Agenda item

Directors Report for Social Care Practice and Performance


The Executive Director, Children’s Services introduced the report which provided the Committee with an update on the progress of performance and improvement in Children’s Social Care.  The following highlights from May 2014 data were covered:


·         There had been an increase in the  Common Assessment Framework (multi agency assessments for vulnerable children whose needs do not meet the threshold for social care)

·         There were fewer contacts but they were contacts with more complex needs

·         Timescales for initial assessments on target

·         Improvement in timescales for core assessments

·         Decrease in re-referrals

·         Number of Child Protection Plans and Looked After Children high

·         Reconfiguration now complete

·         Recruitment and retention


Observations and questions were raised and discussed including:


·         Members asked for clarification on the change for initial and core assessments. Members were advised that the timescale for single assessment was being measured at certain points during the 35 day timescale. It was measured at 5 days, 10 days and once it had been completed. 

·         Members asked about social worker retention and if there was difficulty in getting full-time staff. Members were informed that social work retention was critical and there had been a new recruitment campaign launched. Newspapers had been contacted, as had local radios. All local authorities were fishing in the same pool for social workers as there was a national shortage of experienced social workers. However there was no shortage of newly-qualified social workers. In Peterborough there was a 15% cap on newly-qualified social workers who after one year would then be tasked with working on complex cases but would be back filled with qualified social workers.

·         Members referred to page 127, paragraph 5.14, Adoptions and asked for clarification of what was in place to monitor the success of adoptions.  Members were informed that adoption support was provided but that there was no data available for children adopted who came from other local authorities. There was no up-to-date research suggesting that adopted children did less well than non-adopted children. Peterborough had not undertaken any research with regard to this.  If an adopted family were struggling with the care, support and or education of their adopted child then Children’s Services would provide support through the Virtual School of Education for Looked after Children.

·         Members asked if there was a plan in place for the Local Authority to look at overseas recruitment. The Executive Director, Children’s Services stated that a difficulty with overseas recruitment was that there was a difference in standards across countries. Overseas workers were also more transient and tended to move on.

·         Members asked what the authority offered to social workers in order to attract them. The Executive Director, Children’s Services stated that social workers were often attracted by more than simply money. Support, supervision and training were as important to them.  There was no difficulty in retaining staff there was more difficulty in attracting staff which had not been helped by the national shortage.

·         Members referred to page 126 and the adverts for two Head of Service posts, one in the Guardian for Family Support and QA and the other in Safeguarding.  Was the Safeguarding role currently being covered appropriately? The Executive Director, Children’s Services responded that there was an Interim Assistant Director of Safeguarding in place, Sharon Hawkins.  An advert would be placed in the autumn for a permanent position.  There was also an interim in place for the position of Head of Service for Quality Assurance and Safeguarding, Alison Bennett until an advert was placed.




The Committee noted the report.


Supporting documents: