1. Two pieces of legislation that ensure quality provision are The Children’s (Scot) Act 1995 and The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004.
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 links parts of child care, family and adoption law, that affect children’s quality of life. The Act puts children first and brings together three key principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; non-discrimination; the child’s welfare is the first thought; and that children’s views should be listened to. It incorporated these principles into Scottish legislation and practice. By following this act, settings can work towards a high quality environment that conforms to standards.
The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 is legal framework to give support where needed, for children’s learning, short or long term. The Scottish Government require all children and young people to realise their full potential and get the most from the learning available to them through connecting with a quality setting. The Act looks into supporting needs and co-ordinated support plans. The education authorities are charged with identifying needs, arranging suitable provision, creating co-ordinated support plans and reviewing and monitoring what provision is provided.
2. Two pieces of non-legislative requirements that support a quality provision are Pre-birth to Three: Positive Outcomes for Scotland’s Children and Families (Pre-birth to 3) and Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)
Pre-birth to 3 leads on from Birth to Three: supporting our youngest children as it now appreciates the impact of pregnancy on children and learning. It supports the Scottish Government’s ethos to develop a quality workforce that is supported and skilled with shared value base so that they can provide children and their families with a good quality lasting outcome. It describes 4 key best outcomes – the rights of the child, responsive care, respect and relationships, and aims to encourage good quality practice through spreading knowledge from current research; using 9 key principles; for example the role of the staff, observations and partnership working involving other agencies.
Girfec is an approach which allows practitioners to concentrate on what makes a positive difference for all children and young people and their families, and how these improvements can be delivered. It has been developed from a range of policies and strategies such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Early Years Framework and the Curriculum for Excellence. There are ten core parts to it, such as developing a shared understanding of wellbeing; and a set of values and principles, such as promoting respect, patience, honesty and reliability as good qualities that are valued by children, young people, families and practitioners, which enables a quality practice to those agencies working across the range of children’s services. It is gradually being incorporated into all existing practices, policies and legislation that affects children, young people and their families.
3. A human resource issues that support quality provision are Disclosure Scotland: Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG).
Disclosure Scotland is a Scottish Government agency. Its purpose is to protect the safety of vulnerable people in Scottish society through maintaining a list of individuals who are unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults. It also creates a document for organisations and potential employers which lists an individual’s criminal history information. This allows them to make knowledgeable decisions when dealing with recruitment. The PVG scheme requires all those who have regular contact with children and protected adults (paid or unpaid) to become members. It permits employers to check that the people they are recruiting do not have a history of harmful behaviour.
4. The Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 was created to give more protection to people who were using care services, by producing a structure for care regulations, raising the quality of provision and by building a competent and confident workforce. It set up two independent organisations: the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (Care Commission) and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
The Care Commission’s responsibility was to regulate and inspect (using the National Care Standards), a range of services providing care to children, adults and older people, and deal with registration, complaints and enforcements. It also promoted dignity and encouraged independence for care users. The previous system was Edinburgh and Lothian’s Registration and Inspection Service (ELRIS) which used both local authority and health boards to register and inspect care services (both private and voluntary).
The SSSC’s responsibility was to improve the quality of the services by raising the standards of practice of the social services workforce: through supporting professionalism, standardising and promoting the training of the workforce and creating a code of practice for the staff and employers to follow. The SSSC allows individuals to have a shared value base, with everyone involved behaving and guided by the same values, beliefs, concepts and principles. By raising the practice, a good quality provision can give children the best start in life. Those who register with the SSSC, do so relevant to the role they hold in the work place not what qualifications they have, i.e. for a particular role you can have a range of suitable qualifications. The SSSC standardises the training and education required.
It creates an equal footing for all workers doing the same job therefore showing the same level of competence which in turn increases public awareness and confidence in the role of providing a quality setting. It provides assurance that the people registered have integrity and are committed to their role whether they have the qualification or are working towards it. By committing to taking responsibility for their own learning to develop knowledge and values as well as assessing and updating regularly, practitioners are safeguard their continuing suitability for registration. Registered childminders however are not required to be registered with the SSSC, as they are firstly registered with the Care Inspectorate, but find it is good practice to follow the SSSC code of practice and undertaking training.
In 2010 the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act’s objective was to streamline a number of government agencies. The work of the Care Commission and the Social Work Inspection Agency was consolidated into a new body: the Social Care and Social Work Improvement Agency (SCSWIS). The Social Work Inspection Agency had previously regulated local authority social work services. In 2011, SCSWIS had a name change: becoming the Care Inspectorate. The Care Inspectorate ensure quality care is promoted by registering and inspecting, individuals and organisations, such as childminders, voluntary organisations and local authorities as well as promoting improvement in care, social work and child protection services. The Care Inspectorate uses the National Care Standards as guidelines to register and inspect care services against.
The National Care Standards: Early Education and Childcare of Children up to the age of 16 was created up by the Scottish Government, as required by the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001, and involved consultation with a large group of people such as service users, their families, carers, staff, expert bodies, service providers and professional associations. It represents the rights of the child and young person, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is used by service providers and the Care Inspectorate, to uphold and develop the quality of services and whether the services were conforming to the regulations. There are 14 standards with the main principles being dignity, privacy, choice, equality and diversity, safety and realising potential. The standards promote quality in child care settings by encouraging issues such as: effective communication between staff, parents and carers; sharing information as appropriate with other professionals involved with the child’s development; having staff establish effective working relationships with support agencies and with each other, families and children and providing opportunities for children and their family in the wider community.
Scottish Social Services Council (2011) Code of Practice [online] available at http://www.sssc.uk.com/Codes-of-Practice/sssc-codes-of-practice-for-social-service-workers-and-employers.html (accessed on 12.01.2014)
The Scottish Government (2004) The Children’s (Scot) Act 1995 [online] available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2004/10/20066/44708 (accessed on 12.01.2014)
The Scottish Government (2209) Education (Additional Support for Learning) [online] available at (Scotland) Act 2004 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Schools/welfare/ASL (accessed on 12.01.2014)
The Scottish Government. (2010) A guide to Getting it right for every child [online] available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/Young-People/gettingitright/background (accessed on 12.01.2014)
Disclosure Scotland. (2011) Protecting Vulnerable Groups [online] available at http://www.disclosurescotland.co.uk/pvg/pvg_index.html (accessed on 12.01.2014)
The Scottish Government (2005) A Framework for Supporting Front Line Staff: Summary Version ) [online] available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/05/10101405/14096 (accessed on 12.01.2014)
The Scottish government (2002) The Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 [online] available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2002/01/14484/2531 (accessed on