To receive the Children’s Social Care and Education Dashboards.
The Director for Early Help and Children’s Social Care introduced the dashboard which detailed activities of the service and it was noted that:
Members took the opportunity to ask questions
The Chair commented that it was heartening given the level of disruption that had occurred in the last year that there remained stability in the service and that the leadership team had line of sight of issues that had been flagged on the dashboard. Officers said that this was a testament to the dedication and commitment of the social work staff and the journey that the department had undergone in terms of performance in the last year.
A question was raised on social workers caseloads and if the current figures of 16 maximum was acceptable. Officers said that the department worked on a basis of 16 cases across statutory services in order for social workers to manage caseloads safely and deliver on service need. This was in comparison to other local authorities who has caseloads of approximately 19/20, it was important to keep caseloads at as low as level as possible due to complexities presented.
A Member suggested that going forward, the dashboard be presented on screen for the benefit of people watching at home. This suggestion was endorsed by all Members.
The Interim Director of Education introduced the dashboard which detailed activities of the service and it was noted that:
A Member asked for better understating of the rise in Elective Home Education and questioned whether it may not necessarily be temporary or as a direct result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Further information such as statistical information and comparison with other LA’s was sought and how this would impact financially and in terms of resources in an area where statutory role was limited. Officers said that there had been a rise in Elective Home education prior to the pandemic and in the last 10 months there had been substantial increase. The dashboard presented with contained an oversight of figures and a briefing that had been shared with the Children’s Safeguarding Board on this matter could be shared with the Sub-Committee. The main reason behind the rise in numbers in the last 10 months was due to the pandemic and anxiety around rising number of Covid cases. In order to maintain oversight on the situation, a member of staff had been redeployed into post to track whether there were changes in figures when the country was fully out of lockdown and Covid measures and were relaxed.
The Chair thanked officers for the report.
Request for Information
· Briefing on Elective Home Education, including data and benchmarked figures
The Sub-Committee came to the following Conclusions: