The Care Inspectorate today published two new assessments of how well children and vulnerable adults in Scotland are protected from abuse, neglect and harm.
The report on the effectiveness of child protection arrangements updates information following a major three-year study into child protection published last year. The report into adult protection arrangements in Scotland is the first of its kind.
The reports demonstrate what is currently known about the state of child and adult protection in Scotland. The Care Inspectorate assesses the strengths of child protection arrangements as part of its joint inspections of services for children in each part of Scotland. A new programme of joint inspections of services for older people in Scotland has started this year and will provide more evidence about the way vulnerable adults are protected in the coming months.
In terms of child protection, the report shows that chief officers in councils, the police and health board are generally aiming high with the capacity for improvement good. In some areas there is highly effective performance to protect children. The most effective child protection committees have sound quality checks in place and rigorously evaluate their own performance. Where there is a strong link between child protection and planning services for children, the outcomes for children are positive. In some cases, major organisational change has slowed down the pace of improvement and reduced the quality of child protection services.
In terms of adult protection, there remain a high number of referrals in some areas where further action is not needed. In some cases, there is a lack of direction and oversight of the work of the adult protection committee by chief officers but in many cases the way adults are protected has been reviewed and strengthened in recent years.
Each local authority area in Scotland has an adult and a child protection committee which brings together chief officers from the council, police, health board and other agencies to plan the way vulnerable adults and children are protected.
Annette Bruton, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: "Generally, arrangements for protecting vulnerable children and adults in Scotland are good, but there is no room for complacency. Abuse takes many forms and, because it takes place in secret, it is hard to detect and prevent.
"Councils, the police and health boards generally work well together to protect vulnerable people, but we will not hesitate to require improvements where our inspections identify shortcomings.
"It would be a serious mistake to assume that Scotland is immune from the type of exploitation we sadly see elsewhere.
"Care professionals, health staff, teachers and the public must remain alert, because it is everybody’s responsibility to help spot and report the signs of abuse, harm and neglect.
“When children are placed on the child protection register, robust support measures kick in. There must be just as much concern for children who miss the threshold but need support as for those on the register.
"This is a time of great change in the way adults are supported. With big changes like self-directed support and integrating health and social care, professionals must make sure adult protection remains high on the agenda."
The reports can be downloaded from www.careinspectorate.com