End of Year Data and Performance Report
- Meeting of Adults, Children and Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Wednesday, 9th June, 2021 6.15 pm (Item 76.)
To note the contents of the report.
The Panel was asked a number of questions by Ed Wilson, a member of the public. He asked for confirmation that there were no areas of provision that required improvement, and asked what reassurance could be given to residents that there were no required improvements; whether there would be a post Covid catch-up plan to assist children who had missed learning during the pandemic; and how much money had been raised by the adult social care precept since it was introduced, and what was it being spent on. Regarding his second question, Cllr Hunt stated this had been covered in detail at the School Improvement Forum earlier in the week and Mr Wilson would be able to view a recording of the meeting. It was agreed that Mr Wilson would send in his questions in writing to the clerk for it to be passed to the relevant officers in order for a response to be generated.
Hilary Hall introduced the report and drew Members’ attention to the key performance indicators relating to adult social care. Of the five indicators two were green and the others were amber. The first indicator, relating to long-term care package reviews taking place within 12 months, was below target due to the diversion of resources during the pandemic. It had improved during the course of the year but more work was needed. The indicator relating to permanent admissions to care was off target as there had been a significant increase in the number of admissions during January and March, which related to the increase in discharges from hospital. Care home provision would be given in circumstances where it was not possible for someone to return to their own home. The indicator relating to reablement was off target but had held up creditably well given the challenging circumstances of the pandemic. The indicators relating to carers’ assessments and adult safeguarding were both on target; for safeguarding it had been consistently high throughout the year. Carers’ assessments had caught up after falling behind early in the year when Covid first hit.
Cllr da Costa asked for more clarity on the capacity tracker. Hilary Hall explained this had been introduced by the government during the pandemic to track capacity in the care market, and required each care home or domiciliary care provider to keep a track of vacancies. This was being monitored on a weekly basis. Regarding carers’ reviews, Hilary Hall said these related to cases where someone would provide support for a family member as there was a duty to assess their carer’s role. They did not relate to domiciliary care or any care provided by an agency.
Cllr Sharpe asked when the off-target performance indicators would be green. Hilary Hall said the target for care package reviews would be green this year. It was difficult to say in terms of the number of people living at home 91 days after discharge from hospital due to the number of variables in each individual case; there was little that could be done if an individual’s needs were so complex they required further admission to hospital. Cllr Sharpe asked if there were any areas of concern. Hilary Hall said she had no specific worries, but there were unknowns over the long-term impact of Covid on residents’ health and the ability to forecast future trends and how this would affect service demands.
Cllr Tisi stated that it had been mentioned previously Ofsted were unlikely to do any inspections before September. However their website now said inspections were starting up again and Cllr Tisi asked if it was anticipated if any of Achieving for Children’s services would be inspected. Kevin McDaniel, Executive Director of Children’s Services, said the teacher training offer was due for imminent inspection, and he was aware that five schools in the Royal Borough were due for inspection. However no notice would be given for these and Kevin McDaniel said he was not expecting them to take place this term. Cllr Tisi asked how the Delta variant of Covid may impact on delivery of adult social care. Hilary Hall said that during previous waves of the pandemic there had been a focus on infection prevention and control and she expected that would continue if there was another wave due to the Delta variant. This would continue to be the key focus from an adult social care perspective. Cllr Tisi asked, from a safeguarding perspective, how confident staff were that social workers had the capacity to check this was being adequately delivered. Hilary Hall said there was an officer who had been assigned the role of managing and monitoring this and she said she was confident the appropriate checks and balances were in place.
Cllr da Costa asked when the CQC would be likely to restart inspections. Lynne Lidster, Head of Commissioning – People, said inspections had continued throughout the pandemic in cases where there had been concerns raised at a provider’s ability to provide adequate infection control. These had not been formal written inspections however, and it was likely these would begin again soon. As there was a backlog, priority would be given to service providers where concerns had previously been raised.
Kevin McDaniel provided the Panel with an update on the performance indicators relating to children’s services. The indicator relating to the percentage of care leavers in education, employment or training was now green thanks to the positive impact of the virtual college and the task and finish group that the Panel had set up on this topic area. It was hoped the improvement could be sustained. The indicator relating to the percentage of children receiving a 6-8 week health visitor review was also performing well as many more families were choosing to engage with services. It was felt this was due to Covid impacting on families’ childcare arrangements and inability to access other services such as in nurseries. There had been no change to the indicator relating to schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted as inspections had been put on hold during the pandemic.
The Panel was told the indicators relating to percentage of children being re-referred to children’s social care and the percentage of child protection plans lasting for two years or more were both off target. Regarding re-referrals to children’s social care, Kevin McDaniel said this often related to families who had not engaged with schools or were directed to front door services, and were often families whose circumstances could be described as chaotic. Kevin McDaniel said services would try not to intervene unless essential, but there was a balancing act because if the figure of re-referrals dropped to zero then there would be concerns that services had been intervening too much. In relation to child protection plans, Kevin McDaniel said the figures related to a small cohort and many were children from the same family and this distorted the percentage figures. In this case, a care plan lasting for longer than two years was necessary to ensure the children’s longer-term care. Kevin McDaniel said he did not have specific concerns over the two indicators that were not rated green. He said he was more concerned with an increase in demand for early help for families in crisis. More money had been invested into this but more needed to be done to ensure this was sustainable in the long term.
Cllr da Costa said the teams deserved to be congratulated for their work on care leavers not in education, employment or training. She asked if consideration had been given to continuing to have health visitor meetings done remotely rather than face to face as this had proved popular. Kevin McDaniel said the option had always been there but they had not been recorded as a formal visit, and it was important for health visitors to see mother and baby in person to do a proper assessment as often as possible.
Cllr da Costa asked if the FUEL programme was available to families in need and not just those who were eligible for free school meals. Kevin McDaniel said the scheme was predominantly for low income families and those with children with a special educational need, and would be run for as many people as there was capacity for. It was not possible for the Royal Borough to subsidise the service but schools had assisted in identifying children who were particularly in need and headteachers had been making specific referrals for certain children.
Responding to a question from Cllr Tisi, Kevin McDaniel said the Covid restrictions had presented challenges in terms of the number of people being allowed to meet indoors together when it had been necessary to do so. This had led to more one-to-one work being conducted. Kevin McDaniel said the biggest issue had been the increased number of families seeking help. In the most recent period the Family Hub had received referrals from 40 new families, when typically it might be 10-12 in the past. However it was thought this was partly down to the Family Hub making its services known, and it was not known at this stage if those figures would be sustained. In response to a question from Cllr Tisi, Kevin McDaniel said there were sufficient staff to cope with current demand. There were two current job vacancies and it was expected these could be filled on a permanent basis, but consideration was being given to using agency staff to fill the positions temporarily.
Cllr Sharpe asked if it had been noticed if particular cohorts of children had suffered with their education as a result of Covid. Kevin McDaniel said some children had fallen behind but others had thrived through the lockdown period. Some schools had asked the Council for assistance in supporting those children who had fallen behind in their education. Mark Jervis asked if future reports would have a performance indicator relating to the Covid catch-up. Kevin McDaniel said the catch-up would be done on an individual school by school basis using an action plan devised by link advisors. However it was anticipated that a common performance indicator would not be required and the performance would be considered in the overall education report on the workplan for January 2022.
- v4 ACH OSP_Cover Report-End of Year Performance, item 76. PDF 322 KB
- v8 Appendix_A_End of Year Performance, item 76. PDF 2 MB