Agenda item

Children's Social Care Performance - Quarter 4 2022-23


The Assistant Director for Children’s Social Care and Early Help presented the report to the Committee and summarised as follows:  -

-          The number of referrals between January and March 2023 have stayed roughly the same

-          The number of children on Child Protection Plans has remained stable

-          The number of Looked After Children has remained fairly steady at 292 at the end of March, a greater proportion of LAC children are Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children than the year before

-          The number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children has gone up. This trend has been seen across all Local Authorities.

-          Adoption numbers have increased to 14. Performance in this area has improved. Pre-covid around 12 children were adopted annually, during covid it dropped to 7-8. Some of this was due to delays in court as a result of the pandemic.

Following the presentation members were invited to ask questions. Key points raised included:


-          Return home interviews are not always possible as young people don’t want to engage. A lot of work is being completed to encourage young people to engage with the interviews even if it is not a social worker conducting it but some other professional who has a relationship with the young person. The Vice Chair congratulated the department on the increase in number of return home interviews completed.

-          Some of the statistics can be affected if there is a family with a large number of children in it. Performance is measured monthly and audits take place to make sure the threshold is right.

-          Foster care recruitment nationally remains an issue. Thurrock has a good fostering recruitment campaign, 7 households were recruited in year and recruiting more foster carers remains a challenge. Work continues with the Communications team to improve this.

-          Placement sufficiency is a big concern for Local Authorities. Two residential placements have been set up in Thurrock and more options are been looked at.

-          The Committee discussed the figures around care leavers not in education, employment or training. The department has regular meetings to monitor this and the Strategic Lead works closely with Inspire. Many young people are not ready for an apprenticeship and work needs to be done to get them ready for an apprenticeship such as supported internships. This area is a national and local challenge. The Assistant Director for Education stated they are trying to increase the scope of employers who are able to offer apprenticeships.

-          The department has recently recruited 9-10 newly qualified social workers who will be starting once they have completed their studies. There are also another 6 about to start. Recruitment of social workers remains a national issue and to combat this Thurrock is trying to find a different way to recruit through growing their own social workers.


ACTION 3:  Councillor Panjala requested a breakdown of the number of permanent social workers and agency social workers. The Assistant Director of Children’s Social Care and Early Help agreed to provide this after the meeting. Councillor Muldowney requested confirmation of the total number of social workers employed by the Council.


ACTION 4:  Councillor Panjala requested a breakdown of the difference in pay for agency social workers and permanent social workers.





1.1          That members review the areas of improvement and areas requiring further development as well as challenges in Children’s Social Care.


1.2          That members note the work undertaken to date to manage demand for statutory social care services.





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