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Public performance reports

Children and families social work

The Council Plan Connect outlines our outcomes for 2022-27. Connect Outcomes 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 outcomes 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 Outcomes. To complement these we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports that 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'.

Children and families services work to provide family support to promote the welfare and development of children, young people, and their families. They also provide support and care for children, young people, and their families so that, wherever possible, young people can remain with their own families in their own communities. Social Work Resources also have a duty to protect children. Whilst this is a shared responsibility with other agencies and the community, Social Work has a particular responsibility to investigate allegations of child abuse. These responsibilities are carried out in the framework of jointly agreed child protection procedures.

Local councils have a duty under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 to assess a person's community care needs and decide whether to arrange any services. Any assistance should be based on an assessment of the person's care needs and should take into account their preferences.

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.

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 outlines the legislative framework for Scotland's child protection system. It covers parental responsibilities and rights, and the duties and powers local public authorities have for supporting and promoting the safety and welfare of children.

Preparations are underway to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child (UNCRC) into Scots Law and the additional commitments that will come with it. This is designed to help children access their rights more easily.

A dedicated children's rights group has been reaching out to staff across public services to find out more about their understanding of children's right, the UNCRC in general. Nearly 300 staff completed an online survey and over 100 participated in interactive focus groups to help increase staff awareness and understand what support staff would benefit from in the future.

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 implemented 01 April 2014 places a duty on local authority social work departments to offer people who are eligible for social care a range of choices over how they receive their support. The needs of the majority of children and young people in South Lanarkshire will be met by their families, community, and universal services of health and education. However, there will be times when some children will need additional support to reach their potential and achieve good outcomes.

This support might come from specified resources such as support for learning or specialist health services.  In other circumstances some children may require an assessment for Self-directed Support.  A Self-directed Support co-produced assessment is completed to assess the level of need and risk for the child or young person and to begin to consider their identified outcomes. This assessment may result in the provision of some funded support.

Not all children and young people will require a Self-directed Support (SDS) assessment.  This applies to those children and young people who meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in Sections 22 and 23 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995: 'Children in Need'.

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 on their website.

They currently inspect five themes. Please see the table below for current grades for children's services within South Lanarkshire:

Care service Latest inspection How well do we support people's wellbeing? How well is our care planned? How good is our setting?

How good is our staff team?

How good is our leadership?
Bardykes Road 29/07/2022 5 5 5 5 5
Hillhouse Road 30/06/2022 5 5 5 5 5
Hunters Crescent 29/04/2022 4 4 4 4 4
Langlea Avenue 19/04/2022 5 5 5 5 5
Rosslyn Avenue 13/05/2022 5 5 5 5 5
Station Road 19/05/2022 3 3 3 3 3
Adoption Service 27/02/2023 4 5   5 5
Fostering Service 27/02/2023 4 5   5 4
Supported Carers Service 22/01/2019 5 5   5 5

Grades Guide:     1. Unsatisfactory     2. Weak     3. Adequate     4. Good     5. Very Good     6. Excellent

An Inspection of Services for Children in Need of Care and Protection was undertaken in 2019. The Care Inspectorate published the Inspection Report on 16 June 2020, following a short delay in light of the priorities surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is a summary of evaluations:

Area of inspection Graded
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

An integral part of any inspection undertaken is the development of an Improvement Action Plan based on the Care Inspectorate’s findings. The improvement plan has continued to progress but with revised timelines due to the pandemic to ensure all pertinent areas identified within the inspection report are addressed. The five key themes were:

  • Corporate Parenting arrangements
  • Care leavers transition
  • Outcome data
  • Views of children, young people, and their families; and
  • Kinship Care

This includes actively engaging with care experienced children and young people via establishing a Champions Board. The Champions Board is a group of care experienced people who are supported to come together to engage directly with those who make key decisions about the care system. The Champions Board links directly with the Promise Board and three strategy sub-groups:

  • Engagement and Participation
  • Redesign of Services for Care Experienced Children and Young People Living with Parents, Friends, or Relatives
  • Throughcare, continuing care, and aftercare

The Promise produced by the Independent Care Review in 2020; sets out an overall view of what the new approach to supporting children, young people and families should be. A Champions Board has been established to listen to the voice of those who are care experienced as well as a Community Planning Partnership Promise Board to drive forward the work of The Promise.

Focussing on the whole family approach, Family Support Hubs have been established within each locality to provide a more preventative response to requests for assistance from families and reduce the likelihood of an escalation in risk and concern. Education, NHS and Third Sector are contributing to the work of the Family Support Hubs whilst they embed and ensure South Lanarkshire’s whole family support strategy is developed and reviewed collaboratively.

Inclusion As Prevention (IAP) is an approach that involves shifting from the acute and crisis driven intervention taken when a young person becomes involved in offending to seeking to provide early and inclusive support before negative patterns of behaviour begin. IAP is also tackling - and aiming to understand - the root causes of offending. A new pilot commenced in January 2023 to introduce the Family Group Decision making approach with adolescents (aged 12-18) at risk of being in conflict with the law, or in conflict with the law.

The Independent Care Review of the care system in Scotland produced the key report The Promise and is responsible for driving the work of change demanded by the findings. The South Lanarkshire Promise Board assists the Council and partners in continuing to fulfill its legal obligations and responsibilities towards looked after children and children leaving care. "The Promise – that every child grows up loved, safe and respected, able to realise their full potential" -

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.

We provide residential child care in our own Children's Houses. Staff continue to deliver high-quality care whilst observing and applying public health guidance during wellbeing activities and family contact. This has merited meticulous planning and organising involving key stakeholders across the Corporate Parenting landscape within SLC, placing particular emphasis on contingency situations to ensure our young people remained safe.

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”.

Services from Action for Children which raises awareness and identifies and provides support to young carers throughout South Lanarkshire. They continue to develop further supports in line with actions contained within the Children's Services Plan.  They also link with national young carers opportunities and forums.

The number of referrals to Action for Children continue to increase up from 22 in 2021 to 39 in 2022, as a result of awareness raising in schools about what a young carer is an how to access the Young Carers Service.  Over the last year the Young Carer’s Steering Group has helped to support new developments in services for young carers. 

Family Connections

On 14 July 2022 we at the Family Placement Team changed our name to Family Connections. We believe this name reflects our vision. We took this decision after listening to children and young people who told us that using words like placement led to them feeling different from children who aren’t care experienced. 

We listened to lots of views about what our new name should be, and we all decided Family Connections would be perfect. We see the strong connections our carers, adopters and their families make with children and young people every day. They promote connections within communities, education, health services and support networks. We have also seen how well they support children and young people to maintain connections with their families. Of course, many of our short breaks and foster carers have been instrumental in supporting families to stay together at home.

We believe South Lanarkshire Council’s carers and adopters play an extraordinary role in helping children, young people and their families achieve great outcomes. Here is some information about each of our services:


A high proportion of South Lanarkshire Council’s children and young people who are in foster care are looked after by our own carers rather than carers from other agencies. We have a comparatively high proportion of internal foster care placements. We still aim to recruit more local carers to meet the need for family-based care.

Despite the demands and pressures associated with the pandemic, our foster carers continued to provide nurturing and stable care for children. Recent figures indicate we have a comparatively low number of children who experience changes in care arrangements.  Our foster carers demonstrate such resilience and positivity and we see children and young people thriving in their care.

Our fostering inspection concluded on 27 March 2023 and we were delighted to be awarded grades of 4: Good and 5: Very Good. Our fostering service was commended for the support and training offered to carers and the professionalism and knowledge of our staff at Family Connections. It was also noted that children were receiving high quality, nurturing and consistent care from our excellent foster carers.

Short Breaks

Our Short Breaks service continues to grow and develop, offering regular, planned breaks for children, to support families in their caring role. In the past year we have assessed and registered an additional 5 carers, allowing us to extend the service to more families.  The focus is to work alongside families who lack family or community supports and help ease some of the pressure they might face.  Children and young people really benefit from having enjoyable experiences with their Short Breaks carers

Short Breaks is part of our fostering service which was graded by the Care Inspectorate on 27 March 2023 as 4: Good and 5: Very Good. Our Short Breaks service was noted to be very beneficial for families.

Supported Care

Our Supported Care service is for young people aged 16 – 21 who are transitioning to independent living. This might be young people who have been in residential or foster care, or young people seeking asylum who are unaccompanied. We are currently assessing two new carers but continue to need more Supported Carers. Our Supported Carers provide invaluable support to young people in their journey towards independence.

The Care Inspectorate inspected our Supported Carer service in 2018 and graded the service 5: Very Good for each Quality Theme.


Our adoption service continues to experience a high level of interest and this has been consistent throughout the pandemic. Amongst our aims is to find prospective adopters for children with a wide range of needs, older children and groups of siblings.

Despite the restrictions throughout the pandemic, we have continued to progress children’s permanence plans.  Where necessary we adapted introductions to new families to minimise risks, introducing virtual contact and facilitating outdoor meetings where this was necessary.

We continue to provide wide ranging support to our adoptive families and we are now offering more face to face activities. This takes the form of individual/family support, support groups and training events. We have organised “buggy walks” for adopters with young children as well as our annual summer picnic and Christmas party. We were delighted to recruit our new adoption support worker in November 2022.

We have enhanced our adopters’ training programme this year with a range of training events offered by Adoption UK.

Our adoption inspection concluded on 27 March 2023 and we were delighted to be awarded grades of 4: Good and 5: Very Good. Inspectors commented on the wide range of support and training available to adopters.  The positive outcomes for children within their adoptive families was also highlighted by inspectors.

Follow the links to our website for further information about children and families services and how to access them:

Adoption, Fostering, Short Breaks, and Supported Care

ARCH -  Autism Resources Co-ordination Hub

Trauma Recovery Service

Child Protection

Corporate Parenting, Care Experienced Young People and Continuing care and aftercare

Fàs - Intensive Family SupportFamily Support ServicesIntensive Family Support Services (IFSS)

Kinship Care

Young carers service

Also available to download are copies of our Children's Services Plan and Annual Report, Corporate Parenting Strategy, and Autism Action Plan.

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year. In addition to the continuing demands presented by COVID-19 there are several factors that present specific challenges to Social Work Resources in relation to the demand for key service provision. In the coming year, Social Work Resources will take forward all necessary actions, where reasonable and appropriate, to mitigate or reduce the Resource's exposure to these risks. More information on performance and actions relating to Children and Families Social Work can be found in the Social Work Resource Plan and the Chief Social Work Officer Report.

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. See Quarter 2 (September) and Quarter 4 (March - year end) for performance reports for further information.

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. For more information and links relating to this framework go to the 'Benchmarking' paragraph on the Improvement and how we compare page on our website.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2023).