Services for children and young people in South Ayrshire, progress review

Some progress has been made in improving services for children and young people in South Ayrshire, inspectors have said.

 The report of an inspection led by the Care Inspectorate, published in October 2017, identified important weaknesses in how children and young people were supported in South Ayrshire, with improvements needed in leadership, strategic planning, and how services work together to improve the lives of children experiencing neglect.

A follow-up review of services has now been carried out to check on progress and the findings were published today.

Inspectors said they were confident that community planning partners have taken the findings of the earlier inspection "very seriously" and that the South Ayrshire community planning partnership was working hard to deliver change and improvement.

They said encouraging progress was now being made across most of the recommendations made in October 2017.

Karen Reid, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: "Chief officers are beginning to deliver clearer leadership and direction for services for children and young people in South Ayrshire. 

"They have prioritised strengthening their collaborative leadership and strategic planning arrangements. Partners now need to build on this work and use it to evidence real improvements to ensure that services keep children and young people safe and work to improve their wellbeing. The children’s services planning group is well placed to drive further improvements. 

"Staff are confident that they are making a difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people. While there had been good progress in gathering performance data, it will be important for the partnership to include more qualitative data to be able to better show the difference that is being made, in terms of improved outcomes for children and young people.

"Overall, encouraging progress is being made to reduce the numbers of children who need to be looked after away from home. The needs of children and young people who are looked after away from home are being given appropriate focus in the children’s services plan and we are encouraged that resources are being re-directed to support more coordinated, flexible and responsive community-based alternatives.  

"Partners recognise they need to maintain the current momentum and energy levels if they are going to achieve sustained improvement and change. Nonetheless, we are encouraged by the clear cultural shift in the refocusing of priorities. Staff are more confident and there are stronger signs of joint responsibility, respectful, professional and focused multi-agency approaches at all levels."

The Care Inspectorate will continue to monitor progress, and to offer support for improvement to Community Planning Partners in South Ayrshire through our link inspector arrangements.

The progress review is available here