Inspectors have identified key strengths and areas for improvement in the way children and young people in need of care and protection are supported and cared for in South Lanarkshire.

The joint inspection of the South Lanarkshire community planning partnership area took place between August and December 2019 and was concluded prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Care Inspectorate leads joint inspections which focus on how well services worked together to improve the lives of children and young people who have experienced, or are at risk of, abuse and neglect, and those who are, or have been, looked after by the local authority. 

Inspectors looked at how staff worked together across a range of services in the South Lanarkshire community planning partnership area, including social work, health and education staff, police officers, and children’s reporters.   

Inspectors found key strengths in child protection arrangements which were effectively contributing to ensuring that children and young people remained safe. Staff were confident at recognising, and responding to, concerns about abuse, neglect and exploitation and were supported by local arrangements and positive multi-agency relationships which helped them to respond in an effective and timely way.

Parents and carers were well supported by compassionate and caring staff through a comprehensive range of parenting programmes.  They described nurturing, caring and trusting relationships with staff who were committed to supporting them.

Inspectors saw that most children and young people experienced improvements in their wellbeing through a range of targeted services which provided tailored support to help them recover from abuse and neglect.  Children and young people in children’s houses, in particular, were experiencing warm, safe and secure care.

However, inspectors also noted some areas which could improve. 

They found arrangements for the strategic oversight of corporate parenting were not robust enough to ensure improving outcomes for all young people who were looked after.  Care leavers, in particular, were not always being supported to make successful transitions to adulthood.

The partnership was constrained in its ability to demonstrate the difference services were making in the lives of children and young people because of limitations in the collection, analysis and use of quantitative and qualitative data on outcomes for its children and young people.

Although the voices of children and young people were being heard at an individual service level, this was not consistent.  Further work was needed to ensure the voices of all children and young people in need of care and protection were heard and acted on at both a service level and in the development of wider children’s services planning.

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said:

“The Care Inspectorate and its scrutiny partners are confident that South Lanarkshire community planning partnership has the capacity to continue to improve and to address the points for action highlighted in this report.

"This is based on a strong commitment of collaborative working and improvements already demonstrated in the wellbeing of many children, young people and their families.

“The partnership will need to maintain its focus on improving the quality of services for children and young people in need of care and protection. Further improvements are required to ensure the voices of all children and young people are heard."

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Notes to editors 

The report is available here.