East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership in Scotland were recently inspected by the Care Inspectorate. The purpose of the inspection is to consider the effectiveness of services for children and young people at risk of harm and look at the differences community planning partnerships are making to the lives of children, young people, and their families. The inspections also aimed to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuation of practice to keep children and young people safe.
The inspection was undertaken by representatives from the Care Inspectorate listening to the views and experiences of 32 child and young people, and 35 parents and carers, through face-to-face meetings, telephone or video calls and survey responses. They also carried out a staff survey and met virtually with around 100 staff who work directly with children, young people, and families. Additionally, they met with members of senior leadership teams, committees and boards that oversee the work with children at risk of harm.
How the Signs of Safety approach was reflected in the report
The partnership implemented the Signs of Safety approach across all services as the most effective framework to assess and manage risk for children and young people while supporting families. The approach recognised the need to define harm, outline danger and identify safety goals. Children’s assessments and plans clearly benefitted from the use of the Signs of Safety analytical tools such as the harm matrix, scaling questions, the danger or worry statements and the safety and wellbeing goals. They provided children and their families with opportunities to fully engage in assessment activity and decision-making.
Multi-agency assessments effectively considered the needs, protective factors, and risks for children at risk of harm. Assessments consistently included the feelings, thoughts and experiences of the child and their parent or carers. They provided analysis and held clear evidence of management oversight. The Care Inspectorate’s review of children’s records supported this as they evaluated the quality of assessments as good or better in almost all, the overwhelming majority of which were very good. This demonstrated consistent high-quality practice.
Staff effectively used the ethos and tools from the Signs of Safety approach to build trust and listen to the views of children, young people, and families. Tools such as My Three Houses, danger or worry statements, scaling questions and the safety and wellbeing goals were helping families become more involved in their own assessments and decision-making. They were empowering families to work in closer partnership with key staff to make changes in their lives and be more actively involved in their assessments and plans.
We are confident that the lives of children and young people at risk of harm in East Renfrewshire are improving as a result of services delivered by the partnership. We are confident that partners have the capacity to build on their achievements and strengthen service delivery. We did not identify any notable gaps in services, nor did we identify any significant areas for improvement during the inspection.
The organisation was evaluated as Excellent, which means performance is sector-leading and supports experiences and outcomes for people which are of outstandingly high quality. There is a demonstrable track record of innovative, effective practice and/or very high quality performance across a wide range of its activities and from which others could learn. There is confidence that excellent performance is sustainable and that it will be maintained.
Many congratulations to the team at East Renfrewshire and keep on with your excellent work using the Signs of Safety approach with children and young people at risk of harm, and their families.
Read more about the inspection and download the report on the East Renfrewshire website.