On 1 March 2024, the Scottish Government published its updated version of the National Framework for Child Protection Learning and Development which will be relevant to health visitors working in Scotland.

This updated Framework replaces the previous version, published in 2012 to support the design and delivery of child protection learning and development. It provides a resource for all learning and development relevant to child protection, regardless of which agency practitioners work in and can be used flexibly and alongside single agency frameworks for learning to emphasise the key themes of the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 – updated 2023 .

The longstanding key message is that safeguarding is ‘Still Everyone’s Job’. All practitioners have a responsibility to remain aware of changes to legislation, policy and practice that impact on how frontline services should respond. The updated Framework incorporates recent legislation and several key policy documents:

The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 – updated 2023 (NGCP2023) highlighted important themes for practice, and these will be key to updating all learning and development resources within the ‘Getting it right for every child’ (GIRFEC) continuum – wellbeing to welfare to protection – supporting a proactive, preventative approach to practice. Key themes are:

  • rights-based approach (supporting and embracing UNCRC)
  • needs-led/strengths-based approach (supporting relationship-based practice)
  • trauma-informed/enhanced practice (supporting understanding of childhood adversity and trauma)
  • holistic assessment (supporting strengths/resilience, identifying risk/concerns within a child’s experiences)
  • recognising diversity and inclusion (supporting sensitivity of language, culture and communication differences).

The Framework aims to provide a resource which clarifies child protection learning needed at four levels – “Wider Workforce, General Workforce, Specific Workforce, and Intensive Workforce”, to:

  • promote collaborative multi-agency practice to support children’s wellbeing, welfare and protection
  • support the multi-agency task of assessing, managing and addressing identified need or risk to children, young people or parents/carers
  • provide a multi-agency learning and development framework adaptable for local learning and development strategies and evaluation
  • contribute to best practice through the development of a competent and confident workforce
  • support the design, implementation and evaluation of multi-agency child protection learning
  • establish agreed competencies, identifying the relevant knowledge and skills required, according to the roles and responsibilities of the various groups that make up multi-agency workforces, including those likely to encounter children, young people and their families as part of their day-to-day work
  • emphasise the importance of shared learning and collaborative practice to achieve better outcomes for children



Have you used or looked at the Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework (PHSKF)? 

If so, please could you complete this short online evaluation that is being conducted for Public Health England on behalf of the four UK nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The aim is to evaluate Public Health England’s redesigned 2016 PHSKF to determine its impact on the public health workforce and their employers, and its utility.

The survey should take no more than about ten minutes to complete.

The deadline for submission of survey is 8 March 2019.


Professional development in speech, language and communication – new report from The Communication Trust.

Last summer, more than 1200 members of the children and young people’s workforce, including many health visitors, responded to a survey from The Communication Trust, which asked about their experiences of professional development in speech, language and communication (SLC). Their responses revealed that, although they were nearly unanimous in their belief in the vital importance of children’s SLC skills, there were significant gaps in their professional development in this area. The majority (53%) reported that they had had little to no initial training in typical speech, language and communication development, and 60% had little to no training in identifying and supporting children with speech, language and communication needs.

In England, there are likely to be at least two children in every primary school classroom with a clinically significant language disorder, and many more with delayed language development. The Communication Trust, in partnership with their consortium, works to maximise the impact of the voluntary sector and collaborate with government to devise effective solutions to improve the support that is provided to children and young people.

The Communication Trust has produced a report presenting the findings of their consultation with the workforce and offering recommendations to government and national bodies, local authorities and commissioners, the voluntary sector and training providers, and the workforce and service providers. Their recommendations were developed in consultation with their consortium and other key sector, practitioner, and academic partners.

Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF)

The Communication Trust works to support the workforce in enabling all the children and young people they work with to communicate to the best of their ability through resources such as the newly updated and improved Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF). The SLCF is a free online professional development tool which sets out the skills and knowledge that everyone working with children and young people need in order to support the speech, language and communication development of those they work with. The SLCF self-evaluation tool enables individuals and groups of practitioners to highlight their professional development needs and to find training, resources or information to ‘fill the gaps’ identified by the SLCF.

If you have any queries on this, please contact [email protected]

The Institute of Health Visiting warmly welcomes the new commissioning and workforce development guidance on Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental health (PIMH) – What they do and why they matter, published today by Health Education England (HEE).  It concludes that all women and their partners should have access to a specialist health visitor in perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) and recommends at least one for every health visiting service.

Creating Specialist Health Visitor posts in PIMH within every health visiting service will play a valuable part in reducing the incidence and impact of postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health problems. This will be through earlier diagnosis, better intervention and support – creating savings on child and adult mental health services, and improved public health.

Dr Cheryll Adams, Executive Director of the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), said:

“The iHV is delighted to endorse this new guidance which provides a framework for improvements in the services that health visitors can provide to families to promote their mental health.

“Through the health visiting ‘universal’ service, health visitors are well-placed to identify those families requiring additional support, especially where the mother (or indeed father) may be suffering from perinatal mental illness, or where the bond between parent and baby may be compromised. However, health visitors have many other roles and responsibilities taking their time during this important period of every child’s life and they would benefit from specialist support in this challenging arena.”

The framework sets out the important role of specialist health visitors in PIMH, illustrates the value to parents and other health professionals involved in a mother’s care and recommends that every woman should have access to a specialist Health Visitor as part of the multi-disciplinary team.

Monday (18 January)  saw the launch of the new framework for specialist health visitors in perinatal and infant mental health – we just need to get them funded everywhere now.

We know some of you already hold these posts but its lovely to have a national endorsement about how important they are.

The Framework is not available yet but it’s coming soon from HEE!

New Framework - Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health - What they do and why they matter

New Framework – Specialist Health Visitors in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health – What they do and why they matter