Report of the National Review of Services for Disabled Children

This report was published in February 2011.

“The national review of services for disabled children was undertaken jointly by Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the For Scotland’s Disabled Children ( fSDC) Liaison Project to provide a strategic assessment of the children’s disability landscape. This report and its accompanying plan for action mark the first stage in a longer process; the next stage is the implementation by all relevant partners of actions flowing from the report. This is a new and much needed piece of work. It originates in the commitment given in the Scottish Parliament debate on the Public Services Reform Bill in March 2010 to undertake a broad strategic review of all aspects of services for disabled children. There has been no recent comparable attempt in Scotland at a review across services for disabled children.

The importance of the agenda set out in this report is clear. Services for disabled children impact directly on many thousands of children, young people and their families, and when delivered well can have a transformative effect on the lives of disabled children and their siblings. The report feeds directly into this vision of better outcomes for disabled children; similarly, its actions support the delivery of key elements in the Scottish Government’s performance framework, and disabled children and young people’s statutory rights to equal treatment and equality of services under equality legislation and public authorities’ equality duties. It is the overarching purpose of the report to assess the current state of services for disabled children in order to begin the process of real change.

In a short space of time the lead partners behind the review brought together an expert steering group to consider how it should be taken forward. This group included national and local government, health, the voluntary sector, parents and academic researchers specialising in work with disabled children. (Full membership of the review group is set out in Annex A.) The remit of the group was to advise Scottish Ministers, COSLA and fSDC on:

  • The key needs of families with disabled children, and of disabled children themselves
  • The current configuration of services for disabled children, how well families’ and children’s needs are met, and whether gaps can be identified
  • Workforce/ training issues around disabled children and families of disabled children, and specific issues around children’s disability to inform wider work on workforce development within children’s services
  • Short, medium and longer-term actions to deliver practical improvements to the well-being of disabled children, their siblings, parents and carers.”
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