What is attendance case management?
Attendance case management involves early intervention and a pupil specific approach to tackle absence problems. Common features of attendance case management include:
- regular monitoring and follow-up of absence,
- identification of underlying causes of absence or mitigating circumstances,
- engagement with parents to prompt them to focus on their responsibilities to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school and
- application of sanctions, for example prosecution, if improvements are not made within an agreed timeframe.
From 2016/17, data has been collected on all attendance case management rather than just fast-track cases, therefore numbers from 2016/17 onwards are not directly comparable to earlier data. Fast-track is one example of attendance case management which sets out actions and a period for improving a child’s attendance.
Attendance case management is a non-statutory process and is not used by all local authorities; therefore, figures at local authority level are not directly comparable. For more information, refer to the Parental responsibility measures: methodology guidance.
Summary of recent trends
The number of cases going through attendance case management was 85,200 during 2017/18 and 82,100 in 2018/19, a decrease of 4 per cent. Around half of all cases, 44,600, were withdrawn before prosecution in 2018/19.
The Department has queried local authorities with large decreases (78 local authorities have reported decreases, 59 reported increases and the rest remaining stable). Some have reported that the decreases are a result of the local authority moving to providing a statutory service only, with schools responsible for early intervention work and local authorities responsible for attendance enforcement work. As such, some early intervention case management may still be occurring in these local authorities but by schools and not reported in the data. Conversely, a small number of local authorities have recorded large increases, some of which are explained by these local authorities now being able to record this school activity.