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Improving outcomes for children, young people and families: Children’s Services Plans and strategic engagement activity review

Summary review of children’s services plans for 2020 to 2023, in line with the Children and Young Peoples (Scotland) Act 2014, statutory guidance part 3. Highlighting key strengths, areas for development and details from strategic engagement with local children’s services planning strategic leads.


3. Governance of Children's Services Planning

The vast majority of Plans included a dedicated section to discuss governance arrangements for their Children's Services Planning Partnership, outlining contributing partners and how local structures worked to provide oversight of service delivery and progress of the Plan. Only three Plans either did not reference partnership work, or needed to include more information on governance to make their Plan manageable and robust.

Most Plans highlighted the importance of multi-agency collaboration and reflected on the role of both single services and multi-agency support across the CSPP. Common membership of CSPPs included Local Authority and NHS Boards as the co-statutory lead partners, specified organisations such as Police Scotland, Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, Integration Joint Boards/Health and Social Care Partnership, along with Third Sector organisations, and partnership forums, such as Child Protection Committees, Alcohol and Drug Partnerships, etc.

Most Plans included a diagram showing overarching responsibility for development and delivery of the area's Children's Services Plan, as well as governance arrangements. Some diagrams also included the role of different groups involved in monitoring delivery of the Plan. These diagrams were useful and highlighted the collaborative approach of CSPPs. The more robust diagrams showed clear links between different groups, their role in delivery of the aims and priorities of the CSP, and how partners were involved in the development, delivery and evaluation of services.

Examples of best practice identified here included:

  • Inclusion of a diagram to show the structure of the CSPP's governance arrangements and how these collectively contributed to delivery of the CSP
  • Clearly identifying lead partner(s) responsible for each priority and outcome of the CSP
  • Showing how the CSP drove wider partnership working to improve outcomes for children and families across both children's and adult services.

Good Practice Examples

North Ayrshire: The Plan includes a section dedicated to governance arrangements. The section lists all partners and includes two clear and useful diagrams, one illustrating the structure of the Children’s Services Strategic Partnership and the other the structure of the Community Planning Partnership, making local governance arrangements for the CSP clear and transparent.

North Lanarkshire: The Plan includes a list of all partners and a dedicated section on governance. A diagram illustrates the local governance structure and the links between the North Lanarkshire Children’s Services Partnership Board and other partners.

Renfrewshire: In a short dedicated section, the Plan lists all the partners involved in Children’s Services Planning. An example of good practice is the inclusion of a table (in an appendix) which identifies which partners are responsible for the delivery of specific actions and further clarifies accountability for different aspects of the Plan.

The analysis of Children's Services Plans indicates that CSPPs have identified connections between the aims of their CSP and a number of other aligned or supporting planning requirements, such as local Corporate Parenting Plans or Child Poverty Action Plans. However the views of CSP Strategic Leads and other stakeholders make it clear that this current strategic planning/reporting landscape on improving outcomes for children, young people and families is complex, difficult to navigate, and has overlapping legislative requirements.

Feedback highlights that new national strategies and action plans with a focus on improving outcomes often result in the emergence of additional governance and stakeholder groups, and additional reporting requirements. This is experienced as disconnected with a risk of disjointed decision-making, duplication of resource, and increased burden on public bodies. The Promise Scotland has similarly highlighted the complex landscape of systems surrounding care experienced children, young people and families and emphasised the importance of capitalising on opportunities to reduce complexity and achieve a more cohesive approach.

Contact

Email: C&F.StrategicEngagement@gov.scot

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