Placement Services Change Programme Helping Region's Most Vulnerable Young People
2nd November 2019
Highland Council's Placement Services Change Programme (PSCP) is helping make a real difference for the region’s most vulnerable young people.
The Placements Team in Children’s Services has developed a creative, courageous and dedicated programme to work with multi-disciplinary professionals to identify children out with Highland whose needs can be met back in the local area.
A combination of new services and the creative use of existing provisions is enabling children to remain in the communities they know, reducing the need for additional out of area placements.
The Programme has developed: two new specialist residential units, two supported through care units, a centre for Care Experienced young people, properties across Highland for returning older young people and an outreach support and respite hub to work with families to keep children at home when possible.
The most important aspect of the programme is the much improved educational and emotional well-being outcomes for returning young people compared with Out of Area placements.
Highland Council Leader, Margaret Davidson, has welcomed the Placement Services Change Programme report, saying: "This fantastic project has placed the wellbeing and future development of Highland’s care experienced young people at heart.
“It’s clear that this multi-agency approach, coupled with listening to the needs of our young people is having an extremely positive impact on their lives."
In the last year 42 children have returned to Highland or been able to remain in the area, avoiding costs of £6 million. The money that would have been spent on expensive Out of Area placements has been invested in the development of services in Highland. A budget over spend of £4.4 million in 2018/19 is currently forecasted as an underspend for this year. Such value for money is achieved because in-area provisions typically cost less than Out of Area provisions.
The Placement Services Change Programme is an extension of the Council’s Out of Area Returns Programme, which achieved a COSLA Excellence Award in 2016 for Achieving Better Outcomes. Project ideas and new services came from extensive consultations with staff, managers and Care Experienced Young People (CEYP) with valued input from the Council's Commercial and Efficiency Team.
Storm Brendan has taken its toll on roads and infrastructure across the Highlands. Localised flooding, wind and ice has caused damage to roads, paths, car parks and walls in numerous areas including Applecross, Lochaber and Caithness and Sutherland.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has launched a campaign to persuade the Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP to invest in Scotland's councils before it is too late. COSLA has produced a briefing document Invest in Essential Services which clearly shows the reduction to Local Government funding since 2013/14 and how the flexibility councils have to spend their budget has been eroded by the Scottish Government.
Local authorities are to be given new powers to regulate short-term lets where they decide this is in the interests of local communities. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced measures in the Scottish Parliament to provide local authorities with the ability to implement a licensing scheme for short-term lets from spring 2021.
Big-hearted Highland Council staff and members have dug deep into their pockets at an already expensive time of year to help two important charities in the region. Staff at Highland Council headquarters have been fundraising for the Highland Hospice through a charity raffle, coffee morning and staff pantomime.
The Highland Council is reminding householders and businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible over the festive period to prevent unnecessary waste. Christmas is often a time of excess waste, particularly when it comes to food.
The Highland Council notifies its service users and customers of its opening hours and service arrangements over the festive period. The Highland Council Service Centre will close at 4pm on 24 December 2019.
Highland Council will be testing the market by contacting prospective contractors (scheduled to be sent out 6th January 2020) to give notice that a procurement for the Corran ferry service may be coming forward. A questionnaire will seek the views of suppliers and potential suppliers of ferry services to the Council.
A FUNDING package worth in excess of £650,000 is in place to help in the regeneration of Wick town centre. Wick and East Caithness councillors Raymond Bremner and Nicola Sinclair revealed the details at meeting of key stakeholders on Monday night.
The largest employer in the Highlands, has achieved Living Wage accreditation. Highland Council which employs just over 10,270 staff across the Highland area also applies the living wage rate to apprentices.
Public Sector Employment Statistics for Scotland, released by Scotland's Chief Statistician, show there were 561,500 people employed in the public sector in Scotland in September 2019. As of September 2019, public sector employment accounted for 21.5% of total employment in Scotland and private sector employment accounted for 78.5%.
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