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Reporting concerns

If you are concerned about a child and would like to know who to contact visit:

This website also has a range of information on child protection issues for the public and children themselves, with useful links to other websites offering child protection advice.

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Child Protection - latest updates

Child Protection Improvement Programme Statement

On Thursday 2 March the Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald MSP addressed parliament on the Child Protection Improvement Programme. This statement followed a year of work on the programme since it was formally announced to Parliament on 25 February 2016 by Angela Constance, then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

The statement and Q & A session that followed can be found on the Scottish Parliament website.

This statement coincided with the publication of two reports: the Scottish Government’s Child Protection Improvement Programme Report on its nine key areas of work and the Systems Review Reports Protecting Scotland's Children and Young People: It is Still Everyone's Job produced by its independent chair, Catherine Dyer.

During the statement, Mr McDonald, referenced these reports, outlined some of the key findings and recommendations contained as well as the steps that will be taken to implement these.

Child Protection Improvement Programme - messages of support

The publication of the two Child Protection reports on the 2 of March was welcomed by our stakeholders as indicated in the comments below:

Councillor Stephanie Primrose, COSLA’s Education, Children and Young People Spokesperson :

“The issue of child protection is of utmost importance to our members and it is only right that this matter receives political scrutiny at both a local and national level.

“That is why I fully I welcome today’s report on both the systems review and the wider CPIP report.

“As illustrated in last week’s Improvement Service benchmarking report, our spend on child protection is the fastest growing area of council spend and proves how much effort and resource we put into this area.

“Our job is to get it right for every child - especially those who are the most vulnerable - and COSLA will work with SG to make sure we continue to improve these vital services across the country.”

Elaine Torrance – Social Work Scotland President:

”Social Work Scotland welcomed the opportunity to be part of the Child Protection Improvement Programme and in particular to participate in the System Review.  We are pleased with the progress made so far, including the development of a national register and the recognition of the importance of the role of the Chief Social Work Officer in protecting children. We remain hopeful that the work being undertaken as part of the neglect work stream will help us to better understand and support children and young people and their families in these circumstances.

“There is still much work to be done and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and partners in progressing the next phase of the Programme, to ensure that children and young people in Scotland (and their families) are given the support they need, when they need it to help keep them safe from harm.”

Karen Reid - Care Inspectorate Chief Executive:

 “Every child in Scotland has the right to be and feel safe, to have their needs met and to be respected.

“As the Care Inspectorate develops world-class systems of care scrutiny for Scotland, the protection of children and young people continues to be at the heart of all that we do.

“We were pleased to be closely involved in this child protection systems review and welcome the report. 

“We look forward to playing a role in ensuring that child protection systems are open and transparent and have continuous improvement and learning at their core. 

“We are particularly pleased to note that this report strengthens the role of the Care Inspectorate in supporting better learning from Significant Case Reviews and we look forward to developing this work further.”

Anne Houston OBE FRSA, Chair, Child Protection Committees Scotland:

“At Child Protection Committees Scotland we welcomed our involvement in the child protection system review. It was a challenging timescale but we were impressed by the consultation process which maximised opportunities for CPCs and others to provide feedback on what is currently working well to protect children and young people and what could benefit from change. There is always room for improvement in any system and the recommendations that have been made will support that improvement for vulnerable children and families when implemented.”

Awareness raising campaign on child sexual exploitation

The Scottish Government ran a campaign in January 2016 raising awareness of what child sexual exploitation (CSE) is, improving public understanding, and empowering those with concerns to act upon them. It included a new TV advert – a UK first in terms of targeting parents on the subject of CSE – supported by outdoor and digital advertising, a new website, and PR activity.
Find out more on the csethesigns.scot website

Scoping Study on a Proposed Centre for Excellence for a Child’s Wellbeing

Romy Langeland was asked by the Scottish Government to consider whether the approach to the provision of external expertise through WithScotland, the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ) and the Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) was the most effective and efficient for future delivery of government priorities.  Importantly, we wanted to know how our approach of funding and supporting three separate centres addressed the need to put the child at the centre of decisions made about them. You can view the report here alongside the Scottish Government response.

Child Protection Improvement Programme

On 25 February 2016 the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constance, made a statement to Parliament announcing a programme of action on child protection.

The Scottish Government will commission a comprehensive review of policy, practice, services and structures in our current child protection system to identify strengths, achievements and priorities for change with recommendations made by the end of 2016. There will be a focus on:

  • Child Protection Committees
  • Initial Case Reviews
  • Significant Case Reviews
  • The Child Protection Register

This will be backed by tougher scrutiny through a revised inspection programme, steps to promote and support leadership action to address the impact of neglect on children, work on data and evidence and consideration of the impact of changes of legislation and practice in the Children’s Hearings System.

Strengthening support for vulnerable children and young people

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constance MSP, made a speech to the International Federation of Social Workers on Monday 7 September 2015. She acknowledged in the speech that there are considerable strengths and positives in Scotland’s child protection system and that Scotland has a highly skilled workforce. However, she highlighted that the Brock Report (November 2014) and the Care Inspectorate’s Triennial Review (August 2015) highlighted areas of concern which must be tackled and announced that the Scottish Government will develop a programme of action to strengthen the support for vulnerable children and young people in Scotland. This will be done in partnership with those working in the sector and the Cabinet Secretary will return to Parliament in February 2016 to update MSPs on how this work will be taken forward.
Read the Cabinet Secretary's speech to the International Federation of Social Workers
Read the news release on the progress on the Brock report and CSE national action plan

Progress on Brock report and CSE national action plan

This report is the first step in the programme of action to strengthen the support for vulnerable children and young people announced by Ms Constance on 7 September 2015. The report provides an update on progress made in protecting vulnerable children and young people in Scotland in the past year in respect of the Brock Report “Safeguarding Scotland’s vulnerable children from child abuse” and the National Action Plan to Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Both reports were published in November 2014 and included recommendations on how to improve the safety of children and ensure children’s services were working well together.

This report highlights the progress made since last year, including:

  • A summit held in February bringing together local authorities, health boards and Child Protection Committee Chairs to share best practice. Another will be held in February 2016.
  • A steering group established to oversee the implementation of the Brock recommendations.
  • Police Scotland’s National Child Abuse Investigation Unit is now fully operational.
  • A national public awareness campaign on CSE launching in January 2016.
  • A programme of work to raise awareness of CSE amongst night time economy workers beginning next year.

Read the progress report on the national action plan and Brock report

Revised Significant Case Reviews Guidance

The revised guidance aims to improve consistency and practice and takes account of all changes in policy, practice and legislation. It replaces the National interim guidance for undertaking SCRs published in 2007.

A Significant Case Review (SCR) is a multi-agency process for establishing the facts of a situation where a child has died or been significantly harmed, within a child protection context, in order to learn lessons on how to better protect children and young people in Scotland.

National interim guidance for undertaking SCRs was introduced in 2007. However, a key finding of a research study, commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2012, found that there was inconsistency in the way in which reviews were being undertaken across Scotland and recommended that the SCR guidance be revised.

More on this topic

  • Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry

    Information on a national public inquiry into historical abuse of children in institutional care in Scotland

  • Child Protection Work

    Information on work being carried out in the Child Protection Improvement Programme and on Child Affected by Substance Misuse.