Inspectors give children's services the thumbs-up
Services for children and young people in South Ayrshire have been given the thumbs-up by inspectors today (1 May). Following a progress review earlier this year, they have identified significant improvements in the way services are delivered.
The Care Inspectorate's report recognises the very good progress made by South Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership across five areas for improvement identified in its October 2016 report.
The partners – South Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Police Scotland and a range of public and voluntary sector partners – have been working closely since the 2016 report to make a real difference for children and young people.
This is highlighted in the inspectors' findings against the areas for improvement:
- Strengthening strategic leadership and direction – strategic leadership and direction have been significantly strengthened; collaborative leadership has become more effective, with a clear and shared vision providing strong direction; joint strategic commissioning and use of resources have not progressed as quickly as partners would have liked, but plans are in place to address this.
- Improving early intervention to help those affected by poverty and deprivation – access to out-of-school activities for young people in more rural areas has improved, as have trends in literacy and numeracy, and post-school destinations for looked-after young people; more robust and transparent data collection will help demonstrate partners' impact on, and improved outcomes for children and young people.
- Reducing the number of 11-15 year olds accommodated away from home – encouraging progress is being made to reduce the numbers of young people who need to be looked after away from home and increase the understanding and ownership by corporate parents of their duties and responsibilities; partners now need to build on this momentum and commitment to sustain developments.
- Better planning and use of resources to ensure children and young people get the right help at the right time – partners have made sound progress in developing and delivering a more efficient model of integrated service delivery; there is confidence and commitment to ensuring children and young people get the right help at the right time; further progress on evaluation and evidence will help show the difference the new model is making.
- More effective planning through the Integrated Children's Services Plan and Child Protection Committee – considerable improvements have been made in key aspects of service planning; simplified and more streamlined structures are in place; partners are taking forward a number of improvement activities; more work is required by the Child Protection Committee to demonstrate improved outcomes for children in need of protection.
As a result, inspectors have agreed that no further review work is required in relation to the 2016 report.
Councillor Douglas Campbell, Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership, said: "This report makes for very positive reading and is testament to the efforts of the Council, Health and Social Care Partnership and our community planning partners. Together, we are committed to ensuring our children and young people have the best possible start in life and the support and opportunities to reach their full potential – especially the most vulnerable children and young people.
"By doing this together, we will build strong and sustainable communities across South Ayrshire and ensure our people and places are the best they can be, which sits at the heart of everything we do both as a Council and a community planning partnership.
"My thanks to all our staff and partners who work to support our children and young people on a daily basis and really do make the difference where it matters. I'm very proud and pleased that their efforts have been recognised by inspectors in such a clear and comprehensive way.
"And while we know there is more work to do – and this is already well underway – the progress report confirms we are moving in the right direction and getting it right for our children and young people in South Ayrshire."
The inspection report is available here.