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Why is this National Indicator important?
No child should have to suffer neglect or abuse. When we do discover such circumstances, we owe it to our children to act quickly, effectively and collaboratively. That's why the joint inspections of child protection services, led by HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) are so important. The inspections provide nationally-comparable data, with 6 indicators, on how well children at risk in Scotland have their needs identified, assessed and acted upon so as to keep them safe from neglect or abuse.
The reports provide the Scottish Government with the assurance that the various agencies providing protection services to vulnerable children (principally social work, police, health, voluntary organisations, education and the Scottish Children's Reporters Administration) are working well together locally, under the strategic direction of their local multi-agency Child Protection Committees (CPCs).
An increase in the proportion of local authority areas receiving positive inspection reports provides evidence of an increasingly confident and competent child protection workforce, skilled at identifying and assessing how best to meet the individual needs of the children who require their services.
What will influence this National Indicator?
Scotland's 30 multi-agency Child Protection Committees (CPCs) set the strategic priorities locally for the improved multi-agency policies, procedures, training programmes and services which help ensure that children at risk are protected. As the strengthened CPCs develop, we may anticipate a higher proportion of local authority areas receiving positive inspection reports.
A further influence is the joint inspection process itself. This is already driving up standards, as CPC areas that have already been inspected begin to implement the recommendations for follow-up action. A third influence is the publication of the evaluation guide How well are children protected and their needs met which is increasingly being used for self-evaluation within and across services with the aim of improving outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.
Finally, a more fundamental positive cultural influence is the growing extent to which all services working with children understand that child protection is everyone's business. This dictates that every organisation and every worker has a duty to recognise signs that a child might be at risk and to take appropriate action where they have concerns.
What is the Government's role?
The Government works with CPCs, inspectorates and other stakeholders to address national gaps revealed by inspection. One such gap is a relative weakness across all published inspection reports in identifying and assessing risks to children. In response, the Government aims to develop a suitable national risk assessment framework.
Consistent with the larger change agenda for children's services - Getting it Right for Every Child - we work with stakeholders on national strategies to address the needs of particular types of children at risk. These include young runaways and children living in potentially high risk contexts, such as children affected by domestic abuse or by their parents' substance misuse. When appropriate, the Government produces national guidance for child protection service providers.
We also enable the CPCs to work better with each other (and with the Government) by hosting quarterly meetings for sharing best practice and by providing collective national feedback on the CPCs' own annual reports.
The Government supports national child protection research and practice development and helps to increase the proportion of local authority areas receiving positive inspection reports.
How are we performing?
A baseline of three years of local authority data was completed in September 2009. The baseline includes 30 of the 32 local authorities. Two of these were pilot authorities in the first cycle and so are not directly comparable. This data is available on the HMIE website.
In the second cycle of child protection inspections 10 Local Authorities have been inspected to date. Two of these were pilots authorities and are not directly comparable. Of the 8 remaining Local Authorities, 6 had positive inspection reports in 2008-9 while 7 had positive inspection reports in 2009-10. This shows an increase in the number of positive inspection reports.
Percentage of local authorities receiving positive child protection inspection reports1
|Percentage of local authority areas||Number of local authority areas inspected|
August 2009 - June 2010
May 2006 - Feb 2009
Source: Summary of Indicative Quality Indicators from HMIE Inspection, 2009 and 2010
1. All 32 local authority areas have been inspected. Data do not include East Dunbartonshire and Highland as they were pilot inspections. Inspections refer to the first local authority area child protection inspection not to the evaluations from any subsequent follow through inspections.
The second cycle of inspections has not been completed yet so the results of this are not directly comparable to the first (completed) cycle's figures.
However, based on the information currently available, a "Performance Improving" arrow is suggested.
The threshold will be determined once the second cycle of inspections is completed.
For more information see Scotland Performs Technical Note
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Who are our partners?
Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland
Child Protection Committees
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education (HMIE)
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland (HMIC)
NHS Quality Improvement Scotland
Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA)
Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA)
Voluntary sector organisations
Related Strategic Objectives
Safer and Stronger
Wealthier and Fairer