Within the context of significant legislative changes and the subsequent child protection improvement programme and the national care review, the Care Inspectorate was asked by Scottish ministers to review and update its methodology to enable self-evaluation and inspection activity to focus on children in need of care and protection. The quality framework (QIF) reflects that change of focus and will help partnerships undertake self-evaluation activity in order to both clearly understand the impact of services that they provide upon those groups and to identify best practice and areas for development.

The quality framework outlines the Care Inspectorate’s expectation of the quality of service provision for children in need of care and protection across CPPs.  The illustrations that are provided draw upon and reflect the Health and Social Care Standards published by the Scottish Government in 2017.  The quality framework is arranged under six high-level overarching domains which the Care Inspectorate and other scrutiny bodies have adopted for evaluative purposes and which are based on the EFQM Excellence Model. These are:

  • Key outcomes
  • Stakeholder’s needs
  • Delivery of services
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Capacity for improvement

Our scrutiny activity will address key questions in relation to these domains by gathering information against a number of quality indicators arranged in 10 areas within the framework with one or more of these being linked to each domain.  Addressing these key questions, clearly linked to the overarching domains, helps us to consider and evaluate the approach and results of an organisation, and they are at the core of the revised model of joint inspection.

Quality indicators

Within the framework’s 10 areas, the 22 quality indicators cover the key aspects of the work of CPPs and key strategic planning groups in the delivery of services for children, young people in need of care and protection and their families, as well as a global indicator of the capacity for continued improvement.  Each indicator has related illustrations describing what very good and weak practice can look like.  These can be used as a gauge to the quality of services.  The illustrations build upon those contained within previous self-evaluation guides and reflect a greater emphasis on impact, outcomes and the experiences of children and young people in need of care and protection and their families.  These are indicative and not designed to be used as checklists.  Alongside each quality indicator are potential sources of evidence which partners may consider to support their findings.  Again, these are not intended as a checklist but are there to guide partners in considering the sources which may provide essential evidence or help to indicate gaps.  Some of the sources of evidence, such as a policy document, will not by themselves demonstrate impact and this highlights the importance of triangulating evidence sources.

The quality indicators can be viewed as a three-part inter-related model:

  • the impacts and outcomes that services have upon the lives of children and young people in need of care and protection;
  • the processes that make up the work of services that support them; and
  • the individual and collective vision and leadership of those services.

This vision will set out the outcomes that services hope to achieve in relation to improving the safety, health, well-being and life chances of children and young people and should be reflected across the CPP and amongst all partner organisations.  Part of self-evaluation, this shared vision, understood and owned by all services, should be the driver to improvement and those undertaking the self-evaluation should be able to see a clear thread connecting vision, strategy, practice and outcomes.

Inspection reports not only address each of the five questions, but also evaluate the following quality indicators:

  • 1.1 : improvements in the safety, well-being and life chances of vulnerable children and young people.
  • 2.1 : impact on children and young people.
  • 2.2 : impact on families
  • 9.1 - 9.4 : the domain of leadership

For more information on how we use the quality indicators in relation to the inspection questions, see evaluating quality indicators.


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