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CHS publishes its first ‘Feedback Loop’ report for 2014/15 13 March 2017

CHS publishes its first ‘Feedback Loop’ report for 2014/15

The Minister for Childcare and Early Years has laid in Parliament the first “Feedback Loop” report by Boyd McAdam, the National Convener of Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS). This is the first of a series of annual reports on the implementation of compulsory supervision orders (CSOs) by local authorities and the impact of the CSO on those children and young people’s overall wellbeing.  CSOs are the formal decisions made by children’s hearings requiring statutory intervention in the lives of Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people. 

The report is being distributed today 13 March 2017 to all 3,000 volunteers across Scotland who support the national Children’s Panel.

The report highlights that significant improvements are required in local authority data collection systems to enable implementation of CSOs measures to be assessed.  Further, there is a need for greater national consistency in measuring outcomes to enable a national overview of the impact of intervention by children’s hearings, public and voluntary services in the lives of these vulnerable children and young people.

A key finding from the detailed information made available by local authorities demonstrates that, in 2014-15, 96% of the secure authorisations issued by children’s hearings (448 authorisations in respect of 165 children) nationally were implemented by local authorities. [In the remaining 4% of authorisations , the Chief Social Work Officer and consultation with the head of the secure unit, in line with their powers under the 2011 Act, determined that the secure authorisation was no longer appropriate and other measures were pursued.

The findings also highlighted two potential main issues based on the information presented:

  • the apparent time taken to present children at a children’s hearing where emergency placements have been recorded as being agreed by the local authority;
  • and, the time taken between a hearing authorising secure and the local authority’s next contact with the child.   

The report –the first substantive one under the 2011 Act- notes that due to variations in recording practice by local authorities, caution needs to be exercised when interpreting the data. 

Boyd McAdam, National Convener and Chief Executive of CHS said:

“It has taken a number of years and considerable effort to publish this first report, drawing on the data collected by the local authorities concerned  and the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration.

“This report is just the starting point for the Feedback Loop.   Currently available routine data is limited, concentrating mainly on processes, with limited insight into the impact of CSOs on outcomes and the wellbeing of all children and young people subject to CSOs.  Case managers in social work will be reviewing the children and young people for whom they are responsible, but local authority systems do not appear to provide the management information necessary to provide an overview of progress.  I will be working with local authorities and SCRA to seek improvement to be incorporated into the collection of data but these will take time to be built into systems.

“Meantime, this report begins to provide reassurance to members of the national Children’s Panel that for the most vulnerable, local authorities are taking appropriate action following the decisions of a hearing.

“In order for my report to be more meaningful in the future, a nationwide approach to measuring outcomes for children and young people needs to be defined and agreed upon.  We are scoping options for how this might be achieved alongside the measures developed or in the process of development by many organisations at local and national level.  

“We face a number of challenges to overcome before we can fully realise the potential of the Feedback Loop.  I look forward to continue working with the Scottish Government, local authorities and other partners to agree an approach which enables a national overview to be taken.”


Click on the link to access the full report as well as a national summary and the 32 individual reports from local authorities.



Discussions with local authorities started in January to define a new and improved data set.  These discussions are looking at settling by the end of 2017 the data collection process for the 2018/19 academic year.

The report was sent by the National Convener last week to Scottish Ministers and the Minister aid it in Parliament yesterday afternoon.  Copies of the report are being sent to all members of the national Children’s Panel in line with CHS’ duties under section 181 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011, as well as to the volunteer management structure – the Area Support Teams and to other key stakeholders.

Publication of the Feedback Loop report for 2015/16 is expected to take place in the summer of 2017, thereafter reports will be published annually.