Agenda item

Early Help CSC and Education DashBoard

To receive the Children’s Social Care and Education Dashboards.

(To Follow)


The Director of Children’s Social Care introduced the Early Help and Children’s Social Care Dashboard and the following was noted:


  • 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 noted:


  • 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 forward


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 parents/families initially.


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 capacity issue.

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 reportable. 


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 Team.


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 visits.


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 affected.



The Chair thanked officers for their attendance and engagement with the Sub-Committee.

Request for Information

  1. Data on  the average length of time for open CIN cases and figures for on open cases that are 12 months or longer

The Sub-Committee came to the following conclusions:

  1. The positive outcome of the Ofsted meeting was welcomed
  2. 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.
  3. There was some concern regarding the assessment completion and visits and it was vital that senior officers kept a firm handle on capacity issues.
  4. 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.



Supporting documents: