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

Are we achieving our targets?

Green – 10; Amber – 3; Red – 3; M – 2

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 two of the four key performance indicators, while one measure reports as Amber, and one reports as in-measurement.

Cheshire West has experienced a significant reduction in the number of children in need, currently at 262.3 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 year-end total is has not fully reached the annual cumulative target. The rate of the increase in achieving of sustained outcomes in Quarter 4 has fallen when compared to Quarter 3, reflecting the declining performance recorded for Direction of Travel. It should be noted however that within the latest Quarter the average achieved was sustained outcomes for 41 families per month, which if continued for 2019-20 would ensure the 2020 target is achieved. The local approach taken is regarded as robust both locally and nationally. 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 continued high performance since this year, at 100%. 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, this measure is ‘M’ at Quarter Four, the number of surveys completed this quarter was too small to be reliable and also a true and accurate reflection of parent/carer or young people’s views. From January to March 2019, 2 surveys were returned. Historically the Council does not receive many returns by post or via the online survey. The bulk of the data is collected via a telephone survey. The Special Educational Needs team business support team who would normally perform this activity has been subject to a number of vacancies since January. This has impacted on the resources available to complete the telephone survey. In early June the Special Educational Needs Team Business Support team will return to full capacity. Telephone surveys have already recommenced in May. A volunteer for the Information, Advice and Support Service is in the process of being trained to complete the survey on behalf of the Special Educational Needs Service.

Wider Performance Indicators

Within the wider performance indicators contained in this Outcome Plan, there is improving performance to report regarding reducing the proportion of primary school age children who are not taught in mainstream provision, at 43% against the target of 43.5%. Performance at secondary school age is not at target levels, but has improved significantly in the last six months, and is now at 63% against the target of 56%, down from 69.6% at mid-year and quarter three. There is also high and improving performance in terms of increasing the proportion of children who are achieving a good level of development at the early years stage, which stands at 72% against the target of 71%.


Analysis and issues

The positive progress reported for Quarter 1-2 has continued into Quarter 3-4 2018-19. At this stage, over 80% of actions are on-track or have been delivered, and 15% have been re-phased. Key highlights from the last six months from those actions that continue to make progress towards completion to target include:

  • The Risk of NEET (Not in education, employment or training) indicator (RONI) has been embedded. The current cohort of students will be taking their exams in May-June 2019 and then will be tracked and monitored for their outcomes, which will be available November 2019. Statistical data and analytical narrative will be available November 2019.
  • 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 assessments in order for them to be able to document their interventions with children, young people and their families. There is emerging evidence that this is supporting an increase in team around the family activity. The delivery of Multi Agency Assessment Toolkit Workshops has
    been extremely well received to date and the feedback has been that the workshops are succinct and flexible in delivery to meet the needs of the audience. These are followed up with support by the Team around the Family Advisor if required to evidence case specific need and identifying risk to support onward referral.
  • Through the support of the refugee resettlement programme in Cheshire West and Chester, including the monitoring of take-up of services from the cohort, 16 families are open to support services in Cheshire West and Chester. The refugee strategy meeting continues to be run and monitor the partnership work with this cohort. Mental health support for trauma is being discussed with local health partners. Refugee training around team around the family working for partner information took place in November 2018 with a refresher in February 2019.
  • The Council has ensured that Early Years entitlement communications material is shared; materials were shared with early help and prevention service staff and partner professionals in December to encourage families to take advantage of their entitlements, such as 30 hours childcare. Social media messages and a press release were shared in January 2019. Letters and poster/overview document were shared with the Early Years Team for distribution to childcare providers in January 2019.
  • The development of capacity and quality within childminder provision has continued in recent months. Schools are setting up childcare partnerships encouraged to include childminders in their planning, and there is a Working in Partnership event planned for 4 June 2019. Work has continued with Early Years teams to support the quality of childminders, childminder drop-ins have been established and regular training has been delivered.

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. Information has been gathered from Citizen’s Advice and the Department of Work and Pensions to start building a picture of services available to support people in poverty. The road map will be developed further following the Local Offer migration as more information becomes available.
  • The implementation of the outcomes of the joint Council/CCG review of the existing Child Development Service has been re-phased, progress has however been achieved in clarifying referral and assessment pathways into special educational needs and disabilities provision across health social care and education, and a service specification has been agreed, the recommendations will now be presented for approval to the wider strategic group on 24 April 2019.

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

  • Earned Autonomy funding (devolved by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to give local areas more control over Troubled Families funding) has 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 supporting families to achieve sustained employment outcomes. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government undertook a visit in January 2019 to monitor progress and positive feedback was received ahead of the second year of the programme.
  • 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.
  • The formal launch of the second Poverty Truth Commission took place on 31 January 2019. Around 15 new Community Inspirers come forward and a first meeting took place in September of these new Inspirers. Regular meetings continue before the Inspirers agree the three priorities for this Commission in April and specific task groups are established from May. The previous Inspirers and Chair will be Ambassadors for new commission. There will be greater focus on young people’s perspective in the second commission and work on this is already underway with Winsford Academy.
  • 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.

Next Reporting Period

The following are examples of tasks and milestones expected to be completed in 2019-2020:

  • Explore opportunities for capturing outcomes for Troubled Families from further local authority and partner services.
  • Support the ongoing work of the second West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission.
  • Work collaboratively to ensure improvements in mental health services.
  • 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.
  • Working with a range of providers, further develop provision, pathways into adulthood, supported internships and employability skills, across the 16-19/25 phase.