A significant responsibility of children's social work services is to provide services
and placements to looked after children. These are provided in a range of community
and residential settings.
While community based placements are favoured rather than residential placements,
the placements are made on the basis of the complexity of the needs of each child
and the availability of appropriate placements.
The placement types include foster care and kinship placements in community based
settings and placements in care homes or residential schools. The latter placements
in particular represent a major cost carried by local councils. Local authorities
try to maximise the availability of community based placements, as these are generally
less expensive than residential placements, especially residential schools or placements
in secure accommodation.
The gross costs per child per week incurred by the Council for these residential
and community placements are shown in indicators CHN8A and CHN8B respectively. These
show midrange performance by the Council with our ranking in the second and third
The balance of care indicator CHN9 below identifies the proportion of all children
who are in the care of the Council who are being looked after in a community rather
than a residential setting. This shows less favourable performance with 82% of looked
after children being in community based placements with a ranking in the
bottom quartile of all local authorities.
As a service we need to work on increasing the availability of local community based placements
and also work with the Reporter to the Children's Panel on achieving a balance in
favour of local community based rather than residential placements wherever possible.
Our performance on the 3 performance indicators reported here was mixed. We performed
better on both of the costs of care indicators, than on the balance of looked
after children in community placements.
CHN8A: The gross cost of 'looked after children’ in residential based services, per child, per week in 2013-14 was £2,507.14. This represents a 13% increase in cost from the previous year, but we are still ranked in the top half of local authorities in Scotland.
CHN8B: The gross cost of ‘looked after children’ in a community setting, per child, per week in 2013-14 was £225.06, representing a 5% increase in costs.
CHN 9: the Balance of Care for looked after children: % of "Looked After Children" being cared for in the Community was 82% in 2013-14, an increase of 3% from the previous year, and Falkirk continues to be ranked in the bottom quartile of local authorities in Scotland.
What the Council is doing to improve services
Our objective is to increase the percentage of young people placed in community placements.
Therefore the council continually strive to recruit additional foster carers. But
while we succeed in recruiting new carers each year, some carers also retire each
year. So the council also looks at innovative ways of recruiting foster carers and
this will continue.
The council is also making efforts to increase the number of kinship placements, where safe to do so, by providing equitable payments to foster carers for these arrangements.
- Activity to understand performance and learn from benchmarking with other local authorities. We have joined a benchmarking group to look at the areas of performance reported here and the data. This will help to understand the data sources better, as the data reported here is not always comparable between local authorities due to differences in recording expenditure data in particular. The benchmarking group will facilitate further exploration of these factors in understanding and reporting this data.
How can the public get involved?
The Citizens Panel helps us listen and respond to your views. We are always looking
for more people to join the Citizens Panel, so that we can be sure that the survey
responses are representative of the whole population. If you want to make your voice
heard, join the Citizens Panel today. You have the option to complete surveys online
or on paper.
You can also give us your feedback on services: