Good Practice Recognised

An inspection report of services for children and young people in Clackmannanshire has highlighted many examples of good practice.

This inspection, which took place in January and February 2014, covered the range of services in Clackmannanshire that provide services to children, young people and families, including education, health, social services, police and the voluntary sector. Inspectors examined the cases of 87 children and young people, observed practice in a range of settings, scrutinised policies and procedures, and met with children, families and staff.

The report highlights that Clackmannanshire has a higher than average proportion of children aged 0 – 15 years. Clackmannanshire also has a significantly higher than average percentage of people living in the 5% most deprived areas of Scotland. This is reflected in education, employment and prosperity indicators for which a number are considerably worse than the Scottish average. Despite the clear challenges for all agencies and communities the report states that interventions were underpinned by the Getting it Right for Every Child approach and a strong focus on early intervention and prevention throughout the life stages.

Particular strengths that are making a difference to children, young people and families identified in the report are:

  • Staff across all services have a very strong and shared commitment to improving the safety and wellbeing of children. They have developed a positive culture of working together meaningfully to the benefit of children, young people and their families
  • The high quality of support to children, young people and families to improve mental well-being and to assist them to overcome trauma
  • The effective use made of community skills and resources to overcome health inequalities and strengthen families.

The report also identifies that further improvement is required in the assessment of risk and the partners acknowledge that progress in planning and improving performance in this area is a priority. While the report highlights a number of areas where significant and meaningful progress has been achieved, it also notes a few areas where the rate of progress has been slower. Partners recognise the need for continuous improvement and will continue to make efforts to ensure progress is sustained to make a difference to the children and young people of Clackmannanshire.

The Care Inspectorate highlighted a number of project as examples of good practice:

  • HealthSpot: a health information service in schools

HealthSpot provides quick and helpful health advice through informal, confidential and lunchtime sessions in secondary schools. Young people can speak confidentially to health staff and community workers to obtain information and guidance about their health and wellbeing. A multi-agency steering group of education, health and youth services staff oversees the service involving young people meaningfully in the review and development of the service. This has helped to ensure that the themes and topics are highly relevant to young people.

  • Plus: removing barriers to fun for children affected by disability

PLUS provide large numbers of children and young people with a disability and their parents a variety of enjoyable and positive social networking opportunities. A number of age-appropriate projects provide activities for many children and young adults to have fun, away from home and with people of their own age. Children, young people and families benefit greatly from fun-filled social interactions, respite, and support to assist young people with disabilities into training and employment.

  • Collaborative working to meet the needs of children with complex care needs

The Children’s Complex Care Service is a highly effective collaborative involving health, education, social work and Third Sector organisations. Nursing care and family support is provided at home and is enhanced at times of increased need. Children, young people and families experience less frequent hospital admissions and a reduction in the stress associated with this. When children are admitted to hospital they are discharged as soon as they are medically well. Jointly funded support assistants and a specialist school nurse ensure that the child’s health and care needs are met in school. This has allowed children, even at the end of life to continue to attend school for periods enhancing their quality of life.

Councillor Gary Womersley, chair of the Clackmannanshire Alliance, said: I welcome the Care Inspectorate report, which contains much positive reading in terms of the quality of service we deliver, which is tribute to all of the staff working in services for children across Clackmannanshire. I am particularly pleased to note the many examples of good practice which reflects our commitment to vulnerable children and young people in our communities. I also appreciate the recognition from the Inspectors on the excellent levels of partnership working between all the agencies responsible for child care in Clackmannanshire. We are committed to continuous improvement and it is very reassuring that the areas for development noted by the Inspectorate have already been identified through our self evaluation process.”

Chief Superintendent David Flynn, local Commander for the Forth Valley Division of Police Scotland, said: “Police Scotland has worked closely with partner agencies across Clackmannanshire and the wider Forth Valley throughout this Inspection and are pleased to note the positive feedback from Inspectors as regards work undertaken and ongoing in respect of the Children’s agenda. We also note the areas which the report highlights require further development and are fully engaged with partners in taking these matters forward.”

Jane Grant, Chief Executive, NHS Forth Valley, said: “The report praises a number of local services which aim to improve the health and well-being of children and young people across Clackmannanshire including HealthSpot and the Children’s Complex Care Service. It also highlights how children living away from home are benefitting from the support provided by a specialist health team for looked after children. We recognise, however, that there are a number of areas which require further improvement. Action is already being taken to address these and this includes work to improve access and reduce waiting times for children and young people who require mental health support.”

The Clackmannanshire Alliance will now publish a joint action plan detailing how it will continue to improve.