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Social and Community Services

Community Care and Criminal Justice:
Children & Families Services Plan 2008-11

INTRODUCTION

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Children & Families Services provide services to children, young people and their carers with the aim of enabling them to be safe, nurtured, healthy, achieving, active, respected, responsible, and included.

LEGISLATIVE & POLICY CONTEXT

Legislation

The legislative context for the Children & Families Services Plan 2008-11 centres primarily on the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 and the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Other relevant Acts include:

  • Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001
  • Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978
  • Adoption Agencies Regulations 1996
  • Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004
  • Adoption & Children (Scotland) Act 2007
  • Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003
  • Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003
  • Disability Discrimination Act 2005
  • Equality Act 2006
  • Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004
  • Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996
  • Support & Assistance of Young People Leaving Care Regulations (Scotland) 2004

National Policy

The national policy context for the Children & Families Services Plan 2008-11 includes:

  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: a Report on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Scotland
  • ‘Changing Lives’ – 21st Century Social Work Review
  • ‘It’s Everyone’s Job to Make Sure I am Alright’
  • Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC)
  • Child Protection Reform Programme
  • For Scotland’s Children: Better Integrated Children’s Services
  • Birth To Three: Supporting our Youngest Children
  • Integrated Children’s Services Planning 2005-08
  • Children & Young People Experiencing Domestic Abuse: Guidance Note for Planners
  • Hidden Harm – a report by the advisory council on the misuse of drugs
  • Youth Justice Strategy (National Standards)
  • National Programme of Joint Inspection of Child Protection Services: Inspection of Services to Protect Children in the Western Isles Area
  • Looking After Children & Young People
  • The Implementation of Health For All (HALL IV) 2005
  • ‘We Can and Must Do Better’ (Corporate Parenting)
  • Local Government Concordat
  • ‘More Choices, More Chances’
  • Early Years and Early Intervention: A joint Scottish Government and COSLA policy statement (2008) 

Local Policy

The local policy context for the Children & Families Services Plan 2008-11 includes:

  • Western Isles Integrated Children’s Services Plan (draft)
  • Western Isles Youth Justice Strategy
  • Social Work Department Child Protection Procedures
  • Throughcare & Aftercare Policy and Procedures
  • Western Isles Inter-agency Child Protection Guidelines
  • Social Work Department Case Recording Procedure
  • Social Work Department Supervision Procedure
  • Joint Mental Health Services Plans
  • Advocacy Plan
  • Choose Life Plan
  • ADAT Corporate Action Plan
  • Housing Strategy
  • Health Improvement Plan
  • Community Plan
  • Partnership in Practice Agreement
  • Carers’ Information Strategy
  • Carers’ Strategy (including section on Young Carers)
  • CAMHS Strategy 2007

Corporate Strategy: Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar

The Corporate Strategy 2007-11 outlines the mission statement of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar as:

“To provide excellent public services throughout the Outer Hebrides”

The Social Work Inspection Agency carried out an inspection of all the services provided by the Social Work Department in November 2006.  The recommendations within the SWIA Action Plan have been, and are currently being, implemented.

Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education (HMIE) undertook a joint inspection of services to protect children and young people in the Western Isles during 2007.  The recommendations from this report are also currently being implemented.

The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (Care Commission) undertook an inspection of Fostering and Adoption services in 2007.  The recommendations from this Inspection have largely been implemented and this is evidenced in the improved outcomes found during the most recent Inspection (February 2008) of these services by the Care Commission.

PARTNERSHIP WORKING

The Children & Families Service of the Social Work Department is engaged in extensive partnership working at all levels.

The Western Isles Child Protection Committee is a multi-agency partnership which has a strategic role in ensuring the development and implementation of joint policies, procedures, protocols and working practices in terms of child protection.

The Children & Families Service has close partnership working and commissioning arrangements with a number of agencies, such as, NCH, Who Cares Scotland, the Foyer Project, Women’s Aid, Police, Children’s Panel, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), Surestart, Western Isles Advocacy Project, the Department of Child and Family Psychiatry (CAMHS), the Community Learning Disability Nursing Service, Hebridean Housing Partnership, CnES Legal Services, and the Education Department.

Other examples of partnership working include funding being granted by ADAT in 2007 to establish a post to work with Children and Families who experience substance misuse.

The development of improved data sharing between agencies is currently the remit of the Western Isles Data Sharing Partnership in which the Social Work Department has been closely involved regarding the development of the child protection messaging system.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Priority is being given to promoting a performance culture and to identifying and achieving key performance indicators and targets.

Education achievement statistics are recorded in relation to Looked After Children.

The Social Work Department has an established Supervision procedure.

Inspections are conducted regularly by national agencies, such as, SWIA, HMIE and the Care Commission.

The IT system, OLM, which is currently being implemented throughout the Social Work Department will allow for improved statistical data on Children & Families Services.

BEST VALUE & CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

The initial report from the Chief Executive regarding the Social Work Department review suggests new posts, such as, Head of Children & Families Services and Business Manager.  It is envisaged that these posts will be instrumental in ensuring that systems to implement and monitor Performance Management, Best Value reviews and Continuous Improvement within Children & Families Services are fully established.

RISK MANAGEMENT

There are risk factors associated with each service activity.  The identification and management of risk is at the core of Children & Families Services, for example, in assessment of need, child protection case conferencing, care and protection planning and in the provision of care services to Looked After Children and those with complex special needs.  In the Children & Families Services, there is a risk assessment and management framework in place which is subject to monitoring through internal audit and HMIE.

CHILDREN & FAMILIES SERVICES PRIORITIES

The priorities for Children & Families Services are based on the legislative and policy framework, and also local need, and are stated within the Social Work Department Business Plan 2007 (copy on the CnES website Chief Executive’s Office page). 

Under “Known Service Gaps and Pressures” are included:

1. “further developmental work has to be undertaken within fieldwork services, within the development of fostering services, and with NCH residential care, to try to minimise the need for mainland placements”

2. “the need for respite and support services for children with disabilities has increased”

Other priorities relate to the strengthening and development of the management and administrative infrastructure required to ensure effective development, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating of the quality of services provided against a framework for National Standards.

Links to Plans:

    • CnES Social Work Department Business Plan 2007
    • The Western Isles Integrated Children’s Services Plan 2005-08 (draft)
    • The Joint Inspection of Services to Protect Children in the Western Isles Local Authority Area 2007 (HMIE)

For copies of these plans, contact Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Social Work Department on 01851 703773.

Contacts for this document:

Dr. R. McKinlay
Principal Officer (Planning & Development)
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Social Work Department
Grianan Centre
Westview Terrace
Stornoway
01851 709909

Mrs M. MacKay
Children’s Services Manager
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Social Work Department
Sandwick Road
Stornoway
01851 709335