Report of the Strategic Director of Care, Wellbeing and Learning
Committee received a report on the year end assessment of performance and delivery for the period 1 October 2018 to 31 March 2019 in relation to the Council’s Thrive agenda.
For children and families 31 overarching strategic indicators have been identified to measure performance in respect of the Thrive agenda, 19 of which have improved (58%). The indicators fall under the following three thrive pledges;
· Put people and families at the heart of everything we do
· Tackle inequality so people have a fair chance
· Work together and fight for a better future for Gateshead
In terms of the ‘putting people and families at the heart of everything we do’ pledge it was reported that Complex Child in Need and Wrap around service has now embedded a model for safeguarding teenagers. This is showing positive signs of how the service is working with these young people. Another achievement is that the service restructure within Assessment and Intervention has reduced the number of potential changes in Social Workers. All three actions identified in the last report have all progressed as anticipated.
Actions for the next six months in relation to this pledge include the development of forums within Children and Families Service to gain views of families, and using online tools to gather families feedback for service improvement within Early Help.
Under the ‘tackle inequality so people have a fair chance’ pledge improvements have been made for six of the indicators but declined for seven. It was noted that reporting and oversight of children’s issues through the Health and Wellbeing Board has improved. Public Health has been working on tackling smoking in pregnancy through a task and finish group. Training has also been undertaken to schools to ensure children and young people with hearing and vision impairment can be supported to have equal access to the curriculum. It was reported that the development of the audit process within Children and Families and Early Help and the writing of plans will continue to be developed following the feedback from the last Ofsted inspection. In terms of work over the next six months this will focus on the updating of core practice standards for Social Work and Early Help staff to build consistency of practice for families.
In relation to the ‘work together to fight for a better future for Gateshead’ improvements have been made for all seven indicators. Following service restructures and reviews this has resulted in empowering families through an improved Child in Need offer. There has also been a safe reduction in the number of children who are looked after and subject to a Child Protection Plan. It was acknowledged that there is still more to do regarding the development of the Domestic Abuse Service, however the service has received favourable feedback at the last Ofsted inspection. In relation to the actions for the next six months it is proposed that the service builds on the work from the Team Around the School model, linking mental health professionals to schools. Work will also be undertaken with Adult Mental Health Services to see how work with parents who need specialist services can be improved. There will also be the development of the Reducing Parental Conflict programme.
Further information was requested with regards to the decline in the Progress 8 scores of vulnerable children. It was agreed that further information would be sought on this and reported back.
Committee was concerned at the decline in the number of children being offered a place at their preferred primary school, which is often due to outside decisions around house building. In particular the impact on poverty when people do not obtain a place at their local school. It was agreed that this question would be raised with the service and reported back.
It was questioned whether there are any cost implications in relation to the reduction of LAC. It was explained that these families will still be receiving services, albeit not in the Child Protection framework, therefore resources are being used differently at the edge of care. A report on the edge of care work is due back to Committee in the Autumn.
It was questioned what is happening now the Young Carers Contract has ceased. It was confirmed that support is still available through Gateshead Carers and Crossroad Carers.
Committee was concerned about the level of smoking in expectant mothers. It was reported that a lot of work is ongoing with the early help team, 0-19 public health nursing team and maternity services. A Task and Finish Group has been set up to look at what other support can be provided to expectant mothers. A number of the 0-19 team have been trained as smoking cessation advisors and training in very brief advice has been offered to the early help team. It was noted that there has been a reduction in the figures for quarter 3 for 2018/19 when compared with the same quarter for 2017/18 but this is not necessarily a trend. Committee requested that a further report on smoking in expectant mothers be brought back to a future meeting, looking also at whether there is any correlation with low birth weight.
The decline in the reduction of excess weight in 4-5 year olds was raised as a concern. It was acknowledged that the increase equates to 11 children and that work is in progress by the lead 0-19 service around breastfeeding and healthy weight and nutrition. There is also the whole system approach to healthy weight which has been agreed by the Committee.
Committee requested that further information be brought back to the next meeting around the declined educational indicators, when there is an officer from education in attendance.
RESOLVED - (i) Committee was satisfied that the activities undertaken
during October 2018 to March 2019 are achieving the desired outcomes, in making Gateshead a place where everyone thrives.
(ii) The areas noted above were identified by Committee
as requiring more detail and further scrutiny.
(iii) Committee noted that Cabinet will consider a
composite performance report at their meeting on 16 July 2019.