Timeliness of initial assessments has decreased overall during 2015-16, however, there is improvement during the year on a quarterly basis.
An initial assessment is defined as a brief assessment of a child referred to social services with a request for services to be provided. Performance is monitored by the statutory measure “The percentage of initial assessments completed within 7 working days”. The target for this measure is 80%.
Whilst the performance during 2015-16 has seen a drop, we can see an overall trend of improvement across the year.
|Q1 2015/16||Q2 2015/16||Q3 2015/16||Q4 2015/16|
The steady improvement in performance can be attributed to the detailed action plan implemented across the Service.
This measure is linked with SCC/006 – “decisions made on referrals within 1 working day”. Any delay on initial decision making, has an inevitable impact on the chances of completing the assessment within 7 days. Actions taken include:
- Capacity was increased to ensure swift decision making on referrals Assigning additional staff helped to reduce the risk of delays
- Monthly monitoring meetings were held with the Head of Service, to continually monitor the performance
- Regular audits conducted by the Quality Standards team identified good practice and led to action plans to address development needs
Part (b) of this indicator – ‘SCC/042(b) – the average number of days taken to complete Initial Assessments which were greater than 7 working days’, also demonstrates an improvement in performance. The average number of days taken to complete an Initial Assessment is now back down to 10 days (as opposed to 16 days at year-end). This also suggests that practice is improving with reduced delay in completing the assessment process.
We have improved upon our core assessment performance to date compared to last year, and have consistently exceeded the target in every quarter.
A core assessment is required to be completed within 35 days of the need for one being identified when Section 47 enquiries are initiated, when a child becomes looked after or when the initial assessment has identified that a further, more detailed assessment should be undertaken.
SCC/043(a) The percentage of required core assessments completed within 35 working days. The locally agreed target is 75%.
Performance regarding core assessments has consistently exceeded the target figure through 2015-16.
Q1 = 81.0%, Q2 = 88.5%, Q3 = 79.4% Q4 = 82.7%
Although we are exceeding the target with this measure, we wish to improve further.
The majority of assessments which took longer than 35 working days to complete, were only a couple of days out of timescale. This will be monitored closely over the next reporting period.