Watchdog finds improvements in social services provision

A number of improvements have been made in Scotland’s
social services departments, according to the chairperson of the
Accounts Commission.

Alastair MacNish said: “There has been an increase in the
proportion of staff in children’s homes with an appropriate
qualification, more children in residential care have a single room
and more social enquiry reports are being prepared for the courts
on time.”

The proportion of staff with appropriate qualifications in
children’s homes rose from less than 45 per cent to 47.4 per
cent, according to the report. The number of staff in homes for
adults rose from 989 in 1997/8 to 1,221 in 1999/2000, and of these
staff nearly 39 per cent held an appropriate qualification.

But in local authority homes for older people, the number of
directly employed staff has continued to fall with the increasing
use of a range of providers for residential care. There was also
variation between councils in the proportion of staff with
appropriate qualifications.

The number of residential places for older people and children
have dropped in the past few years. For older people, there has
been a reduction of 1,700 places since 1996/7 to around 16,100.

There was little change in the number of children being looked
after by local authorities in Scotland. But the number looked after
either at home or in the community had risen from 83 per cent to 86
per cent, which the report found ‘encouraging’.

The report found that just over three quarters of the social
enquiry reports requested by the courts were allocated within two







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