48.1 The Director of Partnerships and Strategy presented the report. Ofsted had commented that the performance measures were not sufficiently detailed with regard to care and that this would be addressed. It was commented that whilst this report gave a good insight into performance it did not enable an understanding of the quality of the service, but rather supported our self-awareness and helped to drive forward improvement.
48.2 It was noted that the data did not identify how many children in care were in the criminal justice system and how these young people were supported. The committee was informed that this information was monitored through the Youth Justice Partnership Board. It was questioned whether there should be a link into this performance report, but that the information received at the Youth Justice Partnership Board could be shared with committee members.
ACTION: Andy Dempsey
48.3 It was noted that the Youth Offending Service would be inspected by HMICFRS the week commencing 14 October 2019. The committee agreed that it would be interesting to review the outcome of this inspection.
48.4 It was questioned why the number of young people NEET (not in employment, education or training) was flagged as ‘green’ when we should want to have a greater number of our young people employed or in training. It was explained that we were benchmarked against other cohorts, but the DCS agreed that we should have aspirations for all our young people in Gloucestershire, and that our aspiration should be closer to 100%. The DCS also stated that the council along with its partners were significant employers in the county and should be able to find ways to encourage and enable our young people to join ‘the family business’.
48.5 Members were very concerned with the situation with regard to the continued instability of social workers for our children and young people. Members were aware that the level of churn in the workforce was a significant factor, but emphasised the impact of this on the individual; the importance of a significant (and trusted) adult in a child’s life was well known. The DCS informed members that he expected that as the new recruits came through their training that this position would improve.
48.6 [For information questions had been received before the meeting regarding missing children. A full written briefing was shared with the committee at the meeting and is reproduced below: -
The process within Gloucestershire regarding return interviews is:
Ø If a child is not known to social care and is missing from home the RI is done by a member of the YST trained to do so.
Ø If a child is known to social care or is a CIC the social worker should try to complete the RI (in this way they have the information first hand to aid and inform the care plan etc.) If the young person wants to speak to someone independent, it is fed back to the YST who will do it.
Ø Each week Police, Social Care and the Youth Support Team meet to review all missing children in the last 7 days, tracking returning interviews, trigger plans and strategy discussions.
Ø Each month the Police analysts will circulate a list of the top 20 repeat missing children and young people. A monthly multi agency RAG rating meeting will then take place to discuss the individuals identified, to determine the appropriate actions required. One of the following outcomes will be determined for each individual:
Ø The person will be referred to the monthly MACE (Multi Agency Child Exploitation) panel for further multi-agency oversight
Ø The person does not require MACE intervention; however, further actions are required i.e. the creation of a trigger plan, completion of a child exploitation screening tool, allocation to one of the missing team for a short intervention
Dip in Performance:
There are a number of factors which have contributed to the dip in performance in regard to completion of return interviews.
Ø The dip primarily relates to June, July and August figures this coincides with the loss of the strategic lead for missing (operational manager within the YST) due to ill health. Her senior level allowed her to address issues relating to SW’s not completing RI’s or seeking assistance to do so with the HOS and TM’s. This has now been picked up by the Ops Director as the period of sickness has been extended.
Ø In addition, the summer months have a number of challenges, one if there is good weather missing episodes can increase; two, it is a time when staff take annual leave and RI’s by staff covering may not be seen as a priority.
Ø The churn of social workers is also an issue. While the Missing staff go out to team meetings, provide training etc. this needs to be continual as new staff arrive and can be very time consuming and has been difficult while the strategic lead has been off.
Ø The Ofsted inspections have put pressure on people in other areas of work and this may also be a contributing factor i.e. if their focus is on updating assessments, plans etc. the RI’s may not be prioritised.
Ø A new form and pathway was introduced around May/June and recording became an issue while the new process has been embedded.
What has happened to address the issues:
1. More resource has been allocated by GCC. The Assistant Manager now has two full time workers (came into post middle of September) who will be concentrating on supporting the social workers with the young people with frequent missing episodes, communicating, offering to engage the frequent “flyers” etc. We therefore expect to see an improvement in completion data in October.
2. Liaison has taken place between the academy and the missing team to ensure that the process for RI’s etc. is included in their essentials training programme.
3. The Assistant Manager is going to sit in the MASH office one day a week to support their element of the process.
4. The Operations Director has taken over the strategic liaison and oversight with HOS to increase compliance and sends out a weekly spread sheet with the names of the young people with overdue RI’s and the name of the social worker who should complete it
5. Reminders are going out to SW’s that if they are unable to do the RI’s due to capacity they can let YST know and an independent person will contact the young person.]