Children’s services in Stirling are provided by Children & Families staff who work closely with our colleagues across the Council, the public sector and voluntary sector. We want Stirling to be a nurturing, respectful and ambitious place for all children and young people, their families and communities across Stirling.
We aim to provide services in a way that:
- Best safeguards support and promote the wellbeing of children;
- Ensures that any action to meet the needs of children and young people is taken at the earliest appropriate time and that, where appropriate, action is taken to prevent needs arising;
- Are most integrated from the point of view of those who receive services, and;
- Constitutes the best use of available resources.
Our approach to the management of service quality and performance is captured in the various strategic plans, which also support our contribution to national outcomes. Performance reports are submitted to the Scottish Government and published nationally. Locally this information is reported via Stirling Council’s committee structure and collaborative groups such as the Child Protection Committee, Alcohol & Drug Partnership, and Stirling Gender-Based Violence Partnership. Chief Executives and senior leaders of Stirling Council, Police Scotland and NHS Forth Valley oversee the quality of service provision via the Chief Officer’s Group (Public Protection) that scrutinizes reports on performance and ensures that improvement action is taken when required.
Key performance information for looked after children and child protection is reported nationally with the latest information being published in March 2019.
For Looked After Children, the statistics show that on 31st July 2018 Stirling had 236 looked after children which is a rate of 1.3% of all children aged between 0 and 17. During the previous year, 61 children entered the system and 68 ceased to be looked after. The rate compares favourably with the overall Scottish rate, which is 1.4%.
Child protection statistics, as at 31st July 2018, have shown that 56 young people were on the Child Protection Register. There has been a net increase of 9 young people on the register over the year with 88 registered and 79 de-registered. The number of young people who are on the Child Protection Register is monitored on an ongoing basis throughout the year to ensure that registrations are appropriate. It should be noted that the circumstances which lead to registration are unique to each young person, therefore, it is not possible to draw direct conclusions from an overall increase or decrease.
The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration also publishes statistical information in relation to the work of the Children’s Reporters and Children’s Hearings. The rate of referrals per 1,000 for Stirling in 2017/18 was 11.8, which is lower than the national rate of 14.4. This shows the continuation of a long-term reduction in referrals to the reporter over the last 10 years. The rate of children’s hearing held in Stirling for 2017/18 was 34.2, which is slightly lower than the national rate of 35.5.
The rate of young people who are subject to Compulsory Supervision Orders has increased to 11.3 in comparison to 10.4 two years ago. This increase has been due to the number of young people who have been supported to return home from residential placements. As part of service transformation plans, it is anticipated that more young people will return from residential placements, more will exit the statutory care system, and others will be supported not to enter the statutory care system. The outcome of this work will be that the rate of young people who are subject to Compulsory Supervision Orders will reduce.
Our approach to continuous improvement is defined by our service improvement and transformation activities that are captured within our strategic and service plans. These outline the approaches that we are taking and the outcomes we are seeking to achieve for children, young people and their families. This is considered from the perspective of the work that we lead on and that the improvements that we are implementing with colleagues from across the Council and partner agencies. Progress against these strategic aims is captured through our robust performance management reporting and in the various annual reports that we publish.
Audit and inspection make a significant contribution to our continuous improvement of service quality and performance helping to inform our transformation and service improvement activities. A programme of internal audits is undertaken in conjunction with colleagues from the Council’s Governance team. Our services are also inspected and audited externally by the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland who have well-established approaches that are published publically.
Engagement with service users and other stakeholders is crucial in allowing us to understand the needs of our children, young people and their families more fully. This provides important insight into how services can be improved and inform our service improvement and transformation plans.
The public engagement is undertaken in a wide range of forums including:
- Champions Board for Young People with Care Experience
- Foster Carers Consultative Committee
- Foster Carers Support
- Parent Reference Group for Children with Additional Support Needs
- Children with Disabilities Parents Group
- Stirling Inclusion Ambassadors
- Youth Forum
- Mental Health Champions
- Young Carers Forum
- Support Group for Mentors for Young People with Care Experience
- Brucefield Care Home Young People and Staff Group
- Alcohol & Drug Partnership – Recovery Groups