Joint Inspection of Children at Risk of Harm, Scottish Borders Partnership

Published: 24th May 2023

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Along with NHS Borders, we have welcomed the publication of the findings of the Joint Inspection of Services for Children at Risk of Harm in Scottish Borders Planning Partnership.

The report was published on 23 May and can be found on the Care Inspectorate website.

Keeping children and young people safe from harm is a multi-agency responsibility undertaken by ourselves, NHS Borders, Police Scotland and third sector partners, overseen by the Scottish Borders Public Protection Committee and the Critical Services Oversight Group (CSOG).

The inspection took place between November 2022 and April 2023 when the views and experiences of almost 200 children and young people and over 100 parents and carers were gathered. The report notes that this high level of engagement reflects the partnership’s work to develop and maintain strong relationships.

The inspectors found important strengths that had significant positive impacts on children and young people’s experiences. Strengths highlighted in the report include:

  • Children, young people and families benefited from supportive and trusting relationships with staff across services.
  • The recognition and initial response to risk and concern to children was a strength. Staff took timely and appropriate action to keep children safe.
  • Well-established collaborative working across services ensured children and young people benefited from timely responses to identification of risks.
  • Nurturing and trauma informed services provided a range of supports to help children and young people recover from abuse, neglect and trauma.
  • Children, young people and parents and carers were supported to meaningfully contribute to decisions about their lives by compassionate staff.
  • Evidence of strong partnership working, and staff and leaders demonstrating commitment to improving outcomes for children, young people and families.

The report also highlighted areas for improvement which include:

  • Ensuring that the voice of children and families routinely and meaningfully influence service planning and improvement.
  • Strengthening the partnership’s approach to improvement and change to ensure a shared and systematic approach to quality assurance and self-evaluation.

Chief Executive of NHS Borders and Chair of the Critical Services Oversight Group (CSOG) Ralph Roberts, Police Scotland Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Catriona Paton and David Robertson, Scottish Borders Council Chief Executive

“The positive findings highlighted within the report reflect the hard work, knowledge and skills of Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders, Police and Third Sector colleagues who work collaboratively to keep children and young people safe from harm.

“We are all pleased with the outcome of the inspection and report, but not complacent, and are already looking into areas in which we can strengthen connections across the partnership, develop and improve the service and process so we deliver the best possible service and support to children and young people in the Borders.

“We would like to give our thanks to all the staff, children, young people and families who participated in the inspection process and to all those who work alongside children, young people and their families to keep them safe from harm and improve outcomes.”

Councillor Caroline Cochrane, Chair of Community Planning Partnership

“I am delighted the Care Inspectorate has recognised the high quality of the service provided in the Scottish Borders and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.

“I take enormous comfort in knowing the services we provide are held with such regard by professionals and the families who receive the support.”

More information

  • The report and more information about the inspection process can be found on the Care Inspectorate website
  • Joint inspections of children and young people at risk of harm are prepared by the Care Inspectorate in partnership with Education Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland.
  • Joint inspections of services for children and young people at risk of harm aim to provide assurance about the extent to which services, working together, can demonstrate that children and young people are safer because risks have been identified early and responded to effectively. 
  • Core members of Scottish Borders Critical Services Oversight Group (CSOG) are the Chief Executives of NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council, and the Divisional Commander for Police Scotland. The remit of CSOG is to provide strategic leadership to and scrutiny of the work of the three public protection business areas on behalf of their respective agencies; to identify successes and areas for improvement, and in doing so learn from experience, monitor trends and examine comparisons and take appropriate action in response to unsatisfactory performance.