Revised Statutory Guidance for Children’s Services Planning

Last year, the Scottish Government conducted a consultation on the Statutory Guidance for Children’s Services Planning.
In May 2019, the NTSG Project supported the third sector to take part in this engagement exercise. On 13 January 2020, a revised edition of the Statutory Guidance was published on the Scottish Government website here.

We strongly recommend that you read the whole paper if possible and refer to this document when appropriate.
The revised guidance continues to promote a collaborative and partnership approach with the third sector. “It is particularly important that third sector services and private providers are included in the preparation of and consultation for the Children’s Services Plan. This will ensure the plan is fully integrated and makes best use of all resources in the area to deliver on local priorities.” (44)

The guidance reinforces the critical role the third sector, including Third Sector Interfaces, can play in Children’s Services Planning, in particular, their contribution to the preparation of the Plan via consultation and engagement activities. (81-87)

The revised guidance further emphasises the importance of embedding children’s rights (176-184) during the planning process. In 

addition to the requirements placed on Scottish Ministers and public authorities to report how they have further the effect of the UNCRC in Scotland, the revised version also suggests the use of the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) to inform Children’s Services Plan. It also makes reference to the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporating the UNCRC into domestic law by Spring 2021, which may place new requirements on public authorities.
Focusing on the wellbeing needs being met at every stage, the revised document highlights the importance that services are ‘integrated’. This means that “children and families will be able, as their needs change, to move easily between different services, confident that they will have access to appropriate support at every stage.” (60) For example, moving out of children’s services and into adult services.

Acknowledging the feedback that “the planning and reporting landscape is complex”, the revised guidance expands on the information about how Children's Services Planning could be linked with other plans and reporting processes, for example, the Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (152-164), Health and Social Care Integration (165-175), Child Poverty (185-197), Child Protection (193-202) and Self-directed support (216-220). Appendix C also lists the legislation, guidance and reports for relevant plans.

The guidance added that the Scottish Government will review all Children’s Services Plans between April and October of the year of submission. The criteria are listed in Appendix A.

From Children in Scotland, National Third Sector GIRFEC Project 31/1/20

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