Public performance reports

Child protection and children's social work

The Council Plan Connect outlines our objectives for 2017-22. Connect Priorities should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others. In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our Priorities show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

For daily updates, stories and what’s going on in your area, visit our information and news website South Lanarkshire View 

Each year we produce Annual Performance Spotlights which summarise how we have performed in achieving our Connect Priorities. To complement these we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports which focus on key areas of council business. This report outlines the performance in relation to our child protection and children's social work services and how this links to the outcomes of our ambitions to ‘Get it right for children and young people’ and 'Improve health, care and wellbeing'.

Note: Some 2019-20 performance and results were impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Social Work Resources is responsible for a range of services to protect vulnerable children and young people. We work to ensure that children, young people and their families get the right help they need, when they need it. Our vision is to ensure that children and young people live in a community where they are safe from harm and abuse, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included. We work closely with partner agencies to ensure that we Get it right for every child (GIRFEC). Partners include, NHS Lanarkshire, Housing Services, Education Resources, Police Scotland, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and voluntary sector organisations.

A range of community services are provided - follow the links on our website to find out more about intensive family support including Fas, additional support needs, ARCH our Autism Resources Co-ordination Hub, family support servicesfostering, adoption and kinship care and our children and young person's counselling service. We also provide residential care in our own Children’s houses, and when specialist care and education is commissioned, a variety of other registered children’s care services are utilised.

The Care Inspectorate is the independent scrutiny and improvement body for care services in Scotland. They make sure people receive high quality care and ensure that services promote and protect their rights. All our care services are registered and inspected by the Care Inspectorate and you can view the individual reports on South Lanarkshire Council services and facilities on their website.

They currently inspect on five themes: Care and Support, Environment, Staffing and Management, Leadership and People's Wellbeing.

Please see table below for current grades:

Current Care Service grades
Care Service Last inspection Care/Support Environment Staff Management/Leadership People's Wellbeing Required Recommended
Bardykes Road 02/05/2019 5 5 N/A N/A N/A 0 1
Hillhouse Road 03/07/2019 5 N/A 5 N/A 5 0 1
Hunters Crescent 17/05/2019 5 5 N/A N/A N/A 0 1
Langlea Avenue 26/07/2018 5 N/A 5 N/A N/A 0 2
Rosslyn Avenue 23/07/2018 4 N/A 4 4 N/A 0 3
Station Road 12/02/2020 5 N/A N/A N/A 5 0 0
Supported Care 22/01/2019 5 N/A N/A 5 N/A 0 1
Fostering Services 12/02/2018 5 N/A N/A 4 N/A 0 1
Adoption Services 12/02/2018 5 N/A N/A 5 N/A 0 1

Legislative implication for Children’s Social Work
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 became law on 27 March 2014 and contains changes to how children and young people in Scotland will be cared for. It created new requirements to support children and young people and helps to identify problems at the earliest opportunity. There are also changes to early learning, childcare and extra help for looked after children and young people in care.

Performance Indicators:

Performance indicators

The Gross Cost of "Children Looked After" in Residential Based Services per Child per Week – No target set

What this means In terms of children's social work services a major cost incurred by local councils is the cost of caring for looked after children in a residential setting. This indicator calculates the cost per child per week in order that comparisons can be made year on year and between other service providers.
Why this matters In terms of children's social work services a major cost carried out by local councils is the cost for caring for looked after children in a residential setting, getting it right for every child matters.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2017-18 2018-19  2019-20 Are we improving?
SLC £2,371.00 £2,885.00 N/A N/A
Scotland £3,551.00 £4,026.00 N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

The cost of looked after children in a residential setting has increased but remains below the national average.

The 2019-20 figures are not yet available and will be reported later.

To see how we compare against other councils, the data is available on the public performance reporting tool mylocalcouncil.

Performance indicators

The Gross Cost of "Children Looked After" in a Community Setting per Child per Week – No target set

What this means

In terms of children's social work services another major cost carried by local councils is the cost of caring for looked after children in a fostering/family placement setting. This indicator calculates the cost per child per week in order that comparisons can be made year on year and between other service providers.

Why this matters In terms of children's social work services another major cost carried by local councils is the cost of caring for looked after children in a fostering/family placement setting, getting it right for every child matters.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Are we improving?
SLC £228.39 £246.00 N/A N/A
Scotland £334.00 £357.00 N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

The gross cost of looked after children in a community setting has increased. The costs depend on the needs and circumstances of the individual children being looked after, local availability of placements, the policy choices and service models adopted by the council, inflationary pressures and the decisions of Children's Hearings. While the costs have increased over the last couple of years, South Lanarkshire Council has maintained position of lower costs than the Scottish average. 

The 2019-20 figures are not yet available and will be reported later.

To see how we compare against other councils, the data is available on the public performance reporting tool mylocalcouncil.

Performance indicators

Balance of Care for looked after children: % of children being looked after in the Community – No target set

What this means This indicator calculates the proportion of all children that are in the care of the local authority who are being looked after in a community (foster/family placement) rather than a residential setting.
Why this matters The balance is weighted towards supporting children in the community, we need to get the balance right, and therefore getting it right for every child matters.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Are we improving?
SLC 88.6% 89.9% N/A N/A
Scotland 89.7% 89.9% N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

Our Residential Children's Care Home places have reduced and so we have increased placement opportunities within the community through foster care, adoption and kinship care placements. We have targeted resources at Parenting Capacity assessments in order to ensure a child's "forever" home is identified earlier. South Lanarkshire Council's position has improved and is now the same as the Scottish average. 

The 2019-20 figures are not yet available and will be reported later.

To see how we compare against other councils, the data is available on the public performance reporting tool mylocalcouncil.

Performance indicators

The percentage of children seen by a supervising officer within 15 days - Target 75%

What this means This indicator measures the speed and efficiency with which the council progresses cases involving vulnerable children, newly placed on a Compulsory Supervision Order.
Why this matters Timely support to our most vulnerable children matters in order to ensure that they are safe, healthy, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included in decisions effecting their lives.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Are we improving?
SLC 100% 93% 90% No
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

Results have went down this year, however, the council continues to maintain a high level of service. Families must engage with the service in order that we can effectively support vulnerable children and we are continuously seeking new ways to encourage engagement with the service.

Performance indicators

Number of reports submitted to the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration within 20 days - Target 75%

What this means This indicator measures the speed and efficiency with which the council submits reports to the Reporter to the Children's Hearings for cases involving vulnerable children where a compulsory supervision order is being recommended. A target of 20 days is set.
Why this matters The Children's Hearing System provides the operational setting in which SCRA and partner agencies work. The aim is to provide a safety net for vulnerable children and deliver tailored solutions which meet the needs of the individuals. Providing timely reports matters to both the children and their families involved in the Children's Hearing System.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Are we improving?
SLC 75% 93% 72% No
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

Results have went down this year, however, the council continues to maintain a high level of service and measures are in place with the Children and Family management team to improve performance and bring back on target. Performance has already seen an improvement in 2020-21.

The council provides support to vulnerable children and young people through a range of targeted group work sessions and programmes, including the Give us a break! Group, Young Carers, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), young parents, multi-agency planning and early intervention. These programmes impact positively on young people affected by being looked after away from home, homelessness, youth offending, caring duties and additional support needs.

Fostering and Adoption

Since the UK lockdown was imposed on 23 March 2020, much of social work activity was required to be undertaken virtually and the Family Placement Team commenced home working. Like all local authorities, South Lanarkshire Council had to quickly adapt to a dramatic change in work practices. However, IT systems were very quickly developed for wider use and virtual platforms identified. We are pleased to report that our first virtual adoption and fostering panel using Microsoft Teams met on 24 April 2020 and since then panels have taken place at least fortnightly as normal. These have run very well, with full discussion and participation. 

Fostering

Due to the success of virtual panels we have continued to approve new foster carers. This year 14 new fostering resources were approved and we ran several virtual preparatory groups. 

Over the past year we have identified a range of virtual training opportunities for staff and foster carers which have been very well received. Whilst visits to carers have been curtailed by restrictions, we have maintained links via virtual meetings, regular newsletters and social media posts. 

We are exceptionally grateful for our carers’ strength, resilience and energy during this difficult time. They have brought so much positivity and creativity to home learning and ensuring children keep in touch with their families on virtual platforms

 For more information see our Fostering webpages.

Adoption

Adoption enquiries have shown a significant increase during the pandemic. This trend is reflected nationally, and it is evident that this may be related to the restrictions in access to fertility treatment. Again, due to the success of our virtual panels we have continued to approve new adopters. We have offered regular virtual preparatory groups and have approved 15 new adoptive resources.

We continue in our efforts to find adoptive families for the children who need them. If we are unable to identify a suitable family from within our own resources we will profile the child on Linkmaker (previously Adoption Register). 

Despite the restrictions associated with the pandemic we have continued to progress children’s permanence plans. We have adapted introductions to minimise risks of infection, introducing virtual contact and facilitating outdoor meetings where possible.

We continue to provide wide ranging support to our adoptive families. This takes the form of individual/family support, virtual support groups and virtual training events. We have responded to adopters’ requests for specific training on topics such as sleeping problems and support with education. Again, our adopters have demonstrated strength and resilience throughout the year, reducing the impact of the pandemic on their children.

For more information about Adoption see our Adoption webpages.

Kinship Care

At present we are financially supporting 396 kinship children on full Kinship Allowance and 41 children are being supported with Pre-Kinship payments.

Social Work Resources have one Kinship Support Group in the East Kilbride locality and support three Kinship Support Groups in the Clydesdale, Hamilton and Cambuslang areas. All support groups meet monthly and all Kinship Carers are welcome.

Our Kinship Support Worker hosts a variety of training workshops throughout the year, provides a quarterly newsletter and has some great links with other agencies that provide support for Kinship children and families.

We have a Kinship Care information book available and a copy of this can be requested from your Social Worker or our Kinship Support Worker.

For more information please go to our Kinship care webpages.

Child protection services are provided on an individual basis and deal with sensitive issues. When children are subsequently de-registered from the child protection register, a small number of parents/carers are contacted to participate in an exit interview in which they are asked how their circumstances have changed and how they experienced the child protection processes.

Children and Young People who are looked after and accommodated, and care leavers are consulted with on a range of issues. We use consultation tools such as Mind of My Own and “having your say”. A new young carer’s service has recently been commissioned with Action for Children who currently manage two young carer’s services in other areas. They will develop our young carers service, support the young carers forum and continue to support young carers participate in the national young carers festival.

In 2019 the Care Inspectorate carried out an Inspection of Children and Young People in need of our support and protection using their revised model of methodology to enable self-evaluation and inspection activity which focuses on Children in Need of Care and Protection

Whilst it was anticipated the Inspection Report would be published on 28 April, 2020 on 23 March, 2020 the Care Inspectorate took the decision to suspend all publications of inspection reports in light of the demands on public services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Inspection Report was subsequently published on 16 June, 2020. Below is a summary of evaluations:

How good is our Leadership Good
How well do we meet the needs of our stakeholders Good
Impact on children and young people Adequate
Improvements in the safety, wellbeing and life chances of vulnerable children and young people Adequate

The Care Inspectorate recognised a lot of good work is being done in South Lanarkshire. The adequate evaluations predominately relate to our Corporate Parenting agenda.  This includes actively engaging with care experienced children and young people via the establishment of a Champions Board and the testimony of care leavers of services and supports available to them when they leave care.

The Care Inspectorate could also see that there were active steps being undertaken to address these areas for example the development of a dedicated Throughcare and Aftercare

The Care Inspectorate in its conclusion reported that: The Care Inspectorate and its scrutiny partners are confident that South Lanarkshire Community Planning Partnership has the capacity to continue to improve and to address the points for action highlighted in this report

Follow the links to our website for further information about services and how to access them:
Young carers service
Child protection

You can also download a copy of our Children's Services Plan and Children's Services Annual Report.

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year. Performance and actions relating to Child Protection and Children's Social Work can be found in the Social Work Resource Plan.

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans. In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect Priorities are prepared.

More information on council objectives can be found in the Council Plan Connect and also the Annual Performance Spotlights

Local Government Benchmarking Framework  (LGBF) allows councils to work together, to use performance information in a way which will help understand variations, share knowledge, expertise and good practice, with a view to making improvements. At the core of the framework is an agreed suite of performance indicators. We report the results for these indicators, over time, on the website. Additionally, you can compare our LGBF results with other councils' using the mylocalcouncil tool. Not all local authorities are alike and so family groups of eight ‘similar’ councils have been set up for comparison purposes. Workshops take place throughout the year to discuss the indicators and results – South Lanarkshire Council is actively involved in these discussions.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (February 2021).