beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Guidance

Statutory Guidance on Part 3 (Children's Services Planning) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Published: 23 Dec 2016
Part of:
Children and families, Communities and third sector
ISBN:
9781786527097

Guidance for local authorities and health boards on exercising the functions conferred by Part 3 (Children's Services Planning) of the Act.

110 page PDF

879.7kB

110 page PDF

879.7kB

Contents
Statutory Guidance on Part 3 (Children's Services Planning) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
Links With Other Statutory Plans And Reports

110 page PDF

879.7kB

Links With Other Statutory Plans And Reports

161. As noted in the Introduction, children's services planning is part of a wider legal framework within which local planning and reporting takes place. This chapter considers some of the links between key statutory planning requirements (related to the provision of children's or related services).

Principles and objectives of statutory plans

162. All statutory planning processes are designed to facilitate the delivery of improved outcomes for Scotland's population. Set out across various parliamentary acts and regulations, the duties emphasise the importance of consultation and accountability, and of collaboration and joint working. They embed a common focus on the challenge of tackling disadvantage and inequality, and encourage public bodies and practitioners to attend to this task through a coordinated and evidence-led use of their resources.

163. In their response to the Christie Commission's final report, the Scottish Government identified four pillars of public service reform: [31]

  • a decisive shift towards prevention;
  • greater integration of public services at a local level driven by better partnerships, collaboration and effective local delivery;
  • greater investment in the people who deliver services through enhanced workforce development and effective leadership; and
  • a sharp focus on improving performance, through greater transparency, innovation and use of digital technology.

164. These are the pillars on which the various planning duties are built. They represent the thread which ties distinct processes together into a broader strategic agenda, empowering communities by ensuring that the planning and delivery of public services is open and inclusive, informed by a detailed understanding of the population's needs, and local knowledge about what works to improve outcomes.

Identifying links at the local level

165. At a local level, identifying and clarifying the relationships between different planning and reporting processes has a number of potential benefits. For instance, to help improve efficiency it may be possible to use the same activity, such as consultation, needs assessment or progress reporting, to satisfy statutory requirements under multiple planning systems. Moreover, identifying the links is an important step in realising the joined-up delivery of public services recommended by the Christie Commission; if the planning of different services is not coordinated and joined up, it is unlikely that delivery will be.

166. Each local area may choose to link planning requirements in different ways, in reference to existing practice and local arrangements (such as whether integration joint boards are responsible for children's health and social care services). In some cases, a local area may choose to link different planning or reporting processes through a simple "parent-child" relationship, with service-level plans and reports feeding into broader strategic documents. In other cases, where a local area operates two planning processes in parallel, there will be opportunities to share information and insight between the systems. Ultimately however, whatever configuration chosen, all local planning is focused on the achievement of the same aim: the improved wellbeing of the local population, through the delivery of efficient and effective public services.

Links to children's services planning

167. Where possible, a local Children's Services Plan may wish to detail (either through a narrative or visualisation) how the links are being made between the different statutory planning and reporting requirements. This will enable other organisations involved in children's services planning (such as those responding to a consultation or request for assistance) to see how a Children's Services Plan (and the process underpinning it) is connected into the wider planning landscape. Given the requirement to plan for children's services and other related services, attention might usefully be paid to how children's services planning relates to the duties included in Part 1 (Children's Rights), Part 6 (Early Learning and Childcare) and Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, as well as the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland Act) 2014, Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and the Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013. New legislation may also come into force, after the publication of this guidance, which may have to be taken account of.

Figure 1: Schematic of the statutory planning framework for children's services [32]

Figure 1: Schematic of the statutory planning framework for children’s services

168. Figure 1 above provides an illustration of how these different statutory planning (and reporting) requirements could relate to the children's services planning process. Please note that it is neither comprehensive (some statutory planning processes may not be represented) nor prescriptive (local areas may wish to link elements in different ways). It has been included to provide some ideas about how different elements of the local planning framework could interrelate, and to illustrate the scope (of services and agendas) which a local Children's Services Plan is likely to encompass, even if some service areas (such as education or looked after children) maintain their own plans and planning cycles.

169. However, as already stated, each local area will itself determine what services fall into the "children's service" and "related service" categories, and how the various, separate planning requirements will be connected. To facilitate that last part, a detailed summary of the statutory planning and reporting requirements related to children's services is included at Appendix C, and in the remainder of this chapter opportunities for alignment between key processes are set out.

Community planning

170. Community planning is about how public bodies work together with the local community to plan for, resource and provide services which improve local outcomes. Part 2 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 places a range of duties on community planning partners in order to strengthen community planning (replacing provisions in the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003). Among the new duties, the community planning partnership ( CPP) is required to prepare and publish a "local outcomes improvement plan" which sets out the local outcomes the CPP has prioritised for improvement [33] . In preparing the plan, the CPP is obliged to make all reasonable efforts to secure the participation of community bodies in the planning process. In carrying out their functions, the CPP is required to do so with a view to reducing inequalities of outcomes which result from socio-economic disadvantage.

171. Taken together, the duties in Part 2 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 are intended to support an increase in the pace and scale of public service reform by cementing the focus on achieving outcomes and improving the process of community planning. This central purpose is mirrored in children's services planning. Both seek to deliver better outcomes for the population by promoting a collaborative, partnership approach between public bodies and communities, and keeping a focus on tackling inequalities. While there are a number of important differences in the requirements of the two Acts (such as around the setting of aims and reporting criteria), they share similar approaches and ambitions for collaborative working together and with the local community to improve agreed local outcomes and reduce inequalities. Aligning these two planning systems, where possible, could bring benefits to both, ensuring a continuity and congruence between plans, and enhancing the CPP's ownership of the local strategy for improving the wellbeing of children and young people.

172. For further information, please refer to the statutory guidance on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

Integrated health and social care Strategic Plan

173. The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 ("the Public Bodies Act") provides for the integration of certain local authority and health services, with the aim of improving their quality and consistency, and, ultimately, the wellbeing of service users. Every local authority and its relevant health board has, under the Act, prepared and agreed an integration scheme wherein certain functions have been delegated to an integration authority. The integration authority may be a separate integration joint board, or the local authority or health board may take on this role. The functions delegated must, in every area, relate to local adult health and social care services - but the legislation also enables some or all children's acute and community health and social care services to be delegated where agreed locally. Some health boards and local authorities have opted to take advantage of this power, leading to integration of most adult and children's health and social care services. In addition, as many health services are not population specific (e.g. A&E, primary care and general dental services), all integration schemes will include the delegation of some functions relating to services used by children.

174. Under the Public Bodies Act, every integration authority is required to prepare and publish a Strategic Plan (also known as a "Strategic Commissioning Plan" for its area (though a single Plan can cover more than one local authority area), setting out the arrangements for the delivery of the functions that have been delegated by the local authority and health board (health and social care services), and how these will meet the National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes set by Scottish Ministers. [34] The Strategic Plan must also be prepared with regard to the "integration delivery principles", as detailed in section 31 of the Public Bodies Act. The Strategic Plan must be reviewed at least every three years.

175. An integration authority is also required to prepare an annual performance report on, among other things, how the arrangements in the strategic plan are contributing to achieving the National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes. These reports are required to cover all services provided in the exercise of functions delegated to the integration authority, including, where applicable, children's services.

176. As the children's services planning requirements encompass a wider range of services than health and social care, a local authority and the relevant health board could employ the approach of the health and social care Strategic Plan, to the extent that it relates to children's services, as potentially feeding into the broader Children's Services Plan. The integration delivery principles which underpin a Strategic Plan would be consistent with the aims underpinning children's services planning, and the National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes are based on similar principles to the revised National Care Standards (which will inform the self-assessment and inspection of all children's health and social care services).

177. The precise nature of the relationship between these two planning requirements will in large part be contingent on whether (and which) children's health and social care services have been included in the integration scheme. But whatever the integration of functions at a local level, there will always need to be communication between these two planning domains. From the perspective of children's services planning, the adult health and social care context is important because most children live in families with adults. Adult family members' access to, and the quality of, health and social care services, is likely to have an effect on the wellbeing of children and young people. Similarly, for the providers of adult health and social care services, children and young people represent future service users. As part of their longer term planning strategy, integration authorities will need to work with the relevant local authority and health board to monitor the health and wellbeing of the child population in the area, understanding needs, identifying potential issues and, with partners, putting in place appropriate preventative actions.

178. Furthermore, in order to achieve the statutory aims prescribed for both a Strategic Plan and a Children's Services Plan, consideration may usefully be given (by integration authorities, local authorities and relevant health boards) to the transitions between children's services and adult services. This transition has been identified as a point where service support for individuals can be at risk of inadequate coordination, leading to a negative impact on wellbeing.

179. For further information, please refer to the guidance prepared to assist implementation of the Public Bodies (Joint Working) Scotland Act 2014. [35]

Children's rights

180. Part 1 (section 2) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 places a duty on a range of public authorities (including all local authorities and territorial health boards) to report, as soon as practicable after the end of each three-year period, on the steps they have taken in that period to secure better or further effect within its areas of responsibility to the UNCRC requirements. The public authorities subject to this duty can choose to satisfy it "in such a manner as the authority considers appropriate", such as through the preparation of a specific report, or by including relevant information in another report. Two or more public authorities can also satisfy this duty through the preparation and publication of a joint report.

181. For local authorities and territorial health boards, children's services planning offers a potential structure for the fulfilment of their children's rights reporting duty. A local authority and health board could, for instance, incorporate their children's rights report into their annual Children's Services Plan report (required under Part 3, section 13 of the Act). Or, alternatively, they could incorporate their children's rights report into the final annual report of the children's services planning cycle (which is linked to the same three-year period as Part 1).

182. Children's services planning also presents a local authority and relevant health board with a valuable opportunity to give children's rights real articulation in practice. For instance, a local authority and its relevant health board could, in consultation with its partners and community, choose to set themselves an aim, within their Children's Services Plan, "to secure better or further effect …. of the UNCRC requirements". Their plan could then articulate what steps will be taken, over the three-year period, to achieve this aim, and, as mentioned above, annual reports could document progress.

183. Although the alignment of Part 1 and Part 3 duties is not required by the Act, to do so may well benefit both processes and help to cement the links between children's rights and wellbeing.

184. For further information on children's rights reporting, please refer to the guidance on Part 1 (Children's Rights) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Corporate parenting

185. Part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 designates certain public bodies (including all local authorities and territorial health boards) as corporate parents, and places them under a range of duties designed to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of looked after children and care leavers.

186. Each corporate parent is required to prepare a plan about how they propose to exercise their corporate parenting duties, and they must keep the plan under review. Before preparing or revising this plan, a corporate parent must consult with other corporate parents and such other persons as they consider appropriate. (Statutory guidance makes clear that consultation should include looked after children and care leavers.) Corporate parents must publish their plan in such a manner as they consider appropriate; this includes incorporating it into another plan, and publishing it jointly with other corporate parents. Neither the Act nor statutory guidance prescribes a time period to which plans must apply.

187. Corporate parents are also under a duty to report on how they have exercised their corporate parenting duties. These reports may include information about standards of performance, and the progress achieved in securing positive outcomes for the eligible population. Corporate parents can publish their reports in such a manner as they consider appropriate; including as part of another plan, and publishing it jointly with other corporate parents. The Act does not prescribe a time period to which reporting must refer, but statutory guidance recommends that reports are prepared and published at least once every three years from the date of commencement (April 2015); corporate parents are entitled to publish reports more frequently if they wish, to facilitate alignment with other reporting requirements.

188. The flexibility afforded to corporate parents around the timescales and manner in which they must fulfil their Part 9 duties presents a local authority and a relevant health board with multiple opportunities to align corporate parenting and children's services planning requirements, should they wish. Moreover, as a corporate parenting plan and report will detail the provision of a wide range of children's and related services, alignment could minimise duplication.

189. For further information on corporate parenting, please refer to the Statutory Guidance on Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education

190. The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 establishes a statutory National Improvement Framework. The legislation will require (amongst other duties) that, from August 2017, all education authorities prepare and publish annual plans describing the steps they intend to take during the planning period in pursuance of the National Improvement Framework for Scottish education. The annual plan must also describe the steps they intend to take to reduce the inequalities of outcome experienced by pupils as a result of socio-economic disadvantage and the ways in which they will consult key partners when deciding how this should be achieved. Finally, the plan must set out any educational benefits they intend to secure as a result of taking all of these steps. Education authorities must give a copy of the annual plan to the Scottish Ministers as soon as reasonably practicable after publishing the plan.

191. All education authorities are also required to prepare and publish an "annual report" setting out the steps they have taken in pursuance of the National Improvement Framework for Scottish education. The reports will also describe the steps the education authorities have taken to reduce the inequalities of outcome experienced by pupils as a result of socio-economic disadvantage and the ways in which they have involved key partners in that process. Finally, they will set out any educational benefits secured as a result of taking these steps.

192. Education authorities are also required to ensure that annual School Improvement Plans and associated reports (required under section 6 of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000), take into account the plans, reports and parental strategy published by the education authority area.

193. Although reporting requirements of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 and Part 3 may operate on different timeframes, Part 3 affords local authorities and the relevant health board some flexibility about when reports must be published (i.e. "as soon as practicable after the end of the 1-year period"). In this context, a local authority and the relevant health board may choose to align the publication schedules of Part 3 and reports relating to Part 1 of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, incorporating the National Improvement Framework annual report into the broader Children's Services Plan annual report. This is reflected in the fact that the 2016 Act expressly provides for annual reports produced by an education authority to take account of broader activity captured through the children's services planning process, in relation to reducing inequalities of outcome for pupils experiencing them as a result of socio-economic disadvantage.

194. Furthermore, while the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 does require the preparation of an annual plan, this does not prevent that process from informing the preparation and review of a Children's Services Plan. Whilst the duties linked to National Improvement Framework focus on the responsibilities of education authorities specifically, schools (and education services more generally) will represent a very significant part of a Children's Services Plan. Similarly, when the local authority and relevant health board is identifying how its Children's Services Plan can support delivery of national agreed priorities for education (set out through the National Improvement Framework), it is likely that actions will involve children's services outwith "education", such as social work and health. This highlights the importance, and opportunity, of aligning these two planning requirements.

Early learning and childcare, school education for pre-school children (discretionary early learning and childcare) and day care and out of school care

195. Part 6 (section 50) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 places the education authority under a duty to consult and plan, at least once every two years, about how it (the education authority) should make early learning and childcare [36] available. Similarly, Part 7 (section 54) amends section 1 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 to place the education authority under a duty to consult, at least once every two years, "such persons as appear to be representative" of parents of pre-school children about whether and how it should exercise its power to provide discretionary early learning and childcare under the 1980 Act. Finally, Part 8 (section 55) amends section 27 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 to place the local authority under a duty to consult, at least once every two years, with "such persons as appear to be representative" of parents of young children and school aged "children in need" about how they should provide day care and out of school care for such children; and, for children not in need, if and how they should provide day care and out of school care.

196. Each of these Parts of the legislation requires the authority to consult with parents as appear to them to be representative of parents of children under school age (and, for part 8, school age); have regard to the views expressed; and, prepare and publish plans in relation to how mandatory early learning and childcare will be made available; and, publish plans in relation to other provision.

197. As all of the services to which Parts 6, 7 and 8 relate will be considered "children's services" under the definition set out in Part 3 (section 7) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, a local authority and relevant health board may wish to use these plans to inform their broader children's services planning process. Consultation with relevant parents will be carried out at least every two years, under Parts 6, 7 and 8. The legislation does not specify how plans (prepared under Parts 6, 7 and 8) must be published; however the intention is to establish on-going or frequent dialogue.

198. Combined, the provisions under Parts 6, 7 and 8 provide an opportunity to consult more widely on early learning and childcare, beyond the mandatory minimum entitlement to 600 hours. This broader consultation will create an opportunity for local authorities to co-ordinate planning of mandatory early learning and childcare, daycare and out of school care alongside discretionary provision, with local authorities having the powers to deliver or support.

199. In addition, a local authority (acting in its capacity of an education authority) and relevant health board may, should they wish, explore including these plans as part of their triennial Children's Services Plan.

200. For further information, please refer to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, Early Learning and Childcare Statutory Guidance.

Community learning and development

201. The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013 (issued under the section 2 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980) place every local authority under a duty to prepare, consult on and publish a three-year plan for the provision of community learning and development ( CLD) in the local area. [37] The first CLD plan had to be published by 1 st September 2015 and subsequently each third year from the date of publication of the previous plan.

202. CLD refers to programmes with an explicit learning focus and other types of activity that are designed to promote educational and social development. CLD is delivered by a wide range of organisations in the public and voluntary sectors; its objective is to secure improved life chances for people of all ages, including young people in particular, through learning, personal development and active citizenship. In this way CLD contributes to securing stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities.

203. Accessible to both children, young people (including those who have left school) and adults, many CLD programmes are likely to fall within the scope of the Children's Services Plan. It will, therefore, be important, as noted above, that appropriate linkages are made between the CLD and children's services planning processes. In respect to the consultation duty specifically, the potential for some alignment clearly exists, with crossover in terms of the service users covered by both plans.

204. For further information on CLD, please refer to the Strategic Guidance for Community Planning Partnerships: Community Learning and Development, and the Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013: Guidance for Local Authorities.

Local Carer Strategy (including young carers)

205. The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 aims to ensure better and more consistent support for carers and young carers, so that they can continue to care, if they so wish, in better health and with a life alongside their caring responsibilities.

206. The legislation requires each local authority and their relevant health board to jointly prepare a Local Carer Strategy, setting out their plans to identify and support relevant carers. The local carer strategy must contain information relating to the particular needs and circumstances of young carers. Before preparing a Local Carer Strategy, the local authority and health board must consult with such persons and bodies representative of carers, as they consider appropriate, and take such steps as they consider appropriate to involve relevant carers. In preparing the plan the local authority and health board must have regard, among other things, to the provision of services relevant to young carers set out in the local Children's Services Plan, and to the statutory aims of children's services planning. Each local authority and relevant health board are required to jointly publish, keep under review and, if necessary, revise their local carer strategy. The first local carer strategy under the Carers Act must be published before the end of the "relevant period", which is the date by which the integration authority relevant to the local authority in question must publish its next strategic plan under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014.

207. The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, ("Carers Act") contains a number of main provisions regarding young carers. Young carers are defined in the Carers Act as carers under 18 years old or who have reached the age of 18 and are still at school. A young carer can request a young carer statement. In addition, the Act places a duty on local authorities (or health boards where the young carer is pre-school age) to offer a young carer statement where it identifies a child as a young carer. The young carer statement sets out the young carer's identified personal outcomes, identified needs (if any) and the support (if any) to be provided to meet eligible needs. The young carer statement includes, amongst other things, information about the impact of caring on the young carer's wellbeing and day-to-day life and about the extent to which the local authority (or health board) considers that the nature and extent of care provided by the young carer is appropriate. Even where a young carer has reached the age of 18, the young carer statement continues until an adult carer support plan is provided. Where a young carer's identified needs meet local eligibility criteria, the local authority is under a duty to provide support, where he/she has identified needs which cannot be met by services to the cared for person or services provided generally in the community, including information and advice services. The local authority also has a power to provide support to the young carer to meet needs which do not meet local eligibility criteria. The Carers Act requires Scottish Ministers to prepare a carers' charter, setting out the rights of carers as provided for in or under the Carers Act and to ensure that the charter is accessible to adult carers and young carers.

208. For further information on the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, please refer to the relevant Scottish Government webpages. [38]

Non-statutory plans

209. Local authorities and territorial health boards are party to a number of non-statutory planning requirements, set out across a variety of national strategies and agreements. These non-statutory requirements can cover key policy areas, including child protection, drug and alcohol services, and housing. For further information on these key non-statutory requirements, please see Appendix A.

210. As with statutory planning requirements, a Children's Services Plan could usefully articulate the relationship between itself and these other planning processes, as well as providing appropriate cross referencing and consistency of vision, priorities and objectives.


Contact