Our approach

In 2017, Scottish Ministers asked us to work with scrutiny partners to take a more focused look at children and young people in need of care and protection. Our joint inspections therefore take account of their experiences and outcomes by looking at the services provided for them by health visitors, school nurses, teachers, doctors, social workers, police officers and lots of other people who work with them and their families.

Children and young people have told us about the importance of being able to experience sincere human contact and enduring relationships. They want to be able to build trust through consistent relationships with adults and they want to be supported to maintain contact with those people who are most important in their lives. Our approach therefore looks carefully at how well services and systems are organised so that they can experience continuity in their care and develop and sustain lasting relationships.

We believe that staff who are well trained and who feel valued and empowered, are more likely to be able to provide high quality services for children and young people. We therefore explore how well staff are supported to carry out their task.

We know that partners recognise that assessment and planning are critical to ensure the safety of, and improving outcomes for, children and young people. However, we also know that performance in assessment and planning is not as consistently strong across the country as it needs to be and we will look to see if robust quality assurance and high quality reflective supervision are in place.

Our inspections also consider whether legal measures are being used appropriately to achieve security and stability for vulnerable children. Inspections include a focus on the role played by those working in adult services to protect children and young people and support sustained positive change for them and their families.

Strong collaborative leadership is essential within the challenging context of providing high quality public services in an integrated landscape. We consider the effectiveness of collaborative leadership, including leadership of the child protection committee and its relationship with chief officers. We look at how well leaders can demonstrate what difference they are collectively making to the lives of children in need of protection and those for whom they are corporate parents. We also identify any barriers that affect continued improved performance.

We started the current round of joint inspections of services for children in need of care and protection in August 2018 and will continue to review and revise the approach over the course of these inspections. Following the suspension of joint inspections in 2020 due to Covid 19, the current round has resumed with a focus on children at risk of harm.

How we do it

Our inspections last for a number of months. We collect information about the area before we visit it. This helps us to understand what happens there and what is affecting the way that services are being provided.

During the inspection, a team of inspectors from the Care Inspectorate and other scrutiny partners:

  • speak with the staff
  • speak with children and young people and listen to their views
  • speak with parents and carers
  • read information about the children and young people.

This gives us the chance to find out if children, young people and their families are getting the help that they need and if services are making a difference to their lives. What individual people tell us during inspection is confidential. Our reports do not include any information about them or their family, or anything that could identify them. However, we do have a duty to pass on information if there are concerns about someone’s safety.

After our inspection, we publish a report on our website about what we found for the area. Our inspection reports set out what works well and what could improve. We expect the community planning partnership to take action on any recommendations we make for improvements.

Getting involved

What you think really matters. If we are inspecting your area, and you have experience of services, you may want to speak to us about the help that you have been getting.

We will offer a range of ways for you to give us feedback. As well as a survey we will arrange one-to-one discussions and group meetings. Our one-to-one discussions can take place in person, or we can contact you by phone or other ways such as Facetime or MS Teams.

If you give us information anonymously, we may not be able to get in contact with you if you raise concerns about your own safety or the safety of anyone else. If you have such concerns, we would encourage you to contact your local authority and ask for their child protection or adult protection service. You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111. If we have any concerns about the safety of individuals, we will share this with protection agencies in the relevant area.

Our inspection team also includes young inspection volunteers. These are young people aged 18 – 26 with experience of care services who help us with our inspections. If you are a young person, you can choose to speak with one of them and you can have someone to support you when you meet them. If you are a young person and want to know more about becoming a young inspection volunteer or how to get involved, click here to find out more.

The Promise 

The Care Inspectorate is #Keeping The Promise of the independent care review. We are working across six workstreams internally and externally to influence and support application of the Promise,

Our strategic scrutiny children and young people team is committed to ensuring that our scrutiny and improvement activity is focused on the experiences of children and the impact of services on their lives. 

Inspection volunteers with care experience are key members if our local scrutiny teams. We will amplify the voice of the child in what we do, how we do it and how we report on it. 

More information

The Guide provides information for community planning partnerships (CPP) about the process for the joint inspection of services for children and young people in need of care and protection. This includes services for children under the age of 18 years, or young people up to 26 years if they have been previously looked after. It should be read in conjunction with the quality framework for children and young people in need of care and protection 2019 (revised) (QIF) for self-evaluation of services.

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