Child & family services performance panel gets underway

The Child & Family Services Scrutiny Performance Panel met for the first time last week.  The performance panel is a sub-group of the People Scrutiny Board.  The People Scrutiny Board agreed that performance of child and family social services was an important area for scrutiny to continue to focus on given the recent history and agreed to set up the panel for this purpose.

At the meeting the panel focused on the Child & Family Services monthly performance report which contained detailed information on how the service performed in the previous month.  The report also highlighted areas that required attention and improvement.  The panel will regularly consider monthly performance reports throughout the year. 

 The panel also examined the financial monitoring report for the first quarter of 2012/13 which continued to show a substantial overspend in Child & Family Services.  The overspend was due to children and young people being placed in foster placements by independent foster care agencies rather than by the Council’s own foster care service, Foster Swansea.  It was stressed that the need to reduce the overspend had to be balanced with the duty of the authority to provide stable placements for these children placed in external foster care placements.  External placements were reducing slowly and Foster Swansea had been successful in recruiting new foster carers, both of which would have a positive impact on the projected overspend.

 Finally the panel turned its attention to recent CSSIW inspection reports of access arrangements for Children’s services and of Foster Swansea.  Overall the inspection reports were positive although they did highlight a number of areas that required improvement.  The panel agreed that the two services will continue to face the challenge of very high levels of demand for services and this will need to be addressed.

 The panel felt that this was a very positive first meeting, it had the opportunity to ask very detailed questions on important issues of performance and it looked forward to continuing with this work throughout the year.  The panel will report back to the People Scrutiny Board the Board meeting on 8th October


  1. Child and Family social services are essential and costly. Isn’t it time the City and County of Swansea began to consider alternate ways to meet the needs of our most vulnerable children?

    For example, given the dependence on intensive support services for children living in Townhill and Penderry wards, could we consider ways to meet the needs of these children and their families within their own communities without farming children out to other communties, sometimes very far afield?

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