2006 ANNUAL PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT OF SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE COUNCIL

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1 Alexandra House 33 Kingsway London WC2B 6SE T Mr Andrew Williams Director of Children, Family and Adult Services East Riding of Yorkshire Council County Hall Beverley HU17 9BA 1 November 2006 Dear Mr Williams 2006 ANNUAL PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT OF SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE COUNCIL This letter summarises the findings of the 2006 annual performance assessment process for your local authority. We are grateful for the information which you provided to support this process and for the time made available by yourself and your colleagues to discuss relevant issues. Summary Areas for judgement Grade awarded 1 The contribution of the local authority s children s services in maintaining and improving outcomes for children and young people 3 The council s overall capacity to improve its services for children and young people 3 The contribution of the local authority s social care services in maintaining and improving outcomes for children and young people 3 1 Grade Service descriptors Capacity to improve descriptors 4 A service that delivers well above minimum requirements for users Excellent / outstanding 3 A service that consistently delivers above minimum requirements for users Good 2 A service that delivers only minimum requirements for users Adequate 1 A service that does not deliver minimum requirements for users Inadequate

2 The contribution of children s services to improving outcomes for children and young people in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council is good. The council has been effective in securing an overall improvement in outcomes in the last year against a backcloth of significant staffing resource constraints in social care. Good progress has been made to address most of the issues identified in the 2005 annual performance assessment (APA). The commitment to collaborative working with all partners provides strong foundations for the realisation of the aspirations in the Children and Young People s Plan (CYPP). The council has strived to be inclusive in seeking the views and contributions of stakeholders, partners, children and young people themselves in setting well-considered priorities for the coming year. The authority s capacity to improve its services further is good. Being healthy The council s contribution to delivering outcomes in this area is good. The council has made good progress with partners to address the health needs of children and young people. Most schools are engaged in the Healthy Schools Initiative and the number having achieved the Healthy Schools Award is ahead of target. The majority of inspections undertaken found schools were good or better at promoting healthy lifestyles. The council performs very well in securing health checks for looked after young people leaving care. A range of support strategies ensure that the parents of pre-school children are informed and consulted about issues relating to their children s general health. There has been an increase in teenage conceptions against low rates in previous years and challenges remain to achieve the national target of a 50% reduction by The council has responded to the increased levels by improving young people s access to sexual health services in secondary schools and through the personal, health and social education (PHSE) programme. Good local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are supported by the council. The appointment of an educational psychologist for looked after children is a positive step and excellent access has been achieved for young people referred by the youth offending team (YOT). Fortnightly surgeries support foster carers, and primary mental health workers will shortly be working alongside council staff in the Family Support teams providing initial support and a referral route. Some aspects of the CAMHS service are being developed to improve access and the council is reviewing services to disabled children to ensure equity. Young people who commented on the council s self-assessment for this APA said they needed to know how to access advice on mental and sexual health. The council sees its response to these comments as a priority and has already begun to target appropriate intervention through secondary schools. Staying safe The contribution of the council s services to improving outcomes for children and young people in this area is good. The performance of social care services in child protection is excellent, reflected in school inspection findings and in the smooth, timely transition to the Local Safeguarding Children Board. Although there has been a slight rise in initial conferences, levels of registration and the numbers of children whose names are included on the Child Protection Register, these all remain below those of comparator councils. All Page 2 of 8 - East Riding APA

3 child protection conferences and reviews were held on time, all registered children have an allocated social worker and performance for duration of registration is good. Reregistrations have almost halved and are now much lower than comparator councils, suggesting effective multi-agency child protection planning. The council continues to respond in an effective and appropriate manner to issues arising from recent serious child protection concerns in one of its secondary schools. The council needs to ensure that appropriate checks are conducted on drivers employed by those with whom it has contracts to provide transport for children. The council has agreed protocols to respond to child protection issues that might involve children from minority ethnic backgrounds. The ratio of minority ethnic children whose names are included on the register remains low, suggesting the need for further exploration. Looked after children numbers have fallen slightly against the national trend. All have a named qualified social worker and nearly all reviews were held on time. Numbers of inhouse foster carers have increased, as have the numbers of looked after children placed with foster carers where longer-term stability is now good; the introduction of a professional fostering scheme has been successful in retaining foster carers. The council is geographically the largest unitary authority and is aware that nearly half of looked after children are placed more than 20 miles away from the council area. This picture in part reflects difficulties in recruiting foster carers in some parts of the council s area. A significant increase in the cohort of young people leaving care affected performance in producing pathway plans for some 30% of eligible young people, all of whom have a personal adviser. The council reports it has now rectified this within existing staffing resources. Very good performance in the adoption of looked after children has been maintained, and the slightly reduced performance in effecting placements within 12 months of the Best Interest Decision is explained by data entry errors for two children who returned home in the course of progressing their adoptions. The council has provided services for children with disabilities from April 2005; this service was previously provided in partnership with a neighbouring council. Up to 90% of these children have a Transitions Plan produced by staff in a Person Centred Planning team. Both referrals and the number of initial assessments of children in need have fallen. The council is aware of this and has well-considered plans for review. Overall performance in relation to core assessments is good. Although for much of the year there were 40% vacancies in established social worker posts, the performance outcomes in child protection and for looked after children in particular indicate that the council effectively prioritised the deployment of its social workers. At the same time, repeat referrals of children in need reduced significantly, perhaps indicating the success of multi-agency preventative approaches at local level. Page 3 of 8 - East Riding APA

4 Enjoying and achieving The contribution that the council s services for children and young people make to improving outcomes in this area is good with some notable strengths. Outcomes show an improving trend across the majority of indicators for educational achievement. The quality of early years and nursery provision is good. Children are well prepared for primary school. Outcomes for children in primary schools are satisfactory. At Key Stage 1, standards dipped slightly in 2005, although pupils achievement in reading is above average and broadly average in writing and mathematics. At Key Stage 2, the proportion of pupils achieving the expected level for their age was above average and standards in English and mathematics improved further. At Key Stage 3, outcomes are good and improving in English and science, although standards declined slightly in mathematics. The East Riding of Yorkshire Council achieved its best ever results at Key Stage 4 in The percentage of pupils gaining five A* to C grades or equivalent improved faster than the national trend to 61%. The achievement of looked after children at age 16 is significantly above that of their peers nationally. Inspection judgements show that pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make good progress in around three quarters of schools inspected. All secondary schools are performing above the government s 30% five A* to C floor target. Overall, the progress pupils make in secondary schools contributes to a positive outcome. School inspection judgements show that the majority of schools provide good opportunities for learners to enjoy their education, whilst just over half the inspection judgements graded pupils overall achievement as good. The small cohort size of looked after children makes statistical comparisons of achievement and attendance difficult. However, the council has a very clear view of individuals progress and attendance, and careful monitoring prompts appropriate intervention should concerns arise. Attendance in primary schools is good and improving. Overall secondary attendance is broadly average. Secondary schools have done well to reduce the rate of unauthorised absence contrary to the national trend. However, the absence rate of looked after children has risen, reversing the pattern since The rate of permanent exclusion is in line with the national figure, but the percentage of permanently excluded pupils receiving 20 or more hours of home tuition places the council in the lowest quarter nationally. Fixed-term exclusions are slightly higher than would be expected given the good standards of behaviour judged from school inspections. The council has responded by targeting schools using Behaviour Improvement Programme (BIP) funding and by the promotion of internal exclusion in high excluding schools as an alternative strategy. The council has made very good progress in reducing the number of schools in special measures since Targeted support to underperforming schools has been effective in improving the quality of provision. A secondary school previously identified as having serious weaknesses was judged to be effective in A primary school and a pupil referral unit have recently been removed from special measures and judged as satisfactory and good respectively. Only two secondary schools remain in a category of concern; one in special measures is not making adequate progress and another was given a notice to improve. Page 4 of 8 - East Riding APA

5 Making a positive contribution The contribution that the council s services for children and young people make to improving outcomes in this area is good. The council has undertaken extensive consultation with children and young people in the preparation of the CYPP. The Youth Assembly is strong in the East Riding of Yorkshire and provides a route for specific groups of young people to express their views and contribute, for example, to the production of anti-bullying literature. The Youth Inclusion Support Service has been very successful in reducing the risk of offending amongst 5 to 13 year-olds. There has been very good improvement in participation of young offenders over the age of 16 in education, training and employment. Rates of re-offending amongst looked after children have declined significantly and their participation in review meetings has improved. The Corporate Parenting Group provides a route for looked after children to express their views and concerns directly to councillors. A range of innovative projects across the council have provided children and young people with opportunities to participate in events and training to develop their life skills. The Children s Fund Self Esteem project reached over 700 children. Other school based projects focusing on building positive relationships have included significant participation by children from rurally isolated and minority ethnic groups. Multi-agency training on embracing children s needs has been accessed by large numbers of participants. Achieving economic well-being The contribution that the council s services for children and young people make to improving outcomes in this area is adequate overall with a number of good features. The council has recently completed a review of 14 to 19 provision and of progression pathways across the several Local Area Partnerships to identify and address gaps in provision. Stronger collaborative links between education and work related training providers and Connexions are extending choices to better meet the needs of all young people. The council has improved the proportion of care leavers in education, employment and training compared to 2004 and levels of engagement are now broadly average. Similarly, the work of the YOT has had a positive impact on increasing the participation rate amongst young offenders. However, the access to suitable accommodation for care leavers aged 19 has not improved and relative to the national picture has declined. The council acknowledges that the proportions of children with disabilities and young people who are supported to live independently or with their families in the community are only at acceptable levels and more needs to be done through collaborative working to improve this outcome. There has been a significant uptake of Direct Payments by the families of children with disabilities. A range of initiatives have been implemented to increase the rate of participation by 16 to 19 year-olds, involving a greater degree of partnership between local industry, schools and training providers. An Entry to Employment Scheme has experienced levels of success similar to comparable schemes nationally. Participation in education and training post-16 is a strength and more so in post-17 when compared to national figures. Targeted work in schools with young people identified as being at risk of disengagement at the end of Year 11 has successfully reintegrated over Page 5 of 8 - East Riding APA

6 four-fifths of them into education, training or employment. However, although some improvement has been seen in the attainment of 16 to 18 year-olds, this remains below the national average and that of similar authorities. Relative to the standards achieved at the end of the two earlier key stages, young people post-16 in the East Riding of Yorkshire do not make the progress that they should. The council s management of its services for children and young people, including its capacity to improve them further The council s management of services is good. A partnership approach to improving outcomes for children and young people has been consolidated and effective management has enabled the council to build upon many of the achievements noted in the 2005 APA. Services for children and young people are well managed. The newly appointed Director of Children s, Families and Adults Services has provided a clear strategic direction to the work of Children s Services, underpinned by a firm commitment to multi-agency collaboration. An integrated service approach to tackling the priorities of the Directorate has been strengthened. The council demonstrates a clear commitment to address the Every Child Matters agenda. However, the rate of improvement has been uneven across the range of social care and education indicators. There is good capacity to improve although, in some service areas, financial constraints have limited the council s ability to effect further improvement and, in a few cases, progress relative to the national picture has remained static. While the council is making some progress on the development of extended schools and children s centres, they recognise that there is still some way to go. The council acknowledged accumulated service pressures in the social care budget for 2006/07, but pressures remain in placement costs for looked after children and Direct Payments. Nevertheless, when viewed in the context of a transition period for senior leadership and management arrangements, and significant financial constraints, the council has done well to maintain an upward trend. Overall, social care and education services provide very good value for money. Quality assurance systems use national performance indicators to set targets against which to judge the impact of services and to hold key managers to account. Although increasing, the use of data to gauge the impact of the council s work on outcomes in all service areas is not as robust as it could be. The council s self-assessment would benefit from a more thorough approach to assessing the impact of initiatives on improving outcomes for children and young people. Recruitment and retention of staff in schools are good and these have been significant in providing a stable platform for the education services to build further on the improvements seen in Page 6 of 8 - East Riding APA

7 Key strengths and areas for improvement Key strengths Being healthy: looked after children s health checks youth offending team access to CAMHS. Staying safe: child protection arrangements adoption performance. Enjoying and achieving: achievement and standards in secondary schools primary school attendance support for enjoyment in schools. Making a positive contribution: strategies to engage and consult children and young people. Achieving economic well-being: participation post-16 YOT initiatives to improve the participation rate of young offenders. Management of children s services: value for money integrated service approach. Key areas for improvement Being healthy: 16 to 18 CAMHS strategy teenage conception. Staying safe: Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks for commissioned transport review the low numbers of referrals and initial assessment of children in need. Enjoying and achieving: time allocated to tuition of children who are educated other than at school. Making a positive contribution: ensure there is an effective response to young people s expressed concerns raised around health issues. Achieving economic well-being: attainment post-16 support for children with disabilities and young people to live independently or with their families in the community. Management of children s services: staff recruitment and retention in social care risk analysis. Page 7 of 8 - East Riding APA

8 Aspects for focus in a future joint area review or the next APA Teenage conception. Evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to enable young people to access services. Attainment post-16. Staff recruitment and retention in social care. We confirm that the children s services grade will provide the score for the children and young people service block in the comprehensive performance assessment and will be published to the Audit Commission. The social care judgement is for CSCI information only. Yours sincerely FLO HADLEY Divisional Manager Office for Standards in Education JONATHAN PHILLIPS Director - Quality, Performance and Methods Commission for Social Care Inspection Page 8 of 8 - East Riding APA

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