Significant Progress Made Youth of Dumfries and Galloway

Significant progress has been made for children and young people in Dumfries and Galloway say Care Inspectorate

Today (Tuesday 20 August), the Care Inspectorate published their progress review of services for children and young people in Dumfries and Galloway. In a very positive report, inspectors found improvement across all the areas that they inspected with significant improvement in others.

The progress review was carried out in May 2016. The inspectors found that the partnership:

• Has made significant progress in ensuring that children are protected from abuse and risk:

Inspectors found that staff were responding appropriately to concerns which had improved timely responses to concerns raised. They also found that generally, initial referral discussions had helped speed up child protection discussions and good risk assessments were being made. The launch of a new pre-birth protocol had added clarity to processes and supported early intervention with vulnerable pregnant women. They also identified that there had been considerable improvement in the inclusion of chronologies in children’s records.

• Has made significant progress in improving the life-chances of looked-after children, young people and care-leavers in Dumfries and Galloway:

Inspectors identified that the establishment of the Champion’s Board and corporate parenting plan had helped to raise the profile and involvement of looked after children and young people. Furthermore, the health and well-being team was collecting helpful data on the help needs of looked after children and this information was being used well to help develop ways to respond to unmet health need. Inspectors found and increase in a multi-agency approach to planning for children and young people and their plans were reviewed regularly at multi-agency meetings. As such, staff were making quicker decisions to benefit children which was helping to drive forward progress on most plans.

• Has made significant improvement in strengthening our collaborative leadership to plan and direct the delivery of integrated children’s services:

Inspectors identified that partnership working at strategic and senior management level had improved considerably with greater joint ownership of work being evident. Accountability had considerably improved and officers from across the partnership were not being challenged appropriately by elected members, board members and chief officers. Joint strategic plans were in place to take forward immediate and longer term actions.

• Has made considerable progress in ensuring consistently high standards of work are achieved:

A range of quality assurance activities had informed changes and improvements to practice and performance. Positive examples identified by the inspectors included initial referral discussions, children’s plans, risk assessments and chronologies. Joint working had improved significantly, which in turn had contributed to increasing joint ownership of quality assurance activities and outcomes.

• Has made reasonable progress to ensure that vulnerable children, young people and families get the help they need as early as possible:

Inspectors identified that partners had made reasonable progress to ensure vulnerable children, young people and families get the help they need at an early stage. Information sharing between staff had improved. The inspectors found some examples of very effective joint working and early intervention, particularly in schools, to help children keep themselves safe. Plans were beginning to be develop to ensure parenting support was available to all families who need it.

The partnership still has some further work to do but the inspectors are confident that there is improvement across all areas:

They will continue to offer support as required and monitor progress through the routine link inspector arrangements. The partnership will continue to build on the progress made and is committed to maintaining the pace of improvement.

The Care Inspectorate recognised that the partnership had worked closely together to develop and implement a comprehensive improvement plan and had prioritised actions to protect children and young people from abuse and neglect. As a result, inspectors will not be undertaking any further reviews in relation to the 2014 joint inspection as they had confidence that leaders had the conditions in place for continued improvement.

Chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Community Planning Partnership, Ronnie Nicholson, said “When I became Chair of the Planning Partnership I made clear that I wanted the implementation of the improvement plan to be a top priority for all agencies. This positive progress review shows that has happened and it is a testament to how hard everyone has worked to make sure improvements have been delivered for children and young people in Dumfries and Galloway. Everyone accepted the seriousness of the findings published in 2014. Together, all agencies have worked closely to develop and implement a comprehensive improvement plan. This progress report acknowledges the challenges that have been overcome and the steps that have been taken to make sure that services are keeping children and young people safe in our region. However, the work shouldn’t stop there. All agencies will continue to improve and deliver services of the highest standard to progress the well-being of the people in Dumfries and Galloway.”

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