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Protect children and young people

Issued: 25 Jan 2007

Highland makes good progress to protect children and young people.
An HMIe report published today, confirms that agencies in the Highlands are working effectively together to make a positive difference to the lives of children and families.

Following the publication of the ~Pilot Inspection of Services to Protect Children and Young People in the Highland Council area~ in June 2005, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education Services for Children Unit carried out an interim follow-through inspection in June 2006. This was requested by Scottish Ministers, to evaluate progress on the recommendations of the inspection, and also on the recommendations of the independent review into the circumstances surrounding the death of Danielle Reid.

The report of the initial inspection in June 2005 concluded that 'children and young people in Highland were well protected but effective meeting of needs was more variable'. The follow-through report that is published today (25 January 2007) concludes that 'considerable progress' has been made in meeting the recommendations of the pilot inspection report and the independent review. It recognises the 'high priority' that has been given to improving child protection services by all agencies across Highland, that there is strong leadership of continuous improvement, and that 'staff had successfully introduced changes which had improved outcomes for children and young people'.

As a consequence of their findings, inspectors were: "...confident that the Child Protection Committee and senior managers in Highland, working within the context of the national programme for reform of child protection services, were well equipped to implement further change and improvement".

The report details the effective help that children and young people are receiving. It finds that ~targeted resources and support were provided by social work, education, health and the voluntary sector to meet the particular needs of children and young people, including the most vulnerable and those with disabilities. Children and young people were able to access a range of support across agencies.~

The report notes that the assessment of risks and needs has improved, and also that Highland is the national pathfinder authority for the implementation of a new approach to how these assessments are managed, and how information is shared across agencies.

Inspectors identify this as an issue of national significance, that needs to be supported by legislation and technical solutions. The report identifies the need for national consistency in the recruitment and retention of social workers, and for improved national arrangements for the review of child death and significant cases. These are all matters that are presently being progressed by the Scottish Executive as part of the national reform programme.

Further, the Executive and Highland agencies are working together on the promotion of a national telephone number for child protection concerns, which is going to be launched in February.

Commenting on the report, Arthur McCourt, Chief Executive of The Highland Council said: "The initial inspection of child protection services concluded that Highland's children were well protected. I am pleased that this further evaluation confirms that continued progress is being made, that agencies are working effectively together, and that our staff are making a positive difference to the lives of children and families."

Alistair Dodds, Chair of the Highland Child Protection Committee said: "We continue to give a high priority to the protection of children and young people in Highland. This report reflects that. We will be taking this a step further in February, when we will launch the new national telephone number, which will allow us to better engage with communities, for members of the public to raise concerns about the safety of children."


© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme