Public performance reports
Children and families 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 2020-21 performance and results were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 has a duty to protect children. Whilst this is a shared responsibility with other agencies and the community, Social Work has 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 account of 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.
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 on five themes: Care and Support, Environment, Staffing and Management, Leadership and People's Wellbeing, however, in March 2020 they suspended their normal inspection programme in response to Scottish Government COVID-19 national restrictions. They have now revised their inspection priorities and inspections will resume remotely using digital and other means.
Please see table below for current grades for children's services within South Lanarkshire:
|Care Service||Last inspection||Care/Support||Environment||Staff||Management/Leadership||People's Wellbeing||Improvements Required||Improvements Recommended|
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:
|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 transitions
- 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 the establishment of 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 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 fulfil 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 who have maintained a settled environment during the period of COVID-19. 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”.
A new service has been commissioned with Action for Children who raise awareness, identify and provides support to young carers throughout South Lanarkshire. They will continue to develop further supports in line with actions contained within the Children's Services Plan. They will also continue to link with national young carers opportunities and forums.
In response to the pandemic, South Lanarkshire Council’s Meals at Home Programme was established to support vulnerable families with current involvement with the Children and Families Service. Hot meals and desserts were delivered 7 days per week during the periods of lockdown, to enhance the existing Care Plans for over 120 families.
Fostering - 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 (SLC: 79%, Scotland: 70%) 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 have 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 have continued to demonstrate such resilience and positivity during the pandemic, and we are enormously grateful to them.
Short Breaks - We aim to continue to grow and develop our Short Breaks Service. This is a service for families needing some support in their caring role. These are regular, planned breaks. This is a vital service that helps to prevent families from reaching breaking point, supporting them to stay together.
Supported Care - We need Supported Carers for young people between the ages of 16-21 with a wide range of needs. The aim of the service is to provide transitional support to these young people as they move to independent living. This can be a vital service for young people, particularly those who may have been in residential or foster care or who may have experienced difficulties at home. We also need Supported Carers who could support unaccompanied young people seeking asylum.
Adoption - The adoption service continues to experience a high level of interest from those interested in adopting and this has been consistent during the pandemic. However, 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 associated with the pandemic, we have continued to progress children’s permanence plans. Where necessary we have adapted introductions to new families to minimise risks of infection, introducing virtual contact and facilitating outdoor meetings where this has been necessary.
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 organised “buggy walks” for adopters with young children. Again, our adopters have continued to demonstrate such resilience throughout the year, reducing the impact of the pandemic on their children.
Follow the links to our website for further information about children and families services and how to access them:
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.
Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) allows councils to work together, to use performance information in a way that 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 (March 2022).
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