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Johnson refuses Sturgeon’s request for indyref2 powers

The Prime Minister said a new independence vote would cause continued 'political stagnation'.

Indyref2: Request for Section 30 powers refused. Getty
Indyref2: Request for Section 30 powers refused.

The Prime Minister has formally refused the First Minister’s request for powers to hold a second independence referendum.

In a letter, Boris Johnson told Nicola Sturgeon the 2014 independence vote was “once-in-a-generation” and said a new referendum would “continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade”.

He said he had “carefully considered” the case she had made for referendum powers to be transferred to Holyrood under Section 30 of the Scotland Act.

But the PM said both Sturgeon and her predecessor Alex Salmond had made a “personal promise” that the referendum in 2014 was a “once in generation” event.

The First Minister said Johnson’s letter showed he was “terrified of Scotland’s right to choose” and insisted the PM’s refusal “will not stand”.

Johnson said: “The UK Government will continue to uphold the democratic decision of the Scottish people and the promise that you made to them.

“For that reason I cannot agree to any request for a transfer of power that would lead to further independence referendums.”

He added: “Another independence referendum would continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade, with Scottish schools, hospitals and jobs again left behind because of a campaign to separate the UK.

“It is time that we all worked to bring the whole of the United Kingdom together and unleash the potential of this great country.”

Responding to the letter, Sturgeon tweeted: “It will not stand.”

In a further statement, the First Minister said: “The Tories are terrified of Scotland having the right to choose our own future.

“They know that given the choice the overwhelming likelihood is that people will choose the positive option of independence.

“The Tories – and their allies in the leaderships of Labour and the Lib Dems – lack any positive case for the Union, so all they can do is try to block democracy.

“It shows utter contempt for the votes, views and interests of the people of Scotland and it is a strategy that is doomed to failure.”

She continued: “It is not politically sustainable for any Westminster government to stand in the way of the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future and to seek to block the clear democratic mandate for an independence referendum.

“The problem for the UK government is that the longer they try to block a referendum, the more they demonstrate that the Westminster union is not a partnership of equals and the more support for independence will grow.

“It will also mean for the Tories that the loss of half of their seats suffered at the recent general election – fought by them on the sole issue of opposition to an independence referendum – will be only the start of their road back to political oblivion in Scotland.

“In short, as well as being unsustainable, the position set out today by the UK government is also an entirely self-defeating one.”

The FM continued: “One thing, though, is clear – the people of Scotland will get the right to decide our own future in an independence referendum.

“The Westminster union cannot be sustained without consent. Democracy will prevail.

“The only question is how long it will take the Tories and the rest of the Westminster establishment to accept that inevitability.”

She added that the Scottish Government will “set out our response and next steps later this month” and ask MSPs “again” to endorse the principle of holding a second referendum.

The First Minister formally wrote to request Section 30 powers in December, in the wake of the general election result which saw the Conservatives win a Commons majority but also gave the SNP 80% of Scotland’s seats.

She has said she wants to hold a new independence plebiscite in the latter half of 2020, while the UK is still expected to be in a standstill transition arrangement with the EU.

In 2016, the SNP won the Holyrood election and became a minority government on the vow to hold a fresh independence vote if there was a “material change of circumstances” such as Brexit taking place against the wishes of Scottish voters.

The party says it therefore has a mandate for an independence referendum which it claims has been reinforced by a vote in the Scottish Parliament and by SNP victories in Scotland in the last two general elections and last year’s European election.

Labour MSP: Scotland’s future must be decided in Scotland Read now

Senior figures in Scottish Labour, which lost of six of its seven seats in the general election, have openly discussed backing a second independence vote in the wake of the result on December 12.

Commenting on Johnson’s letter, party leader Richard Leonard said: “I have long argued that the future of Scotland will be won and lost in Scotland, and not on the banks of the river Thames.

“Boris Johnson’s decision to block a second independence referendum in perpetuity does not change this and it is spectacular naively to think this will close the issue down.

“It will only inflame the debate, as Boris Johnson’s history of demagoguery and division shows he is well practiced in doing.”

He added: “The people of Scotland rejected independence in 2014, but Scotland remains divided.

“I believe that home rule within the UK is the only viable option that stands a chance of healing the divisions in our society.”

Analysis by STV’s political editor Colin Mackay

Leaders: Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon meeting in Edinburgh last year.

The Prime Minister rejects another independence referendum and the First Minister rejects his rejection.

That pretty much sums up where we are in Scotland’s constitutional debate today: no further forward.

After the general election, a month ago, Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Boris Johnson setting out her case for another independence referendum. It was accompanied by a 38-page document including draft legislation for transferring the powers to hold that vote from Westminster to Holyrood.

A detailed response was promised, although so far it has come in the form of a short letter saying no. The Prime Minister’s letter says Nicola Sturgeon made a “personal promise” that the 2014 Independence Referendum was a “once in a generation” vote.

Nicola Sturgeon did use those very words in her 2013 speech to SNP conference: “We have a once in a generation opportunity to chart a new course for our country.” That was what the Tories said throughout the general election campaign. The regular response from the SNP was that things have changed since the Brexit vote.

Scotland’s constitutional future has long been the defining issue in Scottish politics, that is not going to change anytime soon. It took an election to break the deadlock on Brexit and it might take another election to clear the way on indyref2.

This will be at the heart of the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.  The Scottish Tories claimed the union was on the ballot paper in Scotland last month, but it seems it is on the ballot paper at every election in Scotland, next year more than ever.

Coronavirus: Scots travellers given self-isolation advice

New guidance affects people who have returned home since February 19 without symptoms.

Coronavirus was first detected in China but has spread widely in recent weeks.

Travellers who have returned to Scotland from coronavirus hotspots within the last week are being told to isolate themselves for up to 14 days.

New guidance affects people who have arrived back from Iran, parts of northern Italy and South Korea, and Hubei province in China since February 19.

They are being told to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, even if they do not have symptoms, and phone their GP or NHS24 on 111 out of hours.

It comes after a hotel in Tenerife popular with Scots holidaymakers was locked down after a visiting Italian doctor tested positive for the disease.

For South Korea, anyone who visited the two cities at the centre of the outbreak, Daegu and Cheongdo, is advised to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms.

For Iran, all returning travellers are requested to self-isolate, even if they do not have symptoms.

For northern Italy, all travellers returning from specific lockdown areas identified by the Italian government are advised to self-isolate.

Any other travellers returning from parts of Italy north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini in the past week are asked to monitor their health, and self-isolate if they develop symptoms.

Anyone who has travelled to the UK from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam is also now advised to monitor their health, and isolate themselves if they develop symptoms.

As of Tuesday afternoon, none of the 412 tests for coronavirus in Scotland have returned positive.

The new travel advice has been agreed by the four UK chief medical officers (CMOs).

Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “Scotland remains well-equipped to deal with any positive cases of coronavirus.

“While all tests here have so far been negative, we have established plans in place to ensure a rapid response in the event of a confirmed case.

“However, early detection of any positive cases will be vital, to contain the virus and stop it spreading.

“That’s why it’s vital people stay up to date with the latest health and travel advice, and take the same basic precautions they would to avoid colds or influenza, such as washing hands and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

Existing advice from the four UK CMOs remains in place for anyone who has travelled to the UK in the last 14 days from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau to stay indoors and call NHS 24 (111) if they are experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, even if symptoms are mild.

‘My ten days in coronavirus self-isolation after Asia trip’

STV employee Cecilie Corso was tested for Covid-19 by 'someone who looked like a Martian'.

Coronavirus fears: Cecilie Corso and her sister.

STV assistant producer Cecilie Corso spent ten days in self-isolation after returning on a trip to Asia.

Doctors advised her to exercise extra caution – which she did – but she also grappled with worries about infecting friends and co-workers if she had indeed picked up the virus while on holiday.

STV head of news Steve Ladurantaye sat down with her to find out more about what the experience was like.

Why were you considered a potential coronavirus carrier?

I was in Thailand on holiday in mid-February, we moved around the country. I was on a trip with my sister for two weeks. I don’t believe it was classified as a danger country when I went, but that changed while I was there. I knew there were some cases, but it wasn’t an emergency.

The locals were all wearing masks – anyone in hospitality was wearing them. If you asked them about it, they’d say they weren’t worried but they had to wear them. It didn’t freak me out, because it’s quite common for people in Asia to wear masks when they have a cold to not pass it along. 

What was the flight like on the way home?

They sprayed a product to clear the air and said it was because of coronavirus. You’re just aware of it everywhere in Asia – they warn you in hotels, on transportation apps and it was the same on the plane. They are constantly making you aware and reminding you not to panic.

We wore masks whenever we were in airports, but lots of tourists and their children in Thailand weren’t wearing any. But generally I felt everything was under control in Thailand – then you land in Heathrow and it just seemed like nobody cared.

What happened when you landed back in London and then Glasgow?

I was surprised more people weren’t taking their safety as seriously as they did it Thailand. It felt like as soon as people landed, they took their masks off. That surprised me in an international airport. I bought mine in a one-pound type store – it is an Avengers mask. It was the only one they had, but we got a lot of compliments on it from the Thai people.

Then you get home. Why did you decide to warn us that you may be sick?

As I often do after a long trip, I tend to get a cold. I was really tired, but was going to go to work. Then I thought about it being an open space. It wouldn’t be fair to make the decision to come in without checking first so I called my GP and they said that I should self-isolate.

Then I was contacted by Health Protection Scotland. They told me to wash all my clothes at the highest temperature, to only use the dishwasher and my husband was to stay in the next room. I was asked to avoid contact with people – anything I needed would have to brought over to me.

‘They said someone will come to get me, and they would look scary because they’d look like Martians, in green with goggles and a mask.’

Cecilie Corso, who was tested for coronavirus

Did it freak you out?

Pretty quickly they asked me to come and do a test on my birthday. They were lovely about it and wished me a happy birthday. They told me to come into the car park at the back of the hospital and then asked me to remain in the car. They said someone will come to get me, and they would look scary because they’d look like Martians, in green with goggles and a mask. They came and got me and made a wee joke about their appearance, but it wasn’t scary. They swabbed my nose and throat – a bit of spit and that was it.

Were you anxious to get the results?

It didn’t panic me, I kind of felt the whole thing was administrative. I didn’t think I had coronavirus. But it took a bit longer than I expected so I got a bit nervous. I started to go mental thinking they were trying to find a way to tell me I was the first case in Scotland.

And when you got the results? 

We celebrated with a bottle of prosecco. I didn’t know if I could go back or needed to stay isolated – I had a cold and it was practically gone but the guidance wasn’t clear. I mean, it’s February in Scotland – we’re all going to have some symptoms.

You were isolated for ten days before you were told you could back to work. How did you spend your time?

I did walk my dog in the garden when nobody was around – I’d wrap myself in a scarf. I thought I would lose my mind without fresh air. The rest of the time was Netflix and lots of Skyping with friends. I was pretty bored. My husband wasn’t allowed in the same room, we’d text and talk across rooms. Charlie my dog was able to stay with me because dogs can’t get it from humans – so that was good. 

This will probably happen to more people – what advice do you have for making it through the isolation?

Don’t stay in your pyjamas watching Netflix – it’s nice for a day but you lose your mind. Open a window and let some fresh air come in. Get busy, work if you can, speak to loved ones on the phone. And if you have to get tested – it’s not scary at all and they were all lovely. No needles or anything.

Lord Steel quits Lib Dems after child abuse inquiry report

Inquiry accuses former Liberal leader of 'abdication of responsibility' over child sex allegations against late MP Cyril Smith.

Lord David Steel has resigned from the Liberal Democrats and from “public life” after a Westminster inquiry into historic claims of child sexual abuse accused him of “an abdication of responsibility”.

The Scottish peer spoke to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last March regarding allegations against former MP and party colleague Sir Cyril Smith.

Lord Steel, 81, told the inquiry how, in 1979 as the then-Liberal party leader, he failed to pass on allegations against Smith made in a story in Private Eye – even though he “assumed” them to be true – because it was “past history”.

He subsequently recommended the then-Rochdale MP for a knighthood.

Six years ago, police apologised after concluding that Smith, who died in 2010, should have been charged on three separate occasions in the 1960s and the 1990s for a string of indecent assaults, including against children.

Lord Steel was briefly suspended by the Scottish Liberal Democrats over his remarks to the inquiry before the party reinstated him, saying there were “no grounds for action” against him.

Lord Steel cleared by Lib Dems over child abuse remarks Read now

But in light of the inquiry’s findings, the Scottish Lib Dems said the peer was “right” to quit the party and the House of Lords.

Lord Steel said a faulty hearing aids system during his appearance before the IICSA led to miscommunication as he had difficulty hearing all the questions put to him.

The inquiry’s report, published on Tuesday, said of the former Liberal leader: “Failure to recognise the risks was an abdication of responsibility, and the fact the offences were non-recent was irrelevant.”

In a statement following the report’s publication, Lord Steel said: “Knowing all I know now, I condemn Cyril Smith’s actions towards children.

“Children deserve protection from predators, especially those in authority. Dealing with such cases is the IICSA’s legitimate role.

“I believe in the highest standards of human rights, particularly for young and vulnerable people.”

He confirmed he had quit the Liberal Democrats and would be retiring from public life.

Lord Steel said: “I have received indications that some in the Liberal Democrat party wish me suspended and investigated again, despite a previous disciplinary process in Scotland which concluded that no further action was required.

“I am told that others are threatening to resign if a new investigation is started.

“I wish to avoid any such turmoil in my party and to prevent further distress to my family.

“I have therefore thanked my local party secretary for their stalwart support through the whole IICSA process, and have informed the local party that my resignation is with immediate effect.”

He added: “As to membership of the House of Lords, friends and colleagues including The Lord Speaker are aware that I have been contemplating retirement next month to coincide with the 55th anniversary of my election as an MP.

“With considerable personal sorrow, and thanks to all I have worked with in the party and more widely, I have now decided this is what I should do as soon as possible.

“My wife has suffered poor health this past year. I shall now stop the weekly travel from Scotland to London and enjoy a quiet retirement from public life.”

‘It is right that David Steel has decided to resign from the Liberal Democrats and retire from public life.’

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie

But Lord Steel was also hit back against the inquiry, saying: “Nowhere do IICSA explain what powers I was supposed to possess to investigate 14-year-old allegations against someone (who at the time of the actions alleged was not even a member of my party), that the police and successive DPPs reviewed with access to all files.

“IICSA refused my offer of clarification on my oral testimony to them, which has since been widely reported.”

He added: “Contrary to some reports, at no point did Cyril Smith admit to me the truth of the allegations in the Private Eye report…

“My legal advisers have expressed concern to me that the inquiry should have delayed my appearance until they had sorted their failed ‘loop’ hearing system for my hearing aids.

“They are right, and I did not have legal representation when giving evidence to IICSA.

“I should have asked for a delay myself as the transcript shows, I had difficulty hearing their questions.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Cyril Smith’s acts were vile and repugnant and I have nothing but sympathy for those affected.

“This is a powerful report that has lessons for everyone including David Steel, the Liberal Democrats and the wider political sphere.

“It is therefore right that David Steel has decided to resign from the Liberal Democrats and retire from public life including the House of Lords.”

‘The rows of sleeping bags on the streets … they are people’

Rough sleeper Kerry Anne Meiklem attended special event designed to help homeless people in Fife.

Life has thrown major challenges in the direction of Kerry Anne Meiklem.

She’s spent time in prison, while heroin addiction has robbed her of many things.

Now on methadone and trying to get her life together, the 29-year-old continues to face homelessness.

“I’ve had to sleep rough on and off since I was 16,” Kerry Anne says during a visit to the Kirkcaldy Kitchen, which provides hot food and drink to those in need.

“Last year, I was living in Fife, but then thought it would be good to go to Glasgow to live. But I ended up having nowhere to go and had to spend three weeks over Christmas and New Year on the streets.

“Those rows of sleeping bags you see on the news … they are people, I was one of them.”

The pop-up event at the King’s Theatre in Kirkcaldy also saw haircuts, hand massages and other support offered to homeless people.

Organised by the Co-operative Venture group, run by ENABLE Scotland and the Co-operative College, the group is made up of 16-30 year-olds with learning difficulties, disabilities and autism and aims to help them into education, volunteering, training and employment.

Around 30 homeless people gathered to use the services on offer during the three-hour session.

“I got the chance to get something to eat and got a hand massage which I really enjoyed,” says Kerry Anne.

“I got to speak to other people and it made a big difference to me. It made me so glad I came back to Fife. I’d just like to thank everyone, especially the young people for what they did for us, it is so nice to know they care.”

Liam Flinn, ENABLE Scotland/Co-operative College project coordinator, said their initial idea was for a pop-up shop, but as interest and support came in from the local community, the event grew.

“It has been amazing for them to bring their ideas to life,” he says. “It’s given them a focus and shows they can make a difference.”

How to make the perfect pancake stack on Shrove Tuesday

Laurie Macmillan from Cafe Strange Brew in Glasgow gave us a few tips on how to make the best pancakes.

Whether you like thick scotch pancakes or thin crepes, everyone can agree that Pancake Day is one of the best days of the year. 

A day dedicated to the delicious combination of eggs, milk and flour, Pancake Day’s origins are thought to have begun around 1000 AD and are intrinsically linked with the celebration of Easter.

Taking place exactly 47 days before Easter Sunday, each year the date of Shrove Tuesday varies and it can fall anytime between the start of February and the beginning of March.

But how do you make the best pancakes?

According to Laurie Macmillan, the owner of Cafe Strange Brew in Glasgow, the perfect stack consists of thick pancakes enriched with butter with baking powder to make them extra fluffy. 

She adds that pancakes are often full of nostalgia, and while the stacks she serves in her cafe are topped with everything from bacon and banana to pineapple and panna cotta, she says that sometimes the classic lemon and sugar topping is the best.

‘Devoted dad’ who died after being knocked down named

Steven Kennedy, 33, was described by his family as 'a beloved fiancé' and 'devoted dad'.

Named: Steven Kennedy was knocked down in Dunfermline..

A “beloved fiance and devoted dad” who died after being knocked down on a street in Fife has been named.

Steven Kennedy, 33, was hit by a car around 9.50pm on Wednesday on St Margaret Street in Dunfermline and pronounced dead by emergency services.

His family have issued a statement after his death, which described him as “a beloved fiancé to Katie and a devoted dad to his three children”.

Police are appealing for witnesses of the crash and are keen to speak to a cyclist who was in the area at the time.

Sergeant Alastair Purvis said: “We are still appealing for witnesses and specifically a man on a bicycle within the area of St Margaret Street at the time of the incident and two men that Steven may have been with at the Old Inn pub.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101.

Thousands seek help to stop child sex abuse picture urges

A total of 6010 people sought support from Stop It Now! Scotland in 2019 - a rise of 135% from 2018.

Illegal: Thousands of people have sought help over the past year.

Thousands of people have sought help over the past year to stop viewing indecent images of children.

Stop It Now! Scotland – a service that supports those who are worried about their own sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviour towards youngsters – has reported a steep rise in the number of people reaching out for help.

Data released on Tuesday revealed a total of 6010 people sought support from the charity in 2019 – a 135% increase from 2018 in which 2554 people got in touch for themselves or someone close to them.

Stuart Allardyce, director of Stop It Now! Scotland, said: “We know that thousands of men across Scotland are viewing and sharing sexual images of under 18s.

“So we must work proactively to prevent them from doing so.

“There is no one type of person who commits these sorts of crimes.

“They come from every background and every part of Scotland. They may be our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.”

Mr Allardyce said most of the people the charity works with are adults, but a “growing proportion” are teenagers.

He added: “Many start to look at indecent images of children as part of their pornography habit, somehow not noticing or perhaps caring that these were images of children being abused.

“A few are struggling with a long-standing sexual interest in children and think that looking at ‘only pictures’ is a way of containing that interest.

“Everyone needs to know that this behaviour is illegal; that children are harmed by it; that serious consequences await those involved in it; but that our services, UK helpline and website give anonymous and confidential support and advice to stop and stay stopped.”

The Stop It Now! UK helpline opened in 2002 with Stop It Now! Scotland established in 2008.

Both are run by The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse.

Since 2015, more than 188,000 people in the UK have used the charity’s site – which has been given a recent makeover.

Run by an experienced team of trained advisors, callers to the helpline are given practical advice to help them to stop their illegal online behaviour in both the short and long-term.

Helpline advisors also explore with callers the possibility of any direct risks to children, including in the caller’s own family, to ensure these children are protected.

Calls can remain confidential and anonymous, unless identifying details are given and a child is at risk of harm or a crime has been committed.

In 2018, the National Crime Agency estimated that 80,000 people in the UK posed a sexual threat to children online.

Those who are arrested by Police Scotland are provided with a leaflet about Stop It Now! Scotland’s services and are urged to seek help for their behaviour.

Family members of those arrested are also given details of how they can access support through the charity.

Chief constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on child protection, said: “Accessing these images is not a victimless crime and viewing them creates more demand for these appalling offences.

“We are arresting more offenders than ever before – at least 500 people a month – and our tools for investigating and tracking down those responsible are the best they have ever been.

“We are committed to targeting the perpetrators of these crimes and bringing them to justice.

“The consequences of being caught are huge and include losing your job, your family life, being imprisoned and registered as a sex offender.

“Anyone who is having inappropriate thoughts about children should seek help from Stop It Now!, otherwise they should expect a visit from police officers.”

Support services

Stop It Now! Scotland



Royal Troon chosen to host The Open Championship in 2023

The Ayrshire course will welcome the world's top players for the 10th time.

Troon last hosted The Open in 2016.

Royal Troon will host the 152nd Open Championship in 2023, tournament organiser the R&A has announced.

The tournament will return to the Ayrshire course 100 years after Troon was first host.

It will be the 10th time The Open has been played there and the first occasion since Henrik Stenson lifted the Claret Jug in 2016.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “Royal Troon is one of the world’s greatest championships links.

“It has produced many memorable moments throughout the history of The Open including the dramatic duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson that captivated millions of fans around the world in 2016.

“We are very much looking forward to celebrating another milestone in the cherished history of The Open when we mark the 100th anniversary of the Championship first being played at Royal Troon.

“It will be fascinating to see who will emerge from the world-class field to lift the Claret Jug in 2023.”

This year’s championship will be held at Royal St George’s in Kent before the spotlight falls on St Andrew’s in 2021 and Royal Liverpool the following year.

Slumbers admitted that the size of the crowds which each of the 10 courses on the Open rota can accommodate has become an increasingly important factor.
That could be bad news for the likes of Muirfield and Turnberry, with Muirfield attracting 142,306 spectators in 2013 and Turnberry’s remote location traditionally resulting in even lower figures.

“We want The Open to be one of the world’s greatest sporting events,” Slumbers added. “Big time sport needs big time crowds.

“The previous record at (this year’s venue) Royal St George’s was 183,000 and we will exceed 200,000 in July.”

‘Significant’ concerns over children’s care in Orkney

Care Inspectorate report finds major weaknesses in the way children and young people are supported.

The health board and council have accepted that improvements are needed.

There are major weaknesses in the way vulnerable children and young people are supported and cared for in Orkney, according to inspectors.

The leadership of children’s services in Orkney was deemed unsatisfactory by the Care Inspectorate, which felt more work was needed to meet the needs of children.

Some children and young people experienced “physical neglect for too long” before they were given alternative care arrangements, the report said.

It also found that staff involved were “not confident in the effectiveness of local child protection arrangements”.

The inspection looked at services provided by the Orkney Partnership – made up of NHS Orkney, the local authority, Police Scotland and charities.

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: “A significant amount of work is needed to reduce the risks created by inconsistencies in key child protection processes.”

The health board accepted that it needed to make improvements.

Gerry O’Brien, chief executive of NHS Orkney, said: “Considerable improvement is clearly needed. The inspectors set out recommendations we will follow to set a clear path for improvement – a path that will be closely monitored by the Care Inspectorate to make sure we do this as effectively and as rapidly as possible.

“It must be noted, however, that inspectors also found good practice already in place. As we develop our improvement plan – and look to other agencies to see what works well there – we will ensure that this work is maintained and enhanced.”

The report found that the Orkney partnership would need additional support and expertise if it was to make improvements.

John Mundell, interim chief executive of Orkney Islands Council, said: “Acting on this report and making the necessary improvements is an absolute priority for all involved.

“This work is already underway and will strengthen, change and improve future arrangements and practice and result in more effective inter-agency working in providing care and protection for children and young people.”

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