To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families which provides a summary of performance information relating to outcomes for Leeds children and young people.
The Board received the Performance Report for the financial year 2022/23 from the Director of Children & Families.
In attendance for this item were;
· Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education
· Julie Longworth, Director of Children and Families
· Ruth Terry, Chief Officer for Social Work
· Tim Pouncey, Chief Officer Resources & Strategy
· Val White, Chief Officer Learning Inclusion
· Peter Storrie, Head of Service (Children / Adults lead), Intelligence & Policy Service
· Chris Hudson, Performance Programme Manager, Intelligence & Policy Service
· Erica Hiorns, Leadership and Management Lead
The performance report, provided twice a year, presented Scrutiny with the latest available data related to delivering council and city priorities in line with the council’s performance management framework, including offering assurance around the health of the social care system in Leeds. The performance data also included some refreshed measures for monitoring performance against the Best City Ambition, though this work is still ongoing. It was noted that national comparator information was included where appropriate.
The Board discussed the following:
Children Looked After
· The Board was informed that there is an increase in the number of looked after children in the city, and the Board noted that some of the factors for this include poverty and the cost-of-living crisis. There is a significant number of asylum-seeking children, which the city is supportive of as a Sanctuary City, and this has a notable impact on the figures.
· There is an objective to reduce the number of looked after children, particularly adolescents with complex needs and high degrees of trauma.
· Where possible, children are placed under kinship fostering arrangements, with an offer being developed for those families
· The breakdown of the CLA figures in terms of those in kinship care and those with foster carers. A key area of interest being whether the current economic climate has impacted on kinship careers due to rising costs. It was noted that the offer in Leeds to kinship and foster carers is substantial both in terms of finance and support and the centrality of family in the ethos of the service was also highlighted.
· The challenge around care and support for adolescents was also discussed with a similar focus on emphasising family and ongoing work to enhance support to this age group.
· Improved attainment at Key Stage 4 was noted for the city and the recent results were the first set of statistics produced since COVID-19. The Progress 8 figures at KS4 were particularly noteworthy being above national average, statistical neighbours, core cities and the Yorkshire and Humber average.
· There is work required to capture data about young people who leave the Leeds city area by working with other Local Authorities.
· There has been partnership work with Nesta and two other local authorities to transform the early years offer with a focus on language and speech. This work will include working with libraries and early years providers, including Little Owls, to upskill the workforce across the city. This multi-disciplinary approach will prioritise the local geographic footprint.
· Reading attainment was noted as being a key part of achieving the Best City Ambition.
Clusters and Partnerships
· The Cluster programme of developing partnership working within specific localities was noted as having a positive impact on children’s lives. This work will cut across the Social Progress Index agenda to further develop local partnerships by utilising data.
· Engagement continues to be developed for the Clusters, such as a planned Cluster celebration event.
· The Board requested that in future reports it would be helpful if the cluster partnerships were easier to identify in terms of where they are located geographically in the city. This was accepted and will be acted upon in future reports.
· The Board also noted the potential for a future update on clusters later in 2023 following interest and work carried out by the Board in the past.
The Director assured the Board that both numbers of looked after children and attainment are priorities for the Directorate.
The Board also discussed phonics data and improved performance in this area having previously been below average in some of the age groups.
· The Board noted the progress and performance presented in this report, and the wider context of other papers on the agenda in terms of budgets and priorities for the year.
· The Board noted the inclusion of two children’s measures in the Best City Ambition dashboard. A tailored version will be included in future reports; the full set of measures have been provided to all Scrutiny Boards in the current reporting cycle.
· The Board reviewed the attainment data, which is included for the first time since the 2018/19 academic year.
(At the conclusion of this Agenda Item Councillor Lamb left the meeting and Councillor Flynn assumed the Chair for the remainder of the meeting).