Children’s services in Fife given seal of approval

Children's services in Fife have been given the thumbs-up by inspectors.
Children's services in Fife have been given the thumbs-up by inspectors.

Services for children and young people in Fife have been given a clean bill of health.

Inspectors looked at a wide range of services in the region between August and October last year and found that cross nine quality ‘indicators’, three were very good, a further five were good and one - planning for individual children - was considered adequate.

It was a joint inspection of services across the Fife Community Planning Partnership by a team of inspectors led by the Care Inspectorate, with support from Education Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland.

The findings were published today (Wednesday, March 23).

The inspectors said they were confident the lives of many children and young people growing up in Fife were improving as result of services being delivered across the area.

They noted: “We found an admirable focus on addressing poverty and disadvantage and ensuring that children get the best possible start in life.

“The commitment and priority being given to engaging with children and young people and listening to their views should help ensure that services meet their needs effectively.

“Where children and young people may need protection, the risks to their safety and wellbeing are recognised by staff who then act promptly and proportionately to minimise further risk and protect children and young people.”

Karen Reid, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: “This joint inspection has highlighted some areas of good practice and we were pleased to note that services were making a real difference to the lives of children, young people and their families.

“In particular, planning to improve services was good. Planning structures were mature and clear governance arrangements were in place. Partners collectively held each other to account for delivering their contributions to Fife children’s services plan.

“Leaders took their responsibilities for service improvement very seriously and were providing very effective leadership and direction to help ensure better outcomes for children and young people.

“We have also made recommendations for improvement which will enable partners to deliver even better outcomes for children, young people and their families and we are confident that the Fife partnership will be able to take our recommendations forward.”

“These include reviewing the accessibility and availability of important family support services and resources, so children and young people can get the help and support they need when they need it.

“Partners should also ensure that the quality of planning for children and young people is focused on both risk and need, and that all partners fulfil their responsibilities in meeting the needs identified in the child’s plan. Managers should ensure there are robust mechanisms to ensure plans are delivered any delays are challenged.

“Partners should develop and implement a collective response to reduce the proportion of looked after children and young people who are placed outside Fife, sometimes at some distance from home. This includes supporting those children and young people who are able to return to do so successfully.”

The Care Inspectorate now want a joint action plan which clearly details how the Fife Partnership will make improvements in the key areas identified by inspectors.