"Dear Chris, I am writing to share with you the latest teenage conception rate figures for Leeds. The figures are for 2007 and have been announced today by the National Audit Office. As you will be aware reducing teenage pregnancies is a priority for the city and all partners and is a priority within the Children and Young People’s Plan and the Local Area Agreement. Over recent years teenage conception rates in the city have been increasing with the rate for 2006 being 50.9/1000 teenage conceptions in our 15-17 year old population. I am pleased to share with you that the rate for 2007 is showing a decrease, down to a rate of 48.1/1000. This gives us a total 4.6% reduction from the baseline figure we had of 50.4/1000 in 1998.
This is a great achievement and one that is thanks to colleagues applying real focus to this challenging target. Whilst there is no single element that has solely contributed to this, but your ownership and leadership contribution to this issue has been vital. We will continue to push hard to implement our strategy that focuses on;
- Providing effective leadership
- Improving our data collection, sharing and management
- Robust performance management
- Visible and effective communication and social marketing
- Increasing the provision of contraception and sexual health services
- Strong and effective delivery of Sex and Relationship Education in schools and non school settings
- Targeted work in priority wards and with vulnerable groups, and
- Providing support to teenage parents.
Whilst this is a great achievement, we still have a long way to go to meet the 55% reduction target by 2011. I am sure you will continue to give this your time and energy. Rosemary"
This is a fantastic result and reflects some incredible work by colleagues across the city; in Education Leeds and in schools. I am grateful to Keira Swift, Jenny Midwinter, John Freeman and Anne Cowling and her colleagues.
Great progress, but more to do so let's press on with this vitallly important work.