The Director of
Children’s Social Care introduced the Early Help and
Children’s Social Care Dashboard and the following was
- It was encouraging that
children were able to return to school at the beginning of term.
There has been a notable and expected rise in referrals as schools
were the main referrers to social care. As a result, there had been
a rise in the volume of assessments.
- The recent Ofsted visit
was positive as the remained impressed with staff. Morale remained
good despite challenges.
- Practice week had taken
place at the end of July despite challenges presented by
Covid. It was important that staff had
the opportunity to showcase their work.
- The Children in Care
Council ‘Empire’ had provide a successful programme of
summer activities for young people in the Borough and their hard
work and effort was commendable.
The Interim Director of
Education introduced the Education Dashboard and the following was
- It was important to
note that the dashboard showed zero across the data for August due
to children not being in school during that time.
- Children with Education
health and Care Plans remained an areas of priority with focus on
provision of education in borough. The data for August appears to
show that there were less children in schools in the Borough, this
was mainly as a result of late reporting.
- Further conversations
needed to take place on how data will be presented going
A question was raised
on the data presented in the social work team which showed to be in
Green in terms of cases per social worker but there was little
improvement in performance. It was asked if the correct formula was
being used for the data set. Officers said that the formula used
was correct as it differentiated between new and qualified social
workers. The issues with meeting performance targets on visits was
around organisation as in some instances visits could not take
place due to difficulties making contact with families. Referral
numbers had increased in Croydon as well as nationally. Every re
referral case in the month of September was being reviewed to
understand what the nature of new requests were and to check
appropriateness of the re referral, the similarities or differences
to the initial referral, the time frame and what was offered to the
Officers added that
assessment completion figures were below target and some of this
was attributed to long term vacancies in the department, with
issues around CIN visits being an organisational as well as
Percentage of Early
Help cases had stepped up and was quite high, as the early help
intervention which would be the first intervention deployed may not
be enough and social work intervention may be more appropriate due
to the risks presented.
Children subject to CP
for a second time, the context behind this was non effectiveness of
early help intervention and others may be due to concerns being
different than the initial CP plan.
The Chair added that it
was important to get an overview of the reasoning behind the
numbers and it provided insight and context.
A Member asked what was
being done on the low numbers of referrals to MARAC, in particular
as DV was a presenting issue in some on the cases that was
presented and monitoring of referrals to departments for adults and
children’s services was important and beneficial to see if
there was improvement overtime. Officers said that the same issues
was being picked up and the FJC was part of the recent Practice
week to explore how referrals were being made as it was evident
that there was under referring to the service. A commitment was
made to look at how referrals could be measured and relate them to
requests to children’s social care and explore what could be
It was asked if a
departmental breakdown to identify if the timeliness of assessments
was across all areas or if specific to certain areas of the
service. Officers advised that this could be provided as there was
a weekly dashboard that was provided to the Executive Leadership
It was further asked
why Croydon measured its CP cases in 20 days whilst other Local
Authorities measured theirs in 10 Days. Officers said that the
national reporting was 28 days and Croydon did in fact complete its
visits within 10days.
In response to
questions on frequency of visits for Children with Disabilities and
if all cases allocated to a qualified social workers, officers said
that most cases were allocated to a qualified social
worker with cases reviewed annually.
Some case had visits at lower frequency than others depending on
the case and were visited within a minimum of 12 weeks, with family
support workers visiting in between the social workers
A Member asked what led
to the rescinding of exclusions as referenced in the report and
officers responded that it was vital that challenge to permanent
exclusions that were not deemed to be appropriate take place. It
was acknowledged that rescinding of exclusions was not best
protocol but it was appropriate for the Local Authority to
challenge a decision if the school notified the LA late or failed
to engage at an earlier stage which would have enabled exploration
of all possible pathways prior to exclusion. The Local Authority
was committed to working with all partners on preventative methods
to minimise the distress the process would cause for the families
The Chair thanked
officers for their attendance and engagement with the
Request for Information
Data on the average
length of time for open CIN cases and figures for on open cases
that are 12 months or longer
Sub-Committee came to the following conclusions:
The positive outcome of the Ofsted meeting was
The dashboards now contained the right level of
information required and should be kept
as it is with a view to review in future to decide if any further
parameters were required to be included.
There was some concern regarding the assessment
completion and visits and it was vital that senior officers kept a
firm handle on capacity issues.
Whilst it was important that the LA challenge where
appropriate, thought be given to preventative measures of
rescinding of exclusions to minimise disruption for families and
well as schools.