The leader of Cumbria County Council has described the authority’s performance in the first quarter of the year as “encouraging”.

The report presented to the cabinet at a meeting this week provided a snapshot of the council’s overall performance between April 1 and June 30, setting out progress made and targets missed.

By the end of the first quarter, the council had delivered, met or was on track to meet 46 out of 54 – 85 per cent – of the agreed milestones.

A further seven – 13 per cent – were “in progress” and the council looked set to miss out on at least one of its targets which flagged up red.

The overall performance position for the first quarter was that 23 out of the 38 measures – 60 per cent – had either exceeded the target or were within five per cent of it.

Nine measures were within 10 per cent of the target, while six measures were more than 10 per cent off target.

Council leader Stewart Young said it was “a good performance”, adding that there was “obviously more to be done.”

There was “encouraging progress” in the recruitment of social workers via the council’s training academy, an initiative now being extended to the fire service.

The council is also rolling out a new approach to highway safety inspections across the county, including changes to how potholes are repaired.

The plans are part of a move away from a “reactive approach” to the problem towards a “more fundamental” and “permanent approach”.

The cabinet heard that an event for those families making the transition from Children’s Services to Adult Services had been well-attended and that a carers charter was being developed.

However, the council has also reported that the number of children in care increased from 683 to 716 which is above the Cumbria target of 626.
At district level, the rates remain highest in Allerdale and Copeland with 318 children looked after.

Numbers in Barrow and South Lakeland were relatively static over the last year up until March when they started to creep up again.

Meanwhile, the June figures for Carlisle and Eden were down slightly at 169.

The number of ‘delayed transfers of care’ (DTOC), people in hospital waiting to be discharged from hospital also rose in the first quarter – flagging up as ‘red’ or off-target.

However, Mr Young stressed that a lot of work had been undertaken to address the issue and there was “some indication” of a turnaround.