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Birmingham social services ‘unlikely’ to escape from Government special measures yet

Birmingham social services ‘unlikely’ to escape from Government special measures yet

🕔04.Jun 2013

councilThe latest breakdown of performance targets for Birmingham children’s social services makes for mixed reading and suggests that the troubled department still has some way to go before it can be removed from four years under a Government improvement order.

A leaked copy of May’s ‘strategic scoreboard’ shows that a mere 43 per cent of initial assessments of vulnerable children are being carried out by social workers within the required timescale, down from the mid-60s per cent for most of 2012-13. The national average is 77 per cent.

When Chamberlain Files highlighted a similar slump in the past, the city council’s official explanation was that the figure was simply a blip caused by some unforeseen circumstance, or something.

And the latest ‘blip’ is written off in much the same way. Councillors have been informed that “remedial action has been taken”, but improvement will not show statistically yet.

On the plus side, the number of core assessments of children at risk carried out in time is slightly above target at 77 per cent and the number of reviews conducted on time is at target.

The number of re-referrals, children returning to the attention of social services after being ‘signed off’, is down to 24 per cent from a high of 38 per cent last year. Improvement in this area is regarded as essential if social workers are to prevent children drifting back into the protection ‘system’ and use the council’s dwindling financial resources more effectively.

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