To receive a report containing the Children’s Services Performance Indicators.
The Committee considered the report containing the Children’s Services Performance Indicators. Members were interested to find out the reasons for the ‘red’ indicators and these were discussed in more detail. The following points were made during the discussion of specific indicators:
% CP visits due in the period which were on-time (within 10 days of the previous visit) - red
· Lisa Humphreys explained that the target of 10 working days was a target set by the Local Authority, the national guidance prescribed a minimum visit every 42 days. Lisa stated that there was a challenge with holidays and people moving house which made it difficult to reach the target;
· In response to a question Lisa explained that there was a combination visits, these being sometimes announced and sometimes unannounced;
· Lisa pointed out that this indicator related to a relatively small number of children (50CP)
% Looked After Children living within 20 miles of Berkshire West - amber
· Lisa informed the Committee that this was improving, however further improvement was required to bring Wokingham in line with national performance;
· Lisa explained that work was being undertaken to increase the recruitment of local foster carers and out of area emergency placements were only used in exceptional circumstances if there were no other options locally. A new Officer had been recruited who was very enthusiastic and optimistic to improve recruitment;
· Lisa stated that since April children had not been placed outside of Wokingham;
· In response to a comment Lisa stated that research indicated that foster carers were usually people who did not have high professional aspirations. Lisa was still to form a picture of Wokingham;
· Lisa stated that some of the challenges in social worker recruitment in Wokingham included: the house prices; the competition with other local authorities and the fact that Wokingham was on the edge of London;
· Judith stated that 70% of the social worker staff was permanent. Judith offered to bring a report to the Committee in November with an update on social worker recruitment;
· In response to a question Judith stated that most social workers had a relatively short career. This was due to various reasons, including not enough recognition for their work in social work. Judith believed Wokingham was doing well in retaining social workers and research said that the morale was high in Wokingham;
· The Chairman asked what was being done to recruit foster cares from BME (Black and Minority Ethnicity) communities. Lisa stated that this was something that needed to be reviewed to encourage more diversity. Councillor Haitham Taylor asked Members to inform Officers of any venues where this message could be spread.
% Secondary Schools with a current Ofsted rating of ‘good’ or better - red
· The Chairman asked to what extend the Local Authority was responsible for academies’ Ofsted results. Alan Stubbersfield stated that the Government had determined that it was up to academies to determine what level of relationship they wished to have with the Local Authority. However the Local Authority was still responsible for the educational outcome for pupils;
· Alan informed that Wokingham Borough Council did not have a close relationship with the Forest Academy, however Alan believed that there were positive signs that the school was heading in the right direction.