Quarterly Corporate Performance Monitoring Report – Quarter 3 2018/19
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: No
A report was presented by Donna Talbot, Head of Service, Business Intelligence, providing an overview of performance activity across the Council for Quarter 3 of 2018/19.
Education and Children's Services
It was reported that referrals to children's social care had decreased. The percentage of assessments completed for this quarter which took over 45 days was higher than other comparators. However, up to date information for January 2019 showed that the timeliness of assessments had improved.
The number of children looked after and rate per 10k has continued to increase and the latest rate of children subject to a child protection plan remained significantly higher than the national rate. Sally Allen reported that officers were working on reducing these figures and that a number of initiatives were being taken forward. For example, for children looked after, officers were looking at those children who were subject to a Care Order living at home with parents, and whether they still needed to be, and also looking into which children could be safely returned to their parents care. Officers were also working on reducing permanence timescales.
In relation to the edge of care offer, more preventative and strengths based approaches to working with families were currently being explored including the use of Family Group Conferencing.
The Committee noted that average caseloads had remained stable, but that some social workers had very high caseloads. An audit of caseloads had been completed and actions agreed to address this. This was being closely monitored.
It was reported that the average time taken between a child entering care and moving in with their adoptive family had reduced significantly.
A query was raised in relation to out of County placements and where the responsibility lay for these children. It was confirmed that Lancashire would be responsible for investigating any safeguarding concerns for children placed within the County, but that the Authority who had placed the children here would have statutory responsibility for the child including funding and social work involvement.
In relation to school improvement, work was ongoing in certain areas of Lancashire where educational attainment was not as good as in other areas. However, it was noted that attainment had improved at Key Stages 2 and 4 in 2017/18 compared to the previous year.
Growth, Environment, Transport and Community Services
The Committee were informed that, since monitoring against the new response standard for highways defect repairs, a defect reporting issue had been identified with the 4 hour and 2 day defects which had affected response times. However, it was noted that this issue had now been addressed and that future performance figures should now start to improve.
It was reported that many of the 5 day defects required extensive traffic management, due to the road type and location. However, in order to improve response times, countywide meetings had been scheduled each month between operations staff and Highways Safety inspectors, to plan the inspection programme for the month and to identify defects requiring traffic management. The countywide traffic management contract had recently be renewed following a procurement exercise, which would improve the availability of traffic management.
The Cabinet Committee noted that over the next 18 months, the number of street lighting faults would reduce as the remaining 38,000 conventional units were converted to LED.
Mass loss operations had resulted in better performance at Thornton Waste Treatment facility with less tonnes to landfill and increased diversion. An outlet had been secured for the processed material allowing the throughput to be increased at Farington Waste Treatment facility.
It was reported that visits to libraries and museums, in addition to e-book downloads had fallen slightly in December 2018, due to seasonal trends and Christmas closing. In addition, 3 museums had been returned to Lancaster City Council in October 2018 and Helmshore Museum had closed at the end of it's summer season in October 2018 but was due to re-open on 29 March 2019.
Adult Services and Public Health
It was reported that the proportion of adults receiving direct payments was now higher than the national average and that high numbers of people were receiving reablement.
The Cabinet Committee noted that, despite the recent improvement, concerns remained about the level of residential admissions for older people. North West residential care admission rates needed addressing as these were significantly higher than the national average. Work with colleagues was ongoing to address these concerns as part of the North West Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Sector Led Improvement work. It was reported that targets had been set for these improvements over the next 4 years, which would also deliver significant financial savings.
The number of people waiting for OT assessments continued to reduce and showed a dramatic improvement over recent years. In addition, there was an increase in the quality rating of Lancashire care homes and community care services.
The number of Troubled Families attached to the national programme had increased from 12,498 to 14,164 as at 31 December 2018. This had been a noticeable increase compared to other months, due to the implementation of a new process which was better at identifying families in need. The figures showed we were not just finding families in need but were sustaining a service to them.
The cumulative total of payments by results claims for quarter 3 was ahead of target. Maximising our claims by accelerating progress with partners and getting them to share this responsibility was an identified action in the children's services 'Getting to Good' plan.
Resolved: That the Cabinet Committee on Performance Improvement note the reported performance for Quarter 3 of 2018/19.
Report author: Michael Walder
Date of decision: 26/02/2019
Decided at meeting: 26/02/2019 - Cabinet Committee on Performance Improvement