Joint inspection of services to protect children and young people in Scottish Borders council area - November 2011

We have published our joint inspection report on the protection of children and young people in the Scottish Borders council area.

The inspection included services provided by health agencies, the police, the local authority and Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, as well as those provided by voluntary and independent organisations.  Joint inspection reports give an evaluation of the effectiveness of services using a published quality indicator framework focusing on 6 key areas:

  1. how well children and young people are listened to, understood and respected;
  2. how children and young people benefit from strategies to minimize harm;
  3. how children and young people are helped by the actions taken in immediate response to concerns;
  4. how well children’s and young people’s needs are met;
  5. service improvements through self-evaluation; and
  6. improvements in performance.

Services in the Scottish Borders Council area were given 2 evaluations of very good, 3 evaluations of good, 1 evaluation of satisfactory.

Inspectors found the following key strengths in how well children were protected and their needs met in the Scottish Borders.

  • Effective communication and trusting relationships with staff.
  • Local police officers working effectively with staff across services to help children keep safe and make positive choices.
  • Prompt, effective and sensitive responses from staff when immediate concerns are raised about children.

Inspectors agreed with services in the council area the following points for improvement.

  • Continue to develop support to vulnerable children and families at an early stage, ensuring they can get appropriate help at times and in ways which meets their needs.
  • Improve support to meet children’s longer-term health, education and care needs.
  • Strengthen approaches to self-evaluation, ensuring a clearer focus on outcomes for children and families.

We are confident that the services will be able to make the necessary improvements in light of the inspection findings.  As a result, we will make no more visits in connection with this inspection.  Our link inspector will maintain contact with services to support improvements.

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Short Breaks fund for disabled children, young people and their families

Application deadline:  12 noon, Wednesday 1st February 2012

The Scottish Government has made a short break fund of £2million available for short breaks for disabled children and young people and their families and carers. The aim of the fund is to improve the provision of, and access to, quality short breaks for disabled children and their families, especially where children and young people have multiple support needs.

The new funding is divided between two grant-making programmes – one administered by Shared Care Scotland and the other by the Family Fund.

The new Shared Care Scotland programme is called Better Breaks and has a value of up to £1.3million. Better Breaks represents a unique opportunity for third sector organisations in Scotland to apply for grants of up to £50,000 to develop additional, responsive and creative short break opportunities for disabled children and young people and their families. More information on the fund and how to apply can be found by clicking here.  The closing date for applications is 1st February 2012 at 12.00 noon. Grants to successful proposals will start in April 2012.

Shared Care Scotland is hosting a number of application workshops to share good practice from our previous and current grant programmes and to support organisations to develop successful applications to Better Breaks.

Details about the workshops and the application packs and guidance notes for Better Breaks are available from Shared Care Scotland’s website. Applicants are encouraged to  book a workshop place promptly as places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

The Family Fund programme is called Take a Break. Eligible families in Scotland caring for disabled children and young people can apply directly to the Fund for a Take a Break grant to fund a short break. More information on this fund can be found at

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Alert - Norovirus season has officially started - November 2011

Health Protection Scotland announced on 30 November 2011 that the Norovirus season has officially started.

Advice to Care Home settings is:

  • Follow the guidance entitled "General information and infection prevention and control precautions to prepare for and manage norovirus in care homes" 2011 which was previously publicised by the Care Inspectorate and Health Protection Scotland in November 2011.
  • Implement control measures as soon as possible to reduce potential spread. Remember to keep service users and their family/friends informed. Make sure everyone knows where to wash their hands on entering and leaving the care home.
  • Notify the local Health Protection Team (Public Health) and the Care Inspectorate immediately.
  • Keep a note of what worked well and what could have been done better so that lessons can be learnt and feedback can be given to all concerned.

Please remember that this virus can affect children and staff in childcare settings too.

Prompt action can reduce potential spread to other service users, visitors and staff.

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Care Watchdog Urges Vigilance to Prevent the Spread of Winter Bugs in Care Homes

Scotland’s care regulator has urged people visiting their family and loved ones in care homes to continue to be vigilant against spreading infections, especially during the winter months.

Read the full press release here

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Industrial Action

There may be some disruption to our service on Wednesday 30 November due to industrial action. Planned inspection visits may be rescheduled and you may experience difficulty contacting us by telephone. Normal service will resume on Thursday 1 December.

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