Disabled children and young people: Thematic review 2023-24

On this page you will find information about our national thematic review.  We will keep this page updated as we move through the different stages.

Our approach

In April 2023 we notified all local authorities of our intention to undertake a national thematic review with a focus on disabled children and young people up to the age of 18 years.  Within the scope of our review, we will focus on the experiences of children who are considered disabled under article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

“Persons with disabilities include those who have long term physical, mental intellectual or sensory impairments which any interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”      

We will provide a national overview of social work’s contribution to how well disabled children and young people’s needs are assessed, planned for, and met.  This will include hearing from children about the things that are important to them, their experiences of participation and of receiving care and support.  To do this we will structure our review under the following two statements:

  • Children and young people are actively heard, informed, and meaningfully involved in decisions about their lives.
  • Children’s and young people’s wellbeing has been promoted through high quality child centred planning and bespoke support.

We will carry out the review between May 2023 and May 2024.  We will publish a national report in Spring 2024.

More information about the thematic review can be found in the following links:

Briefing paper - May 2023

Privacy statement

Working with four local authority areas (link available soon)


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Secure care pathway review 2022-23

Our approach

In July 2022 we notified all local authorities and secure care providers of our plans to carry out a review to consider the impact of the Secure Care Pathway and Standards that were published in October 2020.  The review focuses on young people up to the age of 18 who have been placed – or are at risk of being placed – by Scottish local authorities, in secure care accommodation.

The review centres on listening to and understanding the experiences of 30 young people across Scotland before, during and after experiencing secure care accommodation.  We will report on their views, experiences, and consider the extent to which their rights have been respected. We will track the journeys of a sample of young people over a nine-month period which will help us to consider impact and outcomes over time. The annual inspections of registered secure care services will continue to be carried out and we will be working jointly with the inspectors of these services to inform the review, particularly in relation to the ‘during’ stage of young people’s journeys through secure care.

We will do the work between August 2022 and August 2023. We will publish a national report in Autumn 2023.

More information

Information about the secure care pathway and standards can be found here.

More information about the review can be found in the following links:

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Week by week guide

Our joint inspections of services for children at risk of harm last for around 22 weeks in total from the notification letter being received by the partnership being inspected to the report being published. The actual timespan may be longer if the period of the inspection includes school or public holidays.

Each inspection begins with a preparation stage, is then conducted over three phases, and concludes with a reporting stage. More information about what happens during each of these is available here:

We will share information about the scope and process of the inspection and the rationale for this, during scheduled meetings with partnership representatives at the start of and during the inspection. We will discuss which scrutiny activities will best help us to clarify any areas of uncertainty.



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