Agenda item

INFORMATION REPORT - Activity and Performance

Report of the Interim Corporate Director of People.

Minutes:

The Panel received a report of the Interim Corporate Director of People which set out activity for Children Looked After (CLA) and care leavers as at February 2018 as well as provisional performance position at end of January 2018.  The report also included national and comparator data to provide context.

 

An officer introduced the report and highlighted the following key aspects of the report:

 

·                     the number of CLA had decreased from 179 to 160 since the matter was last reported to the Panel;

 

·                     overall, health indicators of CLA remained positive except that improvements in immunisation and SDQ (emotional health) were required;

 

·                     attendance at school of CLA needed to be monitored closely, including the number of fixed term exclusions;

 

·                     the percentage of care leavers in suitable accommodation had increased since last quarter to 86%.  Currently, 29% of care leavers were not in employment, education or training, which was greater than in quarter 2.  All efforts were made to help young people gain skills and training through Xcite and other similar projects.  However, data showed that Harrow was performing better than its statistical neighbours and the average in England;

 

·                     comparator data showed that the percentage of CLA in Harrow who had had been ‘missing’ during 2017 (14%) was higher than the England average (10%), but in line with the Council’s statistical neighbours (14%).  The percentage of CLA with a ‘missing’ incident and those away from placement had remained stable since the last quarter;

 

·                     quarter 3 data showed an increase in CLA offending and that, currently, eleven CLA were under the care of the Youth Offending Team (YOT).

 

The officer and the Interim Corporate Director of People responded to questions from Members as follows:

 

·                     the frequency of fixed term exclusions compared to the Council’s statistical neighbours was high.  It ranged from 15-16% compared to 13%;

 

·                     whilst CLA were placed within the borough, it was accepted practice that some would be placed outside the borough and up to a distance of 20 miles or further to ensure suitability of accommodation.  Rigorous reviews were carried out to ascertain the suitability of any placement.  It was important that peer group pressures on CLA were managed which could involve placing the child away from Harrow.  Children with disabilities were placed in suitable accommodation possibly outside Harrow and consideration was also given to requests from parents on placements.  A care plan and family contact was facilitated;

 

·                     key staff in the People Directorate met on Mondays to discuss and identify the next steps in relation to those children who had gone ‘missing’ from their placements.  Where the frequency was high, discussions would continue with the police and the placements.  The Interim Corporate Director acknowledged the risks involved and reported that the situation was monitored closely and was stringent.  Various vehicles were used to monitor the child in question and, additionally, a bespoke worker was assigned to assist in changing behaviour patterns;

 

·                     all children, including CLA, who were considered to be ‘missing’ or had safeguarding issues were reported through the Multi-Agency Sexual Exploitation (MASE) agency.

 

The Interim Corporate Director suggested further reports on the key issues raised by Members and it was

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

(1)          the report be noted;

 

(2)          a report on how Children Looked After (CLA) accessed various services, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) when placed outside the borough be submitted to a future meeting of the Panel;

 

(3)          a report on the safeguarding issues relating to all children, including CLA, be submitted to the next meeting of the Panel and that the Interim Corporate Director of People invite a ‘bespoke’ worker(s) to the meeting.

 

Reasons for Decision:  To be availed of performance as Corporate Parents. To seek additional information relating to safeguarding of children.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected:  None.

Supporting documents: