Latest performance report reveals positive start towards our ambitions for Barnsley – the place of possibilities

Attendance across Barnsley’s primary schools has seen an impressive increase over the last 12 months, with latest figures revealing a 96.6% attendance rate. Not only does this exceed our own target, but it also puts our attendance above that of our national and regional neighbours.  

These figures are revealed in our latest quarterly performance report to be presented to cabinet members for approval next Wednesday, 22 September. The report sets out our progress between April and June 2021 (quarter one) towards achieving our vision and ambitions for Barnsley - as set out in our new three-year Council Plan 2021-24. 

The new plan for 2021-24 was launched in April 2021, with five new priorities for the borough and 12 outcomes representing what we hope to achieve. Critically, our new plan also sets out our plans to recover from the pandemic and build back better and fairer. Our quarterly performance reports are a great way for us to share with you what we’ve achieved and the progress we’re making. They are also vital in making sure we’re on track towards achieving our ambitions and identifying any areas that need more attention or improvement.  

Our vision and ambitions for Barnsley are clear; we’re working towards a healthy, learning, growing and sustainable Barnsley - creating the place of possibilities. We’ve got off to a very positive start and are delighted with our progress so far – particularly the early signs of us bouncing back from the pandemic. Take a look at some of the reports highlights below.  

We’re working towards a Healthy Barnsley by ensuring people can access all the care and support they need – when and where they need it: 

  • The number of re-referrals for children’s social care support in the last 12 months has fallen from 18% to 16.3%, which remains below our 19% target – as well as our statistical neighbour and national average. 
  • We remain on target for the number of care homes, and home care providers rated good or outstanding. 
  • Between April and June 2021, we received 22 safeguarding concerns from adults in adult social care, exceeding our target for the quarter and keeping vulnerable people safe.  

We’re working towards a Learning Barnsley where people have the opportunity to fulfil their learning potential and build the skills they need to get into work: 

  • Between April and June 2021, our libraries have received 36,155 visits, of which 78% were physical visits into the libraries, with the remaining being digital - putting us well on track to achieve our annual target. 
  • As well as primary schools, we’ve also achieved an impressive increase in attendance across secondary schools from 93.7% to 94%, putting us above the regional and statistical neighbour average for the first time in four years. Considering the impact of Covid on schools, this is most impressive. 
  • We’ve seen an impressive 23% decrease in the number of fixed-term exclusions across primary and secondary schools up until the end of June 2021 compared to the same period last year.   

We’ll be a Growing Barnsley by making it an inclusive place where people can gain employment and live in a high-quality home: 

  • We’ve supported 52 businesses to grow and expand, bringing more investment to the borough and achieving 45% of our annual target in just three months. 
  • We’ve supported 28 businesses to set up between April and June through our launchpad programme, putting us well on track to achieve our annual target. 
  • We’ve welcomed seven new companies who’ve relocated to Barnsley to run their businesses.  
  • We’ve welcomed nearly 1.5 million people into the town centre – a positive trend and well on target. In fact, the footfall for June 2021 was the highest recorded for several years.  
  • We’ve improved 32 homes across the borough through our Affordable Warmth Programme exceeding the target for the quarter. 

We’re creating a Sustainable Barnsley where people live in great places, recycle more, waste less and feel valued in their community:

  • 99.4% of our waste has been diverted from landfill (latest data available for quarter 1), performing well above the target of 97.5% and exceeding the diversion rate achieved last quarter.
  • Flytipping incidents across the borough continue to decline when compared to last year, with just 11.2 incidents reported this quarter per 100,000 of the population – exceeding its target. 
  • We welcomed almost 354,000 visitors to our museums and outdoor sites, exceeding our quarterly target.  

Councillor Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for Core Services, said: “The launch of our new council plan was a crucial, yet exciting step as we look towards the future of Barnsley and the possibilities it will bring. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has hit us hard and we’re up against many challenges, but we’ve already demonstrated our strength, determination and drive to build back better.   

“We’ve welcomed back thousands of residents to our libraries as our services have resumed. We’ve seen some excellent recovery across the town centre and some Principal Towns with our retail recovery index already exceeding our target, and of course the recent opening of the Glass Works will only enhance this recovery.   

“I was thrilled to hear that attendance at our schools is on the up, such a crucial time for our young people after the incredibly disruptive time they’ve had.   

“We should collectively feel pleased and encouraged by our progress so far. But as always, equally important is recognising those areas that require more work or are not going quite to plan. The report highlights that we’ve work to do around supporting the creation of private-sector jobs, but we recognise the labour supply challenges and impact of COVID-19, putting us in a good position to take a proactive approach. 

“We’ve some work to do around increasing education, employment and training for care leavers aged 19-21 but recognise that care leavers and young people have been hardest hit in respect of unemployment rates during COVID-19.   

“We’re confident that we will face our challenges head-on and work together to improve those areas that have been impacted or where progress has been delayed by the pandemic. We’ll also continue to look to the future with enthusiasm and optimism as we believe in Barnsley as the place of possibilities.”  

The full cabinet report can be read here. 

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