BSL Launch Recite Me assistive technology myaccountMyAccount login image

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'.

Note: There remains a legacy impact of COVID-19 and the response to it in some areas, and performance should be considered in that context.

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 (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.

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 Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 facilitated a shift in public services towards early years and early intervention. It is underpinned by the UNCRC and the national approach of GIRFEC (Getting it right for every child). It also established a framework for services to work together in their support of children, young people and families.

The Carers Scotland Act 2016. Implemented in April 2018 to ensure better support to carers and young carers so that they can continue to care, if they so wish, in better health and have a life alongside caring, making caring more sustainable.

UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024. gained Royal Assent in January 2024, with full powers implemented by July 2024. Ensures the Articles identified in the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child are now part of Scots Law. Public authorities to act in a way that is compatible with UNCRC requirements, children and young people have powers to go to court if rights are breeched. Childrens Commissioner can take legal action. Public Authorities to report on their compliance with UNCRC.

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 registered 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 22/09/2023 4 3 3 3 3
Adoption Service 27/03/2023 4 5   5 5
Fostering Service 27/03/2023 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

The last multi-agency Inspection of Services for Children in Need of Care and Protection was undertaken in 2019. The Care Inspectorate has published a refreshed quality framework for children and young people in need of care and protection we anticipate future inspections will focus on this Quality Framework.

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

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.

South Lanarkshire Council’s Keeping the Promise Plan, which is aligned with the Five Foundations of the Promise:

  1. Voice – Children must be listened to and meaningfully and appropriately involved in decision making about their care, with all those involved properly listening and responding to what children want and need. There must be a compassionate caring decision-making culture focused on children and those they trust.
  2. Family – Where children are safe in their families and feel loved, they must stay- and families must be given the support together to nurture that love and overcome the difficulties that get in the way.
  3. People – The children that South Lanarkshire cares for must be actively supported to develop relationships with people in the workforce and wider community, who in turn must be supported to listen and be compassionate in their decision making and care.
  4. Care- Where living with their family is not possible, children must stay with their brothers and sisters where safe to do so and belong to a loving home, staying there for as long as is needed.
  5. Scaffolding – Children, families and the workforce must be supported by a system that is there when it is needed. The scaffolding- of help, support and accountability must be ready and responsive when it is required.

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.

The Childrens Service Partnership have hosted a number of Care Day Events. The most recent being February 2024, where the voice of children and young people contributed to what they saw as important in A Promise Champions Board.

Our Services

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.

The Family Support Hubs are community facing accessible provision based in Hamilton, East Kilbride, Lanark and Cambuslang. Each locality area has dedicated social workers, family support workers, parenting support workers, peer support workers and third sector support organisations. All work collegiately to offer families a wide range of different types of support with a shared remit of providing whole family support that prevents crisis, reduces inequalities, and improves child development, family functioning and wellbeing.

Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) is offered to families that are at risk of their situation escalating to child protection or looked after procedures. The approach is expected to empower families to make their own plan to safeguard their child. The approach is also being tested in vulnerable pregnancy work, and also in reducing the impact of parental drug or alcohol use.

Inclusion As Prevention (IAP) is a collaborative approach that involves shifting from the acute and crisis driven intervention taken when a young person comes into conflict with the law 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.

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 community short breaks carers 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.

Community Short Breaks

Our Community 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 3 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

Community 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 care, or young people seeking asylum who are unaccompanied. We 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 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.

Child protection services are provided on an individual basis and deal with sensitive issues. 

Across Scotland and in South Lanarkshire, the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, including unborn babies is paramount. Our children and young people have the right to be protected from all forms of harm and abuse. Protecting children means recognising when to be concerned about their safety and understanding when and how to share these concerns, how to investigate and assess such concerns and fundamentally, what steps are required to ensure the child's safety and well-being.

As part of our registered services inspections with the Care Inspectorate, the voice of children, young people and families are always evident, and their satisfaction with our services impact on the grades we are allocated. Within the inspection theme of: How well do we support people's wellbeing, are grades are good and very good.

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.

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

Family Support Hubs

Child Protection

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

Kinship Care

Trauma Recovery Service

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. Several factors present specific challenges to Social Work Resources in relation to the demand for key service provision. Unprecedented financial pressure, as a consequence of COVID, Cost of Living and energy crisis, and recruitment and retention of social care workforce, all present significant challenges and associated risk.

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 outcomes 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 2024).