All of our families, children and young people are supported to get the best start in life

Are we achieving our targets?

Green – 9; Amber – 2; Red – 6; M – 1

Are we getting better?


Improved performance


Stayed the same


Requires improvement


Further information is needed or the latest measure is unavailable

Analysis and issues

The table above shows that the Council is on track to achieve the annual targets set for three of the four key performance indicators.

Cheshire West has experienced a significant reduction in the number of children in need, currently at 291.4 per 10,000, below the target of 310 per 10,000. This is attributable to high quality practice, a strengthened interface between Early Help and Social Care, and a range of interventions, such as the expanded Edge of Care Service, a new, more intensive model of support for Children in Need, and Family Group Conferencing – an evidence based intervention designed to build on family strengths to keep families resilient and stable.

While there continues to be an increase in the number of Troubled Families achieving sustained outcomes, the mid-year total is currently not on track to reach the annual cumulative target. The local approach taken is regarded as robust however, both locally and nationally and confidence remains in achieving the overall target of 1820 by 2020. The claim window for the Troubled Families Programme is open until the end of October and opens again in November for a rolling window until the end of March. The local authority will be able to submit claims in these time windows which will allow the targets to be met with families who have achieved their outcomes. In March 2018, Cheshire West was awarded Earned Autonomy status by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. With this award which recognises Cheshire West’s high performance in this area, Cheshire West received an additional payment of £655,000 to invest in the further transformation of services in support of the programme through to 2020. This funding will help with a whole range of support for families with multiple problems, including anti-social behaviour, truancy, unemployment, mental health issues and domestic abuse.

The second measure that has reported green is the take up of free early education for eligible 2 year olds from the 30% most deprived wards. This measure has experienced improved performance since this year, at 100% (104% actual, taking population changes since the 2013 figures that are used for this measure into account), exceeding the target of 91%. Two year old places are targeted at families on low income and in the majority of cases are likely to be the families living in the top 30% area of deprivation. Although the birth rate has not changed dramatically over the last few years the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) for areas and numbers of families accessing benefits have changed considerably. This coupled with the transient nature of population will impact on the overall take up of 2 year funding within an area.

In relation to parent/carer satisfaction with Education, Health & Care Plans, the target for this year so far has been exceeded, at 100%, and shows continued improved performance since 2017/18. It also compares well to the results of a recent national survey by the Department for Education of 13,000 parents and young people. This asked what impact the Education, Health & Care Plan had for them and 62% of respondents agreed that it would achieve the outcomes agreed for the child or young person.

The Cheshire West Troubled Families Model is seen as an example of good practice nationally, as reflected in the successful Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government spot check in 2017/18.

Wider Performance Indicators

Within the wider performance indicators contained in this Outcome Plan, there is high and improving performance to report regarding ensuring children in the borough achieve a good level of development. 72% of children are achieving a good level of development at mid-year, against a target of 71%.


Analysis and issues

The positive progress reported for 2017-18 has continued into 2018-19 overall. At this stage, over 75% of actions are on-track or have been delivered, and six have been re-phased. Key highlights from the last six months from those actions that continue to make progress towards completion to target include:

  • In line with the NHS Transformation Plan, collaborative work is underway to ensure improvements in mental health services. The Council’s Public Health service have played an active role in the work of the borough-wide multi-agency Children’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board, which was set up to implement ‘Future in Mind’. Public Health is also leading on developing an all-age Mental Health Strategy for the borough. A paper is being drafted for the Health and Wellbeing Board meeting in November 2018, for the Board’s approval and support to proceed with this initiative.
  • Work to secure relevant information to ensure service resources are targeted at mental health needs has continued during the last six months. Public Health is working with voluntary sector agencies on a Time to Change Bid. Time to Change is a social movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Time to Change want to embed their social movement into local communities, through the establishment of local ‘Time to Change Hubs’. A Time to Change Hub is a partnership of local organisations and people who are committed to ending mental health stigma and discrimination. Hubs are aligned to Local Authority boundaries and there are currently 16 funded Hubs across England. Time to Change is now inviting areas to bid for the final round of one-off funding (£25,000) to establish one additional Hub per Time to Change region. The funding available will be for a period of 18 months and will provide a champions fund alongside funds to administer the champions fund and coordinate the Hub. This will be presented at the October 2018 Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, to gain approval and support to proceed with the bid.
  • Work to ensure that all frontline workers from Early Help and Prevention are initiating and contributing to team around the family assessments and e-team around the family processes has continued. Significant training has been undertaken to ensure that youth workers, community safety wardens and community safety officers now have access to electronic Team around the Family (e-TAF system) in order for them to be able to document their interventions with children, young people and their families.
  • The implementation of cultural change in relation to team around the family initiation within the starting well service, nurseries, and schools and within Further Education has continued. Additional capacity to promote early intervention in the form of school team around the family advisors and Senior Practice Leads came into post in April 2018. Positively, 5 schools who have previously not engaged with the team around the family process have now initiated 16 team around the family processes.
  • The extension of provision to 25 years old for young people with special educational needs and disabilities over the next 4 years has continued. West Cheshire College has improved personal care facilities to allow access to provision in borough. The College Learner Network is established and well-attended; its purpose is to develop education provision in borough for learners with special educational needs and disabilities post-16. Supported internships are in place and planning is ongoing to increase these post-16 and post-19 using the newly awarded Department for Education grant funding (January 2018). Preparation for Adulthood remains a focus of the send Strategy Group, and the Council has recently submitted a bid to support Careers Education for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • The implementation and promotion of the use of Personal Budgets has continued, building on learning from the Integrated Personal Commissioning Programme, which has trialled personal budgets for children and young people with Learning Disabilities. In order to continue to embed this approach, resources have been agreed for a Project Manager to support this work.

Examples of actions that have been re-phased include:

  • The development of a road map of services to understand the complexity of services and initiatives currently undertaken by the Council, particularly services which address poverty, has been re-phased due to the development of the new local offer website. Once the migration to the new Local Offer is complete this will be used as the starting point for the road map.
  • Working with a range of providers to further develop provision, pathways into adulthood, supported internships and employability skills, across the 16-19/25 age group has been re-phased. Positive progress on this work continues, with joint working with providers continuing with college and specials schools to identify pathways to employment. Special schools are exploring moves to provide supported internships, and a pathway has been developed with providers, and now needs to be further developed with young people and families.
  • Work to improve inclusion in mainstream schools in partnership with the Cheshire West Education Improvement Board through the sharing of data, intelligence and evidence of the pattern of need/provision across the borough, seeking greater school ownership within this process is underway, with further work re-phased to the next quarter. The Council has continued to promote inclusion with local schools and at partnership forums.

Three actions have been delivered so far in 2018-19, these are:

  • Improvements in capturing outcomes for Troubled Families from further local authority and partner services. Following the award of Earned Autonomy status from April 2018, which recognises the Council’s good practice in the delivery of the Troubled Families programme, an ICT Solution has been developed to facilitate partner agencies directly inputting onto the case management system. This will further improve case working overall and capturing outcomes for Troubled Families. Earned Autonomy funding has also supported the introduction of additional roles in the front door from partner agencies that will facilitate the capturing of outcomes in particular with Probation and also Adult Community Nursing and Mental Health Services, while resource to support the developing Winsford Hub arrangements should support capturing multi-agency outcomes with particular focus on sustained employment outcomes.
  • The parenting information site for service users has been significantly enhanced. The website has been made more accessible and easier to search for information and resources. The site now opens as a Parenting Platform with access to banners offering support, information and advice; free on line support, Parenting Tips, Triple P, Services available, Support available in local schools, 123 Magic, Youth Connect 5, Family Therapy, Incredible Years, Cygnet, Relationship Realities and more.
  • Early Help and Prevention staff have implemented the use of Cheshire Child a Talker approach (C-CAT) in the assessment of speech and language in children under the age of 5.