Report of Strategic Director, Children, Adults and Families
The end of year performance update was reported to Committee which provided 2019/20 data up until the end of March. It was noted that due to Covid this report was delayed and therefore does not reflect the full impact of the pandemic.
It was noted that the current strategic indicators are in the process of being reviewed and a new performance framework adopted for the Council.
Overall there are 28 indicators, 15 of which have improved which are mainly in People and Families and Working Together. Tackling inequality still remains a challenge, although that area does have the biggest number of indicators.
In terms of the People and Families theme, performance has improved in both indicators. The percentage of eligible two-year olds accessing their free early learning place has increased and the Gateshead Families initiative target has been achieved with successful outcomes for 1930 families between 2016 and 2020. It was noted that the take-up of two-year old places is at 91% of those eligible, compared to 68% nationally, as last reported. It was also reported that Grove House achieved an Outstanding Ofsted rating.
In relation to the Tackling Inequality outcome, the indicators are linked to education attainment where there have been mixed improvements in relation to KS2 and KS4. In terms of achievements in this area, a successful Christmas hamper campaign was launched which ensured all vulnerable families had everything they needed to provide a Christmas dinner, in addition, a Christmas gift campaign was also launched. A collaborative initiative with Gateshead Leisure Service and Adult Learning and Skills was delivered to incentivise and engage young people not in education, employment or training into healthy activity and accessing the world of training and employment.
It was questioned whether the decline in excess weight in 4-11 year olds is looking like it will continue and what strategies are in place to readdress this. It was confirmed that currently there is nothing which will show the direction that this indicator is going as some schools took measurements before Covid, therefore there will not be a full Gateshead picture. It was agreed that officers would speak to colleagues in Public Health to get a better understanding of the direction of travel in relation to excess weight data.
It was recognised that it is expected there will be more demand for initiatives such as Christmas hampers this year and therefore what plans are in place to address this demand. It was noted that last year hubs did a lot of the deliveries, officers will look at what plans may be in this year and feedback to the Committee.
It was questioned whether the indicators would change once the new reporting format is in place. It was noted that the corporate performance framework is currently being reviewed and that the indicators will not be the same in the future. The current indicators reflected the Vision 2020 plan which were right at the time but going forward there will be a different set of indicators linked the Council priorities. It is expected that the new indicators will be more meaningful and provide more up to date data. Committee felt that some of the current data should be kept under review, in particular the tackling inequality data. It was confirmed that all the data would continue to be tracked but would not necessarily be reported on, although it may be necessary to do some bespoke education indicator reports in the future. It was also noted that the new framework will better reflect priorities and how these have changed as a result of Covid. It was confirmed that Councillors will be engaged in the development of the framework.
Committee raised concerns that the indicator in relation to the percentage of children in low income families has been removed. It was confirmed that this was originally based on government data (tax credits) which government said was not fit for purpose and were reviewing it, however there is no replacement as of yet. Committee agreed this was key and should be included in future reports and questioned whether something locally could be looked at instead of waiting for a government indicator to be developed. It was noted that this has been looked at locally but that there is not a straightforward way of calculating this, generally there is not a lot of data that can be pulled together locally which would produce a meaningful indicator. The data relating to children in poverty is derived from national data sets, which is not held locally, therefore it would not be possible to replicate this indicator. It was agreed that this should be looked at as part of the performance framework review to see what could be produced locally, albeit a breakdown to show part of the picture rather than an amalgamation of data sets.
RESOLVED - (i) That Committee was satisfied the activities
undertaken during October to March 2020 supported delivery of the Thrive agenda.
(ii) That the areas identified by Committee during its
discussion be included in future performance reporting.
(iii) That the Cabinet will consider a composite
performance report at their meeting on 20 October 2020.