Medway’s Council Plan 2016/21 sets out the Council’s three priorities. This report and appendices summarise how we performed in Quarter 1 (Q1) of 2020/21 on the delivery of the two priorities relevant for this Committee: People and Growth.
During Q1 of 2020/21, as the Council has moved from the Response to Recovery phase of the Emergency Planning procedures, the Strategic Risk Management Group (SRMG) has resumed monitoring of strategic risks. Therefore, this report also presents the Q1 2020/21 review of the Council’s Strategic Risk Register.
The Committee considered a report which provided the Committee with a summary of performance in Quarter 1 of 2020/21 on the delivery of the two priorities relevant for this Committee; people and growth.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:
· Children not in education, employment or training (NEET) – in response to this measure, Members asked that the narrative be clearer in that the number of NEETs was increasing because of the work being done in identifying unknowns. Officers explained that NEETs performance did need improving but added that the significant danger relating to those whose destination was unknown, had improved.
Contextual Safeguarding – reference was
made to a video available on YouTube which explained contextual
safeguarding and it was recommended that the link to this be sent
to Members for information and that contextual safeguarding be
incorporated within a future report on the Adolescent
reference was made to the measure relating to adoption and that
although performance still needed to be improved, the point was
made that the number of disruptions of adoptive placements were
few. Officers acknowledged this and that the trends against this
measure demonstrated an improving picture. They added that the Regional Adoption Agency,
which was due to go live on 1 November 2020, would also create more
opportunities for improved performance in this area.
· Relationship with schools – in response to a concern raised that it could be premature to remove the risk relating to this, officers explained that relationships with schools had begun to improve before the covid crisis, which had then resulted in further improvement through strong partnership working. It was felt relationships were established enough on a number of areas and were now practical and assertive.
· Benchmarking caseload data – in response to a question about whether it would be possible to provide benchmarking data for caseload information across various teams, officers explained that caseload figures were not validated published data and that, together with the fact that different authorities structure their social care in different ways, made it difficult to benchmark against. However, officers undertook to liaise with other authorities to seek benchmarking opportunities.
· Recruitment and retention – concern was raised about the ongoing poor performance relating to recruitment and retention of social workers. Officers explained that the additional 35 posts equated to approximately a 20% increase of the entire workforce and added that there had been a steady improved position on this, which officers were optimistic about.
· School absence – in response to a question about how the authority and schools were addressing school absences post lockdown, officers confirmed that attendance was at 94% in primary school, therefore very close to the average attendance. It was anticipated that many of the children persistently absent or late, were children who had attendance issues pre-covid. Schools were now advised to take a measured approach and be sympathetic and supportive where families had good reasons, but to be assertive where there were not and refer where necessary. It was added that the law on attendance had now returned to that in force pre-emergency legislation relating to the pandemic.
The Committee noted the report.
In accordance with Council rule 12.6, Councillors Cooper and Johnson requested that their votes in favour be recorded.