South Ayrshire partners welcome publication of children's services report

Community planning partners in South Ayrshire have welcomed the publication of a report today (4 October) that identifies the "positive difference" services are making for children and young people across the area, while taking action to drive necessary improvements.

South Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership – which includes South Ayrshire Council, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Police Scotland as well as a range of public and voluntary sector partners – was responding to the report on a joint inspection of services for children, young people and their families in South Ayrshire.

The inspection was carried out by the Care Inspectorate with Education Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland between April and June this year.

The inspectors' findings were based around nine quality indicators – three of which were assessed as good, four as adequate, and two as weak.

The three 'good' ratings were for the 'Impact on Children and Young People', 'Impact on Families' and 'Assessing and Responding to Risks and Needs'. The two 'weak' ratings were for 'Planning and Improving Services' and 'Leadership of Improvement and Change'.

The report states that "children in need of protection are safer and their needs better met". It also highlights numerous examples of good practice that are improving the lives of children, young people and their families; recognises positive trends in child health and educational attainment; and highlights the commitment of staff and services to doing the best job possible.

It also states that the community planning partners recognise, "the need to strengthen their strategic overview of services for children."

This is reflected in the identified areas for improvement which are focused around:

  • Improving early intervention to help those affected by poverty and deprivation

  • Reducing the number of 11-15 year olds accommodated away from home

  • Better planning and use of resources to ensure children and young people get the right help at the right time

  • More effective planning through the Integrated Children's Services Plan and Child Protection Committee

  • Strengthening strategic leadership and direction

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership, said, "This report recognises the very good work being delivered by staff working across South Ayrshire who are helping to improve the wellbeing of our children and young people and supporting their families every single day.

"All the community planning partners are committed to ensuring our children and young people have the best possible life chances and we're grateful for the inspectors' recognition of the positive work being carried out, often in challenging circumstances

"However, we know where we need to do better and we're already taking action to address the issues highlighted. These are mostly focused around planning and the strategic direction given to services rather than the actual service delivery itself – this is being taken forward in conjunction with the Care Inspectorate.

"Collectively we will do everything we can to deliver lasting improvements that will ensure our services for children and young people are the best they can be and really do help improve outcomes and life chances across South Ayrshire."

The partners who deliver services for children and young people are developing an action plan, based around the identified improvement areas, which will be agreed and monitored by Chief Officers from the partner agencies and the Care Inspectorate.

Progress against the action plan will be monitored closely, with a further report on progress achieved within 18 months to follow.

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