Cabinet decisions – meeting Thursday 27 September
Cabinet reviewed the West Mercia Youth Justice Plan 2018/19 and recommended to Council for approval.
The West Mercia Youth Justice Plan 2018/19 identifies three indicators for Herefordshire:
· First time entrant figures have reduced – 72 in 2017 (86 in 2016), out of 16,101 young people aged 10-17 in the county (less than half of one percent)
· The use of youth custody has reduced – one custodial sentence in Herefordshire in 2017
· Re-offenders are more likely to re-offend in Herefordshire than the rest of West Mercia, but are re-offending less frequently.
The plan has previously been considered by Children’s and Wellbeing Scrutiny committee, and it is recognised that there is still a lot of work for partners across all agencies.
Cabinet approved the Fostering and adoption service annual report 2017/18.
The fostering and adoption services received positive feedback during the recent Ofsted inspection, which highlighted the good practice of the adoption service in finding timely placements and providing post adoption support. The rate of adoption from care in 2014-17 was higher in Herefordshire than other comparable councils.
Despite bucking the national trend and successfully recruiting new placement families there is still a shortage of foster carers in the county due to an increase in the number of children needing placement. Additional training for foster carers is a priority for the coming year.
To help support young people leaving care, a reduction in council tax for care leavers has recently been approved.
Cabinet approved the corporate budget and performance report – end of June 2018.
The 2018/19 projected outturn is £1.422m, which is a more positive position than being reported in many other areas of the country. Following a recent statutory independent balance sheet review, it was commented that the council’s balance sheet is ‘very robust’.
The projected overspend reflects an increase in looked after children in residential placement, and additional residential placements for people with learning disabilities.
Enabling residents to live safe, healthy and independent lives
The integrated community equipment stores has issued more equipment year on year over the past four years supporting more people to remain at home.
The success of the refugee resettlement scheme continues – with two more families arriving in June, and accommodation for additional families identified.
Adult social care services are increasingly more responsive and signpost people to appropriate support, which has in turn led to a reduction in the cost of care packages. The Community Broker service won the Care Innovator award in the Hereford Times Health and Social Care awards.
There has been progress towards the development of Hillside as a facility for nursing home beds, which will increase capacity for these much needed facilities in Hereford, and help reduce delayed discharges from hospital.
Keep children and young people safe and give them a great start in life
Outcomes from all primary school key assessment points indicate that pupils in the county are now achieving standards higher than the national average.
The number of children subject to child protection plans has reduced due to additional capacity to review cases and consider how best to support children and young people. Cabinet has released £1.6m to help address key issues, including the recruitment of additional staff.
Like many other parts of the country, Herefordshire is seeing an increase in the number of looked after children, and an increased complexity of need. Work is in progress towards reducing this number.
Supporting the growth of our economy
Good progress has been made in major infrastructure projects, with work continuing towards the delivery of the south wye transport package southern link road, and the identification of a preferred route for the Hereford Bypass.
The current development of high quality offices and workshops on the enterprise zone at Rotherwas demonstrates the confidence of private industry in the local economy. As part of the area’s regeneration, the cycle way adjacent to straight mile has been started and phase one is due to be completed by end October.
Major investment in the county’s roads continued over the summer through the £8.5m challenge fund substantial resurfacing roadworks.
There has been significant additional investment of £2.8m from revenue reserves and £1.25m secured from the government’s pothole fund for the county’s highways following the severe winter weather last year.
Fastershire won the Superfast category at the national Connected Britain awards, recognising the progress made in Herefordshire in broadband provision. Funding of £5m has been secured from the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme to provide some of the hardest to reach properties and businesses in the county with superfast broadband access, with the aim of bringing superfast coverage to 98% of the county over the next two years.