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People directorate quarterly service report - where we are now

Director’s overview

I wanted to start my overview narrative this quarter with a mention of the work that the leadership team have prioritised across the directorate. In any quarter we have a number of audits that are completed and reported here under the section ‘audit and risks'. I thought I would take this opportunity to explain that these are part of an annual timetable of activity led by the audit team based within the council.

The directorate, as we have joined the functions of Children’s and Adults, Housing and Health into one People Directorate have been reviewing our governance arrangements. We have further strengthened some areas, removed duplication and had a relentless focus on what matters most to the care and services for the people of Bracknell Forest that we serve.

I am therefore pleased that there have been no inadequate audit or risk judgments this quarter. This will not be the only audit activity undertaken as we have sophisticated levels of activity to make sure of quality assurance across all areas of our work especially in children’s social care.

We are proud of our approach to embedding learning and always striving for excellence. Therefore, looking at our performance of private and voluntary providers across early years settings we now have 100% judged good or better. This joins our 100% of secondary school provision. This is another milestone in our journey to excellence, making sure our youngest children are getting the very best start possible to their education experiences. A milestone to be celebrated.

Another highlight in our performance this quarter has been the further improvement in our NEET figures. This has been the lowest ever proportion at 1.9% of 16- and 17-year olds.

Areas for further focus and improvement this quarter have been around exclusion rates in both Primary and Secondary schools. All Bracknell Forest schools participated and were represented at a recent Bracknell Forest Safeguarding conference. The overall conference highlighted the increased risks of harm to those children on fixed or permanent exclusions. Headteachers, Governors and those working alongside our children and young people are working seamlessly to avoid exclusions wherever possible. I am pleased to report that whilst these rates are still higher than we would want the trend is a reduction over time. Therefore, for me recognition that the joint plans are having success.

Finally, our B&B figures this quarter are an area for further improvement. As you will see our homelessness strategy led by our newly formed team are already making a difference. As we get to this point in the year with significant changes in the severity of the weather, the importance of this work is highlighted.

Highlights and remedial action

Good performance

3.1.04 Ofsted judgement at least good or outstanding for early help settings

Following a recent inspection, 100% of PVI settings are now OFSTED graded good or outstanding.

3.2.06 Amen Corner North Primary School

Kings Academy Oakwood (formerly Amen Corner North) is completed and open in September 2019.

3.5.04 NEETs

A figure of 1.9% of 16 and 17 year olds who are NEET at September 2019 represents our lowest ever proportion.

Elevate continues to track the activity and support the cohort with their participation in education, employment and/or training. The focus is now on supporting the not known cohort to confirm their participation details ahead of the Annual Activity Survey in January 2020.

4.7.02 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Work is progressing on the Local Transformation Plan with a current focus on early help services, including diversion from the Common Point of entry of inappropriate referrals.

6.6.02 Domestic Abuse multi-agency meetings

Multi-Agency Tasking and Co-ordination (MATAC) replaced DASC on 1 July 2019 and will be jointly chaired by Community and Police.

MATAC will use a more focussed way of selecting cases, that is, Recency, Frequency and Gravity (RFG) rather than risk levels. A clear pathway of options is available for the panel with the aim being to get the RFG score down. 8 referrals went to MATAC in Q2.

Areas for improvement

L351 – Rate of fixed period exclusions from all secondary schools

There has been an increase in fixed term exclusions in secondary schools, however these are now on a downward trajectory. These appeared to peak at a time when a large secondary school became an academy. The development of the intervention hubs and the increased alternative provision offer appears to be having a positive impact on exclusions.

L352 – Rate of fixed period exclusions from all primary schools

Primary exclusions are continuing to decrease. There has been significant work with primary school in this area, with a focus on earlier intervention through the intervention hubs and the commissioning of focussed alternate provision. The downward trajectory is expected to continue.

NI073 – Achievement at level 4 or above in Reading, Writing and Maths at KS2

 Assessment measures have changed, and Level 4 is no longer measured. The new measure is referred to as the expected standard. The proportion of pupils attaining the expected standard or higher in Bracknell Forest was 64% and the national figure was 65%. Attainment in mathematics and reading improved this year, and attainment in reading dropped by 1%, against a national drop of 3%. Attainment in mathematics is in line with national figures and is above in reading by 3% and writing by 1%. Despite these individual subjects being above or in line with national figures, this did not translate in to a combined measure above national.

L178 – Number of household nights in B&B accommodation

Whilst this quarter’s return is higher than we would wish, we do aim for an annual trend and hope to come in at or below target. We have had several very challenging cases requiring nightly paid accommodation and for whom simple fixes just weren’t possible and so were in such accommodation for a longer period. We have recently brought in additional resource with the aim of preventing homelessness in the first instance which will have a positive impact coming into the colder months.

L301 - % of Education, Health and Care Plans issued within 20 weeks

A total of 44 out of 70 plans were completed and issued within 20 weeks and a further 3 were completed but with exception due to the summer holidays. Of the 23 plans that were outside of the 20-week timeframe, 16 were completed and issued within 3 weeks of the statutory time frame. There were however, a small number of plans that were issued beyond the 20-week period which was mainly due to a lack of availability of appropriate provision or slow response rates from out of borough schools as well as other local authorities.

Audits and risks

There were no inadequate assurance opinion audits in this period.