• Ayrshire Daily News

East Ayrshire secures excellent ratings for children and young people’s services

East Ayrshire is excelling in the provision of services for children and young people

– that’s the official word from a new inspection report published today by the Care Inspectorate.

The joint inspection of services for children and young people in East Ayrshire took place between 28 August and 10 November 2017. It covered a range of Community Planning Partnership agencies that play a key role in providing services for children, young people and families.

The inspection reported positively on a number of indicators that have an impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of children and young people of all ages, from pre-birth right through to leaving school and into adulthood. It also considered the range and quality of opportunities, interventions and support that are available to children, young people and their families throughout their childhoods.

All in, the inspectors awarded two ‘excellent’ ratings, five ‘very good’ ratings and two ‘good’ ratings. The ‘excellent’ ratings were given in recognition of the impact services had on the wellbeing of families and for the extent of participation by children, young people, families and other stakeholders in policy, planning and service development.

Children and young people themselves played an integral part in the inspection process and the report findings confirm the views already held by them:

“Children and young people are valued and respected in East Ayrshire.”

“I am encouraged to further my education and can take advantage of opportunities to help me achieve my full potential.”

“We are supported through every stage of our lives to help us have the best life we can.”

The report highlighted a number of strengths and particular mention was made of the importance of ‘trusting relationships’ in children’s lives and commended the commitment shown by staff who ‘go the extra mile’ to maintain meaningful contact with children and their families.

Inspectors also noted that robust and collective leadership by partners was contributing to improving the wellbeing and life chances of children and young people growing up in East Ayrshire.

Whilst acknowledging the high levels of poverty and deprivation, the report praised the positive results that had been achieved through partnership working to ensure children and young people are safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.

Inspectors also praised improvements made in child protection services and in the support available to children and young people in care.

The report commended a number of good practice examples which were enhancing the quality of the lives and improving the chances of children and young people. These included the joint commitment of partners to build a vibrant community across East Ayrshire including the award-winning Positive Play project which encourages meaningful and positive contacts between children and fathers in prison; the range of local employability initiatives to help tackle youth unemployment and the Linking Language and Literacy initiative which aims to reduce concerns about speech, language and communications in children under three years.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Chair of the East Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership Board and Leader of East Ayrshire Council welcomed the findings of the inspectors. He said: “East Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership has a shared ambition for delivering and achieving good results for children, families and communities and we are delighted that this inspection has recognised the excellent work taking place across East Ayrshire.

“We have a long history of successful partnership working in East Ayrshire and it’s very heartening to see the efforts of all partners – within statutory services, the third sector and social enterprises being recognised for the role they play in strengthening the support available to families.

“We value the contribution our children and young people make in shaping our policies and services and strive to include and involve them wherever possible and again, I’m pleased that the inspection recognised our excellence in this field.

“On behalf of the Partnership, I’d like to thank the workforce across all partner organisations for their continued commitment to keeping our children and young people safe and for giving them the support and opportunities which will help them to grow up as confident and contributing young citizens.

Susan Taylor, Chair of the East Ayrshire Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership said:

“This report rightly recognises all the dedicated work taking place across East Ayrshire and it is a fitting tribute to the care and compassion shown by staff and communities in delivering services and opportunities to our children and young people.

“The inspection report recognises that we know ourselves well; through well informed self-evaluation and improved use of performance data, we know what we’re good at and what needs to improve.

“The Care Inspectorate has confirmed our priorities for improvement and this is where our focus lies. Specifically we are looking at ways of further improving the life opportunities of looked after children;  strengthening our quality assurance processes in the delivery of services, strengthening the quality of children’s plans and maintaining an emphasis on improving educational  attainment.

“Going forward we will ensure children and young people in East Ayrshire are at the heart of every decision we make as we continue to improve the quality of services available to them.