Children’s Social Work Statistics 2022-23 - Child Protection

Child Protection Statistics for Scotland for 2022 to 2023 that cover data on children subject to child protection processes.


Child protection

Although child protection processes may be considered for a person up to the age of 18, most children included in the child protection figures are under 16 years.


Investigations are multi-agency assessments which take place when the child is at risk of significant harm. This enables core agencies (social work, police, and health services, as well as any other relevant agencies) to gather information to inform risk assessment and needs of the child, and the need for protective action.

Case Conferences

There are four types of Case Conferences described below.

Initial Case Conferences

Initial Case Conferences are for children not currently on the Register. The potential outcomes of this type of case conference are that the child is either registered or not registered onto the Child Protection Register.

Pre-birth Case Conferences

Pre-birth Case Conferences are for unborn children. The potential outcomes of this type of case conference are that the child is either registered or not registered onto the Child Protection Register.

Review Case Conferences

Review Case Conferences are for children already on the Register either receiving a regular case review, or where there are significant recent changes with the child or family situation. The potential outcomes of this type of case conference are that the child either remains on the Child Protection Register or is de-registered from the Child Protection Register.

Transfer Case Conferences

Transfer Case Conferences are for children already on the Register moving between local authorities. The outcome of this type of Case Conference is that the child is de-registered from the Child Protection Register of the ‘originating’ local authority and is registered to the Child Protection Register of the ‘receiving’ local authority.

Child Protection Register

Where a Child Protection Plan is required, the child’s name must be added to the Child Protection Register. All local authorities are responsible for maintaining a central Register for all children who are the subject of a Child Protection Plan. This includes an unborn baby that may be exposed to current or future risk.

Comparability over time

Since 2012-13, Child Protection data has been collected at an individual level. It has been normal practice that during the collection process local authorities are given the option to revise their data for the previous year. This report reflects those updates provided by local authorities for the preceding year.

Prior to 2011-12, some local authorities did not place ‘unborn’ children on the Register until the child was born. The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 - updated 2023 states that ‘unborn’ children should be placed on the Register if this is required, and not wait until the child is born.

Child Protection Planning Meetings

‘Child Protection Case Conferences’ are now known as ‘Child Protection Planning Meetings’ in line with the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 - updated 2023. As this guidance was still in its’ implementation phase during data recording and collection, in this report we refer to ‘Case Conferences’ to reflect the terminology used during the time spanning this collection period.

Data quality and revisions

The survey templates, data specifications, and guidance notes for the statistics presented in this publication are available on the Scottish Exchange of Data (ScotXed) website. The data specifications include standard validation checks undertaken for quality assurance.

Data included in this publication come from administrative data held by local authorities. As this information is used to monitor and manage these sectors it should be robust and accurate. Automated validation checks are undertaken at the point the data are submitted. These validations are outlined in the relevant Scottish Exchange of Data (ScotXed) data specifications documents. Second level validation checks are then undertaken by the Children and Families Statistics as part of the quality assurance process. These procedures include: trend analysis, comparing against other available sources, and checking outliers with data providers. The data providers are then asked to confirm and sign off their data. In cases where concerns about data quality outweigh the value of having an estimated figure publicly available, we would not publish that particular information.

Where data need to be revised due to the resubmission of data for a particular year, or to correct errors, the timing will be announced on our website and by email to those who have registered an interest in our statistics. The impact of revisions will be clearly explained in our published reports.

Related publications




Northern Ireland

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