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Joint Inspection of Children's Services and Inspection of Social Work Services (Scotland) Act, [S]

The Act will introduce new provisions for the carrying out of joint inspections on services to children. Provisions are also made on access to information for those involved in inspecting children's services.


In 2003 the Scottish Executive set out in its Partnership Agreement its intention to create a new inspection system for child protection services. Ministers announced in 2004 that there would be a new multi-disciplinary children's services inspection team led by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. In May 2005 two pilot inspections were completed.

The Executive sees inspection as a key component of a wider commitment to improve the quality of services for children. Joint inspections will reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of service planning and delivery and will help to assess how effectively agencies work together to deliver services to children. Inspections will evaluate service delivery on a strategic, operational and individual level.

Joint inspections will examine the outcomes for children and families as service users. This will be done by using a sample of individual records from a variety of agencies, including health, social work and the police, backed up by the power to discuss individual cases with professionals.

The Bill will apply to agencies such as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education  (HMIE), the Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA), Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (SCRC), and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland.

Main provisions (as introduced)

Part 1 - Joint Inspection of children's services

Section 1
The Act provides the legal powers to require two or more inspectorates and other agencies to inspect jointly services for children. It also gives inspection teams the legal powers to access and share information jointly.

The Act will provide a legal framework to ensure that joint inspection teams work in a way that complies with obligations set out in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act 1998.

Section 2
Scottish Ministers could allow lay people or specific organisations with particular knowledge or expertise to participate in the inspection.

Section 3
Inspection teams must be provided with the relevant information that is required, and share this with all participating bodies. Failure to comply could result in criminal offences.

Part 2 - Social work services

The Act provides legal powers for the Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA) to carry out inspections on all social work services. All relevant information will be required to be provided to the inspection team. Criminal offences in respect of any failure to comply with the regulations will be created.

Part 3 - General

Sections 6,7
This part covers parliamentary procedure applicable in relation to regulations and orders, and interpretation of certain terms.

Section 8
Section 6 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 (which provides as to powers of entry and inspection for certain social work purposes) is repealed.

Lead Committee: Education Committee


28/10/05  - Bill introduced to Scottish Parliament

09/11/05 - Education Committee will consider its approach to Stage 1 consideration of the Bill

10/11/05 - Education Committee calls for evidence by 18/11/05

21/12/05 - Stage 2 debate

19/01/06 - Bill passed by Scottish Parliament

Further information

Joint Inspection of Children's Services and Inspection of Social Work Services Bill (as introduced)
Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents)
Policy Memorandum
Memorandum On Delegated Powers
Scottish Parliament's Education Committee

Joint Inspection of Children's Services and Inspection of Social Work Services Bill (as amended at Stage 2)
Joint Inspection of Children's Services and Inspection of Social Work Services Act 2006