Watchdog reports on Argyll and Bute children’s services

A new report examining how well services for children and young people are performing in Argyll and Bute was published this week.

The Care Inspectorate was asked by Scottish ministers to lead a new approach to inspecting services for children and young people, bringing together specialist teams from different inspection bodies.

Inspectors found that, overall, services are working very well together in partnership and are underpinned by a positive culture of respect and openness. There was strong leadership and direction, with staff united in a common purpose. The help and support provided to children at an early stage is “very good”. Inspectors found significant improvements in the way vulnerable children are protected since child protection services were last inspected in 2011, with services responding promptly and effectively when necessary.

Inspectors also identified areas where there is a need for continued improvement, especially in the way services are jointly planned. Further improvement in the way services assess and plan for individual children is also needed.

The specialist team in Argyll and Bute brought together inspectors from the care, social work, health, police and education regulators. Together, they are charged with providing public assurance about the quality of services aimed at giving children and young people the best start in life, and making recommendations about what needs to improve.

Each inspection team also includes specially-trained “young inspectors” who speak direct to children and young people about their experiences.

Annette Bruton, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate, said:”It is everybody’s responsibility to support children and young people. This report will help drive improvement where necessary, and will provide assurance for families everywhere.

“The Care Inspectorate is very pleased to be working with other organisations to develop a new inspection methodology. An approach which only looks at individual services - not how they all fit together - doesn’t go far enough. These joint inspections reflect how families use services and are very much focused on the needs of children and young people across all areas.

“Our young inspectors have played a huge role in this. They bring genuine perspectives and great ideas as to how we test the quality of services offered.

“We publish all our inspection reports online at www.careinspectorate.com.”