The number of Barnsley care leavers achieving their potential is on the rise

Latest figures have revealed that the number of Barnsley care leavers (aged 19-21) engaged in education, employment, or training has increased by 4.7% since last reported in June 2021. 69.4% of care leavers within the reporting time frame are now in education, employment, or training which puts Barnsley firmly above the 2020/21 national average and that of our regional neighbours. Overall 72.5% of working age people in Barnsley have a job – this needs to be higher so our young people have something to aspire to. Barnsley is investing so businesses, and jobs, stay in Barnsley.

These figures are taken from our latest performance report have been presented and approved by cabinet members on Wednesday, 1 December 2021. The latest report sets out the progress made between July and September 2021 (quarter two) towards achieving our vision and ambitions for Barnsley - as set out in our new three-year Council Plan 2021-24 

We’re working towards four priorities for the borough - to create a healthy, learning, growing and sustainable Barnsley - the place of possibilities. Our quarter two report highlights very positive progress and even stronger performance than quarter 1 (April-June 2021). The key highlights for each priority are outlined below:

We’re creating a Healthy Barnsley where people have the best possible chance of enjoying life in good physical and mental health. Our health and social care services are coming together so people can get the right care and support they need. 

  • We’re creating a borough where people can live independently for longer with 600 residents accessing our reablement services so far in 2021-22 (Q1 and Q2), well on track towards the annual target
  • We’re creating a safer borough with the number of anti-social behaviour incidents across the borough continuing to be the lowest across South Yorkshire. Compared to Q1, the number of incidents reported has reduced by 272 and is 296 less than at Q2 last year.
  • We’re helping young people to feel and be safe reflected by the low numbers of re-referrals to children’s social care, with our 12-month rate (17.2%) remaining well below target; below the average of our statistical neighbours (24.4%) and the national average (22.7%).

We’re creating a Learning Barnsley where young and adult learners have the opportunities available to them so that everyone can fulfil their learning potential, helping them build the skills they need to get into work and progress their careers.

  • More people are learning, connecting and discovering - highlighted through a significant increase in people accessing our library service and all that they offer. Q2 has seen a remarkable 80,897 visits – that’s 44,736 more visits than Q1.
  • We’re supporting children to have the best start to their educational journey with the percentage of eligible two-year-olds accessing early education increasing from 73.65% to 76.23% in Q2.
  • We’ve seen attendance at Primary Schools across the borough reach 97.1% in the autumn and spring term combined, exceeding national and regional averages.
  • We’re committed to making sure people have access to early help, reflected by our ongoing strong performance in the low numbers of young people entering the Youth Justice System for the first time. We’re currently in the top 20% of all Youth Justice Systems when compared to other areas nationally.

We’re working towards a Growing Barnsley – an inclusive place where everyone can find suitable employment, live in a high-quality home that's right for them, and access the fast and affordable digital resources they need.

  • We’re committed to attracting investment and growth, highlighted by our Enterprising Barnsley team successfully supporting 40 businesses to expand and the Launch Pad service supporting 18 new businesses to start trading during Q2 - putting us well on track to achieve our annual targets.
  • We’re creating a welcoming, safe and enjoyable borough, with Q2 seeing 1.7 million people visit the town centre. We’ve also seen a slight reduction in the number of town centre ASB incidents and the number of vacant commercial properties compared to Q1.
  • We’re supporting people to have better homes with a further 49 homes being improved in Q2 under the Affordable Warmth Project - bringing the total since April 2021 to 81.

We’re working towards a Sustainable Barnsley, protecting our borough for future generations

  • We’re creating a borough where people recycle more with Q2 seeing our recycling rate increase from 39.4% to 41.6% - exceeding our target for Q2.
  • We’re promoting out rich heritage and green spaces for everyone to enjoy with 754,577 visitors enjoying our museums and outdoor sites this quarter with an overall economic impact worth £9.7million.
  • We’re continuing to waste less with a diversion from landfill rate of 97.9%.

Finally, we’re creating an Enabling Barnsley by creating a council that’s modern, inclusive, efficient, productive and high performing. The report highlights some great areas of progress including 100% response time to complaints within timescale and exceeding the target for the number of employees beginning an apprenticeship.

Councillor Alan Gardiner, cabinet spokesperson for Core Services, said: “Our Q2 performance report is incredibly positive and highlights some really key achievements delivered in a relatively short period of time considering the impact of the pandemic. We’ve seen an overall improvement in performance during Q2 with 68.8% of all priorities achieved or exceeded, compared to 57.4% in Q2.

We’ve been hit hard by COVID-19, and we’re under no illusion that it’s going to be a long recovery. It’s really heartening to see our ongoing fightback after the pandemic, in particular the regeneration of our Principal Towns and our town centre with the opening of the Glass Works. We've already invested £5 million into our six Principal Towns and ten Local Centres to help them thrive, with another £30 million planned over the next five years. Visitors have flocked back to our attractions and libraries. I’m also delighted to see that we have now exceeded our kerbside recycling target, it’s great news and I hope we can keep up the momentum.

“As always with our performance reports, transparency is key and it’s equally important to identify those areas that need extra work - although it must be appreciated that in many cases, time is a critical factor as we recover from the pandemic. We have work to do around homelessness and pro-active access to our services. Driving down suicide rates is also critical following a reported increase through further interventions and strong partnership working. Despite some areas not quite at target, it’s clear that work is already underway to drive closer to these targets.

“I’m confident that we can 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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