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The children’s social work statistics are based on three data annual data collections, from on local authority administrative systems covering looked after children and the child protection process. Data is also collected from secure units in Scotland. Background to these collections are provided below.
The looked after children data is collected at an individual level from local authorities. Data is collected annually on all children/young people who were looked after between 1 August and 31 July the following year, on every episode of being looked after which occurred at some point in the reporting period, every placement that took place during these episodes, and every legal reason for which a child was looked after. Statistics are also collected at an individual-level for those eligible for aftercare. Data has been collected at an individual level since 2008. Prior to this, data was collected as aggregate summarise data.
The child protection information is collected at an individual level from local authorities. Data is collected annually on all children/young people who were looked after between 1 August and 31 July the following year. Information is submitted for each investigation and case conference held as well as demographic information for each child. Detailed individual data has been collected since 2011-12 starting on 31 July 2012. Prior to this, data was collected as aggregate summarised data.
The secure care data is collected from secure care units which are open during the collection period 1 August and 31 July the following year. The data collected at the unit level covers the number of places. Individual-level information is collected on the characteristics of the young person, medical care, admissions and discharges in secure care accommodation.
We sought users' views on a range of possible developments to Children’s Social Work Statistics and data collections in a questionnaire which closed on 16 November 2020. Findings were published on 16 February 2021 here. A Steering Group met on 5 October 2021 to discuss the consultation findings and agree a terms of reference to support development of future developments to data. Links to minutes of future meetings of the Steering Group will be made available on this page.
Survey guidance, data specification and forms
Supporting information for surveys currently managed by the Scottish Government Children and Families Statistics Team are available here.