What do we do?

In 2017, the Scottish Government’s child protection improvement programme set out a vision for a child protection system in Scotland that places the wellbeing of children at the heart of everything it does. Scottish Ministers asked the Care Inspectorate to work with scrutiny partners to take a more focused look at children and young people in need of care and protection.

Our joint inspections therefore take account of the experiences and outcomes of such children and young people by looking at the services provided for them by community planning partnerships in each local authority area. This includes the work of health visitors, school nurses, teachers, doctors, social workers, police officers and lots of other people who work with children, young people and their families.

What is our approach?

When we engaged with children and young people about the focus of inspections, their most important message to us was that children and young people should be enabled to experience sincere human contact and enduring relationships. They want to be able to build trust through consistent relationships with adults and they want to be supported to maintain contact with those people who are most important in their lives. Our approach therefore looks carefully at how well the system is organised to ensure that they can experience continuity in their care and develop and sustain lasting relationships.

We believe that staff who are well trained and supported, and who feel valued and empowered, are more likely to be able to provide high quality services for children and young people. We will therefore explore how well staff are valued, supported and equipped to carry out their task. We know from our inspection findings that partners recognise the critical importance of achieving high standards in assessment and planning to ensure the safety of, and improve outcomes for, children and young people. However, we also know that performance in assessment and planning is not as consistently strong across the country as it needs to be and we will look at the extent to which robust quality assurance and high quality reflective supervision are in place.

Our inspections will also consider the appropriate use of legal measures to achieve security and stability in the lives of vulnerable children. Strong collaborative leadership is essential within the challenging context of providing high quality public services in an integrated landscape. Inspections will include a focus on the role played by staff who work in adult services in protecting children and young people and supporting sustained positive change for them and their families.

We will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of collaborative leadership, including leadership of the child protection committee and its relationship with chief officers, and we will identify any barriers that affect continued improved performance. We will look at how well leaders can demonstrate what difference they are, together, making to the lives of children in need of protection and those for whom they are corporate parents.

We started the current round of joint inspections of services for children in need of care and protection in August 2018 and will continue to review and revise the approach over the course of these inspections.

How do we do it?

Our inspections last for a number of months. We collect information about the area before we visit it. This helps us to understand what happens there and what is affecting the way that services are being provided.

During the inspection, a team of inspectors from the Care Inspectorate and other partner agencies visit the area over two separate weeks.

This gives us the chance to find out if children, young people and their families are getting the help that they need and if services are making a difference to their lives. To do this we:

  • speak with the staff
  • speak with children and young people and listen to their views
  • speak with parents and carers
  • read information about the children and young people.

What individual people tell us during inspection is confidential. Our reports do not include any information about them or their family, or anything that could identify them. However, we do have a duty to pass on information if there are concerns about someone’s safety.

After our inspection, we publish a report on our website about what we found for the area. Our inspection reports set out what works well and what could improve. We expect the community planning partnership to take action on any recommendations we make for improvements.

For more information about what happens during an inspection click here for The Guide.

How can you get involved?

What you think really matters. If we are inspecting your area, and you have experience of services, you may want to speak to us about the help that you have been getting.

We will offer a range of ways for you to give us feedback. As well as a survey we will arrange one-to-one discussions and group meetings. Our one-to-one discussions can take place in person, or we can contact you by phone or other ways such as Facetime or Skype.

If you give us information anonymously, we may not be able to get in contact with you if you raise concerns about your own safety or the safety of anyone else. If you have such concerns we would encourage you to contact your local authority and ask for their child protection or adult protection service. You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111. If we have any concerns about the safety of individuals we will share this with protection agencies.

Our inspection team also includes young inspection volunteers. These are young people aged 18 – 26 with experience of care services who help us with our inspections. If you are a young person, you can choose to speak with one of them and you can have a person to support you when you meet them. If you are a young person and want to know more about young inspection volunteers or how to get involved, click here to find out more.