Agenda item

Independent Reviewing Service Performance Management Report qtr 3 2021 2022


Councillor Alun Williams (Cabinet Member for Through Age and Wellbeing) presented the Independent Reviewing Service Report Quarter 3 2021/2022. Quarterly reports are taken to the Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee as part of an ongoing examination of the topic to ensure that the Local Authority fulfils its duties as the Corporate Parent. The report includes national and local standards and targets used to measure outcomes for looked after children (LAC) and care leavers at the time of their review meeting and includes Welsh Government Performance Indicators. 

On the basis of the information available and the views expressed during the review meeting, the IRO makes a professional judgement about the effectiveness of a child/young person’s care plan in meeting their needs and may recommend changes to the care plan. During the review meeting, the IRO considers whether the child/young person requires assistance to identify relevant other people to obtain legal advice/take proceedings on their behalf. This action was not deemed necessary by the IRO for any child in the period.

In addition, the IRO has regard as to whether the child/young person’s human rights are being breached in any way and, if so, might make a referral to CAFCASS Cymru. This action was not required at any of the review meetings in the period.


These reports are considered within Multi Agency LAC Quality Assurance Meetings which meet quarterly; these meetings provide an opportunity to identify and act upon performance and other issues with this area of work. The reports are also circulated and reviewed by Local Authority’s Corporate Parenting Group, which takes place quarterly. Councillor Alun Williams proceeded to present a Summary of the Key Points noted on page 2 of the report.


Elizabeth Upcott noted they had not received any indication on how the new guidance on the changes to routine dental appointments would affect the service. Health professionals attend quality assurance monitoring meetings.  


Councillor Alun Williams expressed disappointment with the announcement as the Council’s key strategy with the Though-age and Wellbeing Model was to provide early intervention and prevention, which should reduce the need for more expensive services further on. 


The Chair highlighted that there had been a significant increase in the number of LAC over the past 2 years, as reflected on page 4 of the report. She commended the service for a clear and well-presented report.   


Elizabeth Upcott explained that a similar trend has been seen nationally following the pandemic, and although the number of children in care in Ceredigion was low compared to other local authorities, there was a concern and preventions were being put in place for the short and long term. Reference was made to the Nature of the Placement Provision of Children Reviewed and the Legal Status of Children reviewed in the Quarter. Pathway planning was explained to the committee members. It was highlighted that the local authority continued to have a legal responsibility to provide care and support to care leavers who are between 16-25 years old. Despite not all in this age bracket wanting to engage, all care leavers were assigned a Personal Assistant.    


It was noted that there was a lack of foster carers nationally and although there has been an all-Wales recruitment drive, finding placements remains a challenge. There are ongoing management plans in progress to manage this. 


Elizabeth Upcott explained that staffing remained challenging, and they were actively pursuing all avenues, senior management was involved with action plans and regular meetings were held. She clarified that the quarterly reports were a requirement, and it kept all informed of any trends and gave an oversight as corporate parents.


The Chair highlighted that recruitment of Social Workers and Senior Social Workers was included on the risk register. She reinforced the importance of quarterly reporting.


In terms of the significant increase in LAC numbers, Councillor Alun Williams noted that the number was expected to decrease moving forward as local authorities deal with the post-covid emergence.  


The Chair appreciated that an increase in LAC numbers had been seen nationally but she was conscious that Ceredigion was a smaller authority and could be a little more susceptible to the risk.


Committee Members expressed their appreciation for the department and for their hard work in very challenging times. 


Following questions by the Committee Members, it was agreed to note the contents of the report and the levels of activity within the Local Authority.



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