The Services for Children report is now published and can be seen, in full, here. The table at page 20 summarises the overall position ... and a similar table for other, inspected Local Authorities can be found within their reports which can all be accessed here.
No question there are serious issues flagged up for further improvement within the Edinburgh report, but there is also the clear recognition that significant progress has been made from the very, very difficult circumstances of 2003.
Our Group has put a Press Release out, given the report is no longer embargoed (is now up on the HMIE site 'just' before midnight). Text as follows:
EDINBURGH LABOUR SAYS GOOD PROGRESS BUT STILL MORE TO DO ON CHILD PROTECTION
The Labour Group of the City of Edinburgh Council welcomes the report of the Joint Inspection of Children’s Services published today, September 27th. Whilst there is no doubt that there is much still to do, the report indicated that the Council and its partners have travelled a long way in the right direction in improving services and protection of the most vulnerable children in Scotland"s Capital City since the O’Brien report of 2003 and then the Blackie report of 2005.
The Labour Group is particularly pleased that recognition has been given for the creation of the Children and Families Department as a vehicle for better integration of services, the significant improvements in information sharing, the effective early intervention for unborn children and young children and the effective leadership provided by the Council staff and elected members and its partner agencies.
The Labour Group would also highlight the huge turn around achieved in social work recruitment and retention from over 30% vacancy rates to rates lower than the national average and the effective, and award winning, fostering campaigns which saw enquiries about becoming a foster carer rise from 1 to several hundred in only 12 months.
Labour Leader Ewan Aitken said. “The inspection has identified huge improvements since the O’Brien report. The significant improvements in information sharing and joint planning, 75% increase in child protection referrals and the increases in accommodated children are a sign of a greater confidence in the system and a more effective response to concerns about the safety of children.
I and my Group recognise however, that there is still a long way to go so that there is the maximum possible protection for the children of Scotland’s Capital. We increased significantly the expenditure in the areas covered by the report and we remain committed to providing all the support we can to making the very necessary improvements rightly identified by the report as still being required”.