care2learn project was being implemented.  Once the pilot had concluded, it would be evaluated, and steps would be taken to look at scaling the programme up for looked after children; 

·         A question was asked as to why the Department for Education data was being used for this indicator, instead of live data (exclusions data).  The Executive Director of Children's Services agreed to look into this matter; and

·         Page 39 - A question was asked as to whether the juvenile offenders were known to the Council.  Officers confirmed that a lot were known to the local authority; it was hoped that the Restorative Panel would prevent young offenders obtaining a criminal record and would help break the pattern of re-offending, with the help of Team Around the Child and Early Help.  The Committee was advised that if the victim was in agreement then a restorative face to face meeting in some circumstances could be found to be beneficial.  Officers advised that the results of the pilot would be reported back to the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.  One member highlighted the need for preventative work as well as restorative work.  A further concern was raised with regard to the seriousness of the crime.  Officers reassured the Committee that the Police were instrumental in the process of deciding who should be referred to the Panel.


During consideration of Appendix B – Customer Satisfaction Information, a concern was raised pertaining to the number of complaints being referred to the Ombudsman during Quarter 2 of 16/17; and if in the future any cases had been found to be ruled against the authority, that the Scrutiny Committee should have the opportunity to consider these cases.  Officers advised that the peak in Quarter 2 was as a result of Home to School Transport challenges, all of which had been mainly dismissed by the Ombudsman.


At this point in the meeting it was moved, seconded and




That in accordance with Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for consideration of Appendix D to the report on the grounds that if they were present there could be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.


The Chairman invited Members of the Committee to ask questions in relation to Appendix D of the report and officers responded to questions raised.




That the Performance for Quarter 4 2016/17 be received by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee; and that officers note the comments raised by the Committee.

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