A review of services for children and young people in Shetland has found evidence of significant improvement following an earlier inspection.

Inspectors recently returned to the Shetland Community Planning Partnership to assess progress made following an inspection in July 2015 which identified an area of concern which needed improvement.

To carry out this latest review, inspectors looked at one key area earlier identified as needing improvement, specifically the way services assess and respond to the risks and needs of vulnerable children. They met front line staff, managers and young people, and read a cross section of case records which show how young people are being supported.

Inspectors found evidence that significant progress had been made in the assessment of needs and risks faced by children and young people in the area. The quality of response to these needs and risks had also improved.

Inspectors identified improvement in how well services were responding to concerns that children may be at risk of abuse. There were improvements in providing safe accommodation for children who need it, but pressures remain around the availability of placements for children – particularly those in their teens.

The community planning partnership in Shetland had improved their quality assurance and self-evaluation significantly since the 2015 inspection, overseen by the integrated children’s services quality assurance group.

Inspectors found that practice around maintaining chronologies had also improved – particularly in the social work team. Chronologies are an important tool to help staff identify patterns of risk and need and make decisions to respond helpfully.

Front line staff and their managers recognised that more needed to be done in relation to developing chronologies across all agencies, establishing a common format, and establishing integrated chronologies in complex cases. This helps services understand the experiences and events that have led to young people needing support.

There were clear indications that written assessments of both risks and needs had improved.

Karen Reid, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “Children and young people across Scotland deserve the best possible support at every stage of their lives.

“We are pleased to note the progress made by partners in the areas identified by the inspection of July 2015.

“We welcome the way the community planning partnership has improved its own approach to ensuring work is high quality, meaning that children who may be at risk are supported better.

“We expect the agreed joint action plan to continue to influence improvement in the key areas identified in the inspection report, and we will continue to monitor progress.”

The latest progress review is available here

The joint inspection report from July 2015 is available here