Officers from Children’s Services presented the Quarter 3 2020/21 Performance Report.
In the presentation, the following points were made:
· The percentage of young people triaged that were diverted away from the criminal justice system and the number of first-time entrants into the Youth Justice System had exceeded the target figures.
· The percentage of repeat young offenders was lower than most London boroughs.
· There had not been many custodial sentences. Most of these sentences were given to Black and minority ethnic young people and work was taking place with the local magistrates court to address this. Magistrates were provided with a paragraph to consider before sentencing which reminded them of the overrepresentation of BAME people given custodial sentences. There had been successes with the local court but this was more difficult with other courts as there was not the same relationship.
· A member asked whether county lines was still a problem and an officer advised that there were still organised crime groups exploiting children and, although this was more of an issue in rural areas particularly in lockdown, it was still a problem in urban areas. The council was working with partners to address this.
· Data analysis showed the overrepresentation of referrals of Black and mixed heritage ethnic groups. This was being submitted to the Islington Safeguarding Children Board for partners to consider and investigate further.
· Re-referrals to Children’s Social Care within the previous 12 months had increased. Some re-referrals were happening more quickly as the intervention during the first lockdown was not as intensive or robust due to the pandemic, therefore families were more likely to require further intervention.
· Placement stability i.e. the proportion of looked after children with three or more placements over the course of a year was 8.4% in Quarter 3 last year but was now 9.4%. This was still below the London Average. Work was taking place to try and improve this and stabilise children in their placements.
· Long term placement stability had decreased and was below the London average. There were more children in care and more in court proceedings.
· The number of looked after children had increased partly due to the number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) being higher than in other boroughs and delays in court proceedings also contributed.
· Attendance at early years settings of 2 year olds was 70% in the autumn term. This was the highest it had been. However take up could rise and fall very quickly and there was a need for continued focus.
· Approximately 3,500 3-4 year olds attended early years settings in Quarter 3 which was lower than the pre-COVID level of attendance. Although attendance of 3-4 year olds was non-statutory, attendance impacted upon educational outcomes throughout a child’s school life.
· The figures for supporting 16 and 17 year olds to stay in education, employment or training were better than in the last two years. Most support could not take place face-to-face and relationships had been built over the phone or using video conferencing. Many parents and students were concerned about prospects in light of the economic situation and had sought help. Headteachers had responded well and there was now a much improved relationship with the college.
· The increase in home educated young people presented a challenge in establishing contact.
· There had been an increase in demand for World of Work placements and a decision had been taken to focus on secondary schools before rolling out the programme to primary schools.
· The 11 by 11 programme had been developed to provide online and live streamed cultural experiences. One of these included a screening of The Gruffalo which reached between 7,000 and 8,000 children.
· A meeting had taken place with 30 cultural leaders who were willing to assist with work opportunities.
· In response to a member’s question about the number of those being home educated and how they could be engaged, an officer stated that the number had gone up to 274. The local authority and schools were looking at the arrangements and talking to parents to ensure they were making an informed choice. There was a safeguarding concern as some children were not being seen. Six safeguarding leads from schools had volunteered to help the local authority complete assessment work more quickly. All transition points were being targeted. At Christmas, 300 children who were being home educated returned to school.
· A member of the public asked if those who had applied for free schools meals but been unsuccessful were supported in any other way. An officer stated that those just above the threshold were offered support e.g. from We Are Islington and previously Manor Gardens.
Officers were thanked for their report.
That the report be noted.