Agenda item

Independent Reviewing Service Performance Management Report Quarter 4, 2022 - 2023


Councillor Alun Williams (Cabinet Member for Through Age and Wellbeing) presented the Independent Reviewing Service Report Quarter 4 2022/2023. Quarterly reports were 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 included 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 (WG) Performance Indicators. Based on the information available and the views expressed during the review meeting, the IRO made 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 considered whether the child/young person required assistance to identify relevant other people to obtain legal advice/take proceedings on their behalf. This action was deemed necessary for 7 young people by the IRO in the period. In addition, the IRO has regard as to whether the child/young person’s human rights were being breached in any way and, if so, may make a referral to CAFCASS Cymru. This action was not required at any of the review meetings in the period.


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


Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Officers present and Councillor Alun Williams. The main points raised were as follows:

·       There were many reasons for the increase in the number of LAC, including the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, the complexities involved and an improved response rate to referrals.

·       Under WG’s plans to eliminate profit-making from the care of LAC, the local authority was in the process of developing internal resources in 3 locations across the county, which were due to open in 2024. Although Ceredigion had fewer out-of-county placements compared to other local authorities, the aim was to enable children to remain in their local communities and to maintain links with family and schools.

·       Given the resources required, the lack of detail from the Home Office and the financial pressure on the local authority’s budget, concerns were raised with how the National Transfer Scheme Protocol for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children operated.

·       Additional foster carers had been recruited recently, but the campaign was generally slow and steady. As current foster carers were an ageing cohort, Members were encouraged to recruit in their communities.

·       Having a Permanency Plan by the second review if a return home had not been planned depended on many factors such as the need for expert advice, which could lead to a delay. Ensuring the right decision was made as opposed to a quick one was key.

·       Schools had identified LAC teachers and a designated safeguarding lead. All schools were focused on the needs of the children and had a duty of care to all.


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

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